Tuesday, September 30, 2003

I know this is evil, but...
As long as the FTC and the Direct Mail Association are fighting in court as to whether or not the FTC will be allowed to force telemarketers to adhere to the "Do Not Call List", wouldn't it be funny if some telemarketer took the Do Not Call list and called everyone on it? I mean, where else will you find as comprehensive and as up-to-date a list of working phone numbers all in one place? msnbc.com - FTC to stop updating do-not-call list

Monday, September 29, 2003

Google, we love ya!
Well, that was already common knowledge. But the fact that we now get most of the cool Blogger Plus tools for free is way cool. How often on the internet does something start out free and become paid? All the time. How often does something start out paid and become free? Um, like never. This is a first.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer In waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are wtiretn. The olny imrpoetn tihng is that frist and lsat ltteer is at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by it slef but the wrod as a wlohe.
Fireproof Babies!
Some environmental group says that their new study finds high levels of a common flame retardant chemical in breast milk of women across America. I wasn't going to waste time with my "well, the babies won't catch fire" joke until I read that the entire study is based on the breast milk of 20 women. That's not a study. That's a completely bogus sample. (msnbc.com)

Monday, September 22, 2003

Fun Fact
Massachusetts: 1 Dunkin' Doughnuts location for every 7,389 residents
Washington State: 1 Starbucks for every 15,383 residents
Streetsweeper! Streetsweeper!
A streetsweeper came up and down our street this morning. I thought not living within the city limits that we were on our own for this. Granted, they did travel kinda fast, but I'll take it. It's pretty cool, considering. We've got the Monrovia address, better yet, Arcadia schools. There's a city fire station that serves us almost within rock-throwing distance, yet far enough not to be too loud. Los Angeles County Sherriff is the first responder with an average response time of 2.5 minutes. CHP handles all traffic violations and we're so far from the freeway that we never see them unless called, which means we can speed. Because of our Monrovia address and zipcode, we get all the city mailings. We just don't have to pay city taxes on our real estate or utilities. Pretty sweet deal if you ask me. And Lori said she's heard the streetsweepers before, so it's probably at least monthly.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

“AOL is a very unattractive tail on a beautiful dog"
That's a quote from one analyst. AOL Time Warner is renaming itself Time Warner, Inc. and changing its stock ticker back to TWX. That makes me happy. Stupid AOL. They expect to have everything changed in the next two weeks. They swear that they have no plans to spin-off America Online. Of course, they swore that they had no plans to change their name, either. Spin it off! Spin it off! (msnbc.com), (aoltimewarner.com)

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

It's always somebody's birthday...
Somewhat random this morning... I was thinking this morning about how they're going to try to keep 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Daughter on the air even though the "my" in that statement refers to a character played by the late John Ritter. I don't think they should. They had a hastily (though well-done) ABC News special biography of John Ritter last night with lots of his friends looking back. It was kind of cool. They even had some footage from a MTR interview he had done that same day. They also borrowed from an A&E Special I had watched much of in our hotel room the day before he died. And so then I went to the "Oh! This was this year's big news story." Lately, every birthday or anniversary seems to be a big news story... Anniversary: Terrorist attacks on WTC.... Birthday: Space shuttle blows up... and so I thought about other tragedies and how I had to go to a funeral for my great-grandfather one year on my birthday and after the memorial we went to TGI Friday's where we had a party and someone also noted that it was my birthday. I boycotted TGI Fridays for years after that. And then I thought about that day... the day he died... that was actually the day the other space shuttle blew up... and that that was Carol's birthday. While Carol never knew my great-grandfather, the other event no doubt had some impact on her and her special day. And it made me all nostalgic again. I hope wherever you are, Carol Maakestad (Makestaad?) that you're doing well. Maybe you'll Google your own name and find this, maybe you won't. Carol was the director of the youth programs at Silverdale Lutheran Church back when I was in Jr. High and High School. You'll find postcards from her serving as bookmarks in my Bible and copy of The Message. You may have met my cat Carol, also named after her. She was a very giving, generous, devoted person. Also really attractive. I feel I should mention that because she was just all around a really good deal. She had been engaged to a good guy from another church when she broke that off and resigned from our church. Lots of people were resigning from our church at that time. And the last time I saw her was during Christmas break of my senior year of college, I had gone to my parent's home to collect the rest of my belongings, said goodbye to Carol, went out and found Patty Hoem (Patty Armstrong) and said goodbye to her and went back to school. But to think of Carol this morning made me miss the entire gang... Doug Hahn, Chris Wilkinson, Robin, Shy Davis, Jeff, Angie, Mark, Patty. I have just fond memories, so I hope they're all doing well. Somewhere in that, I began to think about John Ritter's death again and how it was on his 5-year-old daughter's birthday, which was also the day of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. And how if he had actually died a few days later, it would have been his own birthday. I don't know John Ritter and never got into the show Three's Company. We had gotten into 8 Simple Rules... in the past two or three months and I just thought that it was in its second or third year by how well the cast clicked on screen. But the media makes us care and why not? We need things to care about and you do make connections with the people you welcome in to your homes through the glowing screen. And sad or tragic things do happen. And whenever they happen, it's also a day marked with good. It's someone's wedding anniversary or someone's birthday. Maybe even their first.

In other news, Sunday night I completed tearing out over 300 square feet of concrete from our front driveway. I don't know what I'm going to do with it now, but that space is marked to become a path and more grass. Now I need to rent a tiller.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Monday, September 15, 2003

Free Internet Phone Calls Just Got More Interesting...
The makers of Kazaa have created a peer-to-peer telephony project that works like Kazaa, hopping from computer to computer taking the most direct route without the need for any centralized servers. (cnet.com)

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

NBC steps up

NBC steps up - Vivendi Universal and GE are now meeting to discuss how to merge their entertainment assets into a new company. This should prove veeeerrrry interesting. :)
A New Look at Autism...
A researcher takes a new approach and defines humans on a scale from E (Empathy) to S (Systemization) and suggests that children with autism skew heavily towards the "S" end of the spectrum; that they aren't disabled or don't have a disease, just a strong leaning towards an ordered, systematic world and find it harder to practice empathetic behavior. While he admits his theory isn't a complete explanation for autism (generally believed to be a result of extraordinary brain growth at a very young age), it does a lot to explain how to approach autism and offers proof that some children can be helped with the "E" deficiency through social interaction training. But it also casts autism in a more favorable light, recogizing that it's not a failing of the social skills, but a gift in the logical, systematic skills that should not be downplayed or considered a disease. This makes a lot of sense to me. I'm not a super-intelligent person, but I was placed in gifted classes in school and always felt more comfortable around systems and logic and social interaction has been difficult. This E-S scale seems to really explain how that might work. (newsweek.msnbc.com)

Monday, September 01, 2003

Hooray
In what will be an exciting boon for those who are wheelchair-bound (those who can afford it and those with great insurance), the iBOT has received FDA approval. The iBOT is a wheelchair invented by the guy who invented the Segway. It can climb up and down stairs, and in its coolest feature, "stand up" on two wheels and elevate the user to the same height as humans standing on two legs, giving them the ability to converse with people at eye level. I had seen video last year and one girl was crying when she had to give it up at the end of the test, because it had done so much to make her feel less like she had a handicap. She could navigate stairs and slopes, reach things on the tallest shelves at the grocery store, and have a conversation with someone without them having to crouch down, or look down at her to talk. It was really sad. It's neat that people will now be able to use these and I hope that this girl is able to get one. (news.com.au)