Acer X203W Monitor Review

I recently purchased the Acer X203W Monitor and have come away very pleased. It looks absolutely fantastic in its native 1680 x 1050 resolution! The colors are crisp and true, the black is very close to black for such an inexpensive monitor, and 5ms response time is adequate. My only minor concerns would be the weak stand and funky buttons (also placed in an inconvenient spot on the underside of the right side of the front panel). Although new, I am happy to report ZERO dead pixels, which is more than I can say for my other LCD, a Viewsonic 2026w. Initially I was considering a second Viewsonic 2026W, but I'm glad I didn't go that route. The Acer X203W costs about $50 less and with free shipping from http://newegg.com, it was really a no brainer.

Edit: It looks like the Acer X203W is now up to around $200 on NewEgg (including shipping which is no longer free). The Viewsonic will run you $210. Neither price includes tax.

Country Technology

Funny forward about what us country folk think of when various technological terms are mentioned

country technology

Rick Astley Is Back

This is hilarious!

Rick Astley Choice

Download Infocom Games For Free, and Play Other Works Of Interactive Fiction

Well, I wasted yet another day going down memory lane. This time I was playing the Infocom classic Starcross, one of the most difficult interactive fiction titles ever released. What a great game, some of the toughest (but still logical) puzzles you'll ever come across. I only needed to use the invisiclues a few times -- lame I know -- but after looking up the answers I realized I never would have gotten the right answer.

You can check out the catalog of infocom games here:
http://if.illuminion.de/infocom.html

To play them you'll need a z machine interpreter, like gargoyle, available here:
http://ccxvii.net/gargoyle/

If you get stuck you'll need Invisiclues, from here:
http://www.csd.uwo.ca/Infocom/Invisiclues/

And lastly, if you're curious about the packaging of the game, check this site:
http://gallery.guetech.org/greybox.html

Thanks to all the webmasters above who have made this trip down memory lane possible!

Duke Basketball Officiating Referees Bad Calls etc

All you need to know about this play: no whistle was blown.

It looks like a freaking end-around for chrissakes!

duke officiating referees bad calls

Infocom Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy

Warning: This is going to be a nerdy post.

A long, long time ago when I was just a kid, my parents bought me my first computer. It was an Apple //c , and it rocked. Like any kid, my real interest in the machine had nothing to do with education (though I might have hinted that to my parents) and everything to do with video games. I couldn't have convinced them to buy a Nintendo, but I was able to get them to buy this computer. Thanks Mom and Dad!

Anyhow, the first game we got for it had no graphics whatsoever. I'm not sure I knew that when I bought it, I just wanted to play darn it! Whatever disappointment I might have experienced at not getting to see 256 color pixelated images was quickly vanquished once I delved into the Infocom masterpiece: The Hitchhiker's Guide To the Galaxy (written by the author of the book by the same name Douglas Adams, and programmed by Steve Meretzky).

Spoiler Warning: I think it was my sister who finally figured out we had to lie down in front of the bulldozer. After having spent hours trying to solve that puzzle it was such a rush of welcome success. Of course, I got killed by space aliens very soon after that.

Well, it turns out on the BBC website you can play this gem, for free, and it even has some clever illustrations added to it. Any fan of Douglas Adams would do well to try it out...it can be maddeningly frustrating, but there's just something so satisfying about figuring out a problem after turning it around in your head for hours. Not the most productive use of time, but still...

Check out the site at http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/hitchhikers/game.shtml

What's a Trackback??

Hmm, well I've read and seen countless trackbacks while surfing the net. But I always wondered how websites 'knew' that the trackbacks existed. I guess from the little bit I read, if you use a particular link to an article (called a trackback link) then the site to which you link will recognize your blog. I suppose if I just linked to the article without using the special trackback link then it wouldn't appear? I'm not certain. This shouldn't be confusing, but maybe I get a pass because I haven't done it before? In any event, I'm going to try linking below and see what happens. Whoopee!

http://nslog.com/2003/03/31/trackbacks_tough_to_understand/trackback

Bernie's Bike Shop: The Best Bike Shop in Ocean Beach, San Diego, California

My sister and her boyfriend recently gave me a barely used Gary Fisher bicycle. Because it was shipped from Kentucky, it arrived in pieces and I lacked the proper tools to get it road fit. Besides that, I know nothing about bikes and probably would have hurt myself trying to put it together. So, I did an internet search for bike repair stores in San Diego and came across Bernie's Bike Shop.

This place rocks! The service was outstanding -- all I really needed was a tune and no new parts (since the bike was mint). $30 and 3 days later they had me all set to go. Yasuko helped me both times and she was very friendly.

I don't have any photos, but you can see all you want and learn more about Bernie's Bike Shop by clicking here.

The Addresses of Your Favorite Celebrities, Visiting Not Recommended

This is pretty cool, Google has a 'book preview' of "The Celebrity Black Book" which lists the addresses of some 50,000 celebrities. Some of the listings are pretty weak though, like Maverick Records for Prodigy, etc. I came across it from reading a sports forum where everyone was harping on this one baseball umpire. It turns out he's in the book, so people were planning on bombarding his house with pizzas, magazine subscriptions, and probably flaming bags of poo as well. I won't say who the umpire is, as I don't think having this information given to a bunch of irate baseball fans is a good idea, but I do believe the book previews on Google are pretty neat. Here's a link as an example:

The Little Black Book

Cabrillo National Monument

Last weekend my girlfriend and I went over to Cabrillo National Monument. It's located at the tip of Point Loma, jutting out between the San Diego Bay on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other side.

It was $5 to get in, then we parked and walked over to the lighthouse. Although the park is open 365 days a year, the lighthouse tower is only open twice a year. The rest of the lighthouse is open regular hours, however. To be honest, I was a bit disappointed with the size of the lighthouse itself. I don't know what I was expecting, but the whole structure wasn't much taller than say, 30 feet or so. Still, the historic feel to it made it worth a visit.

After we checked out the lighthouse, we found a great hike that winds down the cliff (on the Coronado side, below the statue of Cabrillo). It is fairly steep, but the footing is not a problem at all. Along the way, we could hear seals on the rocks below, but unfortunately there was no good place to observe them from. The hike back up the hill was pretty tough, especially since I was nursing a wicked hangover.

I should have some photos up soon...hopefully we got some good ones.

The 50 Worst Cars of All Time, including my favorite, the Horsey Horseless

Today in Time Magazine is a hilarious recount of the worst cars of all time (at least 50 of them). Besides some obvious choices like the Pinto and the Yugo, there are some real gems. My personal favorite is the Horsey Horseless:

Horsey Horseless

"Somewhere between an early car and the head-in-the-bed scene in The Godfather, the Horsey Horseless, the brainfart of inventor Uriah Smith of Battle Creek, Mich., was intended to soothe the skittish nerves of our equine servants. A wooden horse head was attached to the front of the chuffing buggy in order to make it resemble a horse and carriage (Smith recommended the horse head be hollow to contain volatile fuel — another great idea). "The live horse would be thinking of another horse," said Smith, "and before he could discover his error and see that he had been fooled, the strange carriage would be passed." Stupid horse! It's not clear if the Horsey Horseless was ever actually built or if it is a chimera of auto history, but it reminds us just what a radical, hard-to-conceptualize thing a horseless carriage was."

Read about the rest of the 50 here:
http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/1,28757,1658545,00.html

Traffic in India

The next time you're feeling a bit of road rage (all too common here in Southern California), just be thankful you're not living in India. Why? Well, I think this video sums it up nicely. Although no accidents occur during the brief minute or so that's shown, I have to think it's just a matter of time until one of those Vespa drivers ends up road curry. Take a look:

Driving in India

Recycling Is Good For You

My girlfriend and I have lived in our place for almost a year, and one of the things we missed from our old neighborhood was the ease of recycling. In our old place, we had a nice big trash can exclusively for recycling thanks to the landlord. Anyhow, for the past twelve months, I've tried all manner of finding homes for our recyclables, from asking our neighbor if we could use his bin (he agreed), to dropping it off at the park recycling containers nearby, and even driving to a recycling dump myself...all of these solutions, to put it frankly, were a giant pain in the neck (or other anatomical region of your choice).

As it turns out, the City of San Diego allows you to pick up a large recycling container for absolutely free (and no associated charge with pickup, beyond our local taxes of course). I can't believe the city offers this service at no cost. Truthfully, we expected to be out of luck since we rent instead of own our place (and therefore have nothing to do with the trash services). When we found out we could get recycling service, we were of course willing to pay something, but it turns out it's absolutely free. How cool is that? Now I'm sure most people live in cities where there's a charge for this, but it's worth at least looking into the options, even if you rent. Thanks for reading this PSA ;-)

Phil Collins' Friend Didn't Drown

For the last time, Phil Collins' friend didn't drown. Yeesh. I don't even think kids today know who Phil Collins is, but the rumor persists to this very day. If you've ever heard the song, "In The Air Tonight", you probably remember it has a rather haunting melody with ominous lyrics -- such as "if you told me you were drowning, I wouldn't lend a hand".

The rumor (at least the one I always hear) is that as a kid, Phil was a witness to the drowning of his friend. Although Phil wasn't close enough, there was a man in a position to help his drowning friend -- but he didn't attempt a rescue. The story goes that years later, when Phil debuted the song, he gave a front row concert ticket to the guy and had the spotlight trained on him while he sang. The man quickly realized what Phil was singing about, went home, and hung himself out of guilt.

It is actually a good story, I have to say...just a little far-fetched. You can read the real story behind the song at Snopes

As an aside, it's probably a good idea to check Snopes before forwarding one of those chain letters that seem to be all the rage these days. Especially if it's political. Actually, even if it is true...most people probably don't want to read it.

Ron Paul

I admit it...I'm drinking the Ron Paul kool-aid. I might have to withdraw my endorsement of Senator Whitehouse and throw my weight behind Dr. Paul. The more I read of him, the more I like. It's refreshing to hear a candidate be honest and speak his mind -- intelligently -- even if it might make him unpopular with his party or the general public. Although I don't agree with some of his positions (which of course will happen with any presidential candidate), right now he's closer than anyone else to my ideal candidate. It seemed to me that most people who don't know better would find fault with his comments about 9/11 from the debate a couple of nights ago, and the media immediately spun it (the headline on CNN: "Ron Paul blames America for 9/11"). Interestingly however, Paul has been leading the pack in polls after the debate on both Fox and MSNBC. And yet, it seems the media has already decided who the candidates should be, Giuliani and Clinton. If either of those two get elected, I think it will just be business as usual in Washington.

From Ron Paul's website:

Brief Overview of Congressman Paul’s Record
He has never voted to raise taxes.
He has never voted for an unbalanced budget.
He has never voted for a federal restriction on gun ownership.
He has never voted to raise congressional pay.
He has never taken a government-paid junket.
He has never voted to increase the power of the executive branch.

He voted against the Patriot Act.
He voted against regulating the Internet.
He voted against the Iraq war.

He does not participate in the lucrative congressional pension program.
He returns a portion of his annual congressional office budget to the U.S. treasury every year.

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