Thursday, November 30, 2006

He's a screamer

Glenn just pointed me at this article and flash video talking about how Warner Brothers taped one guy screaming back in 1951 and then used that scream in movies for over 50 years. Somebody should send that guy a copy of the painting...

Update: More info on the scream. Apparently Glenn and Gordon are obssessed with this. Sheesh.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

But I just got used to the old money!

A federal judge recently ruled that the current paper currency is unfair to blind people because they have no way to tell the bills apart. Which seems like a good point. I've heard that blind people devise systems to tell bills in their pockets apart, such as using different pockets, folding corners, etc. But I guess it would be a problem when getting change from a purchase.

That said, the suggested proposals of embossing, punched holes, or different sized bills all seem to have problems. Embossing could wear off, punching holes seems to be inviting tears, and changing the size of the bills would probably break all those existing bill acceptors in vending machines, parking garages and so on. Of course, I've got no better ideas, so hopefully the Treasury has some smart guys on their payroll to figure this out.

So I guess we'll probably have yet another new kind of bill in the not-too-distant future, and the Treasury hasn't even gotten done releasing the previous set of new bills.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

PPD 59

It's a cold week here in Denver, so I thought this throwback to summer might be nice. This is the courtyard of a religious building (convent?) near 18th & Sherman. It's a surprising little island of green in the midst of downtown.

Oh, and there's also a scarecrow in the right foreground. Why they've got it I don't know.

Taken: 08/31/2006
Edits: Unsharp Mask

Sunday, November 26, 2006

PPD 58

I caught this little guy in the Denver airport on Thanksgiving morning. There were five of them hopping around Terminal C, eating I know not what. This is another one that caused me to get a few odd looks -- there were a couple groups of people that could see me running back and forth with my camera, but couldn't see the birds. I guess they thought I was entranced by the plane or something.

And now, crowd participation time. What would be a good caption for this picture? I've thought of a few...
"I just flew in from New York, and for once my wings aren't tired!"
"Flying is for the birds"
"Security sucks, but it's still better than migrating"
"He got great scores on the pilot exams. They say he's a natural."

I could keep this up all day, but I'll take mercy on you.

Edits: Cropped
Taken: Thursday, November 22nd

Thursday, November 23, 2006

PPD 57

Thanksgiving morning in DIA. Apparently nobody likes to travel on Thanksgiving, things were pretty chill this morning.

Edits: None
Taken: Thursday, November 23rd

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

PPD 56

Denver suffered from some pretty ridiculous smog on Tuesday. All day long we were "treated" to a view of the the thick brown cloud out the window. It was almost enough to make your lungs hurt just looking at it. But, in the immortal words of Ray Bones from Get Shorty, "they say the fuckin smog is the fuckin reason you've got such beautiful fuckin sunsets." You're right on that point, Ray. I've got some other photos here, and as much as I like my photos I think John did a better job. Nice work John!

Edits: None
Taken: Tuesday, November 21st

Lost Cellphones

I lost my cellphone last week, so if you can't get in touch with me that's why.

After spending a bunch of time calling various lost-and-found departments, looking under couch cushions and searching pockets I finally went down to the Verizon store to suspend the phone. Just so somebody doesn't call a bunch of gay chat lines and bill me for it (those calls weren't mine, I swear!). As I was walking into the store, a thought hit me: why can't Verizon just ask my phone where it is?

All phones sold recently are required to know where they are, so that it can tell the 911 operators if you ever have to call them. Of course the information is also available for the purpose of marketing to you more effectively, and you can even get services that will tell you where all your friends are. So why can't my phone tell me where it is when it's lost?

Regrettably, that apparently is not possible. How stupid is that?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Dumbest Gift 2006

Last year as Wendy & I browsed through the local Brookstone, we noticed a number of ridiculous gift items. The second most ridiculous was the spatula with buttons and a speaker to play "Happy Birthday", "Pomp & Circumstance" and other wonderful songs. The most ridiculous was the mousepad with a built in calculator and clock. After all, a mousepad is only useful when you're using a computer... which presumably has a built in calculator and clock.

This year's stupid gift - a winder for your self winding watch. Think about that for a second. You've got an expensive, self winding watch. The whole point of which is that it requires no winding. But you can get their special winding machine for a mere $90! What a deal!

A fool and his money....

Friday, November 17, 2006


NewsGator Enterprise Server won an Infoworld roundup of enterprise-class RSS solutions. Greg's post has some more in-depth comments.

Great work NGES team! If you keep this up you might someday be as awesome as Private Label. :)

Thursday, November 16, 2006

PPD 54 - Cheshire Elephant

Zac has a little kit of gummy animal pieces on his filing cabinet at work, so I made this Cheshire Elephant for Wendy. She thinks it's cute, so mission accomplished :)

Edits: Histogram adjustment, HSL adusted, unsharp mask
Taken: Thursday, November 16th

Justice in LegoLand

Most people would think this just a picture of a light pole downtown. But a more twisted mind might see something else. Maybe the light looks a bit like a Lego minifig? But minifig heads belong on minifig bodies, why is this one on top of a pole?

The only possibly explanation - the head was impaled on a pike as a warning from the Lego King! An object lesson in what happens to all minifigs who oppose him1 Even freaky custom minifigs.

Yes, I am weird. But admit it, you think it looks like a Lego head too.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

PPD 53

Fall turning into winter...

Some other pictures from the same spot: 1 2 3 456

Taken: Sunday, November 12th
Edits: Lightness & contrast up

Napalm on Firewater

When I'm lying down on the couch to watch some TV or read, I like to enjoy an adult beverage. For convience sake I usually put said beverage on the floor next to the couch. This occasionally causes the usual, predictable problems: spilled drinks, wet rugs, sometimes even a wet blanket edge. But last night I discovered a new hazard - drunken cats.

Last night my beverage was a nice glass of bourbon (Maker's Mark, if you must know), and as usual it was resting on the floor next to couch. The cats, Napalm and Mithril, were napping on the high back of the couch.

By way of background, Napalm is an young, orange cat. His name is doubly appropriate, referring both to his orange color and fiery disposition. His disposition also explains his other nicknames, "Evil Kitten" and "Bitey Face"

So, back one the couch, all was well until Napalm decided to depart. He leaped from the back of the couch, completely over me and landed squarely in my on the floor, sending bourbon and ice flying everywhere. Naturally he was shocked and sprinted off to somewhere, leaving me to sop up whisky from the rug and curse my poor luck. But no major harm was done, Wendy & I made a few jokes about drunken felines and went back to watching Scrubs.

Little did we know how accurate those jokes were. It turns out his front leg has been thoroughly soaked and much of his chest fur was damp with whisky as well. While we watched TV, he cleaned himself and got thoroughly hammered in the process.

On our way to bed we found him wandering slowly across the living room with incredibly huge pupils. He's apparently a happy drunk - I was able to hold him on his back and rub his belly for several minutes, which would've normally caused quite a bit of biting and hissing but last night he just sat still and tried to pass out on my arm. Just for fun I dropped him onto the bed feet down from about 2 feet up -- he barely managed to stay standing, and then just folded down into a sitting position.

As funny as all this is, please don't try this at home. It's possibly animal abuse, and it's definitely bourbon abuse!

Other pictures of Napalm before he became an alcoholic can be found here.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Future Crime...

I keep picking on Glenn, since he's the most democratic blogger I regularly read. Anyway, he linked to this article by Glenn Greenwald. As far as I can tell Greenwald's article is a multi-page post full of outrage, conclusions and analysis about something that hasn't even been said yet.

It's bad that habeus corpus doesn't exist for "terrorists". But apparently it's OK for the Court of the Democratic Blogosphere to declare politicians guilty of "future crime" a la Philip K Dick.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Stolen PPD

I've been falling down on my PPD lately, due to a combination of lack of inspiration, working longer hours, and having fewer hours of daylight. But I can still find some other purty pictures to show you. It turns out that the Best of SmugMug is actually pretty dang good. As an example, Winchester has some truly excellent photos, in particular his stuff from Alaska.

New Newsgator Products

Newsgator announced a new product called SuiteTwo we're developing in cooperation with some other well-known companies, including Intel. Naturally there is a press release, as well as some media coverage.

Not coincidentally we deployed another version of the Newsgator Hosted Solution software that I've been working on since I joined Newsgator last November. We actually pushed out the beta version of a related but different product that we've all been working really hard of for almost a month now. I had hoped to say something about it in this post because I'm psyched that we actually got the project done this quickly. Unfortunately I couldn't find a press release talking about it and I'm not allowed to break the news. Damn those nondisclosure agreements I signed!

And now a mildly amusing and slightly overlong anecdote. After we deployed the new software, I came home and sat down with my laptop to write this post. But I was thwarted by a nonfunctional wireless network. After a few minutes I figured out the router upstairs was not running, so I checked on it. Regrettably it was completely toasted -- it wouldn't even boot up.

A quick trip to CompUSA netted me a newer version of the same router. I specifically got the same router because I had backed up the configuration of my old router. But of course the new router wouldn't load the old configuration. So I spent the better part of two hours configuring the router, then reconfiguring the laptop to work with the router, trying to secure the network on to break things, figuring out what was broken, configuring the wireless bridge, breaking things again... ARGH! Oh, and somewhere in there my laptop battery decided it was tired of life -- it's maximum charge now lasts 8 minutes. And the outlet next to my comfy chair in the living room wasn't working for 9 minutes, for some unknown reason. Thankfully I'm a bit calmer about this stuff than my dad, so few obscenities were uttered.

The moral of the story is that I may be an experienced software professional who can write and deploy sophisticated websites, but it still takes me 2 hours to set up a wireless network.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

PPD 52 - Pokemon!

The cats have always liked to perch on the posts of the stairway, despite the 15 foot dropoff to the basement floor. Then we pulled out the Halloween decorations, which consisted entirely of an 18" tall rubber rat. So it was only a matter of time before we staged the Ultimate Showdown between the Fluffy Kitty and the Evil Rat. Unfortunately you've got to imagine the fight music.

But then, I got bored and pulled out Paintshop. Wendy suggested a cartoon theme, and after a bit of poking around on teh intarweb, we ended up with... the Pokemon-style showdown between Ratomon and Perchazaur!! Perchazaur, I choose you!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

PPD 51

Medium size   Fullsize [1854 x 2534]

I love older buildings because they have so much character and history. Sometimes the outsides of these buildings can give you an idea. Years worth of owners means years worth of changes, additions and repairs. This is especially obvious on the backs of commercial buildings.

This one is in downtown Denver, in the alley betwen Market & Larimer. It looks like it may have had a loading dock at some point, most of the lower back wall is obviously newer, there may have been a door in the lower right, there are dark marks around the windows from I know not what and some new bricks under the lower middle window. It's like a building with wrinkles.

Edits: Stitched, barrel distortion corrected
Taken: Wednesday, November 1st

PPD 50

We didn't get many trick-or-treaters this year. Perhaps they were scared the pumpkin would eat them?

Edits: Cropped
Taken: Tuesday, October 31st

Political Meta-commentary

Glenn pointed me at a couple article about the recent blow up over John Kerry's ill-considered remarks.

I don't want to get into talking about Kerry's comments - I think we can all agree that it was a stupid thing to say and that it's all been blown out of proportion. What really amuses me is the bloggers that Glenn linked to.

The Left Coaster bemoans the Republicans habit of changing the topic by attacking their enemies. Then he changes the subject... to attacking his enemies. Good work. I forgot the definition of irony for a second there.

Not to be outdone, The Daily Kos submits a short post about the "wingnut echo chamber bloggers." For those of you who may not know, the "blog echo chamber" is a group of bloggers who just repeat the same thoughts to each other without adding anything. Getting back to the point, the Daily Kos rants about the Republican echo chamber, before proceeding to a list of all the standard anti-Bush talking point... the same ones everyone uses... including The Left Coaster. Wait, which wingnuts are operating the echo chamber again?

I love political commentary. It's always so amusing.