Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bruce Schneier on security

Bruce Schneier’s blog “Schneier on Security” covers everything from cryptography to terrorism and in this day and age I would call it a “must read” for every American. Period.

He’s pretty level headed and many of his posts talk about how the government uses “movie-plot threats” to keep people afraid and to appear as if they are doing something useful.

Anyway, he has a new article on CNN that I would consider required reading, so read it. :D Here’s one of the many money quotes:

“But even as we do all of this we cannot neglect the feeling of security, because it's how we collectively overcome the psychological damage that terrorism causes. It's not security theater we need, it's direct appeals to our feelings. The best way to help people feel secure is by acting secure around them. Instead of reacting to terrorism with fear, we -- and our leaders -- need to react with indomitability, the kind of strength shown by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill during World War II.

By not overreacting, by not responding to movie-plot threats, and by not becoming defensive, we demonstrate the resilience of our society, in our laws, our culture, our freedoms. There is a difference between indomitability and arrogant "bring 'em on" rhetoric. There's a difference between accepting the inherent risk that comes with a free and open society, and hyping the threats.

We should treat terrorists like common criminals and give them all the benefits of true and open justice -- not merely because it demonstrates our indomitability, but because it makes us all safer.

Once a society starts circumventing its own laws, the risks to its future stability are much greater than terrorism.”

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Peanut Butter

Ok, you know that I loves me some peanut butter, but I really hate hydrogenated oils (well, hydrogenated anything really), so I have been buying natural peanut butter lately; saltless, sugarless abomination. Its actually pretty unpalatable and makes me want to punch a baby. BUT, if you lay down some honey on your toast, THEN the natural peanut butter, its all good.

The problem with natural peanut butter is that the oil separates and you have to stir it in, no big deal I guess. See, the thing is that by the time I get to the bottom, its all dry, prolly because I failed to properly mix in the oil. :(

Well I found a solution to my peanut butter problem! (thanks Wired How to Wiki) When you get home from the store, put your natural peanut butter in the cupboard upside down, then flip it every day. Well, I am too antsy, so I flip it twice a day, but you get my point. After a couple of days when you open your jar of peanut butter its all mixed up! I still give it a quick mix “just to be sure”, but there is no dry part at the bottom anymore.

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Monday, December 28, 2009


Or “Why is your site so dam slow?”

I can not believe how many sites take more than 10 seconds to load, its absolutely astounding. Pay attention and note how many times you have to wait for a page to load, its unacceptable.

I get that there may be some congestion in the pipes and that will slow down the interwebs, but that is rarely the problem, its almost always bad site design. When I go to a page and I see a “Loading…” I immediately close the browser and skip that site. If you have a message that means that you DESIGNED your site to be slow.

I get that some sites need to run an application and will therefore be slow, for example almost any game site (kongregate for example), but when I go to a blog or other information site there is just no reason for it. For example, I went to the Mary Lou Retton site (don’t ask) and it throws up a “Loading” message for about 15 seconds. Really? REALLY?! And this site isn’t TOO bad, at least it shows the main content and its only loading a small portion (Achievements), but why would you rub my nose in the fact that your site sucks? Why not just load in the background and NOT point out to me how bad you suck? And while I am picking on Mary Lou’s site, note that when you navigate on her page the entire page flashes and reloads, but only the center content changes, so why not just change the center div?

Its unacceptable, I have a 16mbps internet connection and all you are trying to do is show some text and a few 50k images and I have to WAIT?


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Sunday, December 27, 2009


So Andy and I have had several discussions lately, and as you would probably predict, we end up using the same argument to make the same point in multiple discussions. So we started naming them. Hey, it made sense at the time, and in fact, its a handy shortcut. For example in our discussions regarding the Verizon early termination fee, I used both the Dvorak Keyboard argument as well as the Star Trek argument.

So here is the first “Yet Another PaulC Argument”, the first one that I will document is the “dvorak keyboard” argument, and it goes like this:
Two years ago I switched to the Dvorak keyboard, I no longer use a QWERTY keyboard layout. There are many stories out on the interwebs about how the QWERTY keyboard came to be, but the fact is that its inefficient, regardless of how it came to be. For example, with your fingers in the home position on a QWERTY keyboard you can type 300 words, on a Dvorak keyboard you can type an astounding 5,000 words without moving your fingers off of the home keys. Turns out that its pretty easy to switch your keyboard layout, so I switched. Dvorak is superior in every way, and since I switched my hands no longer hurt from typing and I can type even faster. OK, here’s the punch line: I already know how to type QWERTY at about 80 words per minute, so why switch to Dvorak? Because the QWERTY layout is so inefficient and stupid that it offends me.

So the Dvorak Argument is basically that inferior technology is offensive to point that it may actually need to be shunned. But of course it can also be applied to non tech issues.

For example, Andy and I were discussing cell phones (get ready for it Jim) and I applied the Dvorak Argument to the iPhone. Is the iPhone a great phone? Almost certainly. Will I ever buy one? No. Its a closed system, it can’t multitask, the screen resolution is low, etc. So while its an acceptable phone, these technical issues (which many people just don’t care about) are enough to make me not want to use it. So rather than go through the entire justification, I just called the Dvorak Argument shortcut. 

An example of a non technical discussion was the Smart Car. The U.S. version of the smart car is a tiny, slow, expensive car that gets 43 mpg, the EU version gets 69 mpg. Yes, the EU version gets 26 more miles per gallon. Why? Because its a turbo diesel. The Volkswagon TDI gets 50 mpg and its a real, full sized car that costs the same as a “Smart Car”. So, I won’t buy a smart car; Dvorak Argument.

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Cookbook errata

Everyone go  get your Malecha Valek Family Cookbook, I’ll wait here.

Got it?

Good, turn to page 346 (note that page 347 is “Chocolate Revel Bars” so I KNOW that you have it bookmarked) make the following changes to the recipe “Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies”:
It should be 12 oz chocolate chips, not 6
recipe is missing 1 tsp salt (kosher is best, no iodine taste.)

That is all.
Carry on.

p.s. If you are reading this wondering why you don’t have a cookbook, please contact your local Malecha Union Rep and they will get you one. I myself have 6 that I am more than willing to distribute to the  faithful.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

StoneKettle Station

Every week or two I cruise through my list of “Recommended sources” in Google reader. Sometimes I get lucky and find a good blog, but I rarely find a GREAT new blog, and I FREQUENTLY find really bad blogs. Part of the problem is that I tend to fall on both sides of almost any issue. :(

Guns. Love ‘em. Gimme. Want. BUT, I don’t want to carry it around and I don’t want YOU to either.  They are just such great gadgets aren’t they? 40,000 psi? 2,700 feet per second? 6,700 joules? And they come in lever action? And advanced optics?! All that and they are LOUD! I mean COME ON!

Abortion. Yeah, don’t do that please. Its REALLY hard on a person’s brain, really, please think LONG and HARD before you do it, but really, its your choice and I’ll support it. But again, please get help from a mental health professional if you decide to do it, its a brain buster and pretty depressing. :(

War? Hate it. Never, ever do it, especially when its unjust and you lied about the reasons. And if you THINK you have a good reason? You don’t. But if you’re going to do it, then lets. Get. It. On. Don’t dick around, don’t lie, don’t blame the military, just man up and do it. And when its done, support the men and woman that you sent off to die. Every dam day you get your ass out of bed and say a silent prayer to those who answered the call. And when it comes time to pay their benefits that you promised, you better pay up.

I could go on. But here’s the problem: Google has me pegged as a Right Wing, homophobic, toothless, gun carrying, woman hating, bible thumping, drunk. Ok, I do like to drink, but who doesn’t? So when Google reader recommends blogs to me, they are very likely to be technically what I like “ohh! shiney gun!” or “ohh! new algorithm for calculating similarity between two seemingly unrelated text sources!” or “ohh! how to use your Arduino to control your thermometer” But almost always politically batshit, well, in the case of technical blogs they are almost always neutral, but gun blogs have to be read with the greatest of care, you might step into a big steaming pile of fascism. :(

So this week Google recommends the blog StoneKettle Station written by Jim Wright Chief Warrant Officer, USN RET, lives in Alaska, his personal motto is “Don’t be a dick” (which as of right now I am co-opting, T-shirts need to be printed). He seriously thinks that he can become Ultimate Emperor of the Universe, CLEARLY batshit as I will beat him to it and never give up the post.  Tool. MUST be a raging homophobic giant douche bag that… Well, wait  his profile lists “SciFi”, “Space Exploration” and “Military” under “interests”, ok, well that's all in the good column. Pfft, I’ll bet his favorite movie was “Twilight”, lemme check… hmm “Serenity” and “McClintock”, “McClintock” is my favorite movie of all time, yes Andy, ALL TIME.  Probably a troglodyte that can’t read, his favorite book is probably “Mein Kampf”, oh, I see that ALL of his favorite books are sitting on the shelf next to me and many are on my kindle. Huh, “Dune” is first on the list and I see a few Heinlein in there too…

Hmm, I guess I better read his blog

After spending the better part of three hours reading his blog (dude can write) I have decided that this is the rare gem that Google has thrown my way. Its not one of those “yeah, I’ll add it to reader and read it I guess” its a “I need a new category to put this in so that I don’t miss an article.” He is not a PaulC kind of blogger, he’s more of a “I have something to say and will take as many dam pages as it takes” kind of blogger. Its refreshing, and frankly very odd; that genre of blog usually makes me think “I feel like I should read this, but its sssoo BORING”, whereas Jim’s blog makes me think “HEY! Where the hell is the next article?!” Well, that and “No more cats dammit!”

Just cruise through his blog and see for yourself, very entertaining and informative. There is one problem though: dude likes cats, and I don’t mean in a “honey fire up the bbq” way either, I mean in an Andy way. :( Weirdo.

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New Workflow

On December 11th Twitterfeed stopped feeding my blog posts to Facebook, but the Twitter feed was still fine. The only answer that I could find was “its a free service, what do you expect?” 

Wow. Well, fair enough, it is a free service. I really like twitterfeed’s UI and the integration, but being down for a week and a half just wasn't worth it to me, so I switched (back) to  friendfeed. I have had a friendfeed account for a couple of years and haven’t used it in awhile but I knew my password so no problems there.

I am SO happy that I went back to friendfeed, yes the twitterfeed UI is much slicker with its AJAX sliding divs and fading text, but friendfeed just works and I never have to worry about it. So now I have friendfeed setup as the nexus of my online metadata. Everything that I do online is gathered by friendfeed and then published on my friendfeed RSS feed, available here. I have further setup friendfeed to push those updates to my twitter feed as well as my facebook wall. In practice this means that if I share an RSS item, share a video on Qik, favorite a YouTube video, set my status on Google Talk, etc, it will automatically get distributed correctly.  This also means that I only need to set my status on a single service, and it will propagate to the other services automatically. The only thing that is lacking in my new workflow is integration. is a URL shortening service that also tracks clicks. For example with twitterfeed if I shared an RSS item I could tell how many people clicked through to the underlying article and where they got the link from. It was interesting to note how many clicks I got from twitter vs. facebook for example. doesn’t know who clicked, just that someone clicked. I may be able to integrate into friendfeed, but I haven’t figured it out yet.

FriendFeed has other groovy social features as well, for example I can “follow” other users and get their updates as an RSS feed and even emailed to me either live or as a daily digest. It also has a nice commenting system to discuss shared items.

If you have a blog or are using Google reader to share RSS items, get yourself a friendfeed account so that I can keep up with you in a single location. :D

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Thursday, December 17, 2009


You know how sometimes we make random sounds that SOUND like a specific foreign language, but aren’t? Think Eric Cartman in “The China Problem”, or the Swedish Chef, or anytime that PaulC cooks French food. See here’s the thing, English is “foreign” to a LARGE majority of the worlds population, so what does English sound like to non English speakers?

Thankfully in 1972 some Italians recorded a music video that answers this exact question. They are NOT singing English in this video, they are making sounds that they interpret as sounding English. Wild. Just, wild.

Sooo, its gibberish, yet the video seems to fit the “song” perfectly. I feel like if they WERE singing actual words that it would be about cars, I have no idea why.

via boingboing

I AM a great dancer…

I think that Dr. Peter Lovatt is my new hero, nay, I will go so far as to say my new SUPER HERO.  First of all, his area of specialty is “Psychology of dance”; too funny. Sure you COULD call him a “cognitive psychologist”, but really, why would you? Does he have an advanced degree in the “Psychology of dance” and work at IBM? No, he actually runs The University Dance Lab at Hertfordshire, and he really takes his research seriously (as well he should.) For example, in this entertaining and educational video we learn what makes a dancing female attractive (or not).

And of course the reciprocal, what makes a male dancer attractive (or not). This was filmed  on my favorite show “The Graham Norton Show”, he is SO funny. Watch the entire video, the Dr. Jones homage at the end is typical for Graham.

BUT, by far the most interesting study that Dr. Lovatt has done is:

University of Hertfordshire (2009, December 16). Men think their dance moves improve with age. 

Where he determined that as a man ages, he THINKS that he is a better dancer, he may or may not actually BE a better dancer, but he thinks he is. Of course in my case, I am actually a better dancer. :D

I mean, right?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Hybrid Hysteria

Ok, really, this hybrid shit has GOT to stop. Yes, I get that you can make an all electric car that hauls ass and takes names for a mere $125,000. And strictly from a “wow, that is SO cool” perspective, I have to say, wow, that is so cool. But come on, can we PLEASE get real? And I don’t mean “real” as in a Toyota Prius. Are you kidding me? The NEXT generation, that will be out in TWO YEARS does 12.5 miles per charge?

Here, I have an idea, why don’t you take the Smartcar, and actually MAKE it smart, rip out that crappy little (but still overpowered) gasser and put in a nice electric motor and… oh, someone did that? AHHH, that’s the stuff. Seats two, 71 mile range, top speed 62 mph, 0-60mph is not published, but I heard that 0-30mph is ~6 seconds.

It  will never sell, at least not in the U.S. Americans love their gas guzzling rockets; a two seater that can’t do 0-60mph in under 10 seconds (hell, under 7) is doomed. Me personally? I don’t see it as a chick drawing, testosterone generator, I see it as a way to get from point A to point B efficiently, and thus cheaply. I can’t recall the last time that I travelled at speeds in excess of 40mph in a car. Almost all of my driving is around town, and when I go to see Melanie and Rick (120 miles) I jump on the motorcycle and take the scenic route. And if I need to go when there is ice on the roads, I can rent a compact car cheaply for a day or two.

My only concern is trivial, and that's GPS and cell phone charging. :D When I am in the truck and I need to charge something, I just plug it in. But in an all electric I would be thinking “How much distance does charging this device cost me?” Yes, its so negligible that it defies measurement, but that's how my brain works.

Anyway, its a frakkin souped up golf cart, and you know, for <$20,000 I’ll take one.

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Passwords and Synchronizing

So as you undoubtedly know, Andy, Sam, Hanson and I got new Droids a few weeks ago, and the shinyness STILL hasn’t worn off yet. They are great little phones and every day I find something that makes me go “oh, yeah!” Then I spend a day or two playing with the new feature/software, and it either gets rolled into the PaulC SOP or discarded. Well this week I have TWO new applications that have made it past the first cut and they kind of go “hand in hand” so I will just do a single post.

First we have Keepass. Keepass is an excellent password keeper. You enter all of your usernames and passwords for all of the sites/applications that you use and Keepass encrypts them with your passphrase and organizes them for you. It’s important to note that its not “password protecting” your passwords, rather its encrypting them. That means that no brute force attack is going to work to hack your data, it would require that the hacker knows your passphrase, so pick a good long one. For example my passphrase is several mixed case words and is dozens of characters long.

When you open a page that requires your password, you just hit "<CNTRL> <ALT> A” and it auto fills the username and password. Its a very complete application and has  many organizing features. For example you can create folders to organize your records, and even have folders inside of folders and you can also assign icons to folders and records. Records are not just username/password pairs, you can also add notes; so for example I keep my bank info in Keepass in the note for my banks record. It will even auto generate long, secure passwords for you. All in all, very cool, and very secure.

So when I am on my desktop PC I go to Google reader and hit “<CNTRL> <ALT> A” and it autofills my username and password and logs me in. But what about my laptop? And Keepass has an Android client that I run on my Droid so that I have my secured sensitive information with me at all time. So how do I get the data to my Droid and my laptop?

SugarSync. SugarSync is an excellent application that synchronizes your data across multiple computers, and of course they have an Android client. I run the SugarSync client on my desktop, my laptop, and my Droid and they all have access to my Keepass data. If ANY of my computers (including my Droid) edits the data, they ALL see the update. SugarSync has many plans including a free 2 gig plan. So for free, you get 2 gigabytes of storage and unlimited access for up to three computers; for $49/year you can up that to 30 gig and they have other larger plans as you can see here:


I use the free version now as I have modest data storage needs, but as my needs grow its good to know that upgrading wont cost me an arm and a leg. And my needs will almost certainly grow as SugarSync can do so much more than just share a single file between your computers.

For example Andy and I have been sharing ringtones, so we setup a folder on SugarSync that we both have read/write access to, so now when one of us adds a ringtone, the other can see it immediately, across all of our computers and cell phones.

The Droid SugarSync application has a great feature where it automatically synchronizes my camera phone photos, so no more downloading photos from my phone, I just take the photo with my camera phone and when I get home it’s sitting on my desktop computer and my laptop. And if I want to share any photos I can easily copy them to a shared folder or just click a button to share it on Facebook. Wery nice.

So all in all, Keepass and SugarSync are a perfect match. They both have Android (and probably iPhone) clients and they both work exceptionally well.

If you are thinking of signing up for SugarSync, PLEASE use this link, if you do I get the referral and free storage. :D

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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Country Captain

Melanie asked me to post this recipe, its a good and easy chicken dish.

Turn the oven to 400F.
Throw your biggest frying pan on the stove and crank it to high.
Get a 6 pack of bone in, skin on, chicken thighs. That is, by far, the best part of the chicken; tender, juicy, and with the bone in the flavor is outstanding. Rinse them off with cool water, then run them through some flour mixed with 2 tablespoons of curry powder and some salt. For me “some flour” is usually about 3/4 cup.

Pour some olive oil into the hot pan, place the floured chicken thighs into the pan skin side down. If they don’t sizzle, then you didn’t heat the pan enough, fry them up until they are nice and crispy, then flip and crisp up the other side. Put them on a cooling rack. At this point the chicken is not cooked all the way through, its just nice and browned. I usually do 3 at a time.

Now you have a hot pan with olive oil, rendered chicken fat, curry and flour, the possibilities are endless. :D Deglaze the pan with chicken stock; basically put 2 cups of chicken stock into the pan and whisk it. Now you have the start of a nice gravy. Add 2 tablespoons of good curry paste, mix it all up real good. Throw in 2-4 cups of cut frozen veggies, I use the corn, peas, carrots, green beans combo. Add 1-2 cups of frozen pearl onions and 2 cups of fresh button mushrooms. Mix it all up and cook it up for about 5 minutes. Toss in the left over flour that you dredged the chicken with and mix it all up, this will help thicken the gravy and add some flavor.

Put the browned chicken thighs on top of the veggies skin side up. Put the top on the pan and put it in the 400 degree oven for 30 minutes. Then remove the top and cook for another fifteen minutes. Remove the pan  from the oven and let it sit for about 10 minutes.

I like to eat this dish over rice.
Heat your pan, add 2 tablespoons butter, add 1 cup of rice. Brown the rice, but don't burn it! Add 2 cups of chicken stock, cover and bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Simmer covered for ~20 minutes or until done. Best. Rice. Ever.

Keep in mind that all of my measurements are approximate, you need to look at what you are cooking and make command decisions. I rarely measure anything when I am cooking, I add what looks right and I taste as I go.

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Qik see what happens


So Qik just updated their Android client to fix a few bugs and add Chinese language support; this caused it to to bubble to the top if the TeamPaulC information pile. Its basically a service that allows you to upload streaming video files and share them on the Qik site as well as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. They even have a live url that shows what the user is currently streaming (mine is here).

My initial reaction was “who cares” but having played with it a bit, its starting to grow on me. You can live stream and people can watch it live, and then you can save it for future viewing. The video can be private, or private and shared with your friends, or public. And of course you can post the video to all of the popular services.

This is my live channel embedded, if I am not streaming now, it will be blank. :D

[UPDATE] Actually, the below embedded video shows my most recent video, which MIGHT be live, but if I am not streaming right now, then its my most recent canned video.

My tests so far have been with my Droid, but they support quite a few phones. PaulC gives it two thumbs up.

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Thursday, December 10, 2009


I was talking to Andy about fixing his blog layout and I suggested that he try Zemanta, he did both, and wow.

Now I can ALMOST read his blog, there are still a few minor issues like the comments are black text on dark grey which is very difficult to read. But now I can see that he has photos on his blog! yay!

Zemanta has a plugin for Microsoft Live Writer or you can use it as a web app via a Chrome or Firefox plugin. It suggests pics that you might want to put into your blog, as well as links for keyword, its pretty cool so far, but I haven’t fully dug into it yet.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009



Seriously, duck AND cover.

Uncle Pat and Andy were kind enough to open the Climategate discussion in a private email thread. Andy is 27 years old and Pat is my older brother, so I felt like I could let loose on them, so I did. In fact, Andy may still be crying in a corner, if you see him, give the little guy a hug. :| This has nothing to do with YAPR #6, but it may explain why I am so militant about it. :) Andy and Pat got me all worked up.

I can not stress this enough, but I will try again. You really need to be more careful on Facebook, recall my earlier article regarding online surveys. They are not doing these surveys for altruistic reasons, they are doing it to make money. MAYBE they are making money honestly, like by placing ads on your screen that are highly targeted. YAY! BUT, maybe they are trying to steal your private info.

Sophos did a study where they tried to friend Facebook users and get their personal data and the results were alarming.  You can read the results if you like. Yes, I get that these were friend requests, and YAPR #3 is all about online surveys and games, but the data is similar. If you blindly play games (accept friends) on Facebook you are compromising your online security.

“But PaulC” you ask “why do I care if the bad guys know my email address, date of birth and mothers maiden name?” Because they can then call your bank and say “Hey, this is Suzi, my date of birth is <blah> and my mothers maiden name is McGuillicutty, please give me access to my bank account.”

“Wow, good point, ok, no more surveys for me!” Good, but not good enough. You know those cute little games that you play on Facebook? “oohh! look a <kitty, farm, cow>” yeah, when you give them permission to access your data so that you can play, you are giving them full access. And again, I suggest that you consider quid pro quo; do you really think that these companies are saying “Hey, lets create a game for free and not worry about revenue!” prolly not. They want something in return, and they are getting it, trust me.

Look, I get that you get bored and are looking for a distraction online. So go to and keep up on what ever interests you; cats, farm animals, electronics, trucks, politics, whatever. And if you want to play free online games (and really, who doesn't?) then go to kongregate or one of the other flash game sites and play their great games. You don’t have to register, but if you choose to, you don't have to give them any private information.  So how does kongregate make money? Off of the ads that they show.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Religious Right == Taliban?


“There are not many steps left on this insane path.”
Look, I get that its an 8 minute video, but you really need to watch it.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Droid, stop comparing it to iPhone

So, I have been using the Droid for about two weeks now, and every day makes me love my Droid more and, believe it or not, appreciate the iPhone more.

That’s right, it makes me appreciate the iPhone, there, I said it.

I am continually amazed at the Droid vs iPhone debates both on the ‘net and in advertising, it’s like comparing a pair of scissors to a screwdriver, you can’t. The Droid is an integral part of an holistic communications system. When I get a text message, or an email, or a voice mail I can respond to any of them from my Droid or from my desktop computer, there is no difference, they have the same capabilities and the same contacts. If you call my phone number it rings at my desk and my Droid. When there is an emergency I am instantly alerted; in the past 6 weeks I have received 6 emergency message, 2 from the National Weather Service and 4 encrypted VitalLock Messages. They all showed up on my handset, in the background, while I was doing other things, AND on my desktop.

I don’t own an iPhone, but from what I have seen and heard, it appears to target a different use case, its not MEANT to be a communicator. Is it meant to be a cell phone? Of course. And it does a very good job, sure you may have problems with the ATT network, but that will be resolved this year when the iPhone migrates to more carriers. So what do iPhone users love about their device? For starters 100,000 + applications. Well, its hard to argue with that. Yes some say “but of the 100,000, how many are QUALITY applications?” Lets say its 20%, that's 20,000 apps, and if the Droid Marketplace has 10,000 applications, then the same 20% will be quality, so that’s 2,000 applications. (yawn) Who cares?

But the iPhone is closed! Yes, yes it is. And it HAS to be or upgrades would be TRAGIC. Imagine that Apple updates the operating system or hardware and now 50% of the apps break! By keeping the system locked down Apple ensures that upgrades are as painless as possible AND that current apps behave. The same goes for locking down multitasking, if you have an application running in the background that YOU installed that slows your phone down the average user says “stupid phone” NOT “stupid application that I installed.” Apple is just protecting users from themselves.

The reason that iPhone users love their device is that it works for them. They will ask “Why do I need multitasking?” and “Why do I need open development?” These are valid questions that have to be approached from the users perspective, NOT as an outsider (non iPhone user.) Watch how iPhone users use their device. They use it as (get ready for it…) a phone! Why do you need multitasking or open development for that? They also use it as a distraction or a gaming platform. And in that use case, multitasking and open development are evil. When Apple updates the iPhone, they need the current apps to continue working, so you MUST use the standard API’s or risk not working, in fact, it is now rumored to be part of the app store approval process.

Compare this to the Droid users that I know (feel free to chime in Droid users). The Droid is not a gaming platform, its a communicator. I NEED multitasking so that I can glance at the device and see that I have 3 emails, 1 voicemail (transcribed), its going to snow tomorrow, the NWS is calling for flash floods, and Bob has sent me an encrypted message. All this and I didn’t have to wait 5-10 seconds for an application to run, I just glance at the phone. Do I run games on my Droid? I haven’t yet. When I have a spare few minutes I read my RSS feeds or practice conjugating Spanish verbs. COULD I run games? Sure. Are they as good as the iPhone games? In some context, yes. But if I wanted a gaming device I would get an iPhone, its more dependable and locked down.

Don’t get me wrong, I frakking HATE the iPhone and would never buy one. Really. Just like I would never buy a handheld gaming system, I don’t get the appeal. I have no need for a device that is a phone and can play games and I can run apps in the fore ground only, thus limiting its utility. But there are many people out there who have said “I wish that my Sony PSP had a phone”, and they probably love the iPhone.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

“The Matrix” as done by Charlie Chaplin

No, seriously, I kid you not. The Russian actor's group "Big Difference" (Bolshaya Raznitsa / Большая Разница) did this short video that features a Charlie Chaplin type character as Neo. Pretty dam funny.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The sorrow with search

Want to find all the comparisons of the Droid versus its competitors? Great, Google it. Want to find out when it will hit the market? Again, Google is your friend. But Xenu help you if you want to find any bits of data that are too esotoric (for lack of a better word).

For example, is the Droid going to be part of the Verizon BOGO sale? (Buy One, Get One) Well, lets go to the Google and type in “Droid Verizon BOGO” and see what happens. The problem is that many (most) sights have “Recent Posts” and “You might also like” links embedded in the HTML, and virtually any sight that mentions the Storm BOGO sale will have a “You might also like” that includes the Droid. What this means is that all of my search results are articles about the new Storm2, with ads and “you might also like” pointers to Droid stories, not at all what I am looking for.

This is a nontrivial problem. When I was at Eluma I worked on a recommendation engine and this was a pretty big issue. When you recommend a page to a user you probably don’t want to include the advertisements on the page in your algorithm, and the comments should have a lower rating. So you need to parse the RSS items, not the landing page, but of course many sites just put a synopsis in the RSS item so you really need to parse the landing page.

But surely the Google has solved this problem? For example, what about their “Blog Search”. Yeah, good idea, but blog search indexes the landing pages, and the landing pages are full of all of the cruft that is making my search useless. Well, not totally useless, after switching to the blog search I *did* get better results, but still not good results.

Certainly Technorati can do a better search? In fact they can, and did. My search resulted in 2 (two, yes two) hits, but they were both pertinent. So did I only get 2 hits due to the fact that Technorati doesn’t index ALL RSS feeds, or just because there really are only 2 articles that are pertinent? Dunno, but it does make me wonder; Google is touching just about EVERY RSS feed in existence, why not have a blog search that only indexes the RSS feed for more focused results?

p.s. lest you think “sure, but I don’t care about the Droid and its BOGO sale status.” Well, this also cropped up when I was researching the article Best Sandwich Ever; search for “tuna muffaletta” and be prepared for nonsense. On a side note, it does appear that that sandwich may be unique.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Best Sandwich EVER

So, make your basic muffaletta olive salad:

1 1/2 Cups Green Olives, Pitted
1/2 Cup Calamatta Olives (or Black) Pitted
1 Cup Gardiniera (Pickled Cauliflower, carrots, celery, Pepperoncini)
1 Tbsp. Capers
3 each Fresh Garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/8 Cup Celery, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. Italian Parsley, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. Fresh oregano or 2 tsp. dried
1 tsp. Crushed red pepper flakes
3 Tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar
1/4 Cup Pimientos (Roasted red peppers)
1 Tbsp. Green Onions, thinly sliced
Kosher Salt & Freshly Ground pepper To Taste (salt may not be necessary)
Crush each olive on a cutting board with your hand. Combine all ingredients. Cover with:
Extra Virgin Olive Oil about 1 - 1 1/2 Cups
Put into a bowl or jar, cover and let the flavors marry for about a week.

Then get yourself some good focaccia bread and whip up a nice muffaletta
(Genoa Salami, Hot Capicola, Mortadella, Mozzarella, Provolone)

Put the left over olive salad in a sealed Tupperware container, throw it into the fridge and forget about it for 2-3 weeks. Open up a can of tuna (yes, tuna) throw it in a bowl with about a 1/3 – 1/2 cup of the olive salad and JUST enough mayo to hold it all together. Let that sit for 10-15 minutes, then put that between a couple slices of bread and THAT is the best sandwich ever.

Think about it, I usually chop up a little onion, garlic, capers, and shallots for the tuna, and that's pretty good, but the olive salad? MUCH better.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Isabella Rossellini

Or her full name Isabella Fiorella Elettra Giovanna Rossellini has three seasons of “Green Porno” videos over at Sundance. What, you ask, is Green Porno? It is a series of short, factual skits where Isabella plays the part of an animal as she teaches us its sexual behavior. Is it funny? Hell no, its hysterical. And of course we love Isabella Rossellini, and not because she is beautiful (she is), but because she is smart and funny.

My favorite is the bumble bee “… but I would die, without my penis I would bleed to death.” Uh, yeah, I can’t really argue with that.

Check it out.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Seven Grain Bread

Melanie has been asking me for my bread recipe, here it is:

1-1/2 cups water
4-1/4 cups bread flour
2/3 cup 7 grain cereal (Melanie and I use Red Mill, thanks Melanie!)
2/3 cup molasses (or 2 Tbsp sugar)
2 Tbsp dry milk
1-1/2 tsp Butter
2 tsp Active dry yeast OR 3tsp Rapid Rise yeast

Make the bread with the ingredients. Seriously, just do it. If you have a bread machine, I would suggest that you follow the directions for “Dough” and then do the final knead/rising and baking yourself.

If you want a more “rustic bread” substitute 1 cup of the bread flour with 1 cup of whole wheat flour and 1 Tbsp wheat gluton.

If you want a great chewy bread, also add 2/3 cup of 7 grain rice pilaf, its great.

If you want a nice heavy bread, after the second rising, firmly press the dough into your dough pan, yes that flattens it. Then bake it. It will still rise quite a bit and it will be a nice heavy bread.

If you want a more “store bought” bread, after the first rise, let the bread rise in the pans, this will yield 2 loaves.

I almost always make it single loaf with the rice pilaf, you end up with a nice chewy, nutty, heavy bread. It makes GREAT toast!

Google Voice

I have had a Google Voice account for ever, literally, my account was transferred over from when it was Grand Central. I never set it up because while it seemed like a cool idea, the tools weren’t quite up to snuff. So recently I looked at it again, and now their is a Blackberry application, so I figured that I would give it a try. (sorry, no iPhone app, the Draconian Herr Jobs has decided against it, too bad, so sad.)

Google voice is, in short, the coolest thing to happen to telephony since cheap cell phones. Its pretty basic, but super cool. Go to Google Voice and sign up for an account, its in beta, but you will prolly get an account within 3-5 days, if not, let me know and I will get you an invitation.

GV will give you a new phone number that you can use (hopefully) for the rest of your life, so choose wisely! :D When anyone calls this new number, GV will route the call per your settings. The default (which I use) is to route to my mobile and my home number, simultaneously. That means that when you call my GV number, both my home and cell ring at the same time, the call gets routed to the one that I answer. If I don’t answer, the caller can leave voicemail. GV then transcribes that voicemail and emails it to me. Stop. Read that last sentence again. IF I want, I can listen to the voicemail, but why bother?

As for SMS (aka “texting”), if someone texts my GV number, the text is forwarded to my cell phone, and if I reply, the sender sees my GV number as the sender; GV shields my actual number from the recipient. The thing is that I get pretty crappy cell coverage at home, so when I get a text, I just get on my computer and reply, and again, the recipient cant tell if it came from my computer or the cell.

When I make a call from my cell phone, it calls GV and GV routes the call for me and the person I am calling sees my GV number in the caller ID. Think about that for a minute, that means that I can add the GV number to my “Fave 5” or “Friends and Family” list, then get the minimum phone plan. Now every call that I make is routed through GV so there are no per minute charges. If you call within North America, there are no charges from GV, but if you call outside of North America there are long distance charges which appear to be inline with other carriers.

When I am at home, I go to GV and hit “Call” I then type in the name of a Google contact and hit “Ok” (of course it uses Googles autocomplete/”Live Search”). GV then calls my home number, when I answer, GV calls the contact and connects us. No more getting a new home phone and having to type in the important phone numbers and updating it if they change, I just keep my GMail contacts up to date (GV uses the same ones), and of course I use GMail/Contacts on my cell phone as well, so now I have ONE master set of contacts that are shared across all services and devices.

GV also has all sorts of cool routing options “If my Mom calls, play this message”, “If a friend calls, play that message”, “if the caller is unknown to me, don’t bother putting the call through, just give them the curt message” etc. Pretty cool,

AND, all of this can be accessed/managed from your phone, OR your computer. Andy and I have been chatting lately over SMS and its pretty nice to be able to read/respond on my computer. Its really an interesting phenomenon, GV is blurring the lines of communications, in a good way. I almost told Andy that we need to settle on a communication medium because I wanted to be consistent; but then I realized, that would make everything more difficult, not less. Send me SMS, MMS, Email, Voicemail, BB Chat, various IM, it doesn't matter. They all go to my cell phone AND my computer where I can file/record/reply as required.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Storm2 vs ‘Droid

Its a battle royal, high tech vs high tech, at stake is my next phone contract, a weighty matter indeed. Usually there are one or two features that sway me one way or the other, but not this time. :| Andy and I have hashed and rehashed this for hours and can’t seem to reach a definitive conclusion, so here’s the data on the Storm2 vs Droid:

It’s not uncommon for my Gmail to show up on my Storm before it shows up in my Gmail inbox. Thats some tight integration. BUT, you would expect tight integration between an Android (Droid)phone and Gmail, so I feel like this is a wash.

The Storm has a nice application that works with GoogleVoice. But it’s somewhat loose integration and the user interface leaves a lot to be desired. The Droid on the other hand has basically native GoogleVoice integration, you actually replace the phone dialer with a new one that integrates natively with GoogleVoice. Clearly Droid is superior.

The Storm/Storm2 screen with surepress/truepress is a real innovation and makes the UI so much easier to navigate. It also makes typing with the onscreen keyboard faster. The Storm2 has the new version that has multitap and multitouch. SUPER COOL. The Droid has a standard touch screen, similar to the iPhone. BUT, the droid also has the slide out keyboard, so it could be argued that the Storm needs the screen to make typing better, while the Droid does not. Neither one offers a Dvorak Keyboard. :(
[UPDATE] the Droid has a software Dvorak keyboard that works very nicely. Search for “dvorak” in the  android marketplace.

So who wins here? Its hard to say. The Storm screen IS better, by far. BUT, the Droid has a slide out keyboard so it doesn’t NEED surepress.

They are both on Verizon, love ‘em or hate ‘em, this is a wash.

The Storm offers bluetooth tethering. I use this quite a bit. It allows me to tether my laptop to my phone effectively turning it into an EVDO modem. The Droid does WiFi tethering, which is to say that the phone is basically a portable WiFi hotspot. Clearly the Droid phone wins out here.

As of today, the Storm has many more applications available than the Droid. For example there is a Storm version of Slinglpayer, but not a Droid version. Sling Media are working on a Droid version though, and I feel like the application disparity will be non existent in a couple of months. So I feel like this category is a wash too.

So, who wins? Which is the better gadget? I just don’t know. Currently I am leaning towards the Droid with its tight GoogleVoice integration giving it the slight advantage over the Storm2.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Venture Brothers tonite at midnight!

Don’t forget to set your DVR to record the Venture Brothers season 4 premier tonight at midnight!

Blood of the Father, Heart of Steel” episode 46, don’t miss it”

Saturday, October 17, 2009

George chatting with the big man.

Ahhh, this explains SO much.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

TeamPaulC Blackberry Messenger Group

SO, if you have a Blackberry, AND you are running Blackberry Messenger 5 (or newer) than you should be able to go into messenger and scan the code on  the left and automatically be added to the TeamPaulC group!

Give it a try and let us know (in the comments) how it works.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Le Ho Fooks

I was driving Samantha to work yesterday and “Werewolves of London” comes on the radio. Good tune, no doubt about it. In a fit of honesty Samantha says “You know, up until about a week ago I thought that this song was ‘Werewolves of Thunder’. “

Uhh, what?

Ok, if I try REALLY hard, I can hear “Werewolves of Thunder”, but what about the telling lyrics?

“He's the hairy-handed gent who ran amok in Kent
Lately he's been overheard in Mayfair


“I saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand
Walking through the streets of Soho in the rain
He was looking for a place called Lee Ho Fook's
Going to get a big dish of beef chow mein”

Samantha, you have BEEN to Lee Ho Fook’s, we ate beef chow mein there and DISCUSSED the song.

Pretty funny. :D

The Social Media Guru

I can’t possibly add to this, just watch.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


Yet Another Movie I Don’t Need To See. “The Social Network” aka “The FaceBook movie”. Apparently Justin Timerlake is in it, I am not really sure how major his role is. The fact that he is in the movie actually makes it BETTER, not worse. I have seen Justin in a few shows/movies recently and it turns out that he is pretty dam funny, but who the hell wants to see a Facebook movie? I mean really…

This may in fact be “YAMTIRTS” (“Yet Another Movie That I Refuse To See”"). Seriously, how the hell can this POSSIBLY be a good movie? A good documentary? Maybe, but no way in hell with this be a good movie.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Fringe season 2

Fringe season 2 premiered last week! YAY! The promised weird off between Leonard Nimoy and John Nobel was not present. :( Bummer. The episode started off a bit slow, but it picked up by the end.

I think that my favorite fringe line is still from the pilot, agent Charlie Francis sees the cow in the lab and asks “is that a cow?” But that’s just on obvious question, of COURSE its a cow. Walters best cow line
"The only thing better than a cow, is a human. Unless you need milk. Then you really need a cow."
See, now THATS funny. But I like Agent Francis’s line better, the question combined with his delivery is just great.

Anyway, don’t miss Fringe this Thursday!

Dune, the travesty

I would not call “Dune” the worst movie ever, but to me it was certainly the biggest let down ever.

I just (re) read “Dune”, and was halfway through “Messiah” when Andy let me borrow his “Dune” DVD. Its been years since I saw the movie, and thought that with the book fresh in my head, now would be a good time to watch the movie again.

So before I review the movie, let me just hit some highlights of the book, this will help you understand why I don’t like the movie.

In Frank Herberts “Dune” universe there is a feud between House Atreides and House Harkonnen. The Atreides represent “good” and “fair” and “beauty”, while the Harkonnens represent the opposite. A classic battle between the light and the dark.

In this universe, gender roles are not what we would expect in some ways. Yes, its true that bloodlines follow the father (patriarchal), and House heads have wives AND concubines, both with legal rights, but this is all a facade. In war and politics women are considered equals, they are not frail creatures that need men to protect them. In truth, the women are in control of the Universe, and the men don't know it. The Bene Gesserit (a female order) have been surreptitiously influencing the House bloodlines for hundreds of generations for their own hidden motives. The Bene Gesserits train young women to be members and make them stronger in the process. They teach them to be stronger both mentally and physically.

In the book, Jessica is a Bene Gesserit that has been wed to the Duke of House Atreides, Leto. Well, not “wed” as she is a concubine. Their love is so strong that she defies the Bene Gesserit leadership and gives birth to the Dukes son (the hero) instead of a daughter as she was ordered. Thats right, Bene Gesserits can do that.

So, on to the movie…

First, what I liked about the movie.

They made it. I love that there is a Dune movie, its a great story and it had great potential as a movie, and in fact as a franchise.

They cast Sting as Feyd-Rautha. My initial reaction was “ho hum”, but Sting did a great job of capturing the character.

What I don't like about the movie, in no particular order…

The Harkonnens represent the bad guys. Yes, I get it. Every time you show the Harkonnens the scene lighting is dark. The Harkonnen Duke is clearly insane, this all points to “he is bad”. Is it really necessary to make his face be covered in sores? Really? It was just over the top. I kept thinking of Jar Jar Binks, as in “stop clubbing me with the stereotype, I GET IT.”

The Atreides represent the good guys. They value human life over property. In one scene Duke Leto is more angered at the near loss of 12 workers than he is at the loss of a harvester; ok, he is a “good guy”. The Duke loves his son (Paul, the hero) and his son loves him, this is very clear in the book. But in the movie you wonder “Is Leto a pedophile?” Seriously. They portray him as a crazy eyed zealot. It FEELS like their intent was to show Leto as a strong, but fair leader, as he is in the book, (think Jean-Luc Picard) but they missed, miserably. In the movie he comes across as a pompous, hot headed, weirdo. When Leto and Paul talk they give each other awkward lovers smiles. Weird. I will chalk this up to “bad acting”.

And speaking of bad acting… The entire movie is just one huge pot of bad acting, lightly sprinkled with the occasional scene that doesn’t make you cringe.

In the book, Jessica (the Duke Leto’s true love) is a strong Bene Gesserit, do yourself a favor, DO NOT MESS WITH HER. She will hurt you. But in the movie she is a weak simpering woman that cries a lot and needs protection. :| What the frak!? (The only story spoiler coming up…) In the book when Leto dies both Jessica and Paul are pretty devastated, I mean for good reason right? But they are on the run from the Harkonnens and don’t have time to mourn. At one point Jessica breaks down for a short time (measured in single digit minutes) and allows herself to mourn and cries for her dead Leto while they are resting. She then composes herself and continues being the strong matriarch and future reverend mother. In the movie she is ALWAYS crying or on the verge of crying. She is a weak, frail person that needs protection. Why would you do that to her character? What purpose does that serve? I can only imagine that the director just fell into stereotypes rather than create a faithful reproduction of her character.

The first time we meet the Fremen, they are in the desert, under the hot Arrakis sun, in robes. ROBES, and sandals. Now, if you haven’t read the book you may be thinking “So what, they were dressed like Arabs, what's the problem?” Well in the book, no Fremen would go out at NIGHT into the desert without a stillsuit, let alone during the day. This was a huge error with no purpose.

While I have lots of small things that annoyed me about the movie I will bundle them all up into two criticisms:

1) This should have been a multipart movie. There is no way that you can fit the entire story into a single movie AND do it justice.

2) The special effects should have been better.

ok, maybe three things:

3) The acting. OMG the acting. The problem is that many of the actors in the movie are considered to be good actors, I can only blame David Lynch, the director. What a tool. Producer De Laurentiis hoped that Dune would be the next “Star Wars” and it COULD have been, but not with Lynch at the helm.

So is the movie worth watching? Yes, very much so. But its just not all that it could be. :(

I will close with this fun video.

Monday, September 14, 2009


I just watched a show on BBC America “MI-5”, its a drama that follows a team at MI-5. Good drama, excellent stories. Just now one of the operatives was on the radio and ended the transmission with “Roger, Over and Out”.

Really? REALLY? You know, when you say something stupid, somewhere a baby gets punched in the face, so smarten up.

In radio communications the goal is brevity, conservation of bandwidth. The FCC requires that communications be done at the lowest possible power level and the lowest possible bandwidth needed to complete the contact. Yes, you may be licensed to operate at 100 watts, but if you can make the contact at 1, you should. Yes, you can transmit that telefax at 9600 baud, but in some bands you are restricted to 2400 baud. Its good radio practice and helps keep the airways clear. This tends to create terse radio operators. So, saying “over and out” is too wordy, but its also incomprehensible. “Over” means “I am done transmitting, awaiting reply” and “Out” means “I am done transmitting, ending conversation.” So “Over and Out” means, literally “I am done transmitting, awaiting reply. Done transmitting, conversation over.” So which is it? Are you standing by or ending the communication?

And just for completeness… “Roger Wilco” is redundant. “Roger” means “affirmative”. Wilco is a military term that is derived from “Will Comply”. So yes, you can say “Roger Wilco”, but its redundant', either “Roger” or “Wilco” will suffice. Although it COULD be argued that “Roger Wilco” can be translated as “Copy, Wilco”. But again, would you comply if you did not copy the message? I would hope not, therefore “Wilco” is fine. BUT, “Roger Wilco, Over and Out” is right out.

-- PaulC, over.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Little TeamPaulC

I just found this photo in my photo folder. This was taken 2 or 3 years ago at Richards house, those are Richard and Sarah’s cute chillens.


This photo just makes me giggle.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

So THATS how a sewing machine works!

Now I can die happy! I had no idea how sewing machines worked, until now.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Glenn Beck, at it again.

Seriously Glenn Beck can’t be that stupid. Does he think that by writing a terms of service that automatically software is coded by the underwear gnomes? Yes, it is a completely overbearing, stupid terms of service, but the government is not taking over your computer. Shit, even the EFF isn’t frothing at the mouth ( From the EFF article
“Clicking "continue" on a poorly worded Terms of Service on a government site will not give the government the ability to "tap into your system... any time they want."”

What a dorkus malorkus.

Should you trust ANYONE with your computer or your electronic data? NO! Should you be sending your passwords and other private data around via standard email? NO! A thousand times NO! THATS where the government gets your data, not from a poorly worded terms of service.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Storm 2 video

Ok, FINALLY a video of the RIM Blackberry Storm 2 that explains the new screen! First, is it Surepress? Yes, and no. :) NO, its now apparently going to be called “TruePress”, but “yes” it has the same philosophy, only better.

Surepress uses a standard touch screen with a single switch under it. This allows you to select an icon, then push slightly harder and the screen will press the button and now you have activated the icon. So touching the screen is like a single click and pressing down a bit is like double clicking. Very nice, but there is a problem. There is only on button under the screen, so if you try to type fast, you get screwed waiting for the button to bounce back. No big deal, but still… Also, that button under the middle of the touchscreen means that sometimes the presses in the corners of the screen don’t register.

Enter “TruePress”. TruePress is the same concept. You touch an icon to select, and press it to activate. BUT, there is no switch under the screen! Instead TruePress uses piezo technology. So a touch screen senses you touching it and sends the coordinates to the operating system, but with TruePress there is ANOTHER layer (under? over?) that you have to push a bit harder to activate, and when you do, those coordinates are also sent. One cool thing about TruePress using piezo means that you still get the feedback! The feedback is not as aggressive as SurePress, but near the end of the video he types on the Storm2 and you can hear it when he presses down harder. AND… (drum roll please) TruePress is multitouch! (“did he say multitouch?”, “you know Gladys, I think he did!”) That's right, multi touch! So now when you get really flying on the typing it wont get all wonky, and of course this means all sorts of cool possibilities for new user interfaces.

When I got my Storm with SurePress I fell in love with it, I thought “THIS is how a touch screen should work.” I was wrong, based on what I know about the Storm2, TruePress is how a touch screen should work.


p.s. Don’t be thrown by the CDMA vs GSM crap, the Storm2 on Verizon will still be a world phone.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Jalapeno Stuffed Olives

To the person who first said “HEY! Lets stuff jalapenos into pitted olives!” I would like to offer you my first born. He’s a good kid, and I am sure that you will love him as much as I do. Hanson, pack your shit, you have a new daddy.


While I really do love jalapeno stuffed olives and assume that they were created in heaven by frolicking, kittens, in truth, I imagine that the story of their creation was probably a bit more mundane. More like: “Hey Jimmy! Lets stuff hot peppers into this pitted olive and make your little brother eat it!” But what (possibly) started out as a kids torture, blossomed into a gastronomic wonder. Of course if you have bad olives and you stuff them with bad or too hot jalapenos and then add hot oil, you get bad stuffed olives. But if you start with a good green olive, and stuff it with a nice hot (but not TOO hot) jalapeno, and then pack it in olive oil with no other additives, you end up with an orally orgasmic wonder.

Seriously, stop saying “I don’t like hot food” and step outside of your little box and try something new. You're going to die someday.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Well, I don’t wear glasses (yet), but someday I may need them, and when I do, THESE are the glasses that I will wear!


They are glasses that are focusable. (turns out that “focusable is a word) There is a little slider on the bridge between the lenses that changes the focus, this means that a bi-focal user could use them and just focus them for reading, but if they then need to see far away, they can simply refocus!

These wonder glasses are made by TruFocals. They will cost you a pretty penny at ~$800, but they sure are cool!

Stop doing those surveys!

Everything is done for a reason. Not necessarily an evil reason, but still a reason.

For example, those surveys on social sites like FaceBook and in email chain letters. Why would anyone even start the chain? Its not because they are an at home mom or dad looking to waste time, its because they are a marketer trying to get marketing information, or a hacker trying to get social information for hacking your life. Now, if its a marketer, I don’t really care, but if its a hacker…

How does the hacker use these surveys to hack your accounts, you never give your password! Right, but you DO give all of the information that security systems use to verify you. For example the surveys will ask you things like
What was your first phone number?
What was your first pets name?
Who was your first love?

Who cares right? Well, then the hacker goes to and clicks on “lost password”, the bank asks them to answer a few questions like “What was your first phone number” or “Who was your first love?” The hacker just uses your answers and now they have reset your password so that they can get in.

Really, don’t fall prey to this social hacking technique.

Sunday, August 9, 2009


When I moved TeamPaulC to blogger last year, I did not import all of the old posts, I guess that I should. Anyway, one of the posts introduced theMom’s blog “Musings from the Countess of Cuisine” and lamented that theMom having a blog is in fact a sign of the coming apocalypse. From the original post on TeamPaulC, quoting Nostradamus:
“And the mighty power will be owned by the people, and the people will rejoice in the stock that they hold. … A time will come when a man of slightly tall physical stature and short blond hair shall frolic and revel in this new power, and his mother shall see his happiness and she will purchase stock in the power and start her own blog.”
We are doomed.

So recently theMom has been posting, and I went back and reread her old blog posts, and one of them triggered a memory of living in Southern Italy. First of all, a nod to Andy: “panini” is eye-talian for “sandwich”, so please, for the love of all that is savory, never say “panini sandwich”. That's like saying “for your FYI”, it makes you sound like a nitwit, and maybe you are a nitwit, but at least try to sound like you have some sort of clue, even if you don’t. When you say “panini sandwich” somewhere a baby gets punched in the face, so don’t say it.

Anyway, when we lived in Italy we lived in a small fishing village about 10 miles from the San Vito Air Base. There were maybe 10-ish (anyone?) other American families with school aged children that lived in the village, and on school days we would all walk down to the piazza (but we just called it “the circle") to catch the school bus to the air base. There are many stories related to catching the morning school bus, “kid jumped from tree and almost died”, “uncle Pat gets drenched (or “its a blow-hole stupid!”), “its raining! how many kids can we cram into the phone booth?” etc.

Well the local alamentari was maybe 200 yards from the bus stop, and predictably we would stop in and get some supplies for the day; you know, candy, gum, and sometimes lunch. If we were running late, theMom would toss us a couple mille, and say “grab a sandwich at the alamentari for lunch”. So as a respectful 9 year old, I would dutifully go to the alamentari and get my sandwich and a Coke in a glass bottle. Well, the first time was the toughest as I spoke no Italian, and the women at the alamentari spoke very little English, but somehow she managed to understand that I wanted a ham and cheese sandwich. The alamentari was a small deli, so the woman would slice the ham and the cheese and put it on a nice fresh half loaf of bread sliced down the middle. What ever, it was edible, I ate half of it on the bus to school and the other half at lunch.

Fast forward three (ish) years. The setting, a small deli in Colorado Springs. The scene, a 12 year old boy and his mother ordering sandwiches.
theMom: What would you like Paulie?
Paulie: Hmmm, ham and cheese please. (I wonder if I really said “please”? I must have.)
DeliClerk: Mayo?
Paulie: Of course, jackass, mayonnaise is what separates us from the beasts of the forest. (Was never said, added for levity.)
DeliClerk: You sure are smart. Here is your sandwich. (that was almost certainly said)

theMom and Paulie take their sandwiches home, we join them at the kitchen bar (it was the late 70’s), sitting on stools, getting ready to tuck into a nice fresh panini!

Paulie takes big bite of sandwich as only a 12 year old can.
Paulie: (removing bite of sandwich from his mouth, clearly disgusted. Holding said bite in his hand, pointing it at theMom, young Paulie addresses her in accusatory manner.) WHAT THE FRACK IS THIS!? (vernacular updated to appeal to BSG fans.) This is NOT a ham and cheese sandwich! What foul, bastardized form of swine has thy deli man tried to poison me with!? For the love of all that is derived from the noble and gentle swine, I shall devote my life’s energy to hunting down that foul meat slicer and make him pay dearly for his sacrilege!

At this point, theMom takes 15 minutes to explain to Paulie the difference between prosciutto crudo and black forest ham, the upshot of which is this: there is no dam comparison. Prosciutto is an Italian delight that elevates the lowly swine to the near God like status that it so richly deserves by curing its flesh in such a way that it will actually make mere mortals worship said pig. While black forest ham takes the same flesh and smokes it and makes it palatable. Don’t get me wrong, I loves me some black forest ham, I am just saying, it aint prosciutto.

So during those three years, we were asking for a “ham and cheese sandwiches” and getting a prosciutto and mozzarella panini. We were eating like kings for < $2 and had no idea.

True story. Best time ever.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Snow day, the best day ever.

9 year old Emma wrote and sang “Snow day” at the 2009 Spring Coffe Shop Jam and, well, check it out for yourself.

So dam cool.

Original blog post.

The same school produced a 6 year old that performed “Folsom Pwizon Blues”. He clearly has no idea what he is singing, but really, doesn't that just make it cuter?

Original blog post.

via Boing Boing

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Shat reads Palin

As if you didn’t have enough reason to love Bill “The Shat” Shatner, I give you this:

I will say it again, if you have not purchased his latest album, do so. NOW.

Thanks Richard!

Bill O’Reilly, stupid or evil?

Seriously, is Bill retarded, or just so evil that he will spew any lie to get his way?

I mean WTF? Really Bill? A larger population causes life expectancy to go down? REALLY? I mean you COULD say that a small sample size can give misleading results, I mean right? THAT must be what he means. Let me just check the Google here… Hmm, Canada has a population of ~31 million, seems “statistically significant” to me. Its official, Bill O’Reilly is a moron.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Edible rubiks cube

I can solve that in 1 minute!


While I do loves me a unique sandwich, I also like things like lettuce, tomato, good bread, etc. BUT, the humor value on the rubikswich is pretty high.

via Seriouseats