Monday, December 31, 2001

My New Year's Party

Here's the ultimate test of how accurate a guesser I am of the size (or lack thereof) of this website's local readership: Everyone who reads this in time is welcome to come to my place to bring in 2002 like it ain't nobody's business.

If you don't know where the place is, then email me. If you can't find my email address on this site, then perhaps you should just stay at home and wrap yourself in a nice thick blanket until all the hubbub subsides.

The plan is to BBQ around 5 or 6 o'clock, and then start the hardy partying around 8 or 9. It ends whenever I feel like ending it :)

Tuesday, December 25, 2001

Merry Christmas!

So Christmas is here....I want to hear all your stories about visiting with relatives and/or in-laws. All the bitching about not getting those argyle socks you wanted, and all the jubilation over the mass of swag that you now boast.

Lay it on me. I can take it.

Here's what I wanted for Christmas. I didn't get it :(

Tuesday, December 18, 2001

Universal to render significant portion of CD players useless

While implementing their "copy protection" scheme for music CDs, Universal Music will be simultaneously rendering most DVD players, car stereos, and computers unable to play their wares. It's quite silly, in a way: If I can't play music on my DVD player, in the room where I most want to listen to music, I'll be that much more determined to find a way to rip it and get it in a format that I can listen to anywhere.

Record companies don't get the fact that these copy protection schemes do more to annoy their patrons than they do to deter the would-be music pirates. Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids.

Original article.

Thursday, December 13, 2001

Theatre room renovations: Part 1

For those of you that are interested, I've been documenting the renovation of my home theater room with plenty of pictures. Click on the link below for a bit of a description of what's going on in the photos.

Pictures are here if you can't read, and just want to look at the pretty pictures.

DCP_1308 to DCP_1313:
These pictures show the crappy state this room was in after I ripped most of the faux wood panelling, and silly decorative beams off of the walls. I found next to no insulation, which explains why everyone froze their asses off down there. Some of the panels are still up in these pictures, because those are the ones with the light fixtures on them, and I don't want to play wantonly with electricity.


DCP_1314 to DCP_1323:
Studding and insulating and wiring, oh my! That's basically what's going on here. DCP_1322 clearly shows the different types of wire. The white stuff is for power for lights and outlets. The red stuff is a slightly higher gague power cable for the electric heater that's going to go under the windows on the opposite wall. Each of the yellow cables contains 4x12 gague speaker wire. Plan for the future: bi-wire all your speakers! I now have approximately 10 billion times more insulation in that room (that figure is rounded up to the nearest 10 billion).


DCP_1324:
This is when the hole in the wall for the component rack gets cut out. You can see my ABC laundry detergent in the other room.


DCP_1325 to DCP_1332:
Drywall, drywall, drywall. This was probably the most time consuming process of the day. I can't imagine doing this myself. I would have screwed up so many times. All the outlets and lights and windows to cut around.


DCP_1333 and DCP_1334:
These are 2 pictures of the wall sconces that will hold the lights. Two will go on each side wall. There's also going to some pot lights in the ceiling, but they won't be on during movies, only when I need some real light in there.


Well, there you have it., the first bit of renovation. Tomorrow brings the tapers to finish of the drywall, and the electrician to actually get the lights working. Still to come is the 8" stage at the back for stadium seating purposes :)

Questions or comments are welcome...I'll try to answer them as best I can.

Tuesday, December 11, 2001

I'm number 5!

I finally have something to be proud of. I'm the fifth most screwed up individual on the Internet, according to The Screensavers and their "Web's Weirdest Personal Crusades" article.

I guess the Subway Petition isn't dead after all...

Monday, December 3, 2001

Build a computer controlled VCR

Our friends over at SandyWalsh.com have an interesting article on building a computer controlled VCR, complete with a nifty diagram. Check it out.

Sunday, December 2, 2001

Eastlink screws the pooch

If anybody reading this gets their Internet connectivity via Eastlink Cable in Halifax, they may have noticed that they were unable to reach this site for part of Friday night and most of Saturday. My sources tell me that some routing thing-a-ma-bob that I don't fully understand was configured incorrectly. People not connected via Eastlink could reach spine.cx just fine. Even people at Eastlink could. Just not their broadband subscribers.

Hmmm...Some compentance would be nice.

Wednesday, November 28, 2001

Choose an icon for the Games topic

I need help choosing an icon. Right now the icon for the "games" topic is a Dreamcast. This is simply because I now own one, and it's the reason I created the topic in the first place :)

Help me choose (a more appropriate?) one. Click below.

Here are the choices. If you can come up with a better one, then I'm open to suggestions. Discuss.


Atari 2600

Nintendo GameCube

Nintendo N64

Sega Dreamcast

Classic NES

Sony Playstation

Super NES

XBox Controller

Monday, November 26, 2001

Watch women beat each other with sticks

I attended my first Dalhousie Women's Hockey Team game on Sunday afternoon, and it wasn't an entirely unpleasant experience. The best part? It's free. There is no better admission fee than free.

Everyone should come out to their next game. My sources tell me that it is Saturday night at 1800h (that's 6 p.m. for the arithmetically challenged) at the Dal Arena, the pointy roof building just off South Street. Bring your mitts, though, it's cold in there.

Does anyone know if they have a website?

Thursday, November 22, 2001

Holy retro, Batman!

None of the following text is mine, but I thought it was really interesting. Read it, and see how many childhood memories it brings back for you. I was wallowing in my own adolescence for a good half hour afterwards.

If not, then you're either too young (born after 1980), or too old (born before 1970).

I am a child of the 70's and 80's. That is what I prefer to be called. The 90's can do without me. Grunge isn't here to stay, fashion is fickle and "Generation X" is a myth created by some over-40 writer trying to figure out why people wear flannel in the summer.

When I got home from school, I played Atari 2600. I spent hours playing Pitfall or Combat or Breakout or Dodge'em Cars or Frogger. I never did beat Asteroids. Then I watched "Scooby Doo." Daphne was a Goddess, and I thought Shaggy was smoking something synthetic in the back of the mystery machine. I HATED SCRAPPY.

I would sleep over at friends' houses on the weekends. We played army with G.I. Joe figures, and I set up galactic wars between Autobots and Decepticons. We never beat Rubik's cube, unless you count taking off the stickers. I got up on Saturday mornings at 6 a.m. to watch bad Hanna-Barbera cartoons like "Captain Caveman," and "SpaceGhost." In between I would watch "School House Rock."("Conjunction junction, what's your function?!")

On Friday Night Daisy Duke was my future wife. I was going to own the General Lee and shoot dynamite arrows out the back. Why did they weld the doors shut? Did your dad turn from mild-mannered Bill Bixby nto "The Incredible Hulk" when he got upset? At the movies the Nerds got revenge on the AlphaBetas by teaming up with the Omega Mu's.I watched Indiana Jones save the Ark of the Covenant, and wondered what Yoda meant when he said, "No,there is another."

Ronald Reagan was cool. My family took summer vacations to South Florida and collected "Muppet Movie" glasses along the way. (We had the whole set.) At the hotel we found creative uses for Connect Four pieces like throwing them in that big air conditioning unit.

I listened to John Cougar Mellencamp sing about Little Pink Houses for Jack and Diane. I was bewildered by Boy George and the colors of his dreams, red, gold and green. I was a "Wild Boy," Duran Duran. MTV played MUSIC videos. Nickeloden played "You can't Do That On Television" and "Dangermouse". Does anyone remember the "Banana Splits?" I drank Dr. Pepper. "I'm a Pepper, you're a Pepper, wouldn't you like to be a Pepper too?" Shasta was for losers. TAB was a labratory accident. Capri Sun was a social statement. Orange Juice wasn't just for breakfast anymore. My mom put a thousand Little Debbie Snack Cakes in my Charlie Brown lunchbox and filled my Snoopy Thermos with Grape Kool-Aid. I got two thousand cheese and cracker snack packs. I went to school and had recess. I went to the same classes everyday.

Some wierd guy from the 8th grade always won the science fair with the working hydro-electric plant that leaked on my project about music and plants. Field day was bigger than Christmas, but it always seemed to rain just enough to make everybody miserable. Rubber band fights were cool. A substitute teacher was a marked woman. Nobody deserved that. I went to Cub Scouts. I got my arrow-of-light, but never managed to win the Pinewood Derby. I got almost every skill award but don't remember ever doing anything.

The world stopped when the Challanger exploded. Half of your friend's parents got divorced. People did not just say "no" to drugs. AIDS started, but you knew more people who had a grandparent die from cancer. Somebody in your school died before they graduated. We are the ones who played with Lego Building Blocks when they were just building blocks and gave Malibu Barbie crewcuts with safety scissors that never really cut.

Big wheels and bicycles with streamers were the way to go, and sidewalk chalk was all you needed to build a city. Imagination was the key. It made the Ewok Treehouse big enough for you to be Luke. And the kitchen table and that old sheet,dark enough to be a tent in the forest. Your world was the backyard and it was all you needed. With your pink portable tape player, Debbie Gibson sang back up to you and everyone wanted a skirt like the Material Girl and a glove like Michael Jackson's. Today, we are the ones who sing along with Bruce Springsteen and The Bangles perfectly and have no idea why. We recite lines with Ghostbusters and still look to the Goonies for a great adventure. We flip through T.V. stations and stop at the A-Team and Knight Rider and Fame, and laugh with The Cosby Show and Family Ties and Punky Brewster and "What you talkin' bout Willis?" We hold strong affections for The Muppets and why did they take the Smurfs off of the air? After school specials were about cigarettes and step-families.

The Polka Dot Door was nothing like Barney, and aren't the Power Rangers just Voltron reincarnated? We are the ones who read Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, The Bobbsey Twins, Beverly Cleary, and Judy Blume. Friendship bracelets were ties you couldn't break and friendship pins went on shoes - preferably hightop velcro Reebok. And pegged jeans were in, as were unit belts and layered socks and jean jackets and JAMS and charm necklaces and side pony tails and just tails. Rave was a girl's best friend; braces with colored rubberbands made you rad. The backdoor was always open and Mom served only red kool-aid to the neighborhood kids.YOU NEVER drank the New Coke. Entertainment was cheap and lasted for hours. All you needed to be a princess was high heels and an apron; the Sit'n'Spin always made you dizzy but never made you stop; Pogoballs were dangerous weapons and Chinese Jump Ropes never failed to trip someone. In your underoos you were Wonder Woman, Spider Man or Robin and in your treehouse you were king. Star Wars was not only a movie. Did you ever play in a bomb shelter?

We didn't start the fire Billy Joel.

We had neighborhoods where in the day we could play kick-the-can, guns" and all of the things that made us Grow up. There was always that one "field" that could be used for either baseball, football, homerun derby, or just a place to hang out. That was my field of dreams Mr. Costner.At night we would play flashlight tag. Just like we could trick-or-treat at night without the fear of being shot and killed. Just like our guns had caps or "lasers". If we didn't have the Jessie James guns we could just get a rock and smash the caps on the ground!

We loved those orange race tracks...that was until our mother realized she could smack us with them. We too collected football and baseball cards but it was because we wanted to be the first in the neighborhood to have the "complete" set. In our neighborhoods we played with He-man and Skelator. Going to get a Happy Meal on Saturday with dad or mom was worth waiting the other six days of the week.

No, we are the furthest thing from a lost generation. Does going to arcades on Saturday, getting carpooled to football with your best friend, eating fruit roll-ups, having birthday parties at McDonalds or Godfather's pizza or Noble Romans where you could make your own pizza-express mean you are lost? How many people melted their army figures that were given to them by their parents? Was Green Latern the Coolest Super Hero or Aquaman? "Wonder twin powers activate!" How about coming home at and separating your Halloween candy into: The cool stuff, the homemade stuff, and the pennies... how about the candy that came in that awful orange and black wax paper? Did you ever try it? Do you remember the one house that had a sign in the candy bowl that said, "Take One." How many did you take if you liked it? Were you desperate one year and as a teenager you trick-or-treated?

Our generation had character and heart. We played with real baseballs and "Putt putt for the fun-of-it.""Hey, my mom will take us if your mom picks up!" Could you ever really beat Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom...? Did you have sliced oranges or grapes for your half-time treat? How about the hot dog and coke after each football and baseball games? Star Crunches? Whippy Dip? Twinkies? Ho-ho's?

This is what WE are all about!

When you put all this stuff together, you have my childhood. If this stuff sounds familiar, then I bet you are one, too. We are the children of the "80's".

That is what I prefer they call us. We are not the first "lost generation" nor today's lost generation. In fact, we think we know just where we stand - or are discovering it as we speak. So if you are reading this and it ALL hit's home then you do indeed have a heritage or a generation. This is what makes us the most unique generation of all.

Now didn't that bring back memories?

Pan & scan Grinch vs widescreen Grinch

This is something I really don't understand. Amazon.com is selling two versions of How the Grinch Stole Christmas: one in pan & scan and the other in widescreen.

It's no secret that I, as the anal-retentive bastard I am when it comes to video and audio, prefer the widescreen versions of movies. My confusion lies in the fact that the widescreen version is cheaper (only by 24 cents, but still...) but the pan & scan version is, as of this moment, the better seller.

Tuesday, November 20, 2001

Burger King makes Whopper for left handed people

Am I the only one who thinks this is total and complete crap?

Read this press release and see if you can discern what (if any) difference there is between rotating the condiments 180 degrees and turning the @#$%! sandwich around. I absolutely cannot believe that this is legitiment

The astute among you will notice the date on the press release :)

Monday, November 19, 2001

My Television is Calibrated

I finally managed to get my television calibrated by a professional. His name is Gregg Loewen, and he was nice enough to post on the forums a description of what he did.

Click below for a graph of pre-calibration vs. post-calibration values for color temperature.

Toshiba TW40X81 (Steve Dinn)
Video Calibration Report - Performed by Gregg Loewen
IRE 6500 Pre Post
100 6500 13600 6550
95 6500 13600 6650
90 6500 13400 6650
85 6500 13400 6750
80 6500 13100 6750
75 6500 12600
70 6500 12000 6700
65 6500 11000 6600
60 6500 10100 6500
55 6500 9300 6500
50 6500 8900 6300
45 6500 8700 6200
40 6500 8500 6200
35 6500 8100 6400
30 6500 7600 6450


Lens Striping
Left Center Right
Pre 6900 6600 5900
Post 6200 6400 6300


Note how close the post-calibration numbers (yellow) are to total perfection, at a color temperature of 6500k (blue).

Wednesday, November 14, 2001

New Halifax news site

My brother, who runs Twisted Pair Network Consulting, Inc. has started a site dedicated to Halifax, and the surrounding area.

There's no place for user comments, and he definately needs to get some better icons :) But it's sure to prove useful. Most importantly though, the site provides a realtime update to Spine.cx's headlines! (Check out the left hand side of the page).

Monday, November 12, 2001

Spank the monkey

Another in the long line of Flash games that never cease to amuse me. You can actually spank a monkey. It's funny because there's a monkey, and you spank him.

My top score is 822 mph, but I sort of found a way to cheat :) See if you can do any better.

Remembrance Day Ceremony Photos

Photos from the Remembrance Day ceremony at the Grand Parade in downtown Halifax. I didn't take very many, but I guess some is better than none.

Click here

Friday, November 9, 2001

Stupid socialists protest outside empty building

I'm up in my office right now, looking down at the Nova Scotia Legislature, 12 floors below and across the street. A bunch of International Socialists are beating drums and yelling, completely oblivious to the fact that the parking lot is completely empty, and it's a Friday evening before a long weekend at a government office.

Do you really think there's anyone but commissionaires there? I seriously doubt it.

Oh yeah...and you know what they're protesting? Capitalism! Ha! Wow, I can feel myself drifting further left as we speak. Stupid socialists...

Poppy supply running out. Steve's Remembrance Day rant blamed.

Canadians have snapped up Remembrance Day poppies this year at a clip normally reserved for the latest boy band CD or hot new Christmas toy.

"We've run out and that's never happened since it all started in 1921," said Mick Steers, a spokesman for the Royal Canadian Legion, which runs the 80-year-old poppy campaign.

Original story.

Do your own photoshops

I don't have a high enough normal article to photoshop article ratio to keep posting all the "photoshop this pic"s that people want me to post, so I've made a place on the messageboard area where you can go and post your own.

Go nuts.

Thursday, November 1, 2001

Remembrance Day

I can't believe that some people sleep in on Remembrance Day.

If you haven't already, go to a mall or a grocery store, or wherever, and find a veteran or legion member who's giving out poppies and donate some money and pick one up. Then when you're trying to decide if it would look better on your lapel or your knapsack, try thinking about the significance of that poppy and what it really means instead of dismissng it as just another accessory. And then wake your sorry ass up on Remembrance Day and get to a war memorial or another place where there's a service going on. Take part. Remember. That's what it's all about.

I'm an athiest, which for the uneducated, means I don't believe in a "god" or other supreme being as such, but the significance of Rememberance Day goes far beyond religion. In fact the people that I'm remembering while you're at home in your pansy little bed are the ones who fought for your right to practice whatever religion you do. Thousands of men and women have died preserving the freedoms that we continue to enjoy in this country and if all that's asked of us is to partake in a ceremony, and maybe get up a little earlier than usual on a holiday, then I say that's a bargain. If you have a different view, maybe you ought to think a little more about why November 11th is a holiday in the first place.

In my view, this is probably the most important holiday of all. Without the actions remembered on this day, there might not be other holidays like Yom Kippur, Kwanzaa, or even Canada Day. Maybe that view is a little extremist, but if people are willing to die for your right to do whatever it is that you do, and think what you want without persecution, the least you could do is thank them.

I know that come the morning of November 11th, I'll be at the Grand Parade in downtown Halifax, paying my respects. Perhaps, if you haven't before, or haven't in a while, you should think about it as well.

Lest we forget,
Lest we forget.

Stupid Haligonians

I know I haven't really posted anything at all this week, but give me a break. I'm on vacation. I'm chillin'. I'm maxin' and relaxin' :) Go fill yer boots with some photoshop fun.

Halifax police officers break up a crowd of students Tuesday at St. Patrick's High School. Staff believe the violence started with a dispute over a phone bill.

Original:

Friday, October 26, 2001

Holiday Logos

I've been inspired by Google to come up with some holiday or special event-based logos for this web site. I figure with all you photoshop types out there, this shouldn't be too hard.

I'm looking for a better halloween one that I have right now (see top of page), and maybe a Christmas one too. And any other holidays you can think of :) I'll use the ones I like the best.

Click the link for a hi-res version of the logo.

Updated 16:31 Link to the original spine graphic used to create the logo.

Original:



This is the biggest resolution version of the logo I have, but remember it has to be resized in the end to fit at the top of the page (approx. 300 x 82).

Text:



Spine graphic:

Thursday, October 25, 2001

Snow White DVD may be glitchy with XP

Proud owners of Microsoft's new Windows XP operating system may find that they can't play one of the hottest DVDs of the holiday season on their computers: Disney's re-release of its classic film, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs."

Original story: http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1005-200-7648523.html

Wednesday, October 24, 2001

DJ Jazzy Jeff @ Merrill's

Yes, you read that correctly. DJ Jazzy Jeff, of DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince fame, is coming to Halifax, and will be performing at Merrill's tomorrow, Thursday, October 25th. I know I'm going; there's no way I could miss this. This is just as good as when Rob Base came to the Palace :)

Friday, October 19, 2001

Moderation of comments

I'm working on a way for users to be randomly given the ability to moderate comments. This may take a while because the more I tinker with it, the more I find that this software is held together very tenuously with strands of thread :)

What I'd like to see from you guys are suggestions for reasons for moderation, like "funny" or "retarded" or things like that. Suggest both good (+) and bad (-) reasons. I look forward to reading your suggestions.

Current moderation reasons:
  • Asinine (-)
  • Bin Laden (-)
  • Redundant (-)
  • Stupid (-)
  • Offtopic (-)
  • Cool (+)
  • Funny (+)
  • Insightful (+)
  • Interesting (+)
  • Informative (+)
  • Wednesday, October 17, 2001

    Pitbulls are damn tough, apparently

    According to this article, it takes 7 shots from 9mm service pistol, or several blasts from a shotgun to take down a crazy, giant pitbull. Good information to know in case you're ever in a dark alley with a crazy, giant pitbull.

    Update: Yes, that is my article on FARK :)

    Monday, October 15, 2001

    Some people shouldn't use computers

    I had the chance to correspond with a lovely individual today, whom I'll tell you about. Suffice it to say that, as the title suggests, some people just shouldn't use computers. But first let me give you a little back story...

    I run several mailing lists, as many of you know. One of these is a fairly popular one that exists for developers and users of an open-source multiple-protocol messenging client to communicate. There are several hundred people on this mailing list, so I expect to get a "Please help me do something" email once in a while, and that's fine. What I don't expect (or tolerate) is the guy who corresponded with me today.

    He wanted to be removed from the list. Aside from the fact that he couldn't figure out how to remove himself from the list when instructions on how to do so are included with every email sent out on said list, his tone wasn't exactly friendly, as, I'm sure, yours would be if you were asking somebody to help you. I, being the caring individual that I am, reflected upon the old axiom: Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day. Teach him to fish and he'll never go hungry. I decided not to unsubscribe him myself, but rather tell him how to do it himself. I forwarded him a URL to the options page for this particular list:
     Date: Mon, 15 Oct 2001 13:12:00 -0300 (ADT) From: Steve Dinn  To: [removed]@aol.com Cc: everybuddy-admin@lists.spine.cx Subject: Re: remove me   To be removed, go to: http://lists.spine.cx/options/everybuddy/[your email address]  Example (for me): http://lists.spine.cx/options/everybuddy/sdinn@spine.cx   If you've forgotten, or don't know, your password, there's a facility to have it emailed to you.          -Steve. 
    I thought I was being fairly helpful. I was nice and polite, despite the fact that he was neither with me. I felt good about myself. I had helped another human being. My karma was up.

    What a jolt to the system when I got this back:
     From @aol.com Mon Oct 15 17:55:07 2001 Date: Mon, 15 Oct 2001 13:50:43 EDT From: [removed]@aol.com To: sdinn@spine.cx Subject: Re: remove me  This link does not work??????????  UNSUBSCRIBE ME NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  In a message dated 10/15/2001 9:12:14 AM Pacific Daylight Time, sdinn@spine.cx writes:        http://lists.spine.cx/options/everybuddy/[your email address] 
    I was taken aback. What am i to say to something like this? Here I was attempting to enlighten this poor, poor person, and yet they strike at me as if I am an eskimo to their baby seal. I wasn't about to stand for it. I paused, pensively for a moment, collecting my thoughts, and then put the proverbial pen to paper (yes, I know I'm on a computer):
     From sdinn@spine.cx Mon Oct 15 17:55:38 2001 Date: Mon, 15 Oct 2001 14:59:16 -0300 (ADT) From: Steve Dinn  To: [removed]@aol.com Subject: Re: remove me  Jesus, calm down buddy.  What's your problem?  I'll unsubscribe for you.  In case you didn't realize, a complete set of list commands are included with *every* email that goes out from the list.  Perhaps you should try reading those before flying off the handle at people who really have nothing to do with your inability to comprehend simple instructions. People would be much more willing to help you if you didn't come off as such a prick.  You _did_ replace "[your email address]" with "[removed]@aol.com", right?     -Steve. 
    He hasn't responded yet. I kinda hope he does...I think I'll tell him that I infected my last email with anthrax :)

    Cool stop-motion animation

    A friend of mine told me about this friend of hers who made his first stop-motion animated film. I have to say, for a first attempt, it's pretty sweet.

    Check it out. You'll need Real Player to make it go.

    Sunday, October 14, 2001

    Mr. Leather 2002

    In an interesting twist of fate, I happen to have some photos from the Mr. Leather 2002 contest held at Reflections last Saturday night. One of our users, morr, has a girlfriend whose brother organized the show. Anyway, I lent them my digital camera, and the rest is history. See the photos of this event here.

    For those of you who actually like to click on the "read more" links, here's a bonus "photoshop this pic" for you:

    Original:

    Saturday, October 13, 2001

    Bert is Evil shut down

    In the wake of Bert appearing in photos with Osama bin Laden in a Bangladesh-made poster, the Bert is Evil website has been shut down and replaced with a letter from the guy who started it all, explaining his reasons. It's a real shame it had to come to this, but I guess I can understand his point.

    Fortunately, I have the whole thing mirrored here for those of you who haven't had the pleasure of seeing it yet.

    Thursday, October 11, 2001

    Encode radio stations to MP3 in realtime with your phone

    Damn. I think I want this. Nokia has announced new model of cell phone that can not only play but also ENCODE mp3s. It also has a builtin FM radio. This phone will allow you to record FM radio and encode it in realtime to an MP3 whicih you can then transfer to your computer.

    It also has a full QWERTY keyboard and looks kind of similar to a gameboy advance. Nokia's official web site is here. A write up and some pictures are here. This thing looks like it may just give the RIM Blackberry a run for its money. Too bad it's not available in North America :(

    This one's pretty cool too.

    Why didn't anybody cheat on Just Like Mom?

    Remember the game show Just Like Mom? It was basically like the Newlywed game except it was a mother and one of her kids that would try to match their answers. Read about my problems with this whole scenario.

    Yeah, it's true; even as a kid, I would ridicule stupid things that didn't make sense. Especially things like this. After all, it's not like it's Jeopardy! or anything, this is "Just Like Mom" for shit's sake. The questions that were asked on this show were so predictable that any mother deserving of that title who wanted to win her kid a trip to DisneyLand would try and practice some of these forseeable Q and A's in advance. Questions like, "What do your mom and dad argue about the most?" came up constantly. If they had reviewed previously taped episodes and put a little bit of legwork into it, they could have run away with the victory like the guy on Press Your Luck in 1984.

    However, the worst part of this show by far, was the "Bake Off" finale portion. All bets are off here, the winner of this final round can still win the game almost no matter how far they were behind. The premise is this: the kids are put in a little kitchenette, each with identical sets of ingredients and are told to mix up some cookie dough. The moms are then supposed to guess which cookie (out of three) their kid made within 60 seconds. Pretty daunting task, eh? Get real. This is the easiest challenge of all. All the mom/kid team has to decide on is what will be the distinguishing ingredient. Think about it, "Ok little Jimmy, all you have to do is dump the whole box of raisins in your cookie batter, and mommy will know it's yours." Substitute raisins for another unusual or easily identifiable cookie ingredient in case they don't happen to have a certain one available that day, and BOOM! you're on your way to DisneyLand.

    It all comes down to this, a creed of sorts that has helped me through many a situation:
    If they didn't really want you to cheat, they wouldn't make it so damn easy.

    Thursday, October 4, 2001

    Television shows in 16 x 9

    So far this year, I've noticed three shows being broadcast in a 16 x 9 aspect ratio (1.78 : 1): Angel, Enterprise, and E.R.. I think this is the best thing to happen to T.V. since color. It's about time that Television was ushered into the 21st century. When HDTV becomes more commonplace, all shows are going to have to adapt to this format (like the Sopranos). I can't wait.

    Yee Haw! Ride it, yeah!

    An Afghan horse trader leads his horses through the mountainous area of the Khyber Pass headed to the western Pakistani city of Peshawar, October 3, 2001. The horse trader brings horses from the northern parts of Afghanistan and travels for about 25 days to reach markets in Pakistan to sell them. (Aziz Haidari/Reuters)

    Original:

    Wednesday, October 3, 2001

    Buy yourself an ass-kicking

    This guy, at some point in the past, had a very interesting auction running on Ebay. Unfortunately, the thought police got to it before the masses could.

    I guess he's just sick and tired of kicking people's asses for free.

    Building a Home Theatre

    I'm getting quite serious about the whole home theatre thing. I'm planning to completely remodel one of the rooms in my basement to function solely as my theatre room sometime in the not-so-distant future.

    I've already had a contractor come and take measurements of the room and discuss with me what I want done. When the actual renevation is taking place, I'll be sure to post lots of photos so you can follow the progress. Ok, ok, it's mainly for me, but perhaps someone else out there will find it interesting too :)

    Courtney Love Sues Ex-Nirvana Members

    In a move destined to keep the final recorded works of Nirvana out of fans' hands for many months, Courtney Love has sued both Universal Music Group and the two surviving members of the band, Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic for total control over the rights to Nirvana's music.

    Click here for the original article.

    Monday, October 1, 2001

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer 2001/2002 Season Premiere

    Click below for my review of season premiere of BTVS. There may be some spoilers, so if you haven't seen it yet, but still want to be surprised, don't read it, although, I don't think I'll shock anyone to say that they bring her back to life :)

    I was concerned not so much about if they were going to bring Buffy back (because it's not much of a show without the title character), but about how they would bring her back. I really didn't want some cheesy time paradox, as Star Trek is often wont to do, or have her come out of the shower a la Patrick Duffy. The premiere really didn't disappoint. I must say, I think that the show was classic Buffy. There were funny parts (Grrrr! Arrrgh!), the obigatory demons, and lesbian wiccas doing that crazy stuff that lesbian wiccas do.

    But onto what I really think: The "bringing her back" scene was really well done. I'm glad it wasn't just a flash-in-the-pan kind of spell...that would have cheapened the whole deal and made people wonder why this sort of thing doesn't happen all the time. The destruction of the last urn of Osiris has pretty much prevented them from ever writing this into the story again. Snakes coming out of mouths and spontaneous arm slicing let you know that you're dealing with some serious shit.

    Let's talk about the characters:
    • Giles - He obviously wants to go back to doing taster's choice commercials because he's now only listed as a "Special Guest Star." Oh well. I liked Giles.
    • Willow - Kick ass. What else is there to say. She looks as hot in crazy wiccan robes as she does in a band camp t-shirt. If she's good enough to perform a ressurection (pretty much the mack daddy of all spells) then she's becoming one DAMN powerful witch.
    • Tara - Anybody else think that she lost weight and Xander found it? She seems to be coming into her own as a witch as well.
    • Spike - He is becoming a big wuss. One can only theorize what will happen once he finds that Buffy is alive once more. We only got to see him bust one head and that's just not enough.
    • Xander and Anya - Comic relief, and occasionally, one of them will do something useful. That's it.
    • Buffy - Confused as hell, but what are you gonna do? She's been dead for three months. I like how they've made her confused and unsure of herself. With the present lack of a new super-enemy, this'll give the gang something to work towards, especially with the lack of Giles
    Overall, I thought it was a pretty good show. Makeup on the biker demons was superb, as I've come to expect from Buffy and Angel (Speaking of which, anyone care to post a review of the premiere of that show?) There hasn't been a season of Buffy yet that hasn't found me couch-bound to watch it. I look forward to this one too.

    Portable MP3 Player on the cheap

    Found a link to a technology company selling a portable MP3 player that can use Compact Flash cards, or IBM's microdrives, a storage medium compatible with Compact Flash cards. That means an effective capacity of 1GB! But the best thing is the price: US$99.

    Removing the WTC from films

    Recently, I read a review of "Zoolander" in which it was stated that the World Trade Center towers were digitally removed from the New York Skyline. Do you think that this should be done? After all, when this movie was made, they were there.

    Granted, any movie that claims itself to be set after 11 Sep 2001 should not have the towers, but do you agree with T.V. shows and movies digitally removing them from previously shot footage?

    Saturday, September 29, 2001

    Acts of Gord

    I came across a hilarious web site run by the proprietor of a store that rents and sells video games and consoles called "The Gamer's Edge". It features various stories about stupid and annoying customers who enter his otherwise respectable establishment.

    Especially funny are the stories about the people who attempt to shoplift from his store or the one where some guy expects him to price match his new games with another store's used ones...priceless.

    Wednesday, September 19, 2001

    Thursday, September 13, 2001

    Snow Jam Schedule

    After seeing the Snow Jam schedule in The Coast I thought to myself, "What a service it would be if I posted that schedule here."

    And so I did.

    Saturday, September 15, 2001
    Time Thing Place
    1200h Gates Open  
    1200h Scratch Bastards DJ Stage
    1215h In-Line Big Hit Contest McCain Pizza Pockets Vert Ramp
    1245h BMX Best Trick Contest Mountain Dew Code Red Street Course
    1315h Bucket Truck Molson Canadian Rocks Mainstage
    1345h Jam Session Nike ACG Quarter Pipe
    1430h Shyne Factory Molson Canadian Rocks Mainstage
    1500h In-Line Super Session Mountain Dew Code Red Street Course
    1530h Skateboard Big Hit Contest McCain Pizza Pockets Vert Ramp
    1600h Black halos Molson Canadian Rocks Mainstage
    1630h Buck 65 DJ Stage
    1630h Snowboarding Qualifying Nike ACG Quarter Pipe
    1730h Static in Stereo Molson Canadian Rocks Mainstage
    1800h BMX Super Session Mountain Dew Code Red Street Course
    1830h Gob Molson Canadian Rocks Mainstage
    1900h Skateboard Super Session Mountain Dew Code Red Street Course
    1930h BMX Big Hit Contest McCain Pizza Pockets Vert Ramp
    2000h Treble Charger Molson Canadian Rocks Mainstage
    2115h Sloan Molson Canadian Rocks Mainstage

    Sunday, September 16, 2001
    Time Thing Place
    1200h Gates Open  
    1200h DJ Cam Harding DJ Stage
    1215h In-Line Super Sessions McCain Pizza Pockets Vert Ramp
    1230h Snowboarding Finals Nike ACG Quarter Pipe
    1315 Project Wyze Molson Canadian Rocks Mainstage
    1345h BMX Super Session McCain Pizza Pockets Vert Ramp
    1405h Skateboard Best Trick Contest Mountain Dew Code Red Street Course
    1430h Mudmen Molson Canadian Rocks Mainstage
    1500h BMX Flatland Super Session Mountain Dew Code Red Street Course
    1515h Snowboarding Big Hit Contest Nike ACG Quarter Pipe
    1600h In-Line Best Trick Contest Mountain Dew Code Red Street Course
    1615h Kardinal Offishall Molson Canadian Rocks Mainstage
    1700h Skateboard Super Session McCain Pizza Pockets Vert Ramp
    1730h Awards Presentation Molson Canadian Rocks Mainstage
    1745h Finger Eleven Molson Canadian Rocks Mainstage

    Tuesday, September 11, 2001

    Planes Crash into World Trade Center

    Everybody's heard about this by now, I'm sure. Two planes have crashed into the Word Trade Center in New York, and have reduced the twin towers to rubble. No one has claimed reponsibility officially yet, but several word leaders have denounced the act.

    I mirrored some (blatently stolen) pictures here.

    This is certainly a dark day for not only the U.S. but the entire world.

    Saturday, September 8, 2001

    Photos from NSIAS 2001

    I've just posted some photos from the Nova Scotia International Air Show.

    I got kind of frustrated taking these pictures because my I came to realize that my digital camera doesn't have the zooming capabilities that I would like. Even though I could see the planes quite nicely, in the pictures, they look like they're miles away. Oh well. there's still some nice shots of the Snowbirds.

    Thursday, September 6, 2001

    Put the Home in Home Theatre

    Browsing the messageboards at the Home Theatre Forum and I came across a link to The Crutchfield Guide to Home Theater Installation. It looks pretty comprehensive. Everything from mounting your speakers, to choosing a remote, to multi-room systems.

    Download the complete PDF here (approx. 2 Megs).

    Wednesday, September 5, 2001

    Nova Scotia International Air Show

    The Nova Scotia International Air Show (formerly the Shearwater International Air Show) is going on this weekend (8, 9 Sep 2001) at YAW.

    It's usually a good time, so I'll definately be checking it out. According to the schedule, the Snowbirds and the Skyhawks demonstration teams will be performing again this year. They're always some of my favorites.

    Sunday, August 19, 2001

    Donairs

    I'm not sure how many of you have had the exquisite experience of eating a donair, but it's an experience that I'm sure my body can only stand after an extended recovery period from the last one. It's kind of like getting radiation therapy because you like the tingly feeling.

    They're wrong on so many levels, but yet they're so good. I don't claim to understand it either.

    How can one resist the sweet, spicy, meat-like brown matter on that spindle? It calls to you like the chick across the bar, that you know you shouldn't go home with. But of course, you eventually do. The smell coming from the pizza place wafts out onto the street, like an olfactory version of a siren's song. I can't resist. I am drawn to it. I'm thinking, in the sober part of my brain, that this is bad, but the alcohol-controlled portion has been in command since much earlier in the night and vetos that judgement.

    They're like one night stands. All you can remember about your previous one was good, so you go and get another one. It's good while it lasts, and maybe you even feel a little dirty after you finish, but it's a good kind of dirty. The difference is, with a donair, you're always in the bathroom a few hours later, wondering why it burns when you go.

    So, yeah, the reason I'm writing this is because I had one last night, and now I'm paying for it. My digestive tract is screaming at me in a kind of whiny, Michael J. Fox voice, "Why?! Why did you do this to me again?" I'm listening to it, for now.

    I'm sure it'll happen again, that I'll be downtown, I'll have had a few, and I'll forget the valuable lesson taught to me by my colon. I'll have another donair, and the cycle will repeat. Just don't let it happen to you.

    Friends don't let friends eat donairs.

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