Monday, January 21, 2008

Dolphins at play

Stolen shamelessly from Cute Overload. I could steal half their pictures, they're so stinkin' good, but I usually am able to restrain myself. I couldn't with this video, though, because it's so remarkable. The dolphins are making big hoops out of bubbles, and then playing with them!! It's amazing how they're able to make small hoops out of big hoops, and how the hoops grow!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Cool video

A Canadian photographer took 20,000 pictures and strung them together to make a movie about the environmental crisis. Even if you are of the belief that it's all hype, the movie is worth viewing purely on its technical merits.

Cell Phone Novels

This is the kind of thing you could go your whole life without knowing, unless you happened to read an article about it in the New York Times. It also seems like something you'd hear about on NPR. The number one bestselling novel in Japan last year was written on a cell phone. (In fact, five of the 10 bestselling novels were cell phone novels.) They're originally read on cell phones, where the author gets no remuneration. When published in book form, though, they can sell hundreds of thousands of copies. The top seller was even made into a movie! Crazy! And you know what has allowed this post-modern form of literature on-the-go to blossom? Japan's major cell phone provider deciding to offer unlimited text messaging as part of its monthly calling plan! It's remarkable how interconnected seemingly unrelated things can be.

The REAL Rosie the Riveter

More Flickr goodness...

The Library of Congress has released over 3,000 photos from its archives. And by "released," I mean "posted on Flickr." How awesome is that?! I predict many hours of browsing through them and marking lots of favorites.

This is a pilot program, and more images will be released soon, no doubt. (The LOC has over 14 million!) The purpose? Free labor, of course. They want Flickr users to tag the images with descriptive words, and in some cases even provide information about the photos ("Hey, that's my grandpa!") Truly a 21st century project. I love the interwebs!

Of course, there are lots of cynics who say the quality of the information will suffer due to it being supplied by any average Joe. But I think they will work out the kinks. Right now, I believe you can tag any image with any word or phrase you want. They'll have to come up with a new "voting" system whereby if a tag gets a certain number of votes, it's "verified," or something along those lines.

Things like this CAN work. Case in point: Wikipedia. Yes, it has its own issues, but the positives FAR outweigh the negatives.

And for me, a cultural history geek, this is like iTunes giving away 3,000 songs!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

What happened here?

I came across some photos on Flickr (thanks to a posting on Boing Boing) of an abandoned Detroit book depository. Only it wasn't abandoned empty. It is full of materials! I'm not quite sure what happened, what the course of events was, but there's evidence of fire, and it's gotten to the point where mushrooms and even trees are growing in the piles of decaying books. Go here to see the photos, and here to read a blog posting by the guy who took them. It's really frustrating to think of all those books gone to waste.

I'm using a cool new...

I'm using a cool new tool called Jott to send a post to my blog by dictating it into my cell phone. Jott will post it automatically for me. How cool is this! listen

Powered by Jott

Curse and swear your way to a live person

From Lifehacker (which is an amazing site you MUST check out):
Many IVR (interactive voice response) systems are programmed to recognize key words. Among those keywords are frequently a list of swear words, like the FCC's dirty 7. When asked to respond, use one of those epithets and you will likely be transferred directly to a live human being.

It certainly doesn't have the relaxed sophistication of GetHuman, but if it gets the job done... as they say, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. I gave it a try this morning.

After calling a couple phone numbers with IVR systems and not having too much luck (I could have been saying anything, as long as it wasn't on their menu they were confused). But my third try did the trick. The IVR operator gave me a list of options, I said, "F*@#!" and he said: "I think you said you want to talk to a customer service agent. Is this correct?"
This strikes me as the most hilarious thing ever. I wonder if I'll ever be irritated enough to try it!

I want!!!

Polaroid digital photo printer; zero ink; 30 cents per print; size of a large deck of cards; ships Fall 2008; $149. Serious sprinkles!!

To see the little guy in action, watch this video from CES (Consumer Electronics Show). The demonstrator guy could be a little smoother (he's kind of annoying) but the last 10 seconds of the video are worth it.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Me, Wild and Crazy

Yesterday was my company's annual kickoff meeting, and it was fascinating, energizing, and fun. We heard about all the great accomplishments in 2007, and all our lofty goals for 2008. We are growing by leaps and bounds--we doubled last year, and the plan is to do it again this year. Yikes!

After the day-long meeting extravaganza, we all went to Bogart's in downtown Raleigh for dinner...and of course, drinks. I was probably the only one who didn't imbibe any liquor, as usual. But that didn't stop me from letting loose. I don't know what possessed me to attempt balancing four wine glasses on top of each other. I will claim the Everest defense: because they were there. The service at the restaurant left much to be desired, and these were unused glasses that should have been cleared away but weren't. So, anyway, I was successful, despite all of my tablemates' cries of "No way!"

If only there was a shot of 30 seconds later, when they all came crashing down. :0

Ask and you shall receive

Not long ago, I asked when the wireless home theater would be available. Well, sooner than I thought. At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Vegas this week (one of these years I've GOT to get there somehow--total kid in candy store scenario for me), Belkin demonstrated a nifty $500 gadget that lets you have all your equipment on one side of the room, and the giant TV on the other, with no wires running in between. So that means, maybe in a year or two it will be affordable to the masses!

Also revealed at CES: a new line of navigators from Garmin. These have speech recognition, which means they respond to your voice. No more typing in long addresses!

Monday, January 07, 2008

I rank highly in obscure searches

Who would have ever guessed that when you search for
craigs list $1.coins without GOD
on Google, my blog is the very first result? Go figure.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Something is wrong with this picture...

I kid you not, these are the links on the very top of CNN's main page.

New antiques

Saw this somewhere in Virginia, I think. It was over a year ago, on the way to buy my car up near D.C.

From the Vault - Mirrors

Friday, January 04, 2008

Cow emissions

From BoingBoing:
Cow farts contain methane, a greenhouse gas. Kangaroo farts do not. So scientists in Australia are going to transfer intestinal bacteria of kangaroos into cattle and see what happens.

According to the government of Queensland, almost 14% of all greenhouse gas emissions from Australia come from cow farts, so this seemingly silly idea could actually make a big difference.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Monday morning drama

So I come into work on the very last day of 2007, expecting it to be a nice, slow day. I walk into my office, turn on the lights, and set my purse and laptop bag down. I go around saying good morning to everyone, then come back to get settled in. I get out the power cord for my computer and walk over to the power strip. I bend down to plug it in, and something moves! Oh my god, what is it? Oh my god, it's that mouse! Sy, my coworker and friend who sits right outside my door, had found droppings on his desk a couple days ago, so we knew we had a mouse. And there it was, nestled in the massive knot of cords by my desk. I'm thinking it must be tangled up because it was struggling, but not able to get away. Sy comes in, and lo, its leg is caught in the trap he set.** He gets an empty trash can and opens up the trap (it was a weird one, kind of like a giant clip) and the mouse drops into the can. It's running all around, trying to find a way to escape. I take it outside to let it free, but upon further inspection, notice that his rear leg was bending the wrong way, and was totally swollen. And when I lay down the trash can outside in a woodsy area (I live in North Carolina, remember?), he doesn't want to leave. I keep looking at his cute wittle face and thinking about how he must be in so much pain, with his leg trapped all weekend, not to mention hungry and thirsty. And now I was going to toss him outside in the 40-degree weather when he's grown accustomed to the warmth of our office? I come back in the office with tears in my eyes, and Kim jumps into action. She calls her vet (to my protest--I love animals, but I'm not going to spend hundreds of dollars on this little guy) who refers her to a wildlife center that takes in injured native animals. Meanwhile my boss walks over and is like, "Are you crying?" Yes, I am, why aren't you? An animal is suffering here, and one of us did it to him on purpose. You have a dog. How can you draw the line?

**Both Kim and I had told Sy that that if he wanted to catch the mouse, he must get the humane kind of trap. Well, apparently his definition of humane is different than ours. I suppose to some, a quick death is a humane death, but to be truly humane, death should not even enter the picture! And the worst part, if there can be degrees of bad here, is that Sy set the trap in his cubicle...which means that the mouse must have dragged the trap across the hallway and into my office!

Anyway, back to the mouse. Kim called the Piedmont Wildlife Center, explained the situation, and within 10 minutes we were in the car driving the mouse to Durham.

They took him in with just a single sheet of paperwork and no payment. They said they would put a tiny splint on his leg, and after it heals, would set him free in the woods. How awesome is that?! Caring for all creatures, great and small. Being that it was the end of the year and I needed to make a donation to a charity anyway, they were the beneficiary. If you're looking for a worthy cause, I would recommend them. They even gave me a case number so I could follow up to find out how the little guy is doing.

Well, now we have another one. After Monday's drama, no one would dare put out a lethal trap. I went and got the kind that trap it alive. I put four around the office, with some peanut butter and cookie in them. Hopefully they work, because Jace said I have until Monday morning before he calls building management. I understand, because he can't have an unhealthy workplace, so I appreciate that he's at least giving this method a chance.

Unclear on the concept

Raise your hand if you think that one of the ways to "get rich" is to get a credit card. Circuit City wants YOU!

As seen in the Circuit City email ad today, which was a list of how to keep your resolutions.