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April 20, 2005

DIY Paper Toys

Be the envy of your fellow cube slaves when you decorate your work space with a shockingly cool paper model you can build yourself. Just download and print the diagrams, spend many hours putting them together, and voila: paper-craft models that will amaze your friends.

Pepakura Designer is $38 and lets you import 3D models from programs like 3D Studio and Lightwave. The Pepakura site has lots of free models to download and print.

Models to download and print:
Motorcycles and Animals
Video Game Toys
Paper Starships
Wacky Japanese Toys
 
 
Misc. paper toys:
Canon.co.jp
Life is Art
Free Paper Toys 


April 9, 2005

Got Macromedia MX 2004 and finally re-installed IME (Japanese language support) in WinXP:
now I can type Japanese right into my web pages! Wheeee!
Updated LoveHina lyrics page.

私はリバチーです。

 

update (later that evening): Wow. Somehow Macromedia screwed up Dreamweaver's FTP "Site" abilities. So, naturally, one wants the update, right?

This is freakin' hilarious: after you install the Dreamweaver 7.01 update:
"Image Viewer Flash element does not support GIFs

The Image Viewer Flash element (Insert > Media > Image Viewer) does not support GIFs because of patent issues. You can convert the GIFs to JPEGs in Fireworks or Photoshop. "

$300 to $1000 for their software, and they can't get the rights to the 2nd most commonly used graphic format used on the web?

And how do they manage to screw up an FTP transfer interface that was working fine for years? It's 1994 technology for fuck's sake!


March 27, 2005 (Easter)

Maybe it's because I've just been so busy with work lately, but this one almost slipped in under my radar: new albulm from NIN is finally coming out! ["With Teeth" in stores May 3.]
I'm not overly impressed with my first listen to the pre-release single (almost too accessible? Hope Trent isn't past his prime...), but I do like what it does near the end. Might be cooler in the 5.1 surround format he's doing. If you want to check out the track (in standard stereo), Winamp it:

Winamp.com music : The Hand That Feeds

talk to me, Trent


March 25, 2005

I just saw a show on CNBC that stated that the occurance of autism in newborns in America was 1 in 2500 in 1995, but that this year (only 9 years later) 1 in 133 children is born with autism [1]. The oddest thing to me was that they used the word "epidemic" but at no point theorized about WHY this increase might be occuring.

Don't you think this might be the first question? I would guess there are two likely suspects: environmental factors (pollution, what we are eating, etc.) or the fact that women are not becoming pregnant until much later in life.

It seems to me that articles on this subject (such as this one on WebMD) prefer to suggest that the increase is only due to changes in the way children are diagnosed only because the media does not like to discuss those difficult topics (which I called "suspects").

One study [2] seemed to indicate a link between expectant mothers suffering from asthma, allergies, or a type of skin disease may have a higher risk of giving birth to an autistic child.
But this would not explain the rise in the number of cases: again, are women suffering from asthma, allergies or skin conditions because of environmental factors? Or because they are pregnant in their 30s or later?

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, between 1978 and 2000, the birth rates for women age 35 to 44 more than doubled. According to this source, "The risk of having a baby with chromosomal disorders increase as a woman grows older. The most common of these disorders is Down syndrome, a combination of mental retardation and physical abnormalities caused by the presence of an extra chromosome. At age 25, a woman has about a 1-in-1, 250 chance of having a baby with Down syndrome; at age 30, a 1-in-1,000 chance; at age 35, a 1-in-400 chance; at age 40, a 1-in-100 chance; and at 45, a 1-in-30 chance."

It just seems interesting that this is not raised as a possible reason for the dramatic increase in the rate of autism in children. It is almost as though we want to ignore this possibility: there is a sense that if you even bring up the fact that late-in-life pregnancy causes problems, you are somehow denying the "rights of women", perhaps even being "sexist".

I think the media might be shy of crossing the politically-correct barrier. A campaign launched by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, centered around protect your fertility.org, got a lot of heat in 2001 for seeming to implying that women couldn't have their cake (a career) and eat it too (a family life). For example, some feminist writers started claiming that warnings about waiting to get pregnant was just a "fear message"...

And if the cause is environmental factors? Then the problem will never be resolved. Being corporately-correct requires that we don't think about everyday pollution, or about chemicals in food, or genentically modified food... Because nothing will ever be proven, and nothing will change.
GE, the "parent company" for CNBC, would certainly not want any suggestion of environmental causes--maybe this is why the subject of causes was ignored entirely?

[1] According to a press release from the CDC, "The most recent figures indicate that as many as one in 166 children in the U.S. is autistic or has an autism-related disorder, such as Asperger syndrome."
[2] Conducted by researchers from Kaiser Permanente, 2005, published in The Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. (link)

Update: This recent article (March 18) shows that others are considering environmental factors :
Mercury in Air Pollution: A Link to Autism?

Topic for another day: Why the large increase in Diabetes?
http://my.webmd.com/content/Article/102/106662.htm


March 10, 2005 - see Links


March 8, 2005

The Phone Companies are ripping you off.

Case in point: how does an unused phone plan from SBC advertised as $10.95 a month become a bill for $19.04?

AT&T writes:
In May of 1997, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted rules that mandated that telecommunications carriers pay into a federal program called the Universal Service Fund (USF). AT&T and other telecommunications carriers are required by the FCC, to pay a percentage of their revenues for state-to-state and international services into the Universal Service Fund. The FCC sets this percentage on a quarterly basis. AT&T has chosen to recover its payments into the Universal Service Fund by charging customers the UCC, which is now equal to the percentage set by the FCC.
Effective January 1, 2005, the UCC is changing from 8.9% to 10.7% of your state-to-state and international long distance charges as well as any service charges.

My service charge plus "state-to-state" charges for February 2005: $11.30
Amount charged for "Universal connectivity charge": $1.32
Percent: 11.7%
Difference from 8.9%: 2.8%
Assume an average bill of $20 for each household, that would be up to $0.56 (up to 2.6%) they are pocketing as profit while claiming"it's a connectivity charge". Multiply that by 24 million residential customers for one year: that's up to $161,280,000 in pure profit baby! (And that doesn't count the other fees they are claiming theyare paying to the government, and it doesn't count business customers, who they no doubt stick with more.)

And don't think that any of the other phone companies, like SBC, are any different.

Then, to add insult to injury, there's this:
Regulatory assessment fee
This fee is not a tax or charge required by government. It helps AT&T recover expenses, including interstate access charges; property taxes; and costs of regulatory compliance and proceedings.

Effective April 1, 2005, AT&T's Regulatory Assessment Fee willincrease from $.99 to $1.49. This fee recovers costs associated withstate-to-state and international connection charges, property taxes,and expenses associated with regulatory proceedings and compliance.This fee applies for each month in which you have any AT&T state-to-state and/or international charges on your bill. It is not a tax orcharge required by the government.

Know what that's called? It's called "the priceof doing business." And it should be included in the basicrate (monthly charge), not tacked on with an "oh, by the way" message. Jerks.


March 3 2005

Japanese word of the day: ソフト
sohuto (so - hu - to) > "sofuto" > "soft (o)" > "SOFTWARE"

Bonus Katakana practice:
グレープフルーツジュース

(gu
re --
pu
hu (fu)
ru --
tsu (tu)
ji-yu (jyu) --
su

Link of the Day : To Help Mankind (HTTP server issues)

Voyuerism of the day: A friendly baseball game in Japan

Photo albulm of the day: Shinsaibashi (what's his fascination with Glico?)


Feb. 26, 2005:

Today is Satuday, the 26th of February, in the year of our Lord 2005.

On this day

1531 – Earthquake in Portugal kills tens of thousands of people and flattens much of Lisbon and other cities.
1623 – Dutch massacre English colonists at Amboyna, Indonesia.
1797 – The Bank of England issues one pound notes for the first time.
1804 – Settlers arrive at Sullivan's Cove, the start of the first settlement of Hobart.
1815 – Napoleon Bonaparte escapes from island of Elba to begin his second conquest of France.
1832 – Polish Constitution abolished by Russia's Tsar Nicholas I.
1848 – Second French Republic proclaimed, two days after the abdication of King Louis-Philippe.
1852 – British troop ship Birkenhead sinks off Simon's Bay, South Africa, with the loss of 485 lives.
1871 – Preliminary Peace of Versailles is signed between France and Germany.
1901 – Leaders of the Boxer Rebellion in China, Chi-hsui and Hsu Cheng-yu, are beheaded in public.
1909 – Turkey recognises Austria's annexation of Bosnia.
1915 – Flame-throwers used in battle for the first time when the 3rd Guard German pioneer regiment uses them against the French at Malancourt

 

Word of the day: psychopomp
- guide or conductor to the land of the dead
- spirit that guides you on your final journey
For example, as the messnger of the gods (herald), it was said that Hermes would sometimes guide the souls of the dead down to the underworld (act as a psychopomp).

Web Dev example: A good flash-based educational site (for children): energyhog.org

Interesting book type layout with HTML tricks: digitalpublishingguide.com
{start here | meta start here | meta meta Start Here [houghtonmifflinbooks.com/epub/]

 


 

Feb 21, 2005:

Why Wikipedia is doomed to fail (the whole thing crashed today):

Chiefly, it is overly ambitious, to the point of being completely unrealistic. Not only do they now have an encyclopedia, the are now allowing Quote databases, book databases, image databases, video databases and a dictionary (among other things). All of these things are provided on the World Wide Web ALREADY. Wikipedia cannot possibly reproduce the content of what will be, essentially, the entire Internet.

- it's attempting to do what the Internet already does: provide a way for EVERYBODY to have their say ON EVERY TOPIC known to man. They are ignoring the rule of distributed computing. Wikipedia will always exponentially grow.

- An article is never done. People will always have an agenda, and attempt to re-write any given article.

- Whole sections of Wikipedia are regularly re-written by members of sub-cultures, which attempt to recast topics according to their own perspectives.

It was a noble experiment, but it's time to archive the whole thing and let it die. Not, as they are currently asking, to donate $75,000 to them. (Please see the Internet Archive; a much more worthwhile endeavor, and much more deserving of donations. )

[Update, Fall 2005: Quote from the wikipedia site: "The third quarter 2005 fund drive is being held from Friday 19 August to Friday 9 September 2005 (2005.08.19 2005.09.09). The primary goal is to raise US $200,000 to meet income requirements in the third quarter 2005 budget. "

(note: that's USD$ 66,666.66 per month)

No details on why server equipment alone cost $146,400 in the last quarter, and why that amount of purchases wouldn't last them more than 3 months...
]

Comment on this item by clicking here:

Today's links:

the art of criticism

Iraqis vote! All is forgiven and forgotten!


Feb. 16, 2005:

Microsoft security updates for February
Microsoft has addressed several new Security vulnerabilities that can be used to exploit components of the Windows operating system. Seven of the security updates announced rated highest on Microsoft's severity scale.

lyberty.com highly recommends all users of affected Windows operating systems visit Windows Update and install the critical updates as soon as possible.

------

Futurama Mixes Volume 2 - Kittens Give Morbo Gas!

2.18: The Problem With Popplers:
Amy: We're doomed!
Hermes: Dooomed!
[Bender takes a deep breath...]
Bender: Doooooo...!
4ACV15: The Farnsworth Parabox
Both Benders (in unison): We're doomed! Dooooooooomed!


Feb. 15, 2005:

Here's a new rule for web publishing. Anytime you write an article, or make a web page, you datestamp it with the day you first published it, and the last time you updated it.

I am so tired of looking at articles, technical papers, opinion pieces, etc., published on the web, that don't have a date.

You don't know if it was written in the 90's, or last week. Come on people: you know how to sign your articles (e.g. "By Jennifer Kyrnin"), how hard is it to date them?
(e.g. "By Jennifer Kyrnin; 2005 Feb 15")


Feb. 14 2005:

For Valentine's Day -

The Knightly Conduct of Love:

"It is the pure love ... [that] consists in the contemplation of the mind and the affection of the heart;
it goes as far as the kiss and the embrace and the modest contact with the nude lover,
omitting the final solace, for that is not permitted to those who wish to love purely."
- Andreas Capallanus, author of the medieval best seller The Art of Courtly Love

(But Andreas also notes it would be a miracle if a man were placed in a fire and did not get burned....)

more
---------------------
A short history of Cupid

----------------------

HTML 4.1: The HTML element

trying my hand at a new dictionary

They Laughed at Joker's boner! (see also)

 

XML in Word 2000: a training course from Microsoft:
Jeeze, I can't keep up. I still thought we were using DTDs. But guess what?
"When XML first came out, there were DTDs (Document Type Definitions) that defined what the XML was going to look like and how it worked. But DTDs were written in yet another format than XML and so if you wanted to write XML applications you had to learn XML and how to write a DTD. But then along came the XML Schema language, a language written with XML. With this language, you don't have to learn a second format to define how your XML applications will work. " - more

 

PVR-150 review: further updates

Got a ?


Feb. 10, 2005:

re: Israeli Palesinian ceasefire (see previous entries)

Whoops. Spoke too soon. But really, what did you expect?

Situation 'Very Fragile' After Hamas Fires Mortars At Israelis
By Julie Stahl; CNSNews.com Jerusalem Bureau Chief; February 10, 2005

. . . Hamas said it fired 46 mortars at the Gush Katif settlements early Thursday in retaliation for the killing of two Palestinians on Wednesday by the Israeli army.. .


Feb. 8, 2005:

Did you know the US is going to attack Iran?

No? Wanna know how you can tell?

Last week, both GE and HALLIBURTON announced they were ceasing business operations in Iran (GE's announcement was Feb. 2).

("GE announced it will stop accepting new orders for business in Iran..";
so they're not actually ceasing all business operations, but it allows them to finish up current contracts before wwe start bombing.
Say, in September.)

So remember that you heard it hear first. (Unless you read that article in the New Yorker. . . )

US has covert operations in Iran, says New Yorker
Business Day - Jan 17 11:37 PM
WASHINGTON The US military is already running covert missions in Iran, preparing for possible strikes against weapons of mass destruction targets, yesterday's issue of The New Yorker magazine reported.

US forces inside Iran to pick sites for air strikes Reports New Yorker
News From Bangladesh - Jan 18 10:07 AM
AFP, Washington:Teams of US commandos have been operating inside Iran since last summer, selecting suspected weapons sites for possible air strikes, The New Yorker reported yesterday.

---------------------------------------------------

John Chambers Announces 2nd Quarter Fiscal Year 2005 Financial Results for Cisco Systems, Inc.
2005-FEB-08


-- 2nd Quarter Net SALES (revenue): $6.1 billion
(12.3% increase year over year; 1.5% increase quarter over quarter)

-- 2nd Quarter Net INCOME (earnings): $1.40 billion .........GAAP; $1.5 billion pro forma

-- 2nd Quarter Earnings Per Share: $0.21 ......GAAP; $0.22 pro forma


"posting our eleventh consecutive quarter of pro forma net income exceeding $1B . . ."

" our pro forma profits exceeding 20% of revenue. "

"Cash flow from operations was a solid $1.8B. During the quarter we repurchased $2.7B of common stock and exited the quarter with approximately $17B in cash, cash equivalents, and marketable investments. "

product orders grew 12% year over year.
10 to 15% year-over-year growth.

Networked Home and IP Telephony : possible $1B in sales...

 

JMP Securities analyst Sam Wilson, characterized the results ($1,400,000,000 in profit over the last 3 months) as "mediocre."
(see "Why the market is bullshit", below).

By way of comparison, Microsoft had an operating INCOME for the second quarter of $4.75 billion (which was an increase of $3.27 billion over the same period in the prior year.) IBM had an INCOME of $3.10 billion for their last quarter.

-----
What's the difference between "Sales" and "Revenue"?
A: Gross income is listed as revenue for service companies and as sales for manufacturing companies.

Gross income is commonly defined as all the money, goods, and property received by the company that must be included as taxable income.

Net income, or merely "income", is income after outlays are deducted.
Synonyms: earnings, lucre, net, net profit, profit, profits.

So "Sales" is revenue, but "Income" is profit.
-----

(sometimes also referred to as "Sales Revenue" = Price x Quantity ;

for reporting purposes, "Sales Revenue" is Gross Revenue (the amount customers actually pay the company when they make their purchases) minus allowances for products expected to be returned, lost in delivery, or otherwise requiring the company to refund the customers' money.)

Revenue = Sales ;
Sales Revenue = ( Gross Revenue- Refunded Monies)


May 24, 2005:

May 2005 was a very good month for Cisco Systems. . .

 


Feb. 7, 2005:

Why the market is bullshit:

-requirement that a company must _increase_ market share and profits every quarter, preferably in an exponential way. It doesn't matter if the company is making tons of money, or if it's making a measly amount of money. So it's not about profits, it's about ever increasing growth.But if you're the number one provider of some service or goods, what if there's nothing else to sell? What if everyone that you can sell to has already bought your product? What if there's no more market share to take? Then your stock price is punished.

Cisco did $22 billion worth of sales in 2004. That's $22,000,000,000.
Billion. With a "B".
Cisco generates $300 million-$400 million per month in operating cash flow. Furthermore, Cisco has a rock-solid balance sheet with $18 billion of net cash. But you wouldn't know it by the share price.
Who cares is they make an imaginary target of 22% earnings growth? (Microsoft has a target of 11% growth by the way.)Why is it not enough for a company to generate tremendous profits in a consistent way?Shouldn't companies be valued against each other by how much money their making?
Furthermore, if Cisco reports something like revenue and earnings growth of about 15%, it will be called "disappointing" and the stock price will fall. It doesn't matter if 15% earnings growth in a quarter is better than the vast majority of companies during the same period.

To sum up:
-earning money: no good
-making profits: yawn
-having a solid financial footing (i.e. not a lot of debt): who cares
-growing faster then other companies: that's okay, but not good enough

All the market apparently wants to know: are you going to accelerate your earnings every quarter forever and forever until you are the only company in the world?

Wouldn't the best way to increase your stock price then,be to deliberately have a bad quarter (don't sell much), or bad year, so that the following year you could say "We've had an increase of 150%!"Plus, you should always give bad guidance, so that you can "beat expectations". Nothing drives up a stock price like "beating expectations":
"Oh, yeah, our quarter is really going to suck." . . (one quarter later:) . . "We grew 20%!"


Feb. 6, Sun., 2005:

On this day in history:
1515 &#acirc;&#euro;“ Death of Aldus Manutius, Italian editor and printer who produced the first paperbacks and invented italics. 1643 – Dutch mariner Abel Tasman discovers Fiji Islands in the Pacific.


 


Jan. 31, 2005:

The Israeli army is reckless and irresponsible. But does it matter? Nah. They're only Palestinians... Besides, some of those Palestinians are terrorists. So score another victory for the "war on terror":

Israeli Tank Fire Kills Palestinian Girl
AP via Yahoo! News ; Mon, 31 Jan 2005 3:23 AM PST
A 10-year-old Palestinian girl was shot and killed by Israeli tank fire while she was inside a United Nations school in a southern Gaza Strip refugee camp, Palestinian and U.N. officials said Monday.

Gunfire kills Gaza schoolgirl
NEWS.com.au ; Mon, 31 Jan 2005 3:53 AM PST
ISRAELI army gunfire killed a 10-year-old Palestinian girl today as she stood with other children in a schoolyard in Rafah refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip, witnesses and medical officials said.

[Update Feb. 9 2005: Good news!
In anticipation of the Summit, and in the few days after the declared cease-fire, there hasn't been any "Israeli ..... kills ... " articles for weeks! (Previously, there was at least a couple Israeli or Palestinian deaths every week.) Let's see if it holds.]


January 28, 2005:

Tip of the day (if not the year):

How do I disable those annoying animated advertisements on web pages?

A: In Internet Explorer: Select Tools > Internet Options.Select the Advanced tab. Then:


Click Apply button.

Step 2 (this is required to disable those $%#&*!!!! Macromedia Flash animated ads):

Select the Security tab of the Internet Options window (assuming window is still open from step 1 above)

Click the Custom Level button.

Change the following settings to "Prompt":

Unfortunately, you'll have to respond to the prompts (see below for prompt example), but this allows you to still view the Flash content you actually want to view (just reload the page if there's a flash animation you want to see).The alternative is to uninstall the Flash plugin entirely (but then you might miss out on stuff you actually want to see).

Before:

Annoying animated crap:

After:

Prompts and static ads. Start choosing "No" by default.

Note that in some cases (forms, search boxes, redirects, new windows) you are going to want to select "Yes" to this prompt (some pages need the Active X plugins to work). But if you know you are going to a page with animated ads, you can select "No", then reload the page and select "Yes" if some function on that page doesn't seem to work.


January 27, 2005:

Cable vs Satellite

San Jose, California:

Comcast Cable package*: $65.73

same package, Direct TV**: $43.00

DirectTV is almost $25 cheaper.

* Comcast "Digital Plus"; hardware for 1 room included, installation included

** DIRECTTV "Total Choice Plus with Local Channels"; hardware for 3 rooms included, installation included.

-------------------------

view the Earth as currently seen from a satellite in Earth orbit


January 24th, 2005:

[UPDATE: Feb. 14 2005: They took the site down. Now the addresses just redirect to anarchopedia.org.
But it was fun while it lasted!!

You can check out a screen capture of the home page here.]

Maybe I just haven't been getting enough sleep lately (it's currently 3:21 AM and I have work tomorrow), but this is THE FUNNIEST THING I've seen on the Internet in as long as I can remember:

Anarchapedia.org

This is FUNNY if you : have used Wikipedia
This is FUNNIER if you : have used Wikipedia a lot, and know that there are power struggles and "Sister Sites".
This is FUNNIEST if you : know that Anarchopedia is a spin-off of Wikipedia, and you recognize Anarchapedia has become a parody of Anarchopedia.

You can start with the links on the main page, like GFDL corpus access provider and Hilary Duff . . .

Or see this list of user contributions.

Hurry, it probably won't be in it's current state for long.....

Feb. 1, 2005:

new entries to Anarchapedia.org:

Taxes ; Robbery ; Death ; G-Rated

 


January 24th, 2005:

BUYING OPPORTUNITIES!

If your investment outlook is at least one year, there's lots of good value out there right now. There's been a corrective dip since the beginning of the year, making some big-name stocks real values:

Cisco (CSCO) has dropped to 17.75 !! [52-week high: 28.50]

Pfizer (PFE), after some recent bad press,
is finally buyable again at around 24.26
[52-week high: 38.89](3.1% dividend yield too)

Microsoft (MSFT) at 25.67 ? Now that's a bargain! [52-week high: 30.20]

These techs offer you more short-term risk, but much better reward. These may not bust out tomorrow, or next month, but when they move, they'll really move:

NVIDIA (NVDA) : down 4% today to 20.58. [52-week high: 27.35]

Intel [INTC] has been out of favor over the last year, but they've got a strong future (Remember the golden rule: buy low, sell high) currently 21.99.

Western Digital [WDC] has an upside potential of $14 (or better). That would be a 39% increase from its current price of 10.10 !

Got a long term perspective? So do the Japanese. Sony [SNE] is the future.
(PSPs and Play Station 3s for everyone!)
Had a nice little dip starting last Thrusday. Currently: 36.60



Jan. 16, 2005:

Free tools that may change your life!
Ok, they won't change your life, but some of them are pretty neat...

Links for today:
- SageTV review
- SageTV tips & tricks | Configuration
- Ulead Video Studio (video editing software); features compared to comprable products
- Pure Motion Edit Studio (from the makers of DVDLab)

- PVAStrumento (convert DVB / Digital TV / DigiTV's PVA streams (MPEG-TS) into MPEG-2)
- http://www.digital-digest.com/dvd/downloads/showcategory.php?cid=3



blog archive 2005.1 (Dec 2004, Jan 2005)

blog archive 2004
blog archive 2001 - 2003



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