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November 23, 2008

Elvis the Robo-cat

This video is fairly old, but it always amazes me.  This guy's cat was injured in an accident with a car, so instead of putting it down, he built it a robotic platform to move around. I guess sometimes it pays to be a mad scientist. 


November 22, 2008

Talking photography with virtual friends

Whether you are a novice or and old pro when it comes to digital photography, it is always nice to have a place to share resources.  ShutterBudd is that sort of community.  Whether you want to evaluate how various pieces of gear work for you, talk about photo manipulation software or just share some of your work, this is a great site to frequent.  This community is active in both digital and analog mediums, so you are as likely to find information about the newest Digital SLR camera or medium format black and white photography and everything in between.

ShutterBudd Screen shot 

While other sites such as Flickr, SmugMug, and Picasa allow you to share photographs and make connections, ShutterBudd is a smaller community that feels closer knit.  ShutterBudd has ventured from the cyber world into the real world with their photo exhibitions that take place around the San Francisco Bay AreaThere is still time to submit your photos for the January 2009 show which features the theme: Good Food, Good Friends!


November 21, 2008

Goodbye Ted

In the coming months we are going to bid a farewell to Alaskan Senator Ted Stevens. Whether you lean to the left or right, Ted will always be remembered as the guy who described the Internet as a "Series of Tubes", thus confusing the elderly and computer illiterate to a greater extent.  Ted, you stand with The Great Internet Creator and beard aficionado, you know, Al Gore as one of the top Internet Meme creators.  Hats off to you!

 Ted Stevens ruling the internet from his electronic tube throne

November 20, 2008

The smooth layoff

Okay, the whole economy is going down the toilet.  Everyone now knows someone that is laid off or downsized.  You know it is really bad when business evangelist Guy Kawasaki (and THE original Apple fanboy) starts giving tips on how to lay people off. Dust off your Y2K supplies and batten down the hatches, this is going to be a long recession.

Da Axe!   

(Photo Credit: Chris Campbell on Flickr)


Graffiti as art and social commentary

Depending on where you are located, you may or may not be exposed to graffiti on a daily basis.  In some areas it can be absent, while in others it is the work if idle youth and in other areas it designates street gang territories.  There is another category beyond this that walks the fine line between art and vandalism.  I was aware of Shepard Fairey and his Andre the Giant styled stencils that cover many surfaces in metropolitan areas, but I did not learn about Banksy until a few years ago, due to all the links to his work from Digg.  This artist keeps a low profile and operates under his moniker, which helps not getting prosecuted.  Banksy has some amazing pieces, which must have been an amazing feat to install without getting caught.  The images are witty, the ideas are edgy and while you may not agree with the method, it will still make you stop and think.  The internet is flush with pictures of his work, but here are a few that you might find interesting.

(Photo Courtesy of caruba on Flickr)



(Photo Courtesy of herrner on Flickr)



(Photo Courtesy of artbymags on Flickr)



(Photo Courtesy of funkypancake on Flickr)






November 18, 2008

We welcome our robot overlords...

Nothing to lighten the mood like a cat riding a Roomba robot vacuum cleaner.  Or a robo-hoover for the chaps across the pond. Allo, Guvnah!



  • http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=LQ-jv8g1YVI
  • November 12, 2008

    Educational Alternatives

    brick and mortar baby!

    (Photo Credit: my_new_wintercoat on Flickr)

    I read this yesterday in the San Francisco Chronicle: "For the first time, California high school seniors face the prospect that a B average and completion of required college preparatory classes might not be good enough for a state college."  

    That is one of the scariest things that mediocre student can hear in California.  When I was in high school I pegged a pretty strong B average.  Never a stellar student in high school, yet not at the bottom of the barrel.  For students like myself, I found comfort in the fact that I could get a excellent and inexpensive undergrad education in the California State University system.  Now that it has been underfunded for close to two decades, it is not up to the task of fulfilling the educational needs of the state. 

    I don't have any answers for my beloved CSU system, but if I were a parent sending my kid off to college right now, I would look at many different opportunities.  Many private schools are offering attractive tuition plans with decent financial aid.  Saving on housing costs by staying at home and going to school is another option.  I know many kids want to go off and have their "college experience", but sometimes you have to look a what is financially viable.  Keeping an open mind toward educational experiences will improve your child's odds of finishing their undergrad education in four years and getting to work being a productive member of society.


    November 10, 2008

    New G1G1 Program Starts Today

    The rush is on, as I  just received an update e-mail:

    Subject: [One Laptop per Child] Welcome to One Laptop per Child: Give One Get One Program
    Monday, November 10, 2008 10:11 AM
    From: "g1g1@lists.laptop.org" <g1g1@lists.laptop.org>
    To: g1g1@lists.laptop.org

    Spread the word.

    Thank you for signing up for Give One Get One. At our website,
    http://laptop.org, you can see the excitement of children from the
    Andes to the Gobi Desert getting their first computers, thanks to last
    year's support and purchases by the countries themselves. Here is one
    example from Peru: http://laptop.org/peru.

    Last year Americans bought 100,000 laptops for children across the
    world.  This year, we mean to give 1 million.  So please spread the
    word, invite all of your friends to participate.  And join us in one
    simple goal: to change the world.

    Thank you again,

    Nicholas Negroponte
    G1G1 mailing list



    November 08, 2008

    Degree Mill Spam

    Many online and hybrid distance learning institutions are doing a great job filling a huge educational need.  In the great tradition of Degree Mills, there are many shady operators using Spam to market V1agra, C1al1s and Masteers degrees.  I was cleaning out my Spam filter today and ran across this one.  The number changes, but the message is pretty much always the same.  Maybe I'll call and order a PhDD in a fieldd of my choice.

    No Exams/Books/Tests/Interview/classes     
    100% No Pre-School qualïfication required!       
    Inside USA: 1-305-390-XXXX      
    0utside USA: +1-305-390-XXXX       
    Bacheëlor, Dêgreë, MasteerMBA, PhDD (non accredited) available in the Fieldd of yoür choice so you can
    even become a doctor and receive All the benefits That comes withh it!     
    Please leaavee below 3 Infö in Vooiçemail:     
    1) Yourr naame       
    2) Youur country   
    3) Your phonè no. [please include Countrycode]   
    Call Now!! 24-hours a day, 7-Days a Week waiting For your call 
    IInside USA: 1-305-390-XXXX    
    0utside USA: +1-305-390-XXXX   
    Our Staff will get back to You in 1-3 working dayss


    Update 11/13/2008:

    Here is an example of another "winner" that hit my Spam filter today.

    Subject: MBA-Degreees not for sale- get it.
    Friday, November 14, 2008 12:49 PM
    From: "Mohamed xxxx" <xxx@xxx.org>
    To: xxx@spectrox.com

    No Exams/Books/Tests/Interview/classes    
    100% No Pre-School qualíficatioñ requìrèd!      
    Inside USA: 1-305-390-XXXX      
    0utside USA: +1-305-390-XXXX      
    Bacheelor, [>egree, MasteerMBÅ, PhDD (non accrêdited) available in the Fiield of your choice so you can
    even become a doctór and receive All the benefits That comess with it!    
    Please leave below 3 Info in Voicemail:    
    1) Your náme      
    2) ¥ourr country  
    3) Your phoõne no. [please include Countrýçôde]  
    (all Now!! 24-hours a day, 7-Days a Weeek waiting For yóurr call
    Inside USA: 1-305-390-XXXX    
    0utsidé USA: +1-305-390-XXXX  
    Our Staff will get back to You in 1-3 workiingg days

    November 03, 2008

    XO Update

    Since I purchased my XO-1 a while ago, I have been playing with it when time allows.  While I really like the display and solid construction of the unit, the keyboard is somewhat of a deal killer for me.  I know this unit is built for children, but when I type on this thing I feel like one keystroke will press five keys.  Other than that, this thing is brilliant.  Anyways...

    Since I purchased this thing, I had been running release 708 of the software which I downloaded from the OLPC website.  Over the weekend I decided to try upgrading to the 8.2.0 software (release 767).  I tried using the olpc-update 767 method, but even after 3 hours on my home DSL connection the OS hadn't been updated.  I decided to download the new image and re-flash my XO-1.  Bingo!  The user interface tweaks make the system a bit more usable.   I haven't spent enough time with the new software to see if the battery charge lasts 20% longer as they are saying.

    Stay tuned for the new B1G1 program starting November 17th.