Friday, 19 November 2004

Our world, it is a-changin' ...

The folks over at audioblog.com have recently released a beta of their new videoblogging browser-based service to their users. It's super-sweet, and works great. Nice job!

What will this kind of capability mean down the road for personal Internet broadcasting and media in general? Only time will tell, but the possibilities seem endless.

Of course, videos of me talking to inanimate objects about the technology itself from my kitchen are not exactly great examples of effective content planning... But hey, it's a geek-out kinda thing, ya know?



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Friday, 19 November 2004 00:33:53 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Thursday, 18 November 2004

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and in this part of the world, the day after that holiday is traditionally known as "Black Friday." It's the day when gazillions of crazed people (the kind who can actually function early in the morning) get up even earlier than usual to drive to a store and get in line to gash open their faces and arms as they break through glass doors at thousand of businesses stupid enough to open at 4am.

Uh, yeah. Anyhow, it's a huge holiday shopping day here in the United States, and pretty much marks the start of the big holiday buying season. And we all now the holidays are about that: Buying stuff. Although I seem to recall something about a baby and a barn and wise men and angels. I must be confused.

But I digress... It's called Black Friday because - in theory - it's a huge day for business, it's when many retailers move from red ink to black on their ledgers, meaning it's the point at which they become profitable for the year.

Here is the important part: The web site Black Friday @ GottaDeal.com is a great place to go to see what deals will be available at your favorite stores. You can plan ahead, and make your own list of items. You think the Sunday and Thanksgiving papers are good? Check out http://bf04.com/ - it's cool, and it's digital.

(And no, this blog entry is not paid-for. I just saw the link at Eric's site and decided people here might be interested, if they are crazed enough to wake up that early and risk bodily injury. I'll be traveling. Thank goodness, otherwise I might be tempted.)

A word of caution for Black Friday newbies: Watch out for the ladies trying to get at the socks at Fred Meyer. They're freakin' crazy.



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Thursday, 18 November 2004 23:01:00 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Recently I described how, due to unexpected circumstances that unfolded over the past week or so, I had to find a new vehicle. Well, I did my research, made up my mind, and bought one.

I decided to go the Big-Ass Honking Truck route. A Dodge Ram truck. With a Hemi. With heated leather seats. With cup holders. And with Bluetooth.

Yeah, I said Bluetooth. Built straight into the truck.

That's right, my Big Ass Honking Manly Ranch Truck has the ultimate geek-out feature: Bluetooth built into the rear-view mirror (cabin microphone, computer and two push-button controls) and the stereo system (for high quality audio output to the speakers, text menus that compliment the female voice that prompts you to speak your commands, and more computer stuff). So, I have complete speakerphone voice-recognition and command control of my mobile phone.

I'm talkin' geek-out in a big way, heheheh... It's awesome.

The system is called U-Connect, and Chrysler has taken it from being an add-on knock-off style option to a fully-integrated system. It's all part of the car's fine fit and finish. In fact, if no one told you it was there, you'd probably never notice it til the phone rang and the system switched the audio from your in-dash stereo system over to the phone.

U-Connect is very cool. Friendly voice prompts walk you through the menus, and voice recognition software allows you to set it up, pair it with your Bluetooth phones (yes, you can use multiple), create speed dial voice entries, and all the other nifty stuff you'd expect from a relatively high-end piece of software and hardware that does the Bluetooth boogie. And the audio is very good, even when driving down the road. It's really quite cool, and on top of that it's extra safe - two small buttons on the rear-view mirror and your voice are all that's needed to make the system work.

Oh, and the rest of the truck is great, too. Did I mention it's got a Hemi? Woah, dude, a Hemi... Heh... Sweet...

Yeah, sure, the gas mileage kinda sucks, but everything else about it is awesome. As much as I drive, comfort and convenience matter these days, so I am glad for the extras. It's the best of both worlds: Geeky and Tough. So, it's all good.



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Thursday, 18 November 2004 01:23:55 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Wednesday, 17 November 2004

West Burnside (in Portland, Oregon, where I live) seems to have a recurring problem with sinkholes magically appearing under the pavement. Typically they are huge. They can easily become potholes. Big-Ass Honking potholes if not caught in time.

And in classic Portland fashion, we can blame the problem, like all the other problems in the city, on the sewer system. Butt, of course we can.

Well, it looks like there may now be a solution to the problem of massive caves of poop water, oh ye engineers, and high school kids are the inventors:

Engadget: "Some high school students near Boston have figured out what has eluded transit agencies for hundreds of years: they have come up with the Road Iron, a device that detects and repairs potholes before they have a chance to form. The device looks for cavities below the pavement and then drills in and fills them, fixing the problems before they occur...

[Read more here]



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Wednesday, 17 November 2004 01:01:11 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Tuesday, 16 November 2004

Five years and millions of dollars spent, and finally the unlocking has begun:

November 16, 2004, 12:07 am · valve

Half-Life 2 is available now for purchase and to play. Those who pre-purchased their copy via Steam may access the game by double-clicking on the Half-Life 2 icon in their Steam Games directory. To purchase your copy via Steam, get Steam now.

We hope you enjoy it!

I probably should have pre-ordered, but hey, I already played early, so I can wait. I think... Heh...



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Tuesday, 16 November 2004 00:03:20 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Monday, 15 November 2004

Mark Tuesday, November 16th down as the only day in the history of G4techTV that they did something (potentially) right. Let's face it, that network pretty much sucks now.

BUT, credit where credit's due... On Tuesday evening, they are doing nothing but "Half-Life 2 Day" on their channel:

We took a crowbar to G4techTV's schedule to cram in as much Half-Life programming as we could. The result: on November 16th, you can catch special Half-Life and Half-Life 2 segments on many of G4techTV's fine shows, including an entire episode of Icons devoted to the Half-Life phenomenon.

So, even if you scrapped the network like me, you might be interested in checking out what they have to offer on Tuesday.



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Monday, 15 November 2004 23:42:13 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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