September 26, 2003

Frightening Product Idea

Mr. T Celebriduck crossed with I Rub My Duckie.

Posted by pmk at 10:12 PM | Comments (2)

September 23, 2003

Powerful People

Hotline's Last Call says:

MoveOn organizers Peter Schurman, Zack Exley, and Eli Pariser come in as #11 on DETAIL's "50 Most Influential Men Under 38." Among those further down on the list: P. Diddy, Justin Timberlake and Tiger Woods.

To track their power and popularity on the Internet, I've setup some Google Text Ads, along with a (near) real-time tracker

Also listed, Grant Achatz of Trio fame.

Posted by pmk at 4:35 PM | Comments (0)

Worst. Flavor Combination. Ever.

I was eating at Elaine a week ago and had one of the worst dishes I've ever eaten.

It was, essentially, a deconstructed, fancy pants potato salad. Slices of potato, goat cheese and chive oil all came together to create a dish that tasted exactly like:

an electrical fire.


Posted by pmk at 9:51 AM | Comments (0)

September 19, 2003

"Glad I Wasn't There!"

To kick off our series, "Glad I Wasn't There!", I offer you the following photo, taken of our recent hurricane friend, Isabel (click for a larger image):

(Thanks Eric!)

Update: Or not -- This is apparently a picture of Graham, a tropical storm, not Isabel. Wah!

Posted by pmk at 2:26 PM | Comments (2)

Ultimate Kid Tracker

Having trouble keeping track of your pesky spawn? Are riots giving your totalitarian state heartburn? Eric Rodenbeck has found the perfect solution.

The rifle shoots GPS tracker pellets that embed themselves in the target's skin. Fire a few dozen of these into the crowd (or into your teenage son) and you can round up your subversives whenever you please!

The Juju is also entertaining.

PS - Both of these smell fake to me, but they are still cool...

Posted by pmk at 7:19 AM | Comments (10)

September 18, 2003


I'd never heard of the Therac-25, a linear accelerator used for treating cancer that killed 6 people in the 80s. AECL, the company that produced the Therac-25, took most of the hardware safety controls out of the system when they integrated a PDP-11 into the system more closely.

Then, when they did the safety analysis of the system, they excluded the software entirely from the analysis, rendering the work essentially meaningless.

Nancy Leveson has a superb overview of the Therac-25 accidents and their root causes. Required reading for anyone who has ever put too much faith in software.

Posted by pmk at 8:48 PM | Comments (0)

MoveOn.Org Outed

From the today's Texas Citizens Action Network mailing:

MoveOn.Org is the activist arm of the Communist Party USA. But their name belies the organization's purpose. The voters of Texas have a right to know more.

It's time we lift the curtain of secrecy and ask Sen. Leticia Van de Putte and her fellow truant Senators if she will tear down the wall of misinformation and answer to Texas citizens why the Communist Party is interested in funding their efforts.

The secret is finally out!

Posted by pmk at 3:54 PM | Comments (1)

September 8, 2003

Moore's Law Strikes Again

Came across an interesting thought today on one of the cluster mailing lists I am on:

There's a well known example where you have a "really big problem" that you could either spend some money now, and compute for the next two years, or save your money, wait a year, buy the (twice as fast) computers for the same price and do the computation then, finishing at the same time.

Plus, it's cheaper! You are spending less valuable future dollars and the cost of the hardware would probably have dropped a bit by then as well.

(ps -- to fend off potential pedants: Yes, I know that Moore's law says that transistor count, not processor speed, would continue to increase at an exponential rate.)

Posted by pmk at 1:10 PM | Comments (0)

September 5, 2003

Gender Genie

Having trouble figuring out your gender? Gender Genie to the rescue! Drop in a block of text that you (or, for more fun, someone else) has written and the Genine will tell you your gender.

Posted by pmk at 10:05 AM | Comments (5)

Auction Fallout: Asheron's Call 2

A while ago, I bought Asheron's Call 2. AC2 is an MMORPG created by Turbine Software and produced by Microsoft.

I played for a bit and then lost interest, so I decided to add it to the pile of stuff that I'm auctioning off.

A buyer got in touch with me and made me a great offer to end the auction early. He sent me payment and then wanted the product key, which you need to register the game. Lo and behold, the product key wouldn't work for him. It kept telling him that the key was already in use.

So, I start poking around to find out how to unregister my product key, so that my buyer could use the game. Turns out, you can't! To quote the Microsoft site

If you delete your .NET Passport account, you will lose access to .NET Passport-participating sites or services, such as Asheron's Call 2. Every .NET Passport account is unique. Even if you re-create the .NET Passport account with the same name, it will be seen by the access system as a new account. Your existing product key for Asheron's Call 2 cannot be used again for this "new" account. If you have deleted your .NET Passport account, you must purchase another copy of the game to play.

So, once you've played the game, it's impossible to even give it away to another user! Briliant lock-in scheme, but a total violation of my rights as a consumer.

Posted by pmk at 10:03 AM | Comments (0)

September 1, 2003

My Life: For Sale

The great Internet sell-off has begun. All of my crap is going up, an item at a time, on Ebay.

Doesn't seem like much now, but I'm looking to break 100 auctions by the end of the week. My house will achieve a Zen-like state of decrapitude.

Posted by pmk at 10:08 PM | Comments (0)