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    Wednesday, January 25, 2006


    Money.  Ah, yes.  We like it, we hate it.  It makes being a grown-up both a joy and a pain in the booty. 
    Well, here's a decent website that might, say, MIGHT be able to help you out.
    Bankrate, Inc. is the Web's leading aggregator of financial rate information. Bankrate's rate data research offering is unique in its depth and breadth. Bankrate continually surveys approximately 4,800 financial institutions in all 50 states in order to provide clear, objective, and unbiased rates to consumers. Our flagship Web site,, provides free rate information to consumers on more than 300 financial products, including mortgages, credit cards, new and used automobile loans, money market accounts, certificates of deposit, checking and ATM fees, home equity loans and online banking fees.

    In my continuing efforts to convert all my business research and such to the internets, I came across it.  Seems useful.  Use.

    Friday, January 20, 2006

    Good For You, Boys

    There are several reasons to like Google. 
    Oftentimes, I give examples, like here, here, and here.
    Here's yet another reason.
    Google is rebuffing the government's demand for a peek at what millions of people have been looking up on the Internet's leading search engine - a request that raises concerns Big Brother may be watching a little too closely.
    Thank the New York Daily News for that.  Thank Fark for paying attention.
    Now.  As everyone who reads this blog knows, I'm a Google fan.  So, I'd like to take this opportunity for Google taking a stand, even if it eventually proves to be fruitless, verus The Man.  The Man is big and scary, and we all owe The Man money.  It's cool that a bunch of computer nerds can stand up to The Man.
    However, just to make sure that everyone is completely aware of the fact that I don't yet suckle at the Googlalian teet, I should give you an example of something that Google can most certainly improve.  God, how I wish they'd improve it.  Here goes....
    Why, oh WHY, does Blogger not support categories without forcing a man to do a hack ?  I mean, Blogger is great, but just not good enough sometimes. 
    Ah well.  Play on, playa.

    Thursday, January 19, 2006

    Surprising Musical Revelation

    You know, oddly enough, the album Louder Than Bombs by The Smiths holds up particularly well, especially the song, "Girl Afraid".
    I don't care if Morrissey wore a band-aid on his nipple.
    Yes, you are allowed to Google that.

    Monday, January 16, 2006

    Happy MLK Day!

    I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
      - Martin Luther King, Jr. (via Wikipedia)
    The complaint lodged by Millie Bonilla and Sheila Foster, the wives of former New York Mets baseball players Bobby Bonilla and George Foster, said they were denied access to the beach at Greenwich Point Park on June 7 because of their skin color. Mrs. Bonilla is Puerto Rican and Mrs. Foster is African American.
    <article partially snipped>
    Kelly Houston, the town's affirmative action officer, dismissed the complaint on grounds that the women were not carrying the $25 resident beach cards that are required to enter the park.
    Ms. Houston might have been able to sustain her ruling had she not sent an e-mail three weeks earlier to the exercise group leader the women had hired for their class. Her e-mail advised him to be discreet about bringing "black people" to the beach and to cut the number of black participants in the class.
    Props to The Hartford Courant.  Equal props to my people over at Fark.
    Additional commentary deleted.  Judge away.



    Friday, January 13, 2006

    It's A Trap!

    True Life Email that I received today:
    Uh oh.  My spider sense is tingling.  Internet fraud spam?  I smell Nigeria.  Perhaps Croatia.  Don't people know that African crooks are Old and Busted, while Eastern Bloc Country crooks are the New Hotness?
    Reference to our telephone discussion which I told you that We have received your contract payment approval from our ordering Customer Service in the Central Bank of Nigeria for the further credit to your bank account. With all due respect, our bank has obliged to credit your account with instruction. Quoting reference to bnp transfer regulation and in line with British Financial and Allied Conduct, your account will be effected as soon as you reconcile our 1% Cost of Transfer or you may advise us to deduct the total value and transfer the balance to your account. 

    Let me guess.  If I send you my bank information, then I'll be able to get a bunch of cash/credit/blood diamonds/hookers/blow?  Yeah, right.
    Let's read on, shall we?

    Should you be willing to accept deduction, our bank is therefore urging you to contact the authorized CBN Paying Officer PROF.TOM.O.ADABA board member/director international remittance department, central bank of Nigeria Lagos annex office on, E-mail: Please ask him to issue you the Original Hard Copy of the Authority to Deduct 1% Bill of Exchange form to enable us deducts the 1% cost of transfer. Be advised also that we only acknowledge the receipt of the ORIGINAL HARD COPY OF THE BILL OF EXCHANGE FORM, which must be duly filed and signed by the beneficiary before we can effect deduction.
    Google:  TOM.O.ADABA.  Let's see what we get.
    Hm.  Link to a page on Crimes of, referencing Nigerian Scammer Names.  Interesting.
    You know, I've been getting a lot more of these lately.  I'm not sure who to blame. I faithfully mark spam emails as spam, and send it to the appropriate place, yet still I get it.  I wonder how much time and money is wasted on this stuff.  I suppose that I could go to Wikipedia and find out, but, at the moment, it's early, I'm tired, and just would rather be held.

    Please be warned, as our bank does not trust any Nigerian Official except PROF.TOM.O.ADABA board member/director international remittance department, central bank of Nigeria Lagos annex whom we can give attention to in any of this instruction. Prior to our banking regulation, final credit shall be made to your account upon your instruction. NOTE: you're advised to put a stop with any other impostors that you may be corresponding with for now regarding your payment and comply with this fax so that you will not continually fail prey to clique of impostors.
    Gee, thanks for the tip.

    Yeah.  Well.  Just for that I'm going to forward your email to the FTC at .  Spammers.  They kill me.

    Thursday, January 12, 2006

    It's Not Paranoia If Someone Is Really Out To Get You

    Every now and then, while slipping and sliding through this thing called the Internet, one sees something that they really have a hard time believing to be true, yet is.  Typically one can prove or disprove this random picture, event, or activity simply by going to Snopes, which coincidentally is located in the far right column of this post.
    However, on occasion, Snopes doesn't have all the information one seeks.  I know, I know, it's rare, but it does happen.
    How do you feel about this little nugget?
    ...was the headline.  Via Americablog.
    The story was dated January 7th, 2006.  Hm.  No, I need to be convinced.
    Yikes, they have a website.  Or maybe two.
    You've got to be kidding, right?  Isn't this a violation of privacy, or something?
    Nope.  Ask the Chicago Sun-Times.
    And, just for good measure, why don't you ask former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, Wesley Clark.
    Well, this morning AMERICAblog bought former presidential candidate, and former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO (SACEUR), General Wesley Clark's cell phone records for one hundred calls made over three days in November 2005, no questions asked.
    That... doesn't... seem... right.
    Erp.  Patrick Henry would NOT approve, methinks.
    Thank God I have a Verizon wireless phone.
    ...did I say that?

    Why AVG Rocks

    Here's yet another reason to go with Grisoft's free AVG instead of one of those commerically bought anti-spyware/virus utilities.
    Oh, dear.  We're just getting over the Sony DRM rootkit ruckus and now we have a security company hiding software components from Windows APIs with rootkit technology. reports that Symantec Corp.'s spokesperson admitted to using this rootkit type feature in Norton SystemWorks to hide a directory so customers wouldn't accidentally delete files.  The problem was it could also provide a convenient hiding place for attackers to place malicious files. Due to the vulnerability, Symantec has issued an update for SystemWorks and is "strongly recommending" users update the software immediately. 
    Via the Zdnet Blog.
    "Gee, I never would have expected that."
    Yeah, right.
    I think AVG, for being consistently wonderful, deserves a shout out. 


    Tuesday, January 10, 2006

    This is Cy, the Adorable Cyclops Kitten.

    This little kitty, named Cy, was born on December 28. It came into this world with one eye and no nose.
    To get the full, unfettered, and thoroughly disturbing impact of this bizarre mutation, check at this Yahoo photo.
    Methinks that the Boing didn't mean "adorable".  I think they meant, "Frightening and sad".  Yikes.  Did anyone check the family to see if they exhibit telekinesis, the ability to change the weather with their mind, or shoot laser beams from their eyes?


    Wednesday, January 04, 2006

    Addictive Time Wasters, Part III

    Today, I did a very strange thing and perused my junk mail.  Usually, I do this about twice a year and see what I missed.  Most of the time, it's completely useless.

    However, today I came across something different:  The Top Ten Time Wasting Sites On The Net.  On this page, popups and popdowns galore, so unless you're running Firefox or something, don't bother.  I took a quick look at the webpage; most of what I saw on there I had run across before.

    Not this, though.  Not pRon

    From the rules:

    There are actually no rules, just proceed to the next screen, until you are on the end screen!

    The only rule is not to look for walkthroughs on the net. It will ruin the fun for you, and this is what all is about.
    Don't try to impress others with solutions. It's no challenge to find those on google, everybody can.

    This is a puzzle game that is designed to drive a sane person mad.

    And rest assured, it IS a time waster.

    Good luck, people.  Truly, I mean that.

    Tuesday, January 03, 2006

    Do You Want More Traffic?

    I do.  They were a hell of a band.

    However, if you're looking for blog traffic, then you might want to check into one of my favorite websites, Lifehacker.

    ProBlogger has some tips that can help you increase your traffic quite a bit. It's not a big surprise but tagging is high on the list.

    The only conclusion that a rational blogger/writer can come to after reading a bit of the Problogger site (where these particular traffic enhancement tricks are found,) is that Hey, this blog is might be actually useful.  Check it out.

    True Life Quote That I Heard Today

    "If I thought it had any chance of working, I would crack open my own skull, and use a rusty garden rake to scrape the phrase "lady-lumps" out of my brain."
     - ringloss, on the Black Eyed Peas opus, "My Humps".

    On that note, I have only this to say:

    My humps
    My humps
    My humps my humps my humps,
    You love my lady lumps.
    My humps my humps my humps.

    Yeah, I know.  The lyrics are merely illustrative.

    Here Is A Test

    This is a test.  Take notes.  This will count as 3/4 of your final grade.  Hints: remember, in chess, kings cancel each other out and cannot occupy adjacent squares, are therefore all-powerful and totally powerless, cannot affect one another, produce stalemate.
     - Harlan Ellison, "The Deathbird"

    Interestingly, this post only tangentally has to do with that particular quote.  However, three test questions of varying difficulty follow the quotes, below.  See if you can answer them correctly.  I would add that if you do not own the story mentioned above, find it and buy it quick.  I have it on good information that it is, at present, out of print.


    Virgin Records deserves a spanking. I'll do what I want with the content I pay for, thank you very much. When will they realize that if it's in bits and bytes, nothing's ever secure?

    The Boing is at it again.

    Now for the test.

    1.  Can this particular Coldplay CD actually be played, period?
    2.  Has this particular security strategy paid off for Virgin Records and Coldplay with increased record sales and grateful Coldplay fans?
    3.  Will Clark buy another CD at any point in the near-future?

    Answers will be revealed at the end of this post.

    True, sad story:  My mother wanted CDs for Christmas.  EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM had DRM and all of them were likely to load an outside application to her computer system that could make her hardware more susceptible to viruses.  I actually had to tell my mother to never, never ever play any of those CDs on her computer system.  How pitiful is that, really?

    DRM blows. 

    Answer Key:

    1,  No.  Well, maybe.  But do you want to take that chance?
    2.  No, unless you count fan alienation as an overall positive for your musical fan base, from the obsessed fan to the casual consumer.
    3.  No.  No.  A thousand times no.  Oh my God, DRM killed Kenny.  You bastards!

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