I Read Stuff!

Hanlon's Razor: Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Best Lamp Ever

Most experimental furniture isn't very functional. It usually performs some fancy extra thing that, while cool, wouldn't really add to your daily life. This lamp is very different in that regard.



Ignore the crazy dangerously pointy branches for a bit and focus on the 'pears'. They're LED powered light bulbs, so they don't get hot. This is very important because you can 'pick' the pears.



They contain a battery set that lets the pear produce light for over an hour. Once it dies, you put it back on the tree to recharge, and pick another pear.

Easily the best reading lamp idea I've ever seen. A common problem in my house is my wife or I will be engrossed in some excellent piece of 'literature' well past the time when decent folk have all gone to sleep. The bed side reading lamps mitigate the light in the room, but they still bother the significant other. With the pears you could bring the light all the way into the bed with you. This would shield the other occupant even further from the intrusive light.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Hypocrite + Hubris

This is a fun story that has been in development for almost 5 years. Why haven't we heard about it until now? Well, you'll just have to ask your friendly Fox New Reporter. Prepare yourself, because love triangles are always messy.

A group of small islands in the eastern Caribbean combine to make a country by the unlikely name of Antigua and Barbuda. That's one country, two main islands, and a name that includes the word 'and'. I'm going to call them A&B. Besides having a unique name their main economic sources are tourism and online gambling.

Yes, raise your hands if you can see where this is going... All of you with your hands up, you're partially right, but I bet you're missing the juicy details.

As you all know the United States has outlawed online gambling. It is illegal for banks and credit card companies to transfer funds for internet gambling purposes. What a blow to this poor little country's economy. But wait, the US and A&B are both part of the W.T.O...

So?

So, the W.T.O. has international treaties that state "recreational services" are considered an item of trade. Recognized items of trade are to be treated similarly internationally as they are domestically. Because the US makes the highly hypocritical exception for online gambling involving horse racing and state lotteries, the W.T.O. has ruled the US in violation.

"Oh noes!" says the US, so they fight it in court, and they lose, and appeal, and lose, and appeal, and lose again. The US is now out of appeals, so they have no choice but to legalize online gambling or impose a ban on all forms of internet gambling domestically!

Wrong! this is the US, our government does what it damn well pleases! So, now, 5 months after being finally and permanently ruled in violation, we've done nothing. China, of course, is laughing their asses off. Our government has been beating them over the head with W.T.O. violations for years in order to force them to do our bidding.

Awkward...

The W.T.O. is now in the painful position of disciplining its largest and loudest member. The trade group can't just raise trade barriers, because it would be less than a slap on the wrist. No, A&B is much smarter than that.

A&B is asking the W.T.O. to grant permission to violate intellectual property laws by allowing them to distribute American music, movie and software products. They would immediately become the cheapest exporter of American pop culture in the world, which would make a HUGE impact on the US economy. This little maneuver worked wonderfully for Ecuador. I’m sure A&E will do at least as well.

The drama is heating up! Who will back down first? Will it be the W.T.O, which would permanently damage their clout as a world authority. Will it be the US, which would be the mature and ultimately the best outcome. Or will it be A&B in some kind of out of court settlement.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Baltimore Little League

I really shouldn't be saying that because the Little League has a 10 run rule. Yes, that means the Baltimore Orioles would have conceded the game in the 6th inning. Fortunately for the record books they played the whole game out to finally lose to my Father's beloved Texas Ranger, 30 to 3.

Have you ever seen a baseball game score 20 runs, let alone 30? This is an embarrassing turn of events for any major league team. Luckily for the Manager, his contract got finalized that day.

The final nail in their pride comes from across the parking lot. The Baltimore Ravens, that's the football team, haven't allowed 30 points at home since 2003. Football scores lower than baseball scores! Ridiculous!

Thanks for the heads up, Dad!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Test Your Strength

You've seen these types of machines before. Some are bull horns you wrestle, others are hand shakes you squeeze, but today's story is about an arm wrestling machine.



Yes, "Arm Spirit" made a very brief appearance in Japanese arcades, but during that stint it managed to do so much. Apparently not satisfied with just defeating its opponents, the Spirit actually broke 3 arms before being recalled.

How in the world does this happen? My arm muscles give up long before the bones break. Is the machine capable of an arm bar? Wouldn't that be against the arm wresting rules?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Pirates!

Here is an interesting story. A man went to watch The Simpsons Movie on opening day with a camcorder. He filmed the entire thing and released it onto the P2P networks the same day. Seventy two hours later over a hundred thousand downloads were recorded from just the popular sharing networks. It had even been translated into French.

I've seen these 'handy cam' movies, and they truly suck. Someone usually uploads a trailer to YouTube, and the 60 seconds are truly horrifying. It's so torturous I cannot imagine watching a feature length film.

I have to believe that the majority of the 'consumers' are collectors. People who's only desire is to own it before anyone else. I'd guess that the vast majority of them don't watch the movie in its entirety.

The hidden gem in this story is that they caught the guy who did the original filming. He apparently took no steps to obscure his IP which lead police right to his door.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Devil Worship v.4

I feel a disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly were silenced in a collective drawing of breath... to be exhaled in a continuous stream of bitching.

Wizards of the Coast has announced the release date of Dungeons & Dragons version 4.

During the month of May of next year, your library of all things magical and martial will be obsolete. It will no longer be a valid reference at officially sanctioned cons and tournaments. The new classes and races will be announced in December.

I guess Wizards of the Coast needed the cash.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Accident Evasion

A co-worker was in an accident recently. It was a very minor fender bender, which is uninteresting in itself. What's fascinating is the guilty driver's strategy for avoiding fault. We'll refer to her as Crazy Lady.

Tactic 1 - Claim Innocents: Crazy Lady immediately exited her vehicle and began screaming about the maniac driving being displayed before her. This was quickly proven to be idiotic since my co-worker was at a dead stop when hit.

Tactic 2 - Guilt Trip: Realization had sunk in that this was her fault. Crazy Lady begins to yell that she doesn't have time to talk to the police. Her children are in the van, and they are sick. If she doesn't leave now, they will die! Her pleas falling on skeptical ears, Crazy Lady then started to scream, "You're killing my babies!!"

Tactic 3 - Things were rapidly getting out of hand. My co-worker had ceased to communicate with Crazy Lady, preferring to wait for the police. She had pulled her paperwork out of the car in preparation. Crazy Lady, in desperation, snatches the proof of insurance from my co-workers hands. She then proceeds to crumple it up and throw it into a near by bush. Crazy Lady then proclaims that without insurance you can't file a police report.

A stunningly good showing for Crazy Lady, but alas the police were not amused. In the end, Crazy Lady was ruled at fault, her children did not die, and the proof of insurance was retrieved from the bush. I can only wonder if these tactics have ever been successful for her in the past.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Yahtzee

A couple of days ago I posted a YouTube game review of The Darkness. (If you scroll down a bit you can watch it.) This was deemed by the Department of Humor Analysis to be "Very Funny". Based off of these findings The Escapist decided to give the author, Ben 'Yahtzee' Croshaw, a job. They're going to pay him to produce these visual masterpieces every Wednesday from now until the end of eternity or at least until he ceases to be funny.

The big question is how long can his scathingly cynical commentary continue to amuse. Hopefully he's so good at these things that I'll be laughing at them this time next year. At a bare minimum he has produced yet another hilarious episode which can be found at his new location, here.

I'm also posting it because that's what I do.


(P.S. Figuring out how to post this one was really hard... be proud of me.)

Monday, August 13, 2007

Vista

Poor Microsoft is having trouble with their new OS. The problem? There isn't a compelling reason to switch away from XP. This has become such a big problem that Microsoft has been forced to put out a new version of XP just to keep up with demand. Dubbed SP2c, the new release will have no new features or patches. Instead it will just expand the pool of activation codes, so that Dell and friends can keep up with the demand for XP on new computers.

Now XP has an official End of Life date set for January 31, 2008. That means they have sworn to no longer offer XP to the market come February of next year. You'll still be able to purchase it, but only until the remaining licenses have been sold.

The good news is that Vista may actually be stable by then. Vista's first service pack is currently in beta, and will probably ship with the holidays. Not shockingly, the big improvements are all performance based. Prepare for Vista to finally run as smoothly as XP... with twice the RAM.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Darkness

The Darkness is a new adventure game out for the PS3. It has gotten some critical acclaim, but not from this guy. Normally random individual's game reviews don't show up on my radar, but this one is different. It's visual.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Infomercials Today

Today's product offers relief to those who have suffered the long hard ill effects of hiccups. Yes these hardy pitiful few no longer have to suffer in silence! I give you the Hic-Cup! Through the power of oranges it cures even the toughest cases of hiccups. (Warning: your energizing copper bracelet with chi inducing magnets may stick to cup.)



This amazing device connects one end of an electrode to your temple and the other to your cheek. While drinking water a circuit is created which stimulates the vagus nerve. Stimulating the vagus nerve is a FDA approved method for treating intractable hiccups.

Fun Fact: An orgasm is a proven way to stimulate the vagus nerve, but I'm sure you'd rather buy our fool proof way of drinking water...err I mean, buy the Hic-Cup today!!!

Monday, August 06, 2007

4 Storey Fall

Last Thursday night Jake Brown pulled off the first ever 720 in an X-Games competition. He follows this up with a crushing 4 storey fall to the wood floor. A 40+ ft free fall to solid ground. It's pretty brutal to behold. He hits the floor so hard his shoes pop off and fly an additional 15 ft. The amazing thing is, after he got the clear from the medics, he stands up and walks away.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Wacky Game Show

This is a pretty good idea for a game show, but I can't imagine more than a couple of episodes. Especially because of how difficult it becomes. Seriously, the last one? WTF?

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Simpsons Me

The Simpsons Movie has hit theaters and all accounts say it's pretty good. As part of the promotional campaign, a machine was built to 'Simpsonize' people. A friend has issued a challenge, and I have responded. Behold the unholy transformation!



The process is a bit bizarre. You upload a head shot, tell it some minor details, and wait... and wait.... It took about 10 minutes for it to process my picture. Then it gives you a bunch of customization options so you can changes things to be just right.


Games
GameInterestRelease Date
Civilization IV1
C&C 31
Company of Heroes1
Half Life 21
Half Life 2: Episode One1
Supreme Commander1
Call of Duty 22
Darwinia2
Dungeon Runners2
Dungeon Siege II2
Far Cry2
Galactic Civilization II2
Hitman: Blood Money2
Jade Empire2
Neverwinter Nights 22
Prey2
Psychonauts2
Sam & Max: Episode 12
Titan Quest2
Dark Messiah Might and Magic3
Defcon3
Heroes of Might and Magic V3
Indigo Prophecy3
KOTOR II3
LEGO Star Wars3
Marvel Ultimate Alliance3
Space Rangers 2: The Rise of the Dominators3
STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl3
Stubbs the Zombie3
War Front3
Warhammer: Mark of Chaos3
Infernal35/8/2007
Shadowrun25/9/07
Pirates of the Burning SeaM6/1/2007
Enemy Territory: Quake Wars?6/5/2007
Two Worlds?6/26/07
Sins of A Solar Empire?8/1/2007
BioShock18/21/2007
Mass Effect19/7/07
Age of ConanM10/30/07
Crysis1Fall 2007
Elveon?Fall 2007
Half-Life 2: Episode Two1Fall 2007
Portals1Fall 2007
Spore1Fall 2007
Stranglehold?Fall 2007
Tabula RasaMFall 2007
Team Fortress 22Fall 2007
Dragon Age?Winter 2007
Fable 2?Winter 2007
Field Ops?Winter 2007
Halo Wars?Winter 2007
Gods & Heroes: Rome RisingMWinter 2007
Haze?Winter 2007
Hellgate: London1Winter 2007
HuxleyMWinter 2007
Kane & Lynch: Dead Men?Winter 2007
Left 4 Dead?Winter 2007
The AgencyMSpring 2008
Empire Earth III?Spring 2008
Guild Wars 2 MSpring 2008
Jericho?Spring 2008
Sacred 2?Spring 2008
Savage 2?Spring 2008
Time Shift2Spring 2008
Universe at War: Earth Assault3Spring 2008
The Witcher?Spring 2008
CellFactor?2008
Darkest of Days?2008
On The Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkeness: Episode 122008
Warhammer OnlineM2008
Alliance: The Silent War??
Alone in the Dark??
Assassin's Creed??
BioWare MMO??
The Crossing??
Dungeon Hero??
Fallout 3??
Lego Batman??
Mythos??
Overloard??
Space Seige??
Culdcept SagaPC??
Gears of WarPC??
God of WarPC??
Beautiful KatamariPC??
OkamiPC??
Resistance: Fall of ManPC??
Odin's SpherePC??
Castle CrashersPC??

1 - I will buy it
2 - I'll buy it at discount
3 - Other people think it's good, but I wasn't interested when I first heard about it
M - Mainly Multiplayer. See if friends get interested.
? - Find out more about this game
PC? - Will it be released on the PC?