More Big Brother Love

Posted in General at 10 am

Oh yes. I (heart) big brother.

Oh, Brother…
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Patriot Two

Posted in General at 10 am

I’m having to read a person’s Blog entry to find out that Bush signed into law a large chunk of the PATRIOT II act… Swell. Totalitarian dictatorship, here we come!


On Playing Cards

Posted in Media, People at 10 pm

I found this bit of Card history interesting. True or untrue, I’m not sure.

Originally, the face cards were portrayals of actual personages, and slight traces of them remain to this day. Charlemagne was the model for the king of hearts; the Hebrew King David was portrayed by the king of spades; Julius Caesar was represented by the king of diamonds; and Alexander the Great was the prototype for the king of clubs. On the feminine side were Helen of Troy as the queen of hearts, Palas Athena as the queen of spades, and the biblical Rachel as the queen of diamonds. Also honored from time to time were Joan of Arc and Elizabeth I, as well as a number of others. The knights, or jacks as they came to be called, were all patterned after famous soldiers, such as Sir Lancelot for clubs; Charlemagne’s nephew Roland for diamonds; Hogier Le Danois, another Charlemagne lieutenant, for spades; and Etienne de Vignoles, who fought for Charles VII of France, for hearts.

You might ask, “Ross, why were you visiting a Baccarat site?” Why because I was watching the DVD Amy got me… Casino Royale! Not quite what I expected. I rate the film VO: Very Odd.


Hope for Peace

Posted in General at 10 am

The Guardian, via FoRK.


December 26 1914.

Dearest Connie,

I write to you in a much happier frame of mind because something wonderful has just happened that I must tell you about at once. We were all standing to in our trenches yesterday morning, Christmas morning. It was crisp and quiet all about, as beautiful a morning as I’ve ever seen, as cold and frosty as a Christmas morning should be.

I should like to be able to tell you that we began it. But the truth, I’m ashamed to say, is that Fritz began it. First someone saw a white flag waving from the trenches opposite. Then they were calling out to us from across no man’s land, “Happy Christmas Tommy! Happy Christmas!” When we had got over the surprise some of us shouted back. “Same to you Fritz! Same to you!” I thought that would be that. We all did. But then suddenly one of them was up there in his grey greatcoat and waving a white flag. “Don’t shoot, lads!” someone shouted. And no one did. Then there was another Fritz up on the parapet, and another. “Keep your heads down,” I told the men. “It’s a trick.” But it wasn’t.

Read more below…
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Logitech Camera with Face Tracking

Posted in General at 12 pm

There’s a new webcam from Logitech that can track where your face is at so that you aren’t stuck in one postition while you’re trying to chat with someone.

There’s a Review at Tom’s Harware.

It seems the next step is for it to automatically adjust the pixels so that your pupils are aimed towards the camera, and hence the viewer.

All this time, I thought that those sci-fi movies where people were are talking into the big, flat wall display had some sort of camera inside it. Most LCD screens use three sub-pixels of red green and blue right? well, what if there was a fourth pixel that was actually a video sensor?

Or perhaps the displayed image is actually projected from the side onto a one-way mirror with a video camera behind it.

But now another option: let the software do the work. Have the camera (or cameras) stitch together the final image and then modify it to make it look like the the person is looking at the camera and not the view screen.

That’s actually pretty feasible, I think.


Remotes and Watts

Posted in General at 11 am

I’ve added another couple of “articles” to my non-web dev articles section. This time I’ve got instruction manuals for a Playstation 2 remote control for DVD funtions and the instructions for the Kill A Watt home wattage meter.

The remote control (a Mad Catz Dual Sided DVD Remote Control for Playstation 2) has a set of codes that are to be used for various televisions. If these Mad Catz Remote Control codes are lost, the thing is basically worthless (unless you have Sony equipment, which is what it defaults to.) So I scanned the instructions in, got some OCR software and converted the English instructions to a text files and a web page. See the Mad Catz Remote instructions and download them here.

The Kill A Watt instructions are a different matter. See, the device is really quite straightforward, but the instructions look like they’re written on something akin to rice paper, or tissue paper. If you’ve ever seen or played with magician’s “flash paper” you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. So just to be on the safe side, I scanned and OCR’d those instructions as well. See the Kill A Watt instructions and download them here.

Long term goal? To convert a lot of the papers that I need into digital format so that I can find them and store or toss out the original documents with less worry.

I figure that someone else out there might want to find these instructions as well, and I’ve tried to use as many variations of keywords as I could in order for search engines to find them.

Posting documents like these to my web site also makes a great “off site” backup. If anything happens to my machines at home, can download these files from my web site on the other side of the continent.

Of course, I might run out of room at some point, but I don’t have *that* many papers.


Tongue Twister

Posted in General at 1 pm

For your vocal enjoyment:

Seven Swedish Swahmis Sitting, Sweating in the Sauna


Picture this

Posted in General at 2 pm

Picture this: Gangsta Raptors.


Good Beats

Posted in General at 11 pm

Interesting “music video” as produced by the North Korean government.

Its got a good hook, but the ending is really weak.


On Johnny Cash

Posted in General at 6 pm

It turns out that one of Johnny Cash’s daughters, Tara, lives in Portland. The Portland Tribune had this in a sidebar as part of an interview with her this week.

Life Lessons

In 2000, Johnny and June Carter Cash called their big family to the Carter home in Virginia for what they called Grandchildren Week. For it, Tara Cash of Portalnd prepared this list she calls “The Lessons I learned From My Father.”

  • Ice cream tastes so much better churned on the front porch of an old home in the country surrounded by a lot of loved ones.
  • It’s far better to pile into a Jeep with 10 others singing “Children Go Where You Send Thee” than it is to watch television.
  • You’ll never find arrowheads in an old creek bed if you don’t spend quite a lot of time looking for them.
  • Watermelon tastes better with salt on it.
  • Mistletoe is abundant in the woods, and it’s free if you have a shotgun.
  • Silence and humming can say volumes more than words.
  • Always throw the small perch back.
  • It’s always best to end a fine day with a bowl of ice cream.
  • Always talk to your worm when baiting a hook with it.
  • When passing cows, always greet them.
  • Stick to the rules, then break them.
  • If something is stolen from you, let it go. Then buy 40 of whatever it was to replace it and put them everywhere.
  • Children should skinny-dip and catch fireflies.
  • Sometimes your closet can be the coziest place in the world.
  • There really are such things as comfort foods, and you should have them every day.
  • Chili tastes better when cooked at 60 miles per hour.
  • Expect to be respected.
  • Always kiss your babies on the lips.
  • If you see clean, clear water trickling out of a mountain, stop and take a drink.
  • When you order soft ice cream at a drive-through, you must eat it in under three minutes.
  • Wearing black really does make you look thinner.
  • You’re never too old to be cool.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to retype that. I got smart and found the original article online.

I wanted to keep this around, but so did Amy. She’s clipping it out of the paper and keeping it on her desk.