Archive Page 2

Chasing my Tail

I am not making this up. My debit card has gotten the signature strip warn off the back, so I needed a new one. Unfortunately the little card services number is missing too.

  1. So I figured I would go to the web site and submit a request there.
  2. I get a response back the next day that I need to be logged into my online checking account to make that request – because they value my security.
  3. So I log into online banking and make the request again. Next time we log into our account we get a note telling us we need to call the office to make that request – because they value my security.
  4. So call the number and they tell me I need to visit the branch to make that request – because they value my security.
  5. I am yet to visit my local branch, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they told me to go to branch I opened my account at – they have done that too me before. Only problem is now I have moved out of state. . .
I understand them having certain things that require you to be at an elevated level of security (even if it seems ridiculous to me), but it would seam they could tell me the correct level of security on the first request. I can’t imagine I need the progressive levels of security to get the information of the correct level of security.
Reminds me of the time I visited the DMV. . . .

Wii Elbow

I suspect this might become more common, but I believe I may have developed some Wii Elbow from playing tennis on Wii Sports.

Time to PodCast

Last week I decided to launch a Delphi podcast. It was a lot of work, but amazingly it all came together and I met my deadline of having the first episode online this morning. I did however discover it was very, very time consuming to put it together. I spent over 10 hours just making, editing and publishing the single 18 minute episode. That doesn’t include general site work. I expect the time necessary to go down.

It was very enjoyable process though, and it is great to get something done and have others enjoying it and giving positive feedback. Not sure if it is worth the time investment yet though. One thing I read about podcasting is that experience is a big part of it, so you need to start podcasting as soon as possible so you will be good at it when you need to be. Kind of like how you always burn the first pancake when you are camping.

In the long run the time invested in this podcast will pay off.

Dr. Horrible Isn’t Evil

Dr. Horrible isn’t horrible, it’s fantastic. I guess Dr. Fantastic wouldn’t be a really good name for a super villain though. And that would be an even worse catch phrase then “I have a PhD in horribleness!” (yes, it is a word.)

I just watched Dr. Horrible Act 1 and 2 again. I can hardly wait for Act 3 this Friday night at midnight (9 PM PST – Yippie!) It looks like I will be buying all three on iTunes, my first iTunes purchase ever.

First of all I really want to support Joss in making this available. I want it to be so wildly successful that he and others will make more good quality programming available like this. But probably more importantly, I don’t want to wait for the DVD to come out to see it again after Sunday when it goes offline. . . .

Besides the campy songs, catchy one-liners and cheese character names, the thing I really like is the complex Dr. Horrible character played by Neil Patrick Harris and the contrast with his arch nemisis Captain Hammer, played by Nathan Fillian. We have a protagonist and an antagonist, but in this case, the protagonist is Dr. Horrible, the super-villain wanna-be.

In the first act we are introduced to the main character, who happens to be a “bad guy.” We meet the good guy, but we are really rooting for the bad guy, and we are OK with that.

Interestingly, by the end of the second act we see that even though Dr. Horrible is on the wrong side of the law, he is the better man. While Captain Hammer is good buddies with the mayor, he is really not a very nice guy. So while we thought we were rooting for the bad guy, we were rooting for the good guy.

Now the only question is what will happen next. Will Dr. Horrible prove he is evil enough to Bad Horse to enter the Evil League of Evil? What will Penny think when she realizes that “Billy” is positively motivated, but willing to step outside the law to get there? What will become of Captain Hammer?

At the end of Act 1, before I saw Act 2, I actually entertained the idea that maybe Penny was a secret plant from the Evil League of Evil, sent to observe Dr. Horrible. After Act 2 I am pretty sure she is who she appears to be, but I am OK with being surprised in Act 3.

I just hope the sound track comes out soon.

The Dr is IN

Just watched Episode 1 of Dr. Horrible, and contrary to the name, it is actually very good. The first 4 minutes were pretty slow, but then the music starts. Although I must admit I like evil villain musicals in general, but I thought this one was the best one I have seen so far. Check it out!

An Engineer’s Guide to Cats

I am not really a cat person, although I used to be one. I thought this was a hoot, and mostly I wanted to see if Jake still reads my blog. Jake is a cat person and also a software engineer (like me!) I caught him before with my Why Curiosity Killed the Cat post.

I think that video is a great example of ordinary people (well, engineers, which I guess is a handicap) making an educationand and entertaining video about an ordinary thing. Maybe I will make a software developers guide to children. . . .

I could write about this in great detail. It is something I believe strongly about, but there is just one point I would like to make right now. I say this in full realization that such a statement could be considered self-referential.

Anyone who suggests that you are a victim of others, is trying to victimize you. Attempting to convince you that the outcome of your life is solely the result of the actions of others is actually an attempt to trick you to give up your power of self-determination and independence so that they may the take it from you and determine the direction of your life instead.

The difference between my warning and those who would make you their victims is that if you do give in to their persuasion, you are responsible for doing so, not the persuader. I’ve debated similar points to this before, and it continues to be a belief I hold stronger and stronger with time.

Eleanor Roosevelt said “Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.” I would expand that to “Nobody one can make you a victim without your consent.”

Next time someone tells you that it is some 3rd party’s fault that you are in the place you are in, and that you should join them in doing something about it, run the other direction. They are not concerned with acting in your best interests, but are instead concerned with you acting in their best interests.

History is full of examples of individuals rising to power based on the platform of a scapegoat, and convincing the populace that they were not responsible for their plight, but that this scapegoat has caused them this harm. The most classic example that comes to mind is Hitler and the Jews in Germany, but it doesn’t stop there. Witch-hunts and mobs are the result of when individuals give up their right to make right choices.

Well, that is enough for now, but I will most likely write on this again. What do you think? Have you seen this before?

My New RV

Leo just IM’ed me about this new RV. He saw it on Top Gear, and the reason he was telling me about it is they incorporate my idea of a faucet that has an LED inside that changes color based on the temperature – red for hot, blue for cold and some shade of purple for warm.

Of course it has a number of other cool features, like stowing a car under the RV instead of towing it behind. That site doesn’t have the price, but Leo said it is about 1.5 millions dollars. I suspect it is a complete custom job though. I doubt it will sell retail.

Luxury Tunned Bus 2

I remember riding around with my grandparents in their RV when I was a kid. They towed a little orange hatch back behind it that my Grandpa called the “Orange crate.” We would spend a week in some RV park over summer vacation. My grandparents would head south in the winter though. Snow birds I believe they were called.

Nuttin’ But Spam

Thanks to Kevin who just introduced me to The FuMP – The Funny Music Project. Basically it is a collection of daily funny songs, each released under creative commons. I listed to a couple of songs and found this one particularly funny:

Robert Lund – Nuttin’ But Spam

My reasoning for finding this particularly funny is every now and again someone will send spam with one of my email addresses (yes, I have a few) as the source, and then I get all the bounces. This is pretty much unblockable on my end since the content is incredibly diverse, and each comes from a different address. It usually lasts a day or two, but this last time it lasted 2 weeks and I was getting 500 emails an hour based on some random sampling. No doubt I lost some emails I wanted in my fight to control my inbox. Luckily it finally subsided down to a manageable 10-20 an hour, most of which my spam filter is catching.

I love optical illusions. First of all, they are cool, secondly the good ones teach us something about the way our eyes and brains work. One of the neat things about the internet is that it makes it really easy to share animated optical illusions. Check this one out:

Optical illusion of spinning pink dots

If you follow the pink dos with your eyes, then nothing too exciting.

If you focus on the black + in the middle, you will probably see a green dot that replaces the pink dot that disappears. This is a negative afterimage effect (neon green being the compliment to pink). I’ve seen similar illusions before.

Then the really cool effect is if you focus on the black + long enough, all the pink dots will disapear, and you will just see the green dot spinning around the circle. If you move your eyes, then the pink dots will come back though.

Your eyes will see all this from the same animation. The animation doesn’t change. You might ask yourself what else gets distorted in your life when you are focused on one thing? Do other things tend to disappear? When is that a good thing? When is it not?