Merriam-Webster using distaseful ads

January 04, 2006

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When I used to think of the dictionary folks at Merriam-Webster a scene of an refined, well kept library came to mind. A high class organization with the sole focus of keeping our lexicon. I used to user their online dictionary all the time but moved to either dictionary.com or tfd.com. Today, I was doing a quick comparison using m-w.com again and was remined of one of the reasons why I switched. After looking up the word, I noticed that I got a pop-under ad (the kind that you might not notice until you close your main browser window). This is despite the fact that I use Firefox and have it setup to kill all those types of ads. This means that not only is Merriam-Webster using pop-unders, which are one of my least favorite types of ads, but they are specifically working around pop-up blockers. For a mainstream (not porn) website, that's about as low class as you can get.


Don't drive while looking at your laptop

January 04, 2006

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Coincidences are fun. Driving into work this morning there was a story on NPR talking about the recent trend toward adding full fledged multimedia systems to cars. Separate video for everyone, DVD players, game systems, you name it. Part of the discussion talking about a law in Connecticut where cops can ticket you for anything that's a distraction while driving. The examples given were of talking on a cell phone, shaving, or yelling at the kids in the back. About ten seconds after the story was over I sheriff passed me going the other way. The funny thing was he was working on the little laptop they have mounted in the passenger seat more than he was watching the road. (Note: This was actually from yesterday morning, but I didn't post it till today.)


Turning Up the Volume with Sub Titles

December 31, 2005

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I watched Krzysztof Kieslowski's "Red" last night. It's the third film in his "Three Colours" trilogy. It's a French film so I was watching it with sub-titles. As soon as it started and the first line of dialog occurred I realized that the volume was about half way below normal and that I couldn't hear the speaking very well. Of great amusement to me was the fact that I immediately reached for the remote and turned it up despite the fact that I could read the sub titles just fine and wasn't going to understand a word regardless. This was the clearest example I can think of about exactly how import sound actually is. It really did make a difference from two respects. First the ambient sounds and secondly from the emotion in the peoples voices. The ambient sounds and music for this film weren't overly important. But, like probably just about every other film they are a layer to the experience that helps build the whole. Without them something, literally, would have been missing. Next up was the emotion in the character's voices. Stripped to the raw text, words have much less impact and their meaning seems much more vague. While you can put some of the visual clues together, trying to read movie dialog with no audio clues makes for a very different movie. This makes me think how hard it must be to go back and read a transcript of something like a trial where emotions are involved but only being able to see the text. I suppose it would be like reading a novel without any of the story surrounding the spoken parts.


Amazing Flashbacks with Smell

December 27, 2005

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Doing little work in the office I ordered a Pappa John's pizza for dinner. I don't think they have been in this area very long and this is the first time I think I've had a pie from them since I've been in Florida. When I opened it up, the smell with the little pepper they put in gave me an instant flood of memories from college. Between ordering for myself and having it at parties I probably had Pappa John's 1-2 times a week for a very long time. Big happy nostalgia.


Loving the Drive

December 23, 2005

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Sitting up in Huntsville right now. Ended up driving this go round. I really love a good road trip. Normally it takes almost exactly 10 hours to get from my place in Florida to the mom's house in HSV, but this time it was just a little over 9 hours. I only stopped once for gas and once for a drive thru, but I don't think that had as much to do with the reduced trip time. Traffic was just really moving and I ran into the least amount of construction I think I've ever seen on a road trip. It's a really relaxing drive. Mostly long straight roads (I-10 for example). I just put on some tunes and go. Give my mind a really good chance to just bounce around. I've know for a while, that taking a nice long road trip at least once a year is really good for my mental state. Other benefits over flying include the fact that it's my schedule and timing, I don't have to rent a car and I can avoid Atlanta where I often get delayed or stuck. My little MP3 player jacks into my car so I've got a huge amount of music on random to keep the groove going without running into repeats. (I was trying to put an audio book on but didn't have time to get it converted over.) The question becomes, will all this lead to me getting an RV and traveling to Bama games when I retire? Only time will tell.


SXSW Showcase

December 13, 2005

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And here is where you can get a copy of the showcase (assuming the torrent is still live which I can't check right now). When I hit the page, it asked me if I wanted to visit the new version of the site. You don't since the link to the tracks is on the archive.


Found New Music: The Earlies

December 13, 2005

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Last year, South by Southwest release about 1.5 Gigs of MP3s from artist that were playing. One just came up on random that I hadn't heard before. A song called "Morning Wonder" by The Earlies. In another sign that the net is freaking cool, you can check it out for yourself.


LED light isn't quite ready

December 13, 2005

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I forgot to give an update on The Everlasting Light Bulb. Unfortunately, the verdict is not so good. The light puts out roughly the same amount of illumination as a 25 or 30 watt standard bulb. It's not even close enough to be able to read by. The hue of the light has a very, very blue cast two it. Doesn't feel like a daylight balanced, but I haven't put a color meter to it. Either way, it's not ready for prime time yet. Oh well, it was worth a shot. I'm sure I'll find some use for it since it's probably going be around for a few thousand years.


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