Thursday, August 28, 2008

NBC breaks Hulu

Way to take one for the team Hulu. The team of Screwed, Up, & Majorly inc. -who by the way has had a wonderful record on the internet, mainly propelled by the efforts of the RIAA and MPAA. for those of you that don't fancy the TV on the PC, is an effort of NBC and some friends to bring sitcom joy to the internet masses, legally. And by all accounts they have succeed wonderfully. Generally speaking there isn't any criticism of Hulu. And that is a huge accomplishment, especially for something that a huge company has done. But it is easy to see why everyone likes it. All the episodes of all the shows are online, with decent quality, and limited advertisement. We get our shows and NBC gets their money. Textbook case of a win, win, win situation.

Unfortunately NBC's Pissed-Off-O-Meter was running low, and decided that all was going too well, so they decided to tinker. They were rewarded with the amounts of Jack and Pot of suck. You see the 4th season of The Office is coming out soon, so to promote sales they took down all of The Office videos except for four. Gone are all of the season 1, 2, 3, and most of season 4 episodes. So now if I want to watch one of the older episodes I have to "pirate" it. FYI NBC: You don't get ad revenues for me watching pirated versions of your stuff.

Oh, and yes I do have all three seasons of The Office on DVD already, and I am planning to buy the fourth. I just used Hulu to watch episodes on my laptop while I eat because I didn't want to mess with the discs.

And here is why what NBC did is a major bork: if the service provided isn't consistent, I won't use it. If all the episodes are there some days and all the episodes are gone other days, I won't bother. Because I know that all the episodes are on BitTorret all the time. I want to watch the shows that I want, when I want. And I thought that NBC got that. I guess not. Time to set sail to The Pirate Bay.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Now Boarding

New game time! Now Boarding is a fun little game where you try to make money by running an airline. It is somewhat similar to Diner Dash where you are trying to fill orders, but in Now Boarding you get to open new routs, buy upgrades, and plan out how to manage all the passengers at once. A game last for a simulated year (which is much shorter than an actual year), and at the end of the game you get points based on various goals. This game isn't too in depth but it does make a good distraction from being productive. Check it out.

Three random words, that aren't so random: "cnet eyeballs bleed". If you know why they aren't random words gimmie a comment.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

>=50% Rock

A few days ago I was thinking about where I would move if there was an awesome job just waiting for me. I decided that I would only live in a state that has a Rock Factor >= 50%. And I am sure you are all aware of this map by now (I had to memorize it in grade school). Click to zoom in.

A Note about North and South Dakota: I am not really opposed to what the state stands for, but I just couldn't bring myself to live there. It has nothing, but it isn't an awesome nothing like Wyoming. Sorry.
P.S. People in Nebraska are nice. Nothing else there is.

Monday, August 25, 2008

5 Good and 5 Bad Olympic Events

The Olympics are over and that makes me sad because that was some good stuff to watch to pass along the hours. On the surface China did a good job of hosting on the games. But it was obvious that they were just putting on a front for the world and they are still the some old China that we have all come to love. It's not that I don't want to be friends with China, it's just that I have a problem with the way it treats its slaveizens.

During the games I watched a wide array of sports, some I gained more respect for, some I lost respect for. Here are the top five sports that I feel differently about after the Olympics, starting with the events that I like more after watching the games.

1. The Cycling Points Race. Indoor cycling was one of the last events that I started to watch online. The event that really caught my attention was an event called the Points Race. In a points race about 15 cyclists all ride the track together for about 200 laps. Every 10 laps the top four places gets points and they get mega bonus points if they lap the field. The winner is the person with the most points at the end of the race. The races go quickly and due to the regular scoring and attempts to lap the field there is always something going on.

2. Archery. I had a faint idea that I liked watching archery before the Olympics this year, but this was the first sport that I started to watch from and it is probably the only event that I watched every match in. The skill of the archers is amazing, the rounds are tense, and the point scoring system isn’t messed up like in darts (the bull’s-eye is actually the target in archery).

3. Swimming. Of course it helps that Michael Phelps won all the men's races that I watched, but increasing from absolutely no interest is a win. My viewing of this sport is the opposite of archery, all of it was on TV and none of it was on the internet. I doubt that I will seek out to watch more swimming until the next Olympics, but of what I saw this year it was very exciting, and easily broadcast on TV (they seem to have the attention span of a two year old with their coverage).

4. Synchronized Swimming. Yes, the perpetual laughing stalk of the Olympics gained a few marks in my book this year. I only watched one routine and it was the one that gave Russia the gold medal, but it was very impressive. For a country that likes gymnastics so much, and Dancing with the Stars, we really should be paying more attending to this event. It is very impressive what they can do while swimming.

5. Badminton. I came into the Olympics with the general idea that badminton was a fun sport, but after watching a couple rounds the speed and sweet shuttle action put it over the top for me. Every time I watched a match it made me want to break out a birdie and get to playing. I even contemplated buying a full badminton set at the sporting goods store. The Olympic competitions were quick and the players were even quicker. Unfortunately no amount of marketing can make that sport seem cool to the masses.

Now here are five events that got demerits in my book. And you don't want to get demerits in my book, because that means you lose, you lose the game.

1. Sprint Cycling. This is a huge flop for me. The first event in indoor cycling that I saw was the Points Race, see above, which rocks. So I thought that maybe all indoor cycling events were so awesome. Boy was I wrong. If I said that we were going to have a sprint race what do you thing a winning strategy would be? Would it be to go as slow as possible to get the other people to be in front of you? Does standing still sound like a logical way to win a sprint race? No, no it doesn't. However in a Cycling Sprint race drafting plays such a huge role that a person must not be in first place until the last second to win. This means that the first two laps around the tack is actually spent going as slow as possible, at sometimes even to a stand still, to get the other person to take the lead. This event is living proof of FAIL.

2. Boxing. For some reason I don't mind boxing. I am not a 'fighting' kind of guy but I appreciate the rawness of a sport that has one goal: to punch the blood out of your opponent's face. However the Olympic committee was able to screw this one up because of the points system that was as broken as a world record in event that Usain Bolt competed in. Instead of watching the bouts I would watch the lack of scoring on punches that were obviously placed square on the dual air intake manifolds. The problems were compounded by the announcers pointing out the punches that weren't scored as well. Maybe the scoring system in boxing is always this broke, but at least if the results are hidden during the fight I can a least focus on the punches and not on the trips that give you points.

3. Rhythmic Gymnastics with Clubs. I understand that there is a need to include fluffy events in the Olympics; however the Club event in Rhythmic Gymnastics was just horrible. I only caught a couple of these performances, but they were right after the Hoop events, which, at least had its moments. There were no parts of the Club routines where I thought anything was cool, but there were many times where the awkwardness of a maneuver made me think that the event organizers ran out of ideas and they just threw in Clubs as a joke to see who would actually do it. If they wanted to improve Rhythmic Gymnastics they need to drop the Clubs and use a baton instead, or just add a bear to the equation. Fending off a wild animal while catching objects thrown high into the air? Yes, that would be worthy of some gold.

4. Wrestling. I am sorry, but this one just didn't have a chance. I don't like this event in the first place, but I thought that I could at least make it through a couple of matches. I couldn't. To me Wrestling always seems like a glorified version of fighting with a sibling, and the fact that the competitors wear a one piece suit doesn't help. I don't think that there is much that can be done about this sport either. It is ancient so it is going to stay in the games, however the awkwardness of the grappling action means that it can never gain respect.

5. Handball. This was the biggest disappointment for me this year. When I heard of the Olympics being online this year I first thought of my chance to be able to watch all the Handball games. It turns out that I watched only a handful of the games and none of them all the way though. Handball is like a combination of basketball and lacrosse, which would seem like an interesting sport, but it turns out to be as exciting as water polo, actually maybe less exciting because the plays in handball all look the same: defense lines up along the arc boundary, then the offense passes around the ball until someone can make a run in and throw the ball into the corner of the goal. This strategy is played back and forth for far too many minutes. The goals come too often and there are too many players on the court to make for a more complex strategy. Handball just isn't fun to watch.

I am interested to hear what events you liked or disliked more after the Olympics this year. Throw me a comment.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Re: FW: RE: Info about Libertarian

Got an email from my dad asking about my thoughts on the state of current politics (and about Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius). I figured my rant makes fine dandy blogging. Behold:

I still think the only person who knows what is going on is Ron Paul, but the Republicans buried him, I wish he would have switched to run under the Libertarians as soon as he knew he was out of the running for the GOP, he still would have had a good following. As it is Bob Barr of the Libertarians will get my vote. He stands for all the right things, but I am sad that they chose a candidate that doesn't have the "look" of a president, so once again there will be no progress on adding a third party to our political system.
While I don't like Sebelius, for a Democrat she is a person that can be tolerated to be in power, and I think she makes judgments that she feels is the right thing to do (not that it is the actual right thing, but she seems to at least tries to do the right thing.) If Obama did pick her I would at least give them a shot for my vote. McCain isn't going to get it because I can not stand for the Republicans to take more of my personal freedoms in the name of fighting terrorism. If Obama would promise to give us back our personal freedoms, I could stand eight years of limiting economic freedoms.
And isn't that the problem? Why do I have to choose between two candidates that will take things away from me instead of protect me from others taking my freedoms? Are people so afraid of pot that they would rather lose their guns so that a Libertarian doesn't get elected? Are people so afraid of guns that they would rather lose their pot so that a Libertarian doesn't get elected? Why do people want our government to be empowered at the cost of personal empowerment? Especially when they see what disregard of personal rights our government (and others) do to it's citizens.
It's gonna take a major change to save ourselves, but each side whines too much to let actual change happen. We are quickly on the road to 1984, and both sides of the political fence won't let up on the gas because doing so might allow the other to gain the edge.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

History : Wiki :: Math : ______

The answer is Mathway. Wikipedia has all the answers for almost every subject in history, and most of them are well thought out and correct. Now take that idea and apply it to math and what do you get? A website that can handle many of types of math problems, can give you the answers to those problems and show all of it's work.

No longer can a teacher just give the homework problem to evaluate this integral:
Click Here to Evaluate the Integral
Because even if the student got the right answer it is possible that he just copied the answer from Mathway. (Click on the equation above to see how to solve the problem.) This means that math will have to start to move away from computations for homework and go towards applications, which is a better way to approach homework in the first place.

I would have loved to have this website when I was going to school.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Sport of Life- USA:Gold medal. China: Disqualified.

Call me crazy but I just don't care if China beats us in Olympic events. One reason is that they are the "home team" and usually I go easier on the home team. But the main reason that I don't care is because we are competing against people whose sole purpose in living is to win the medal.

I didn't realize how psycho the Chines are about the Olympics until I watched woman's gymnastics last night. One of the Chinese girls had been training since she was three. And no this isn't the; parents get up at 4.30 am and take their daughter to practice kind of Olympic training. The parents of the girl gave her up to a gymnastics school at the age of 3 and now get to see her once a year. And as the announcers said; "She didn't leave kicking and screaming but she was only 3 at the time". Also she wanted to go home at one point but her parents wouldn't let her because if she did well her family would have better standing in Chinese society.

Yeah, so we are playing against human robots that have been training to do one thing, sorta even against their will. So when the Chinese win another gold medal, just remember that you have had more of a life just this morning than they have all of last year.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

nbc olympics

So far NBC's coverage of the Olympics has been good. Not only do I get a whole channel dedicated to soccer games (the channel USA is normally on) but I can watch everything live from the internet. Which gives me something to do in the down times at work.

The events that I have been paying the most attention to this year is archery, but that competition are starting to wrap up, so I'll start to have to watch soccer a bit more soon.

In case you too have some downtime at work, here is the link to NBC's internet video coverage of the Olympics.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Rainbow Conspiracy

I like conspiracy's as much as the next person, as long as the next person isn't this lady:

She also has a problem with the moon.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Fantastic Contraption.

Back in my younger days I would participate in Odyssey of the Mind, a competition where teams of kids would do certain activities under limitations. It was quite fun to try to problem solve and think of solutions to problems that at first glance has no obvious answer. Nothing was quite like it, until I found the game Fantastic Contraption.
The goal of the game is to get the pink object into the pink goal area. The tools that are available to use are; two kinds of gears, a wheel, and two types of sticks. From those pieces you have to figure out how to beat each level.
I have to say that this is one of my favorite games on the internet, it might possibly be THE best one. I have beat all 20 levels and I am contemplating coughing up $10 to get more levels. Warning: If you have work to do today I do not suggest you start playing this game.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Blindfolded Kangaroo

One of the joys of working for a company where a couple of the founders are not native Americans is that every once in a while something amazingly awesome appears in some official report or book. My favorite case is when a process that our program does was equated to a "blindfolded kangaroo jumping in the most obvious direction". See the picture below for illustration purposes:

I don't even know how you can think of something like that to say... in an official book from the company on top of that. The statement is so absurd that I figured it deserved it's own CafePrees Store.

Friday, August 01, 2008

It's not all bad news...

You came for the drugs, and I said nothing, because I had no drugs.
You came for the cigarettes, and I said something, because I saw where this was going.
You came for my food, and I am getting really pissed off.


The Los Angeles City Council has passed an ordinance prohibiting construction of new fast-food restaurants in a 32-square-mile area inhabited by 500,000 low-income people.

Great. Now we are treating poor people like they are unable to make their own eating choices, so the LA City Council bans fast food for them. This is a huge, HUGE, leap in the direction of government controlling every aspect of our lives. If they can make rules so that poor people can't have fast food restaurants, then they can tell rich people that they have to donate some of the land they own to government projects. Or tell people that commute to work that they can't live more than 5 miles away from work. Really how far are we away from socialism? 10, 15 years?
We need real change in the government, not "Change" like Obama says, but real, freedom loving, change. Republicans and Democrats can't deliver that.

On a lighter note; Playing soccer while wearing binoculars: