Category Archives: Technology

Long Ignored Minority Demands Rights

Washington (f-A-ke. P.) —

No longer a minority in American society, television sets, of which there are approximately 330 million, now outnumber so-called ‘Human Americans’.

We feel it’s time for this important segment of society to step forward and claim the rights long denied them by flesh-and-blood Americans. Can anyone deny that televisions are as important to this country as…say…cars, or microwave ovens? NO! We provide hours of entertainment. We’re your constant companion. Indeed…we even babysit your children. We demand a seat at the American table!

Pan A. Sonic — President, National Association of Society/Television Integration (NASTI)

A bill, introduced by Michelle Bachman (R MN) and co-sponsored by a group of 10 conservative Republicans and Democrats—known around Capitol Hill at the NASTI Bunch—would define life as beginning at manufacture. The bill would also place restrictions on the disposal of older televisions and make elderly devices eligible for Social Security and Medicare. Critics have called the plan just another unfunded mandate and an unwarranted expansion of the social safety net.

Apples to lemons?

Microsoft made a big announcement today that it is opening it’s new retail stores right next door to Apple’s.  Sounds like sour grapes to me.  Have they seen those hilarious, “I’m a Mac” commercials?  They always look like losers.  When you’re the computer equivalent of an AV geek you may not want to park your ass next to the quarterback of the football team.  Oh, and did I mention they hired a Wal-Mart aficionado to manage this big rollout?  What?  The K-Mart guy was already booked?

Stupid While Walking

I have a cell phone. I have a bluetooth headset that, if I absolutely have to talk while walking, helps me keep my head up and eyes forward. I do not have a Crackberry, iPhone, or other input device, and even if I did I wouldn’t be stupid enough to be keying into it, eyes down, while walking in New York.

Alexa Longueira though, a 15 year old from Staten Island, doesn’t have a problem with texting and walking…well…at least she didn’t until she walked into an open manhole in Staten Island.

Sure, an open manhole is a problem, but paying-f*cking-attention helps you avoid the hazards that crop up in getting from point A to point B—Fire hydrants, badly jointed concrete, and last but not least people! Sadly, Ms. Longueira probably won’t learn much if anything from this event as her parents are making noises about suing the city for not putting up a barrier. Though one wonders if they would feel differently if Alexa had broken her shin on a Department of Public Works barrier.

Truth be told, Ms. Longueira is on the cusp of becoming considerably more dangerous. She’ll soon be driving…and presumably texting, and let’s face it raw sewage, unlike the person she’ll run down while texting about last night’s date, won’t sue.

Modern-day Icarus

1998 — Construction begins on the International Space Station, the largest most complex satellite ever placed in orbit.

2010 — The ISS is completed after more than a decade of effort and upwards of a $100,000,000,000 spent during construction.

2016 — NASA preps the ISS and then ‘de-orbits’ the 330 ton space station, causing most of it to burn up in the atmosphere and the rest to crash into the Pacific Ocean.

OK…I’m all for space exploration. Those of you who have followed Ragebot (and Blognonymous before it) are aware of my fondness for the Mars Rovers, my awe over the achievements of the Cassini/Hyuegens mission. But this…! They’re going to just shut it down and burn it up? Gods! What a f*cking waste! 

Perhaps it’s time we stop spending money when we lack the commitment necessary to realizing something positive from our endeavors.

Newest Technology Meets Oldest Profession

Google Street View is a BAD idea. There I’ve said it. This mashup of photography and geo-positioning is at best a distraction, and at worst a badly defended invasion of privacy. Yes it is true that Google has a legal right to photograph the front of your house, just as it is legal for any person to look toward or even into your windows. But it is not legal or even acceptable for Google to do this with telephoto lenses, and the fact they that simply don’t post high resolution images on Street View isn’t a defense. Humans don’t have 10X eyes.

That said, this privacy invading wonder occasionally catches some really funny events. The Register notes that the ‘face-blur’ seems to be working just fine. But ‘butt-cheek-blur’? Not so much.

Four Out of Five Geeks Agree…

Departing from my normal stream of politically-oriented bitching… Many of you have guessed that I’m basically a geek. Amphibian yes, but geek nonetheless. And when I tell you that Firefox is the browser that you should be using, you can trust me not to steer you wrong. Don’t believe me, well then here are some other opinions you might want to heed:

On Internet Exploder 8, the most recent example of bloatware from Redmond:

Consuming twice as much RAM as Firefox and saturating the CPU with nearly six times as many execution threads, Microsoft’s latest beta release of Internet Explorer 8 is in fact more demanding on your PC than Windows XP itself…

On Chrome, the latest out-o-the-lab project from Google (comment at the SFGate):

I’ll bet the thing has enough tracking capability to find Jimmy Hoffa PLUS solve the mystery of who was on the grassy knoll.

Your’s truly will be sticking with Mozilla Firefox, thank you very much.

The Worst Deal In Entertainment Keeps Getting Worse

Technological advances are supposed to make our lives easier—cheaper too—according to the conventional wisdom. But when it comes to television, the worst deal in entertainment keeps getting worse.

Are you a cable subscriber? And if so do you watch more than a fraction of the stations delivered to you? In fact, most of us don’t. So when the cable industry tries to tell you that your cost per hour has remained flat for over a decade, keep in mind that their argument only holds up if your viewing time has skyrocketed. Back in 1996, I paid about $35/month for “extended-basic” cable. Were I to subscribe today the cost would be around $60, an increase that is double the rate of inflation.

And do I get more for that additional cost? Not really. 40 more channels, but none that I watch. Digital cable? Nope. That costs extra. High-definition picture? No again. You gotta pay even more for that on top of the cost of digital cable. “So what,” you may ask, “…keeps the cable industry cranking along?” Only dead-simple convenience. No hassles, little hardware, high-bandwidth—and it’s that last factor, bandwidth, that may be the most important going forward.

I’ve watched a few shows from the Internet, purchased some science fiction from iTunes, and frankly it’s a pain in the ass. One hour of video consumes about a half-a-gig of storage and takes forever to download. So if the cable industry can just make sure that the ‘hassle factor’ for Internet video remains high, we’ll keep right on buying their overpriced services. Does anyone really think that recently announced ‘bandwidth caps’ and ‘metered pricing’ schemes are designed to slow down P2P? Not a chance! The cable industry wants to stop us from using our Internet connections to download video, thus maintaining their monopoly on content delivery.

NBC Wants You Glued To Your Chair

Los Angeles (f-A-ke. P.) –

On Wednesday, fans of NBC’s evening lineup including American Gladiators and Medium were dismayed to find that their computers wouldn’t record the shows for later viewing. NBC had turned on the broadcast flag, which prevents digital video recorders (DVRs) like Tivo and Windows Media Center from recording protected content.

When asked about the change in policy, NBC President, Jeff Zucker said:

We figure that if we can get Americans used to watching the crappy stuff when we tell them to, then they’ll be even more apt to do what we say when it comes to the good stuff.

In a follow-up question, a reporter asked if, in fact, NBC had any shows that would qualify as good stuff. Mr. Zucker replied:

Well.. sure. I’m sure we’ve got some good shows in our lineup, like…wait… Just give me a minute…

Moronic Motorcar Manufacturers

For many years Australia has had three auto manufactures, just last month that was finally reduced to two. GM (Holden) and Ford are hanging on valiantly. Mitsubishi, formerly Chrysler, have gone to the wall when its latest big car failed to sell.
GM Holden Super wank
Now you would think there was a lesson in that. While Ford is struggling to retain a toehold here GM (Holden) is going for broke. Having sold its big Commodore range to the US, rebadged as Pontiac, Holden has unveiled another major obscenity.
“Revealed at the 2008 Melbourne motor show, the HSV W427 is a Commodore-based four-door sedan with a 7.0-litre engine producing 370kW of power – almost 500 horsepower in the old scale.”
I don’t know exactly what that means, apart from power and fuel consumption far in excess of realistic driving needs. The Ford monster is apparently chasing a US niche as well.
All this after recent sales figures put GM Holden and Ford at the bottom of the list in Australia, even below Kia.
Ford Falcon
Top sellers downunder are Mazda and Honda, with a range of economical brands like Nissan and Toyota filling the gaps.
Admittedly my personal tastes run to a pair of Dunlop canvas topped tennis shoes, so the muscle car concept is rather alien. Still, market reality is flowing strongly against the great gas guzzlers.
Even the images suggest dark days, I suspect. Or perhaps that is just a researched ploy to key into dark anger and aggression in the motorhead community. Whatever, there is really no place in the world for these obscenities, these penis extensions.

Kangaroo Tails

There has been a lot of discussion in Australia about climate change and our food preferences. We curse the bastard who introduced fluffy bloody bunnies to this arid land. We should be cursing the ones who bought sheep and cattle here too.

The fact is our terrain cannot cope hard footed critters, or the ones that eat grass down beyond the roots. Kangas have been surviving this land far longer than the aborigines, and they are one of the longest continuing human groups.

Kangaroo is a common bush food, usually as patties, but that’s because we haven’t explored preparation methods. It is even more common as dog food. But as a meat it is gamey and quite edible.

The trouble is you can’t farm roos like ‘domesticated’ animals. They can jump tall buildings in a single leap. Free range is the ways to go, and the method cuts out a whole agricultural sector, the slaughter house.

All we need is a constant movement of trucks picking up those carcasses. Of course the findings would be best treated as stews or bully beef type products.

I’m just pricing a fleet of refrigerated trucks with bloody big kanga bars. I figure we could harvest and collect in one grand operation. of course it will take time to build a wider market, but for the soup kitchen market, the ones who begrudge spending drug money on food are a clear early target.