Reality Check

Posted in General at 9 am

Just making sure that everone realizes that in the UK, they’re about to start paying 1 British Pound for 1 Litre of Petrol.

I believe (and someone should double check my calculations) that means that in US dollars and US liquid gallons, they’re paying the equivelent of $6.92/gallon.

Nearly $7 a gallon.


Just imagine what that would do to the working poor in the US.


World Cup Group of Death

Posted in General at 9 pm

It seems like some people don’t want to admit that, for this World Cup, the Group of Death includes the US. I know the title “Group of Death” is usually reserved for the Group that has the best national teams usually the best four that would individually get to the quarter finals except they were forced to get through this grueling opening round.

A good marker for the group of death would be to add up the current FIFA rankings for each of the teams. Whichever group has the lowest sum is the one with the highest-ranked teams. The Groups this year are set up as below:

Group Rank Sum
A 111
B 107
C 85
D 96
E 69
F 82
G 132
H 106

The lowest, by far, is Group E: Ghana, Italy, Czech Republic… and the USA. I wish the announcers would accept the fact that the US has bought their way … er, joined the ranks of the stronger national teams.

Now if you weight things towards the best (squaring the rank before summing) you get a similar chart, though Group F (Brazil, Croatia, Australia, Japan: 2622 pts.) does come in just ahead of Group E (2673 pts.). That’s mostly because Brazil throws that ranking way off.

Stopping here, wrists are kiilling me.


Morgan's Recital

Posted in People at 12 pm

Click the “more” link to see it… via YouTube.

Read the rest of this entry »


Prediction: Digital Camera evolution

Posted in Tech at 8 am

My latest prediction: eventually digital cameras will not have an optical zoom, nor will they have flashes. These will become obsolete once the optics technology matures.

Optical zooms will go away because the optical sensors will be able to take such detailed images that zooms will be unnecessary. The resolution of the images they capture at full size will be detailed enough that an optical zoom will be overkill. What we call ‘digital zoom’ today will become the primary method of ‘zooming’, (which in a sense is actually ‘cropping’). Once digital cameras are able to take 100+MiB images, zooming will be redundant.

Flashes, likewise will go away as the sensors will be able to pull up the details of all light coming to the camera and be able to apply tone maps in order to generate High Dynamic Range images. Flash used for darker environments will be uncessessary, and flashes used for fills will also not be used, replaced with tone mapping algorithims.

Not this decade… maybe the next one.

How To Buy Domain Names

Posted in Tech, Web at 8 am

There’s a few pages that walk thru the process:

* Domain Name Registration Article at About.com
* Domain name Tips article at About.com

You need a few things to do this:

1. A credit card
2. A website hosting service (Easystreet, rackspace.com, etc.)
3. The list of 2 “name servers” from the hosting service (ns1.easystreet.com, ns2.easystreet.com, etc.)
4. A domain Registrar: (NetworkSolutions, Doster, GoDaddy, Yahoo, etc.)

The Registrars that we use at work are http://www.NetworkSolutions.com and http://www.Dotster.com. There are hundreds, but I generally like Dotster. Personally I use http://www.000domains.com (but they simply resell Dotster’s services).


Ajax, meet Comet. Comet, this is Ajax. You will get along fine.

Posted in Tech, Web at 1 pm

Ajax is client side asynch communication. Comet is the Server-side equivalent.

Comet: Low Latency Data for the Browser:

So what makes these apps special? What makes them different from other things that might at first glance appear similar? Fundamentally, they all use long-lived HTTP connections to reduce the latency with which messages are passed to the server. In essence, they do not poll the server occasionally. Instead the server has an open line of communication with which it can push data to the client.

As is illustrated above, Comet applications can deliver data to the client at any time, not only in response to user input. The data is delivered over a single, previously-opened connection. This approach reduces the latency for data delivery significantly.


Boot Camp

Posted in Apple, Tech at 11 am

From Apple – Boot Camp:

Boot Camp lets you install Windows XP without moving your Mac data, though you will need to bring your own copy to the table, as Apple Computer does not sell or support Microsoft Windows.(1) Boot Camp will burn a CD of all the required drivers for Windows so you don’t have to scrounge around the Internet looking for them.

I literally feel sick to my stomach. It was one thing when this was a hack that someone could cobble together, but this is just… ugh.

But maybe I can get approval to run one at work now?


Tall drink of kitten…

Posted in General at 2 pm

Kitten in a pint

“Gimmie a pint of your felinest… I mean finest! brew.”


Critical Knowledge for the 21st Century

Posted in Media, Tech at 11 pm

On the review for the Amazon.com: Westinghouse W32701 27″ Widescreen LCD Flat Panel at Amazon:

A 4:3 TV is a 3-4-5 Right Triangle. Divide the Diagonal measurement By 5 then multiply that number by 3 to get the picture hieght, or by 4 to get the width.

A 16:9 TV is a 16-9-18.36 Right Trangle. Divide the Diagonal measurement By 18.36 then multiply that number by 9 to get the picture hieght, or by 16 to get the width.

Rule of Thumb:
17″ Widescreen = 15″ 4:3 Picture Height
23″ Widescreen = 19″ 4:3 Picture Height
27″ Widescreen = 22″ 4:3 Picture Height
30″ Widescreen = 24″ 4:3 Picture Height
33″ Widescreen = 27″ 4:3 Picture Height
44″ Widescreen = 36″ 4:3 Picture Height

See? That’s nice, well written, succinct, right to the point, straight forward, not redundant and non-redudant.

The one piece they forgot to add was that LCDs don’t have the overscan area that CRTs do. That means that the CRTs have an effective screen size that’s an inch or three smaller than the listed size.

So if Amy and i are going to replace our ancient 22″ (circa 1988!) CRT, we could probably get away with a 23″ widescreen. But I think a 26 or 27″ display would be a better bet.


Portland to the MAX

Posted in Life, Public Works at 11 am

Over at Metroblogging Portland Banana Lee Fishbones posits that Tri-Met should run around underground the MAX and give up on adding the MAX into the Bus Mall mix.

I’m not a big fan of digging up Portland’s streets, but here’s my response:

BLF: […] I agree with you about the need for alternatives in the Tri-Met plan. This whole idea of taking what is normally a longer distance service (The only route that stretches from G’town to B’ton.) and making. it. stop. every. two. or. so. blocks. in. the. middle. of. down. town. makes no sense to me at all. MAX ought to be a backbone route, dropping people off at half a dozen strategic locations in the core and then getting back to a ‘stops every half mile’ sort of style.

Have they even thought about how many riders they’re going to pick up on the trains that are only as long as a euro-style shorten city block? Those trains are going to be OVERFILLED between downtown and Rose Quarter.

Here’s my thought: run two lines of rail branching off of the existing MAX line.

A) one that breaks off the Steel bridge on the west bank, runs up Everet/Glisan thru Old Town/Perl/Northwest and swings around to catch up with the main line at Civic Stadium. (Yes, you heard me _Civic Stadium_). This brings better service to all the Yuppies in the Pearl and NW and brings down the number of commuters clogging those streets. When the area becomes a shanty town in 30 years, the residents will really need the mass transit options even more.

My Proposed Plan for MAX for 2009 Legend

  • Blue: MAX (Existing & Planned)
  • Red: MAX (My Proposed route on 99e and LO Commuter Rail)
  • Green: Streetcar (Existing & My Proposed Mississippi/Hollywood/Woodstock extensions)

B) Then run a line from Lloyd Center, down 11th/12th to Powell, setting up for a Moreland/ Milwaukee shot south along 99E. Get down to at least SE Tacoma, then shoot a branch off towards the river. We can build a replacement for the Sellwood bridge that includes a MAX deck, and then run the MAX up the old Lake Oswego commuter rail line up into downtown, either staying on the street car line, or hopping onto the rest of the under-used 1st avenue that the exisiting MAX is already using downtown.

In fill some major arteries with street car and now we’ve got a multi-modal hub/spokes/ring around greater Portland, with MAX able to handle a large amount of the commuter traffic that’s pounding the roads in the area, freeing up bus service to support more regular runs in smaller neighborhood hubs.

This is a little Southeast-centric, but hey, we’ve got to make up for the Mt Hood Freeway somehow, right?