Wednesday, June 25, 2008

You're not just on hold...

You're in your own personal dance party!

Sorry, I'm on the phone with Logitech right now because my mouse up and died yesterday, and this music is driving me insane.

I had a keyboard when I was younger (think mid-90's) that had a "demo" button that played a pre-recorded song using all the effects on the keyboard – including the "bloink!" sound in the seldom utilized auxiliary drum effects.

I could maybe see this music used in a Sega Genesis title at some point too. I just don't know. Mono-sound, static, not-so-deep heavy bass lines, chimes. THE CHIMES.

There was a Sinbad stand-up special that used to play all the time on Comedy Central all the time. I think I found the intro music.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Blast from the Past

Just had a weird coincidence (maybe that's a little redundant) but I have to re-post since it's so cool:

Abstractor instantly transforms intrusive video billboards into enjoyable public art. See how it's done! Visit Abstractor.tv for more info.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

In case you haven't noticed...

...this blog is somewhat "literacy" based.

Anyway this is a sweet Firefox extension that I found via Lifehacker today.

With it I plan to:

• De-clutter my bookmarks
• Zoom through my RSS stuff
• Read more on the train / offline!

Read it Later

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Picking up Steam

via BoingBoing

Lewis Shiner is one of my favorite science fiction writers and last summer he began making all of his (fantastic!) old short stories available as free, Creative Commons licensed files on his site, under the banner of the "Fiction Liberation Front." Now he's expanded the program.

Cory Doctorow's post on BoingBoing today got me thinking about the state of online literature, partly as an extension of the "Books that are Free" series I'm doing and some musings in the last issue of American Libraries on eBooks and whatnot. Think of this as a brief meditation on the subject full of incomplete thoughts:

Project Gutenberg is interesting and all, and by no means am I belittling the proposition, but the content is of course very pre-internet thanks to currently copyright law. Then as a sort of "forward escape" from the system in place we have Creative Commons, which is very internet centric.

So, newsflash, the system is broken (read/borrow), but now I'm thinking the whole debate will just largely become irrelevant as relevant content begins to slip to the copy-left.

Lets adopt a biological model of communication and quickly see the key to long term copyright survival is in moving towards a more viable, transferable mode. Out of the pond and into the ocean.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Rumors of my Eventual Website

In the spirit of WWDC 2008 today, I thought today would be a good time to divulge some top-secret info about my website in the works.

I'm still working on the coding, but now that I have received word from Dr. Kitaoka and his publisher around use of a figure I'm able to move on from the design phase!

Here's a low-res sample:


I think it's pretty cool :D

Friday, June 6, 2008

Books that are Free: Volume 2


Could it be that time already again? How does he read so fast!

No, no, no. This post is another blast from the past. I actually read this one over the course of a few nights during finals week at Clark as a distraction and I was pleasantly surprised...

...that's not entirely true. I've really enjoyed all of Rushkoff's writing so far. More accurately, I wasn't disappoint.

Gotta love an honest cover.

Open Source Democracy

How online communication is changing offline politics
Foreword by Douglas Alexander, Member of UK Parliament



Anyway this was a really fascinating read. I am by no means a Political Scientist but there was plenty in there for the Media Scientist in me to nibble on.

Did I mention this one is free online?

Interesting to compare it to his earlier ethereal internet talk in Cyberia.

PS - I totally took part in an IRC interview with Rushkoff not to long ago, and I'm looking forward to his latest project (even if it's just a 404 right now as of writing this).

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Spotlight on Invention: Skim

So the other day I was on the train coming back from Boston (thanks again to my sister for showing me around) read some more of this and I thought "Hey, wouldn't it be great if I could highlight and annotate this like a real book?"

Much to my surprise, someone has beat me to it. I'm still getting used to it but Skim looks amazing so far. Two thumbs up.

The saying "great minds think alike" comes to mind :P

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

R-E-C-Y-C-L-E

When I was driving back home after cashing in some cans today at Madden I had a breakthrough: "Why not repost that story from your old myspace blog" I thought to myself, "you never go on there anymore".

Not being the type to question authority
Here it is, complete with typos, from 2006:

I'll admit, my life isnt that exciting. To compensate for this however, it would seem that fate likes to pile a bunch of events to occur all at once for me. A form of trauma procrastination, if you will. Today was one such day. I decided to write this blog entry so I could recall it better later on, plus Im sure at least one other person on the internet will get a kick out of this.

The gall bladder is a small pear shaped organ that stores bile, that green-yellow shit that your liver makes to digest food. This is where our story begins, because this morning I had to drive to the UMass Memorial Hospital and get my small pear shaped organ checked out thanks to the advice of the medical professionals at Clark University. You see, a few weeks ago I thought my eyes and skin were turning yellow. I say thought because lets face it, I'm extremely pale. My skin-tone alternates from ghostly white to petrified pink, and some blotchy gradients therein. Yellow was a new one for me though, and like any rational human being I decided this was probably a good time to talk to a person with DR in from of their name.

So I thought I had jaundice, the your liver is fucked up indicator. It was that or an acute case of google-based hypochondria. Either way, I wanted to know for sure. So after some blood tests and poking and prodding by doctors and nurses in my abdomen they figured I probably just passed a gallstone and should get an ultrasound to see whats up with the little green fellow next to my liver. Apparently gall stones are pretty common as it turns out, something like 1 in 10 people get them but usually they pass silently and no one gives a shit. Everyone except me, because hey, I give a shit.

Ok moving on, so Ive got this appointment at the hospital for 9am. I set my alarm for 8am, Im also instructed not to eat after midnight the night before. So I wake up and find out my alarm didnt work or whatever. No big deal, its only 8:30, I can make it on time, or so I thought. Im out the door maybe 10 minutes later, having had to skip a shower because I know I should get there as early as possible and Im already running late.

Heres where things get interesting. I drive an old 91 Saab 900. Even though its 15 years old this thing still has a long life ahead of it. One problem though, it likes to stall at random intervals and I had no idea why. Well now I know why, but Ill get to that later. Ok so I get like 100 feet away from the parking garage and ol blue-y (my car is blue) shits the bed, kicks the bucket, or uhh...ok it stalls on me. Now Im in a panic. Im already running late for this ultrasound thing, and now my car decides to smite me. At least Im not in the middle of the road I think to myself. 5 minutes later it magically starts working again. Home free I foolishly concluded.

I drove by the hospital a few days before just to make sure I knew where the hell I was going, and the rest of the trip goes fine. I end up parking on the top of the garage there because the place is packed, further adding to my tardiness. I managed to find the registry place in the hosptial and they take my information and I get a nifty blue hospital card thing and another piece of paper. Two left turns and one long hallway later and Im at the Radiology and X-ray place where I need to be. Its already 9:20 now, oh well. I get called in not five minutes later. This is where the fun begins.

I know you know what an ultrasound is, but humor me for a moment now while explain the process. First off, Ive followed one of the nurses into a room clearly intended for fetus-spying. The lights are really dim, and there is a chair right next to the table thing that Im laying on clearly intended for a couple to share a special moment over while they peek inside the womb. Im not there to see a Chris Jr. wave back at me through grainy television screen though, Im not even pregnant, or a woman for that matter. But you already knew that. No, Im just there to have a nice lady rub a giant, lubricated wand/upsidedown-microphone-looking device over the upper right quadrant of my gut to see if the stories are true. There wasnt much conversation to be had, other than instructions for when to breath so she could coordinate the the search for the lost ark with my insides being pushed down by my diaphragm. She told me I was gassy too. Good to know, I guess. Ten minutes later and its over, and I get to wipe all the KY off my stomach while feeling slightly less manly now that I know what its like to have an ultrasound minus the whole pregnancy thing. I find out the results next wednesday.

The story doesn't end here though, in many ways it has just begun. You see, my continual love-hate relationship with my motor vehicle will once again rear its ugly head as soon as Im out of the visitor parking garage. The damn thing dies on me again. This time I manage to drift my way back into the hospital entrance area while simultaneously struggling against the lack of power-steering. Shit. Its happened again. I wait around 5 minutes hoping for another miracle. No dice. Time to call AAA, because thats what its there for. Hopefully a jump-start will cure what ails me.

About 40 minutes later while Im waiting for AAA to show up that miracle I was hoping for occurs. My Saab has been raised from the dead once again not unlike those stories from really really old books of fiction. But my lord and savior must have seen his shadow and decided to go back in the groundhog cage, meaning six more weeks of winter and free candy nestled in green plastic grass, or something like that. I get like halfway back to school and the bed has been defecated in once again, and that bucket is nearly cracked in half after all this kicking. I am in luck however, because I didnt call AAA back to let them know my car started up again, and I managed to glide into another parking lot, this time on the top of a hill, avoiding a hair-raising slide down the aptly named Highland Avenue. Some nice people helped me push my car a little further in the parking lot, as the ass-end was halfway in the sidewalk. Thanks random person!

You know how sometimes youll be driving, and you see that poor sap stuck on the side of the road, and you can just tell by the look on their face that this day is not going as planned? Well that was me at this moment. Plus Im starving because I its been a while since Ive had any food thanks to the ultrasound. I call AAA back up and tell them what the deal is, my car still needs help but Im at a different spot now. The tow truck gets there like 10 minutes later, and he explains to me that a jump-start is just going to get me a little closer to school before the same shit happens again. Ok better get this in for service somewhere, thanks for the advice tow-truck guy. Since I dont know any auto garages in Worcester, let alone one that will serve me swedish-born-expensive-as-hell-for-replacement-parts car, AAA recommends I take it to the closest Saab dealership. This might have been a mistake, but I didnt feel like getting ripped off by some sketchy Worcester garage. No, Id rather pay way more than I have to because Im a sap. Not that money really matters anyway. On top of all that, Im still in panic mode. The adrenaline is slowly working its way out of my system.

The Saab place is a couple minutes away in Auburn, I got to listen to some interesting music in the tow-truck on the way there for extra super-awesome awkwardness. Something about goin to the cabin down the road for romantic intentions is pouring out the speakers, and this guy (the tow truck guy) clearly knows the song by heart because hes picking up on every cymbal crash while drumming on the steering wheel. I just sat there and reflected upon my lack of a functional seat-belt as we go careening down 290.

We finally get there after what seemed like the longest ride of my life, and I get to break the good news to the service desk. My car has been towed here. I think it needs some help. Please please please please. Something like that. Then I realized I have to get back to school somehow so I can write this amazing blog entry, and Im in luck! Yes! the old guy behind the counter says, we have an old senile man right over here who we keep around for just this reason!.

Step 1. find the car Step 2. figure out how to unlock the doors because this new Passat only has an electric key thing. Step 3. figure out how to start the engine. And were off. They call me Babe! the old guy says. Interesting name, sir. Luckily Gramps knows his way around the city despite my total ineptitude with directions. We end up listening to some hip-hop on the radio after he randomly hits some buttons and is unable to fix it. We finally get there after some nice lunch-rush traffic and I thank him for the ride and proceed to eat the best damn Chicken fajita salad Ive ever had.

This is in many ways a work in progress, because while Ive managed to get myself home safely the fate of my automobile is still in question. What will become of my gall-bladder remains undetermined, and the state of my sanity needs further review. I can however safely say this was the most intense Friday morning I have ever had. I usually sleeps until noon because I dont have any classes today. I wrote way more than I expected too. Hope you enjoyed the ride. "

Epilogue:
I now drive a 97 Mazda :P

Optical Illusions Explained?

Check out this article on LiveScience.com

an excerpt:

"...our visual system that has evolved to compensate for neural delays, generating images of what will occur one-tenth of a second into the future. That foresight keeps our view of the world in the present. It gives you enough heads up to catch a fly ball (instead of getting socked in the face) and maneuver smoothly through a crowd."