The Big Think

December 22, 2004

Tivo Two!

Filed under: Technology — jasony @ 12:00 pm

The new Tivo just arrived! Dang, and I needed to get work done this afternoon.

December 21, 2004

Oh How I Hate Comment-Spam

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 10:54 am

Let me count the ways. It used to be that Movable Type and Kung-Log worked so well together I could blog at will. Now, I have to really want to post something in order to be willing to mess with the whole teetering house of cards. That last post took four tries before MT accepted it, due to the fact that comment spam is taking up so much bandwidth and the server is constantly rebuilding itself. I have counted as many has nine hundred spam comments on old entry days.
Calling Mr. Gutenberg: The advertisers have taken over your printing press and are holding it hostage until you buy some viagra.

Axis of Weasel

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 10:46 am

Steve H over at Hog on Ice puts the Iraq war in perspective. One really must ask why the dems switched sides so readily when the election neared, and if this kind of timorous reversal on such an important issue qualifies them to lead the most powerful country in the world.

MudBlood!

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 10:07 am

The next book in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Half-Breed Prince, is finished! It will be out in July. One wonders: why so long between finishing and publishing? Seven months?

December 20, 2004

Jointer Work

Filed under: Woodworking — jasony @ 10:50 pm

I’d love to post pictures and a writeup of my Jointer Assembly Day, but unfortunately 14 hours in the garage have rendered my fingers into a soft and meaty consistency. I’m typing this with a pencil held between my teeth. Plus I’m just beat. I still have a little bit of work to do on the jointer (who knew these machines take so long to set up?!?
Anyway, I’ll do a writeup tomorrow.

The New Jointer is Here!

Filed under: Woodworking — jasony @ 9:11 am

The new jointer just arrived. I helped the driver get this beast off the truck. There was a small hole in the wooden box, but I think the only thing that slipped out was the manual, ironically. I’m printing a new one from online. Grizzly is really good about replacing things lost/damaged in shipping, as I found out when they replaced my entire busted table saw.
I’ll spend a while in the shop going through the parts and verifying, then start the assembly. I can already see a trip to Lowes in my future. The cord on the jointer is 80″, and my only 220v outlet is on the other side of the table saw… 82″ away.
Got to assemble the mobile base, too.
Pictures in the next day or so!

Scary Santa

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 8:00 am

These are hilarious.

December 18, 2004

Soupy

Filed under: Disclosure — jasony @ 1:24 pm

I’m a soup guy. Love ’em. About a year ago I decided I’d try my hand at homemade chicken noodle soup. After a few attempts, I’ve got a recipe that’s an 8.5 on a scale of 1-10. I’m really happy with it and make it in 3 gallon batches. It’s pretty cheap and lasts for days. Good diet food, too. I refine it a little bit each time I make it. Combine with a fresh baguette on a cold day and it’s guaranteed comfort food. Yum.

I decided it was time to try a different kind a month ago. I’ve now almost got a handle on a really good beef stewp. I call it “stewp” because it doesn’t know if it wants to be stew or soup. I think next time I’ll add some corn starch to the broth and make it a thick and hearty stew. Anyway, here’s my ingredient list:

stew meat
beef broth
vegetable broth
carrots
white potatoes
green beans
peas
corn
onion
shallots
chopped tomatoes
wide noodles
seasonings (oregano, worcestershire, salt, pepper, bay leaves)

Pretty basic ingredients. I dump it all in the pot and cook until it boils, cook the meat separately, then throw that in. Boil the noodles for 10 minutes, and serve. I don’t have a good handle on the seasonings yet, though. It’s not bland, exactly, but it lacks, er, character. If you know what I mean. I think I need some more/different seasonings to get the taste just right. Maybe a shot of Jack Daniels? Might be interesting. Next time I’ll also buy some better meat and tenderize it before I cook it. I may go with sirloin or some other higher-end meat than the cheap back-of-the-cow I’m getting now. Price-wise, the 3 gallon batches I make are much cheaper per bowl than store-bought, and there aren’t any preservatives. The horrible “chili-tomato-beef-stewp” attempt was about a 4, this batch ranks a 7.5. Much better, but I haven’t reached soup nirvana yet.

December 17, 2004

Tivo Time

Filed under: Computing,Technology — jasony @ 9:43 pm

How do you upgrade a Tivo? Two ways:

Option 1. Get an old Tivo box used. Become dissatisfied with the storage capacity after seeing too many unwatched shows disappear from the Now Playing list. Consider voiding the warranty by breaking open the box to drop in a bigger hard drive. Spend the hundred plus bucks on a bigger drive. Open Tivo. Pray. Repeat. At the end, have a three year old box that costs $150 more than a normal box but still operates on the old software.

Option 2. Take advantage of the $50 Tivo offer Patrick emails you (good until midnight). No, that’s not a $50 rebate, that’s the final price after rebates.

Just did #2, er, I mean, we just updated to a bigger Tivo for only $50. Merry Christmas to us.

Man, That Looks Fast

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 4:32 pm

The ATG Javelin civilian personal jet. Can you just imagine?
I so freaking want one.

Anticipation

Filed under: Woodworking — jasony @ 4:26 pm

Well, I got a call from Overnite freight a few hours ago. The jointer is in town and ready to be delivered! In fact, it’s less than a mile away as, coincidentally, the Overnite freight terminal is less than a mile away at the back of our subdivision. Ironically, though, they can’t deliver it today because they don’t have a guy available to drive the truck the three thousand feet to our house. I can go and pick up the 2 boxes myself, but I need a bigger truck than my S-10 (one box is 100lbs and one is 350 and too big for the truck bed).
Oh, and even if I could get my neighbor to loan me his truck and his back for a few minutes, I couldn’t get it anyway because the two boxes are at the very front of the truck behind all the other stuff. Argh. I did go by and take a look at them and verify that the boxes were in good shape. They looked good.
Grizzly used to be known for slightly underpackaging their freight. My 1023S table saw arrived with some seriously busted cast iron a couple of years ago and had to be sent back. They’ve since learned- the jointer bed is packed very securely in a long wooden box. There’s a minor dent in the box, but I doubt it caused any problems.
So I wait until Monday. Dangitall. Ah well, I hadn’t really expected it to arrive in four days. I’m rather impressed that it did. Ironically, the smaller pieces that I ordered (the dust shroud and a straight-edge) were much lighter, but are still in Kansas City somewhere.

Orange You Glad?

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 10:37 am

This is cool (site is in Japanese, but the pics are self-explanatory, and amazing)

December 16, 2004

I’m a Contributing Editor!

Filed under: Woodworking — jasony @ 12:36 pm

I posted a description of the construction of my compound miter station over at Woodcentral’s “shop shots” section. They liked it so much they picked up my short piece and added it to their “articles” section, so now I’m a contributing editor. Cool!

In Praise of Idleness

Filed under: Disclosure — jasony @ 9:16 am

I suspect several of my friends will enjoy this lengthy essay, in spite of the fact that the author’s conclusion takes it inexplicably into left field- discordantly using his thesis to call George Bush a fascist. Huh???

It’s been one hundred and forty years since Thoreau, who itched a full century before everyone else began to scratch, complained that the world was increasingly just “a place of business. What an infi?Ǭ?nite bustle!” he groused. “I am awaked almost every night by the panting of the locomotive. It interrupts my dreams. There is no Sab?Ǭ?bath. It would be glorious to see mankind at leisure for once. It is nothing but work, work, work.” Little did he know. Today the roads of commerce, paved and smoothed, reach into every nook and cranny of the republic; there is no place apart, no place where we would be shut of the drone of that damnable traffic. Today we, quite literally, live to work. And it hardly matters what kind of work we do; the process justifies the ends…

You must empty your pockets, turn them inside out, and spill out your wife and your son, the pets you hardly knew, and the days you sim?Ǭ?ply missed altogether watching the sunlight fade on the bricks across the way. You must hand over the rainy afternoons, the light on the grass, the moments of play and of simply being. You must give it up, all of it, and by your example teach your children to do the same, and then – because even this is not enough – you must train yourself to believe that this outsourcing of your life is both natural and good…

What we’re leaving behind today, at record pace, is what?Ǭ?ever belief we might once have had in the value of unstructured time: in the privilege of contemplating our lives before they are gone, in the importance of uninterrupted conversation, in the beauty of play. In the thing in itself – unmediated, leading nowhere. In the present moment.
.

Again I am reminded of how lucky I am to do what I love at my own pace. To indulge in hobbies I enjoy. To light out and discover at an unhurried, thoughtful pace; building a framework of knowledge that I hope is both diverse and deep. To have the freedom to follow the winds of my evolving interests. To get to the end of my life feeling that I’ve read, learned, and experienced all that I could hope for. To feel like I’m actually living my life instead of just marking time hoping I’ll somehow start to enjoy it when I retire. I’m truly blessed and often feel like I’ve lived more in my 35 years than many people do in their lifetimes.

Tivo

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 8:02 am

Should Tivo drop their monthly subscription fee? Engadget thinks so.

USAA

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 7:05 am

I’m not usually driven to write about insurance companies, but I’ll make an exception for USAA. I was able to get access to USAA insurance when I married Erin 7+ years ago (I jokingly refer to it as my dowry). I can go on and on about how much I like this company. Their rates are among the lowest, the coverage is fantastic, and from what I hear, they answer claims quickly and efficiently (we’ve never had to make a claim, luckily- knock wood).
In fact, I always almost enjoy writing the car or house insurance check because I know what a great deal we’re getting.
Anyway, this morning I was reminded again why I like them so much. We received a dividend check in the mail from USAA in the amount of $44. It’s not much, but it represents a portion of the money that the company collected in premiums that they didn’t spend (even after the 5 hurricanes of this year). But still, $44 is $44, and when was the last time and insurance company gave you some of your money back?

December 15, 2004

Security

Filed under: Computing — jasony @ 11:56 am

This article (reprinted from C/NET) discusses some things you can do to keep yourself safer on the internet. Some of the conclusions:

1. Don’t use Windows (use Mac or Linux)
2. Don’t use Internet Explorer
3. Don’t use Office
4. Don’t use Outlook or Outlook Express

Hmmm… I think I see a trend here.

Shop Time

Filed under: Woodworking — jasony @ 12:15 am

Building another prop for Sing this year. It’s a big-un. 14′ tall. I can’t say too much about it as it would give away the theme, but it was fun having a legitimate “work” excuse to go play in the shop today. I’ll take pics and post them after February.

December 14, 2004

iPod Viral

Filed under: Computing — jasony @ 11:28 am

More iPod news this morning. George Masters has created a beautiful iPod mini ad that’s posted over at Wired. It’s been watched by thousands online. I think it would be great if Apple picked it up and ran it once or twice on TV. The only problem might be that the holy Apple logo is sullied by the old muti-colored look at the end of the ad, but it’s in keeping with the spirit of the thing.
Come on, Apple! Give it some airplay.

The Rebel Sell

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 11:20 am

Joseph Heath and Andrew Potter have a long and fascinating essay on Western consumerism here. Their thesis:

“Keeping up with the Joneses,” in today’s world, does not always mean buying a tract home in the suburbs. It means buying a loft downtown, eating at the right restaurants, listening to obscure bands, having a pile of Mountain Equipment Co-op gear and vacationing in Thailand. It doesn’t matter how much people spend on these things, what matters is the competitive structure of the consumption. Once too many people get on the bandwagon, it forces the early adopters to get off, in order to preserve their distinction. This is what generates the cycles of obsolescence and waste that we condemn as “consumerism”…

…it’s easy to see why people care about brands so much. Brands don’t bring us together, they set us apart. Of course, most sophisticated people claim that they don’t care about brands—a transparent falsehood. Most people who consider themselves “anti-consumerist” are extremely brand-conscious. They are able to fool themselves into believing that they don’t care because their preferences are primarily negative. They would never be caught dead driving a Chrysler or listening to Celine Dion. It is precisely by not buying these uncool items that they establish their social superiority. (It is also why, when they do consume “mass society” products, they must do so “ironically”—so as to preserve their distinction.)”

…taste is first and foremost distaste—disgust and “visceral intolerance” of the taste of others. This makes it easy to see how the critique of mass society could help drive consumerism.

I don’t agree with their solution (change the tax code), and find it ironic that they’re offering the kind of anti-consumerism book that they decry in the early part of the essay, but heath and Potter have some interesting things to say. Give it a read.

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