Rant Time

Okay, so I’m busy trying to do lots of work tonight, and fix up some software and hardware issues. Recently, I’ve been getting these stupid Windows based “messenger” messages, which ar basically spam. And the company sending them is the one selling software to get you to stop getting the messages. Isn’t that like car repair companies throwing paint at your car as you drive by or something? This can’t be legal, but it probably is. messagestop.net is one of them. Anyone else having this problem?

Great article on the netscape website about “how old you are” – kind of like the email about talking to people born after 1980 about Ronald Reagan, and such.. check it out here…

Okay.. Now I do, as a guy, like the USA Today or whatever newspaper is handy up in the case in the bathrooms of some places like Chili’s. But TBS is taking it a little far, I think, with the placement of 500 ads in the bathrooms of bars in 12 cities including its home, Atlanta. What, don’t think that’s so odd? Well, the ads talk. Curious to see how this goes over.

Spammers continue to “fight back” over the online equivalent to the “do not call” registry – that of the “SPEWS” list…. Even ISPs using certain technologies are getting hammered with anti-spam Denial of Service attacks… Mike Brunker at MSNBC has a great article about it from earlier this week.

Also, I’ve joined the ranks of freespeech.com, and should have something quality posted within the next couple weeks, if I can keep my head on straight and get done all the stuff I’m doing in the real world… Looking forward to having some stuff to say over there, in a longer style than on this place…

“Dog is Dead”

Well, looks like some Saudis who are looked to be affiliated with al Qaeda got busted after sending some “colleagues” an email saying “the dog is dead”, which apparently was referring to the bombing on Friday of Najaf, in Iraq, claiming the life of Ayatollah Hakim, a Shiite looked highly upon by the West, supposedly. Now there are couple points to ponder here – one, why were they sending from an Internet cafe, and two, if they sent it today, could they have been referring to unconfirmed reports about Bush dropping his dog on Saturday while on an airport tarmac…. I’m sure the apologists for this type of behavior will say that this could be what they were talking about. [both articles via drudge]

Labor Day, Labor Day!

Woo hoo – there’s nothing better than Labor Day weekend. Well, except for Memorial Day, which is the unofficial start of summer, instead of the end of summer. All I know is, when it’s Sunday night and you don’t care what time you’re up ’til, that’s a good thing. Then again, I do that most Sundays. Never mind, you know what I mean.

As it’s this wonderful August 31st, you should remember to log into the “Do Not Call” registry by the end of the day if you don’t want to miss out on the October 1st rollout of the list to telemarketers! As reminded by Dave over at freespeech.com.

Good link over at metafilter about Holiday Inn’s Towel Amnesty Day, and to boot, they’re even running a contest about your “story” about why you have the towel. How funny is that?

Looking for demographics in a worldwide kinda sense? Check out nationmaster.com… Fantastic, if you’re curious about such things. [via The Agitator]

Anyone else out there make regular use of the Open Directory Project? I know most folks use Yahoo!’s directory, but I tend to prefer this one, as it seems a little more user-driven. I think it’s taken a hit since the general dearth of Netscape and the loss of many search engines. I know the first website I created a few years back, when portals were still popular, had included a directory based on software created to utilize this Open Directory. Check it out if you haven’t before done so.

Last night I did a reinstall of Windows 2000 on my machine. The best part was when I finally got my broadband connection up, I did all the critical updates and such for my computer. I couldn’t believe that by putting in some updates, I created the need after restarting and reloading the Windows Update website, I actually needed more updates to cover for the updates I’d already done. How screwed up is that?

Everyone. Has. Now. Kissed. Britney. Spears.

Okay, I could probably write an entire post about the MTV Video Music Awards, but I won’t. At least not totally. In case you didn’t see it, it started off (after the pre-show show) with Britney and Madonna and Christina Aguilera providing the entertainment (and tongues). How exciting. It seemed kind of anti-climatic only because Jon Norris and company from the pre-show kept talking about “something like we’ve never seen” and whatever else they came up with… But I digress.

Other than Beyonce not singing 90% of her medley, I thought it was pretty good overall. Though 50 Cent usually is a little bit more well spoken (no, really!) than he was when he was accepting awards (or carrying Eminem’s around).

MSNBC has yet another article about gas prices being at “record” levels. Like, no, really? I hadn’t noticed when it took $23.54 to fill up my freaking Cavalier yesterday evening. At only $1.819, too. What a deal. This is a freaking disaster. I really love the ability to vote for the question of the day here – check that out. And in a related story, check this post at econopundit out… Bustamante wants to make energy price gouging a felony. Talk about trying to get yourself elected.

And while we’re talking about California, has anyone seen the item about the “Focus on the Top 84 candidates” for governor in California on The Onion’s website? The best one is “Dave Grayvis”, which is current Gov. Gray Davis, just disguised. Stupid, but funny nonetheless.

After reading some metafilter stuff, and stumbled onto this link from joeadk. Did you find your house yet? Pretty f-ing cool if you ask me.

And via this link at littlegreenfootballs, here is a link to Allah’s blog, and he’s pretty ticked at Charles of lgf… Fascinating. That’s your laugh for the day. Almost as good as the Jesus blog… But slightly different.

Seems like most of the web is fascinated today with the publishing of 911 tapes and Port Authority Police transmissions… I’m definitely curious to read it all, because you’ll see the utter craziness that went on and who was able to reach the police and who, unfortunately, was not. Pretty intense stuff, from the few pieces I’ve seen so far. No links to all the stuff, but the article above has some excerpts.

If I see another 19…

I don’t know what I’m going to do.

MSNBC has an article about a “celebration” in London “honoring” the 19 hijackers, and yes, I call them hijackers, who crashed the planes into the WTC and Pentagon and Pennsylvania on 9/11. Who exactly thought this was a good idea? And who, in their right mind, who is alive in 2003, actually gets surprised when many people get ticked off about seeing something like this? Charles @ littlegreenfootballs has a post clarifying what’s actually going on. Yeah, right. “Yeahhhhh, martyrs!” Whatever.

And while we’re at it, conveniently 19 individuals were “caught” in a situation where folks thought they were going to blow up the CN Tower in Toronto, Canada. Some interesting notes in the comments on lgf about the “students”, or non-students, if you will. Depends on who you ask.

I’m starting to get even more frustrated and annoyed at the recent comings-out that the air around the WTC site was announced to be “safe” in the weeks and months after the 9/11 disaster. Working in the downtown area at the time, we all had our serious doubts about this, and our companies and building owners all were being told the same things. While buildings might have ended up being safe because people were filtering the air more often/in better ways, the outside was still a disaster. I know I went through pairs and pairs of disposable contact lenses in the first couple weeks back working downtown… No matter how hard I tried to get them clean, it wasn’t happening, and I know I wasn’t alone with that problem. So was this just a “swift move to keep people positive and working”? Or was it just some individuals making semi-uninformed statements (or lies?) that we weren’t supposed to find out about. Who knows.

Back to the present…

Symantec looks to add product activation to their software in the upcoming year… This is much like Microsoft’s XP OS which doesn’t let you make drastic (or sometimes simple) hardware changes if your system isn’t registered. Definitely a good way to get people to pay for your software, but in this time of people being concerned with privacy and information security, it’s a tough sell, in my eyes.

Game Shows & SMS, perfect together. Apparently game shows are moving closer and closer to significantly more people being involved in the viewing audience, all by way of mobile device and SMS. You can already vote on Big Brother, Fame Academy, and Pop Idol in the UK with your phone, and can use your phone to vote during NASCAR races on television here in the states (though I think just for Cingular users)… Will this ever get big in the states? [via Wired]

Think you can scam your way out of being sued by the RIAA? Perhaps not. It’s been revealed that they can actually trace whether or not you recorded a song of off your CDs or not, and whether it came through an online service like the defunct Napster. Very interesting.

Great link on boingboing about the dearth of 2D animation at Disney. And how Michael Eisner is looking to 3D the 2D favorites we all know and love. Perhaps someone will redo the Superfriends, and make them not look like that boxy version of Spider-Man currently running on MTV.

A VERY interesting post at the agitator regarding the death tax in the USA, and the author’s reasoning on why it should stay. Personally, I’m in such hatred of this “tax” that it’s not funny. The reason it’s not double taxation is because it’s being taxed on the taxes of the person *getting* the funds/stuff, not the person who died. Har har. I don’t see how the Feds or anyone, by that matter, has any right to get stuff of yours, just because you’re dead. They didn’t earn it. It’s not necessary. It’s not like it already hasn’t been taxed on interest earned, or property taxes, or income taxes the first time around. Get a grip. Death tax needs to go the way of the dodo and the nehru jacket (err, unless you have one in your closet – a nehru jacket, that is).. Get rid of it, or drop it significantly.

Down with OPEC

Okay – up front, I’ll say that I know it’s worse in a lot of places, but this is pretty bad for where I’m located. Last week I got fuel for the car on Monday for $1.40 something…. Today, I paid $1.849. That’s ridiculous. “Average prices are up .15” yeah right. There are tons of excuses floating around about this, but the fact of the matter is, we are using more fuel than ever on this planet, especially in the US of A, and production is “cut” randomly here and there. I just don’t see how this can be tolerated, to be honest. I got 5 gallons of fuel for $10 today, basically. I’m going to get 25% less distance for the same amount as I did last week. This is just insane. It’s the first time I’ve seen a pump over $2.00 in my area in recent times, and New Jersey typically has pretty low prices for gasoline, it seems.

For those people who don’t want any drilling in the US, or this or that – unless you’re someone who isn’t getting around via car, I don’t want to hear from you. I’m not necessarily for ANWRing the country, trashing this and that wildlife or plant refuge, but when we’re at a point that we’re up against an organization or organizations that really has nothing to do in a positive way with us. We have capitalism used against us. The oil companies are selling us fuel TODAY at a price for what it will be in the future. How random is that? Orange Juice is traded publicly, yet I don’t see the prices for that commodity changing 25% in a week. Sorry – it doesn’t happen, even when there is a bad crop. This is people being blatantly taken advantage of BECAUSE THEY CAN.

I’ve heard a lot of debates of this type recently, many of which in the New York area are about the US Open in Flushing Meadows, and how you can’t bring your food in anymore, or they charge you $5 to store it if you don’t want to throw it away. So you’re captive for a $10 chicken sandwich, a $5.50 bottle of water, or a $7 ice cream bar. They charge it because they know people will pay. There are tons of grassroots efforts to staunch these things, but for some reason they never work – last year, there was the baseball fans’ supposed strike when the baseball players were possibly going to be striking or get locked out. That never really panned out. Why? Is it easier for the human…er American condition to just capitulate and say, “well, I’ve got the $7 so I can get an ice cream” when you know it’s ridiculous, and then complain about it? Will anyone be able to organize anything against this? Sports owners, especially in baseball, have managed to slow the market prices of players down slightly by just not signing certain people right away, or at all. Could the average fan/consumer do the same? Probably – there’s just a lot more fans to have to get together to do this.

When do the gasoline emails about “not getting gas” start coming out again? I don’t know about you, but I wish I could find mine right now – they’re probably deleted. All I know is, I’m about to start watching “Network”, if you know what I might be saying.

Ahem.

For those of you feening for Kobe Bryant info, it looks like more info has leaked out. Supposedly, there’s a hand print on the neck of the alleged victim. Fascinating. While we’re on this law enforcement type topic, have you ever almost used the word “vic” in place of victim? I almost did just there, and believe I can firmly plant the blame on Law & Order, CSI, and Homicide: Life on the Street. So there.

Freespeech.com was nice enough to link back to the lingosphere after my comments earlier this week, so I’ve made sure and done the same on the “reads” section. I’ll perhaps have something up there if I can come up with a nice solid article to contribute.

I’m still promoting where’s george…. I don’t know why everyone doesn’t use it. It’s a fascinating little experiment, I think…. But I digress.

A new tool has been added to the world of “teaching your kids to grow up” by Privacy Activism. This tool comes in the Flash game called “Carabella Goes to College”, which you can read about here at Wired. Forget college kids – this is probably helpful for anyone who’s getting into using technology for shopping, or just general sharing of information. Great idea, I must say.

A Toll Cut on a bridge? Could it be? Delaware/NJ crossings may be slashed a bit, and would vary based on the crossing you were taking. Perhaps they should try this on the George Washington Bridge.

Found this link to StupidJocks.com on metafilter’s ads. Got a pretty good kick out of it.. One trick pony, but that trick is a riot.

Gimme my Condiments – again!

okay, so the first post i’d done on this website was about places actually charging for condiments (which I’ve since found is the norm at places like McD’s in other countries)… What annoys me more is when places tell you they gave you your condiments, only to have you find them as you writhe your fingers through the bag as you’re driving away. And the worst of all is by far Wendy’s. Not only does Wendy’s *specifically* ask you which kind of condiments you want when you order their five piece nuggets (again, that’s n-u-g-g-e-t-s), but they are the worst at actually giving it to you. That’s because the person at the window isn’t always the person you spoke to. Just someone who’s listening in on all the conversations. And they’re in such a rush to get you out of there, they usually just nod that they are in there. And when you actually do ask for them at the window, they get all stingy with them. Like me taking an extra bbq sauce because I like them with my fries is going to put Wendy’s out of business. Get a grip.

Great article on MSNBC about Johnny Cash and his video for Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt”, which has been on MTV2 for a bit now. I thought it was fascinating that they pointed out that regular MTV doesn’t play videos, but feel that MTV2 doesn’t have much impact on tastefulness of vids. Why do you think that the non-norm videos are going to make the VMAs this year and going forward. Because reg MTV wouldn’t have ever played them, and peoples are seeing them on 2 and fuse. Speaking of fuse, I shall be crowned champion of the IMX. But that’s another discussion.

I’m sort of looking for a new design for the site, to launch when I put up the sports section. I’d ideally like to have “headlines” just like the idea of what is at lingosphere.com/ now. Any ideas?

Argmax has a good link/article about how the US deficit could hit $500 Billion. How insane is that?¬†Will this hurt Bush’s re-election? I’d say so. But then again, most Americans are so far away from caring about the deficit, it’s not even funny.

Short today, just really busy. Baltimore Sun’s got an article reviewing ESPN’s new series, PlayMakers that is starting tonight. Reads well, and makes me want to watch the show even more.

Competition is nada

Well, after a weekend of no further virus damage, as SoBig.F tried yet again yesterday to do whatever it was supposed to do, we arrive on Monday to hear that our friends at al Qaeda have decided they want to hijack a plane and crash it into some buildings in London. Gee, I wonder what they will choose. That’s such an original plan.

Good link over at boingboing about a WiFi finder that actually works. Who’dve thunk it.

Wow. Charles over at littlegreenfootballs has a great post about everyone’s supposed fave site IndyMedia, which claims to be for you by you, but is more or less for you regurgitated with choice edits by you. Check it out for those of you who think this is a “fair” outlet for freedom of speech. I’m a much bigger fan of freespeech.com, personally. And while we’re on freespeech.com, check this out. Chirac doesn’t think Hamas is a “terror” organization? What kind of stuff is he smoking???? Charles @ lgf also has a good link for this.

New Yorkish hasn’t been updated for a few weeks. Hoping they’re not going out of business and are just on vacation.

So I went to a local Wendy’s over the weekend, and ordered a Five Piece chicken nuggets (that’s n-u-g-g-e-t-s) and two sodas. One was a Biggie size Mountain Dew, and a small Pepsi. The guy read back what I had ordered intelligibly and some amount of money, so I drove up to the window to confirm. I asked if he had the Biggie Mountain Dew, to which he apparently thought I ordered something else once, and now again – so he is like screaming “Biggie Diet!” at me. So I’m like “no, Biggie Mountain Dew” and he’s like “Biggie Diet?!” and I’m like “no, Biggie Mountain Dew”. And he’s like, “oh.” So I confirm the small Pepsi, and he hands me a medium Pepsi. Now I’m not going to complain about that, but seriously. I don’t talk that fast, and I made a point to enunciate properly when I was up at the window, and he’s coming up with Biggie Diet. What the hell is that. I really have no problem with people in this country being from wherever they’re from, but like, at least have some ability to understand English if you’re going to be an order taker at a window. Perhaps that’s just me being short sighted, but I kind of thought it was reasonable.

Good article by Eric Neel over at ESPN’s Page 2 about the “East Coast bias” and whether or not it exists. East Coast!

The webmaster or some spammer from the Kobe Times sent me an email over the weekend to check out their site and put a link on my page. I found that amusing. What the hell is that?

First was the loss of phone booths that I posted about back on August 4th, now those blue mailboxes for dropoff of letters are vanishing, at least in some NJ communities. Security is some of the feedback, the other is lack of “use” of the boxes. A very interesting trend, which I’m sure has a root cause in the Internet and the prevalence of email.

Spammers and Virii – Perfect Together.

It looks like the two great evils taste great together, to borrow a slogan… A lot of folks out there in the virus/worm fighting community are thinking that the SoBig.F worm that is floating towards an Inbox near you might be something that, in the end, is financed by spammers. How else are worm writers going to make some cash?

And the best part is, at 2pm EST today, Friday, August 22nd, all the computers who are infected and are connected to the ‘net are to “contact” one of 20 computers that are out there somewhere for further instructions. Officials have said they’ve shut down “half” of these 20 machines, but the rest were still out there. Now as I type this it’s 1pm EST, so they’ve got 1 hour 15 minutes left to go. So what will the result be, if this “catastrophe” is allowed to happen? Many think that a flood of spam is to be unleashed. Already today I’ve seen a statistic that 50% of all emails are now spam, up from about a month ago. Dis-turbing. [update: MSNBC is reporting that it’s 3pm EST this afternoon – so like 2 hours more.]

Interestingly enough, I was, for the first time, hit with one of these worm/virus things. I managed to get the “blaster” worm on my machine, which enters your computer through Internet Protocol means, not necessarily through your email box. Gotta love that. Thankfully, I was able to find the MS patch for it and Symantec is nice enough to have a “fixer” software download. And since “blaster” denials of service the Microsoft security sites, you can’t fix the problem. Here is the Symanted Worm Removal Tool site, and here is the patch for NT4, Win2000, and WinXP. Enjoy.

Well this explains it. Gas prices went up 9.5 cents on Thursday, which explains why when I got $5 in gas on Monday, and then $10 on Tuesday, and then filled up the tank on Thursday, that the amounts were so dramatically different, proportionally. People are obviously thinking it’s “coinciding” with the Labor Day weekend in the USA, which is quite convenient, if you ask me… But what is more disturbing is that the OPEC countries are always lowering or keeping production static, when everyone has been complaining about prices forever. It’s not like we’re sitting on tons of oil, or our prices would be much lower. This is the one commodity I don’t understand why it is let to float around willy-nilly by the governing body. It directly impacts people so dramatically it’s not even funny. You wouldn’t pay $15 for 10 gallons of milk on Monday and then $16 for 10 gallons on Tuesday, would you? It’s totally a scam, and I don’t care what anyone says. It’s like the people who control the oil supply are the same people trying to tell you that there was nothing illegal going on with investment banks holding stocks on their own and making “recommendations” based on whatever analysts were thinking that day, or perhaps what kindergarten private school they wanted their kids to go to. Joke, joke, joke. [via drudge]

An amusing link spoofing the RIAA’s hunt for music downloaders is up… [via metafilter]

Now this has got to suck. You’re an actor. You’re handed a gun you think is a prop. After pulling the trigger, your fellow cast member starts bleeding for real and falls to the ground unconscious, and later dies. Soon after, police file charges against you and you’re arrested and could face 8-20 years. Now this has to get thrown out, right? I can’t be that crazy to think that.

Barr McClellan, father of current White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, is the author of a new book which tells how Lyndon B. Johnson was behind the death of John F. Kennedy. Oh, this should go over real well at the White House. I can see the conversation now – “Thanks, Dad!”

I can’t even fathom the fact that 10,000 people may have died in France during the heatwave currently swarming across most of Europe. 10,000 people? That’s insane.

Norman Solomon at the American Reporter has a pretty fun article about what would happen if journalists started acting like the “Bulworth” character that Warren Beatty played a few years ago… You can read it here

One last thing. Radley Balko over at The Agitator has a great writeup about taxing lattes out in Seattle. I’m sure that will go over really well in the short run.