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Mar 26 05

Dark Tower IV: Wizard and Glass review

by Ethan

I finished The Waste Lands on March 2nd. Just finished Wizard and Glass, Book 4 of The Dark Tower. Seven hundred pages in 24 days isn’t bad for a guy with a job and a 5.5 month old. Allison does point out that they’re small pages, though. Thanks, Sweets.
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Mar 2 05

Dark Tower III: The Waste Lands review

by Ethan

When people ask me my favorite novel, my answer is Stephen King’s The Stand. I get a lot of wrinkled noses. It’s not literature and SK will be the first to tell you so. He’s unapologetically a popular fiction writer. So, I get some negative reactions from the folks that feel my answer should be Moby Dick or Ulysses or something. (To be fair, I’ve read neither). If I can get past that reaction, the second most common reaction is, “Eww, Stephen King.”
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Mar 2 05

A couple good ones from Wired.com

by Ethan
  • Why you won’t see WKRP in Cincinnati on DVD (Hint: it’s the music industry’s fault)
  • Firefox users may not be safe from malware much longer (and pssst! to Mac Zealots: don’t tout yourselves “immune” too much).
  • Feb 15 05

    Yum!

    by Ethan

    Allison brought home half of a new candy bar she bought.

    (I really wonder if this is blog-worthy. But it was damn good!).

    Anyway, it’s called Take5 and it’s chocolate, caramel, peanuts, peanut butter, and pretzels. And it’s really really tasty.

    I won’t tell you what major chocolatemaker makes it. There. Now I don’t feel like a product placement whore. Googling it will do you no good. You’ll see it eventually. Really, it’s one of the Big candy companies.

    Feb 9 05

    Tivo releases Super Bowl rewind stats

    by Ethan

    Quoth Engadget:

    Remember last year when TiVo really made it well known how they were collecting aggregate usage statistics, and that Janet Jackson’s “costume malfunction” was the most instant-replayed moment in TiVo history? Well, this year’s TiVo Super Bowl stats are out, and you’ll be interested to know that the three most watched and replayed moments were the GoDaddy.com commercial (no surprise there, you pervs), MVP-voting instructions, and that interception in the 4th quarter. The low point (pre-game excepted) seemed to be after Paul McCartney finished Hey Jude (seriously, nothing can top Hey Jude, so we understand why everyone moved on).

    Feb 1 05

    Fun for the whole family!

    by Ethan

    Well, maybe not. Hey, Roarman, when’s your birthday?

    Wired‘s writeup of Paladone’s electric Shocking Battle Tanks:

    This set of dueling remote control tanks is a masochist’s dream come true. The controller is framed with conductive metal and zaps you with electricity whenever your opponent lands an infrared hit. It’s an educational toy — I learned that when my coworkers get shocked, they scream like little girls being chased by bees. And that’s on the Low setting. After five or so battles on High (hits count double, but the shock is twice as powerful), I was in so damn much pain that I started holding my controller as if it were a used Kleenex. It’s like BattleBots with freaking defibrillators! Soon, the only way I could lure new opponents was to tell them it’s called Shocking Tanks because “it’s shocking how much fun it is.”

    Jan 31 05

    Slimserver is cool

    by Ethan

    Cool Squeezebox thing. On Windows, my Slimserver interface is an .exe. On Linux, it’s a browser page. I open Firefox and type “http://bigbend:9000″ (“bigbend” is what I named my server) and the Slimserver software comes up as a webpage. I can control the Squeezebox from the Office PC or from Al’s laptop since she’s on the same network. (To be fair, I think the web interface is possible when running Slimserver under Windows, too, but it’s not the default interface and you have to know to look for it). The software isn’t as good as iTunes, but it’s very good for creating playlists on the fly and changing the queue. I’ve even read that I could do true remote control and set it up so that I could access the player from work or from Richmond. Other than scaring Cadbury, though, I don’t see the usefulness.

    I’m had been thinking that my way around the lossless AAC problem is to abandon AAC entirely. From what I’ve read online, Windows Media Player’s lossless format is at least as good as Apple’s. Most people say that they’re comparable and some say that Windows’ is better. I did a quick compare and found no great difference. Open source denizens tout FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec). Essentially a lossless codec that isn’t owned by Apple, Microsoft, or anyone else. I see the usefulness of that for future-proofing. But the process sounds painful. Convert the CD to a .wav file and feed it through an encoder. Ugh. I’m not that much of a perfectionist.

    Anyway, I tried it, and the Slimserver can’t recognize WMA, either. I understand it. Linux is free (as I’ve paraphrased from O’Reilly and otehrs: free as in beer, as well as free as in speech). Anyway, because it’s free & open, they’re limited on what non-free, non-open code they can include. Licensing and royalty issues. And Microsoft and Apple’s WMA and AAC codecs are proprietary.

    It’s not undoable. There are free codecs that will get the job done. I just have to find them and apply them correctly. As I’m mentioned before, installing Linux software isn’t always as easy as double-clicking an .exe. But that’s okay.

    Jan 26 05

    Samba success!

    by Ethan

    Big thanks to Luke for setting me on the path. The problem was that I had created many of the folders in my /home/ethan directory, but as root. So Linux wasn’t giving me permission to share root’s folders.

    It’s a Unix thing. You have your “normal” logon (e.g., “ethan”) and your “root” logon (i.e., admin). And you generally try not to do too much as root, because you never know when you might do something wrong. And root is Superman. Linux ain’t telling root not to do nothing.

    Jan 26 05

    Kawaii!

    by Ethan

    I don’t want this. Really. But I love HK stuff…

    The Hello Kitty mp3 player.

    From Engadget, of course.

    Jan 25 05

    You want it so bad it burns

    by Ethan

    The Biz Markie talking clock radio.

    Nicked from Engadget.