Blogging Daytonnati, the nation, and the world.
this site:
  Home | Archives | Categories | | About Me
Saturday, March 13, 2010
I really can't say enough about how good Heavy Rain is

It's incredible how immersive the game is and how such an simple control scheme manages to just draw you in. You're constantly on guard for what the next choice is going to be, and at times it becomes clear that they simply intend for you to fail. Just like the characters you're playing there are simply some things you can't do. You miss 3 buttons in a row and something bad happens and you realize that seems like exactly what was supposed to happen.

I shot and killed a man today, and I find that it's really sticking with me. I find myself going back over the scenario and trying to figure out what I could have done differently to avoid that. Maybe if I'd just intervened a little earlier... I don't know. But the thing is, I never consciously made the choice to shoot him, but at the same time I didn't do it accidentally. I tried to talk him down, but it just came to a point where, with how he was talking, I felt certain that he was about to shoot my partner and instinct took over, I pulled the trigger. And I immediately thought "Holy crap, I just shot him..." It wasn't conscious, and it's not as if I accidentally bumped the button, at that moment I was just so immersed in the game that I instinctively knew that at that moment I had to do that. And I find that amazing, and I'm left wondering what that instinctive choice means for the rest of the game...

Posted by robbernard at 9:05 PM in Media , Technology/Internet

Sunday, November 19, 2006
The Wii

Didn't so much sleep last night with the 32 degree temperatures and being 28th out of 100+ in line for 84 Wiis at Best Buy this morning. Got the console, Zelda and an extra Wiimote/nunchuck. Played more this morning than I planned to. Slept most of the afternoon.

It can take a few minutes for whole motion-sensitive-controller thing to not feel weird, but pretty soon slashing the remote to swing a sword feels like the most natural way to control Link. It's really kind of amazing how quickly you can adapt to it.

Posted by robbernard at 9:16 PM in Technology/Internet

Monday, November 7, 2005
The future is here

Bigg's supermarkets are now letting you pay for your groceries using your fingerprint.

Posted by robbernard at 11:38 AM in Technology/Internet

Friday, July 22, 2005
Longhorn gets a name

Microsoft's next OS, long code-named Longhorn is now officially Windows Vista.

Posted by robbernard at 12:09 PM in Technology/Internet

Friday, June 10, 2005
I have to give Microsoft a little credit...

They finally brought tabbed browsing to IE with the MSN toolbar... but boy is the flicker/flash of the window every time you switch to another tab ever annoying.

Posted by robbernard at 11:10 AM in Technology/Internet

Tuesday, May 24, 2005
A new type of computer attack

It seems hackers have started locking up files on people's computers and leaving ransom notes saying that the user won't get the key unless they pony up $200.

Posted by robbernard at 4:49 PM in Technology/Internet

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Sony announced the PS3 today and it looks incredibly cool.

Sony also confirmed the PlayStation 3 will use Blu-ray discs as its media format. The discs can hold up to six times as much data as current-generation DVDs. It will also support CR-ROM, CD-RW, DVD, DVD-ROM, DVD-R, DVD+R formats. Sony also confirmed the machine would be backward compatible all the way to the original PlayStation. It will also have slots for Memory Stick Duo, an SD slot, and a compact flash memory slot. It will also sport a slot for a detachable 2.5-inch HDD, somewhat similar the Xbox 360's. Sony did not mention if the drive would be standard.

Sony also laid out the technical specs of the device. The PlayStation 3 will feature the much-vaunted Cell processor, which will run at 3.2GHz, giving the whole system 2 teraflops of overall performance. It will sport 256MB XDR main RAM at 3.2GHz, and it will have 256MB of GDDR VRAM at 700MHz.

Sony also unveiled the PS3's graphics chip, the RSX "Reality Synthesizer," which is based on Nvidia technology. The GPU will be capable of 128bit pixel precision, 1080p resolution, some of the highest HD resolution around. The RSX also has 512MB of graphics render memory and is capable of 100 billion shader operations and 51 billion dot products per second. It also has more than 300 million transistors, larger than any processor commercially available today. It will be manufactured using the 90nm process, with eight layers of metal. The RSX is more powerful than two GeForce 6800 Ultra video cards, which would cost roughly $1,000 total if purchased today.
Out of the box, the PS3 will have the capability to support seven Bluetooth controllers, which can be used for nearly 24 hours before they require charging. Later, pictures of the controllers themselves were released, showing their almost boomerang-like shape. It will also have six USB slots for peripherals: four up front and two in the back. As rumored, it will also have Wi-Fi connectivity to the PSP, which can be used as a remote screen and/or controller.


Posted by robbernard at 12:03 AM in Technology/Internet

Friday, May 6, 2005
A victory in the Fair Use war

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has ruled that the FCC can't require hardware manufacturers to include copy protection (the Broadcast Flag) limiting how broadcast media could be redistributed. This is quite a blow to the MPAA in their fight to limit our fair use rights.

In a stunning victory for hardware makers and television buffs, a federal appeals court has tossed out government rules that would have outlawed many digital TV receivers and tuner cards starting July 1.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled Friday that the Federal Communications Commission did not have the authority to prohibit the manufacture of computer and video hardware that doesn't have copy protection technology known as the "broadcast flag." The regulations, which the FCC created in November 2003, had been intended to limit unauthorized Internet redistribution of TV broadcasts.

"The broadcast flag regulations exceed the agency's delegated authority under the statute," a three-judge panel unanimously concluded. "The FCC has no authority to regulate consumer electronic devices that can be used for receipt of wire or radio communication when those devices are not engaged in the process of radio or wire transmission."

Posted by robbernard at 12:38 PM in Technology/Internet

Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Downtown Dayton now has free wireless internet

One square mile of Downtown (including Courthouse Square and Fifth Third Field) now offers free wi-fi though the official kickoff isn't until this weekend. If things work out they hope to be able to expand it into the rest of the city.

Personally it won't do me much good but it's still a good idea. Hard to argue against something that will make Downtown more attractive and costs the city nothing.

Posted by robbernard at 12:26 AM in Dayton , Technology/Internet

Friday, April 22, 2005
Sony & Toshiba in talks to merge Blu-Ray and HD-DVD
Sony and Toshiba are in talks aimed at adopting a common format for next generation video discs...

The talks... are expected to lead to a unified format for advanced DVDs capable of recording high-quality content, including high-definition movies and video games.

An accord would end years of heated competition between the two camps to win over content providers, particularly Hollywood studios, and gain supremacy.

Sony is supporting Blu-ray disc technology along with most consumer electronics makers including Samsung and Matsushita.

Toshiba is championing HD-DVD with the backing of NEC and Sanyo among others.

...until recently a compromise has seemed unlikely because both camps were in the advanced stages of development and high-end early models have already been introduced. "The physical format was fixed last year and it is technically very difficult to change this," said one official in the Blu-ray camp.
The question now is which of the technologies will dominate in a unified format. HD-DVD offers lower manufacturing costs, since production techniques are similar to current DVDs. But analysts think Blu-ray will be the core of any compromise, because it offers more capacity and is seen as a technological leap forward.

--Financial Times

If they do reach a compromise it should be interesting to see how they work things out technically. Actually merging the two technologies would hardly be a simple thing.

Posted by robbernard at 1:59 PM in Technology/Internet

Monday, April 18, 2005
A shift in tactics in the Spam War

CNN has an interesting article on how ISPs are shifting from just filtering inbound e-mail for spam to trying to stop it at its source.

Posted by robbernard at 2:08 PM in Technology/Internet

Tuesday, April 12, 2005
Cancer and cell phones

A new study finds no correlation between the two.

Posted by robbernard at 1:58 PM in Technology/Internet

Saturday, April 2, 2005
Best Buy to eliminate mail-in rebates

Thank God, it's about time. Say what you will about Best Buy but they do get a good many things right.

Retailers' love affair with mail-in rebates may be coming to an end.

In response to customer complaints, Best Buy Co. Inc., the world's largest electronics retailer, promised Friday to eliminate mail-in rebates within two years. Best Buy's rivals, including Circuit City Stores and CompUSA, are expected to follow suit.

"Our customers are telling us they just hate the process," said Ron Boire, executive vice president and general merchandise manager at Best Buy.

It remains to be seen, however, whether the decision will translate into better deals for consumers. By eliminating the promotion, consumers may end up paying more for certain products than if they received the rebates, Baker said.

"If you don't do a rebate, that gives the retailer and the manufacturer money to spend in other ways," Baker said. "It doesn't necessarily mean more money back to you."

Yet most analysts said they expect Best Buy to drop its prices to compensate consumers, and that will force other consumer-electronics retailers to eliminate their mail-in programs.

"I can guarantee you that there are five executives in a room at Circuit City trying to figure out what to do next and when to do it," said McGranahan of Sanford Bernstein. "If they're smart like Best Buy, they will realize that there are probably other promotions that would be a lot more effective and less frustrating."

--Star Tribune

Posted by robbernard at 1:12 PM in Technology/Internet

Monday, March 28, 2005
Speaking of blogging trouble...

...I've got no problem with light-to-no posting when a blog author just doesn't have anything to talk about, but when you write a tech blog as part of your job and the launch of the PSP goes totally unnoticed because you haven't posted in 18 days then there's a problem.

Posted by robbernard at 1:59 PM in Technology/Internet

Wednesday, March 16, 2005
Blogging from my cell

This post is originating from my new cell phone. Gotta say I'm really enjoying it so far.

Posted by robbernard at 10:08 PM in Technology/Internet
Times they are a-changin'...

Now there are cell phones designed specifically for 8-12 year olds.

Posted by robbernard at 6:21 PM in Technology/Internet

Monday, March 14, 2005
Goodbye Cincinnati Bell Wireless, hello T-Mobile

On Friday I started the switch from Cincinnati Bell Wireless to T-Mobile. I can't complain about CBW's service or coverage but I was tired of having to pay full price whenever I wanted to upgrade my phone and how, because they're not a national provider, the only place I could get ringtones and the like was right from CBW. Plus the plan I had (their cheapest) was much more than I needed. Last month was an unusually heavy month for me cell-minute-usage-wise and still the total of all my minutes was less than a quarter of my available peak minutes. T-Mobile had a plan that fit my needs much better so that once I've added on several features that I didn't have with CBW (like internet access on my phone) I'll still be paying less per month.

Plus I couldn't pass up their deal on what I consider to be a pretty cool little camera phone. In the store the Samsung e315 is $199.99, online it's free. At CBW they've only got one phone under $99.99 and a mere 2 flip phones.

I'm probably giving up some coverage area in switching away from CBW but the other advantages were just irresistible. The phone's supposed to arrive by FedEx Wednesday and the number port's scheduled for Thursday.

Posted by robbernard at 2:41 PM in Cincinnati , Technology/Internet

Wednesday, January 26, 2005
Well, that does it...

Sega is officially out of the sports game market, selling their sports game subsidiaries to Take 2 who signed a deal with MLB this week to be the exclusive 3rd party baseball game developer.

Earlier, of course, EA took the NFL and ESPN away from Sega.

Posted by robbernard at 1:34 AM in Baseball , Technology/Internet

Wednesday, January 12, 2005
Well, that's it. TechTV is officially dead

The name of G$TechTV is being changed to G$ - video game television with an increased focus on gaming.

You know, it's hard not to have seen it coming but this still hurts. To think of all the good shows on TechTV and all the pure crap on G4 and to think that the only decent show to survive was X-Play... *sigh*

Posted by robbernard at 1:00 PM in Technology/Internet

Monday, January 3, 2005
Mars Spirit rover reaches first birthday

Its mission was only supposed to last for 90 days but today it is heading into its second year studying the surface of Mars.

Posted by robbernard at 12:37 PM in Technology/Internet

Tuesday, December 21, 2004
Seems like a neat idea
Beginning Jan. 2, consumers will be able to buy a 10-ounce container of Wolfgang Puck gourmet latte at the store and heat it just by pressing a button on the can.

No electricity. No batteries. No appliances.

"It will expand the way people drink coffee," says Puck, the celebrity chef.

How does the can do it? A single step mixes calcium oxide and water. It heats the coffee to 145 degrees in six minutes -- and stays hot for 30 minutes.
The self-heating coffee-in-a-can will retail for about $2.25 -- less than a Starbucks latte.

--Chicago Sun-Times (Hat tip Boortz)

Posted by robbernard at 1:19 PM in Technology/Internet

Monday, December 13, 2004
What the hell is AOL doing?

AOL owns Netscape. They finance Mozilla. The browser that comes with AOL is Microsoft's Internet Explorer.

Now comes word that AOL is building a standalone browser which will be Internet Explorer with tabbed browsing.

Are we sure AOL isn't being run by a pack of monkeys?

Posted by robbernard at 3:37 AM in Technology/Internet

Sunday, December 12, 2004
Students told to dump IE
A public university with an enrollment of over 80,000 put the kibosh this week on Microsoft's Internet Explorer, and urged its students to switch to alternative browsers such as Firefox, Mozilla, Opera, or Safari.

Penn State University on Wednesday issued an alert to students and staff recommending that they dump IE and use a different browser.

The university's Information Technology Services (ITS) gave the advice "because the threats are real and alternatives exist to mitigate Web browser vulnerabilities," ITS said in a statement. It cited the security problems in IE that have been the focus of both media reports and recommendations from such organizations as the US-CERT, the federally-funded computer response team housed at Carnegie Mellon University.

"The University computing community [should] use standards-based Web browsers other than Internet Explorer to help minimize exposure to attacks that occur through browser vulnerabilities," added ITS.

--Information Week (via Slashdot)


Posted by robbernard at 1:23 AM in Technology/Internet

Wednesday, December 8, 2004
Some good news for DVD-philes

While it's still not even close to clear which next-gen DVD format will win out, Blu-Ray or HD-DVD, Toshiba and Memory-Tech have developed a dual-layered disc that will be able to play in both HD-DVD players and current DVD players. That would mean that people with current DVD players wouldn't need to go out and buy a new Hi-Def DVD player to play the first wave of HD-DVDs. Instead of plunking down a couple hundred bucks just to play their first HD-DVD purchase they can just stick them in their current DVD players and hold off the HD-DVD player purchase until they have a decent-sized collection of HD-DVDs that would warrent the expenditure.

HD-DVD will have this to encourage early adoption, Blu-Ray will have the help of being used in the PS3. I suppose the question is... which is the better incentive?

Posted by robbernard at 12:36 PM in Technology/Internet

Friday, December 3, 2004
Ohio legislature passes anti-spam bill
The worst violators could face a minimum of six months in jail as well as fines of $25,000 per violation, or $2 to $8 per violating e-mail. Their computer equipment could be confiscated, and Internet providers could sue for damages.

AOL spokesman Nicholas Graham called the Ohio bill "one of the strongest anti-spam measures in the country." Graham said the bill is aimed only at the worst offenders who use fraud, deception and evasion to get their messages in front of consumers.

"This is not meant to snag grandma sending her oatmeal cookie recipe," he said

If signed into law, it would outlaw Internet ads that are deceptive or misleading and ban people from setting up false accounts to send spam, the junk e-mail that clogs consumers' online mailboxes and taxes the resources of Internet service providers.

The measure would also allow the state attorney general to impose criminal and civil sanctions against spammers.

--Yahoo! News

It's not going to do a ton of good so long as it's so easy for the spammers to fake where the message is coming from, but it's a start at least.

Posted by robbernard at 3:26 AM in Technology/Internet

Monday, October 4, 2004
X Prize won

Burt Rutan's SpaceShipOne wins it. Unfortunately it seems to have gotten lost in all the Mount St. Helens hype.

Posted by robbernard at 10:20 PM in Technology/Internet

Friday, September 24, 2004
Remote Desktop

This Remote Desktop in Windows XP is just great. If I want to synch up my rss feeders I can just call up my upstairs computer on the remote desktop and do it while I'm still looking at Sharpreader on the downstairs computer. If upstairs watching TV in my room and want to check on the 2 gig download I've got going on downstairs I can just call it up, no problem. It's great.

Posted by robbernard at 12:16 AM in Technology/Internet

Thursday, September 16, 2004

The folks at Mozilla have release version 1.0PR of Firefox and they're looking to get 1,000,000 downloads in 10 days. With 9 days left they've gotten 312,138 downloads so go get yours now.

Get Firefox!

Posted by robbernard at 4:09 AM in Technology/Internet

Tuesday, August 10, 2004
New life for Hubble

They had previously cancelled the missions to maintain it and were expecting it to fail when its gyroscopes gave out in '08. Looks like now they're going to fix it with a mission in 2006.

Posted by robbernard at 2:29 PM in Technology/Internet

Saturday, July 10, 2004
Internet Explorer losing market share

For the first time since at least 1999 Internet Explorer is showing a noticable decline in market share.

A relatively small but noticable number of people are getting fed up with IE and switching to Mozilla/Netscape with IE's market share dropping from 95.73% to 94.73% in a month while Mozilla/Netscape's share rose from 3.21% to 4.05%.

I made the switch a while back and am quite happy with Mozilla's Firefox.

Posted by robbernard at 1:12 PM in Technology/Internet

Wednesday, July 7, 2004
Got extra Gmail invites?

You might consider Gmail4Troops. They'll hook you up with a member of our military looking for a Gmail invite and you then send them one. I just sent my first Gmail4Troops invite to an enlisted man with the 120th Engineers.

Posted by robbernard at 5:18 PM in Technology/Internet

Monday, June 21, 2004
Hotmail blocking Gmail?
bonhomme_de_neige writes "Emails and invitations sent to Hotmail from Gmail accounts do not bounce, but nor do they arrive in the recipient's Inbox - they vanish mysteriously into the aether. Joel Johnson writes in his Gizmodo weblog that invitations he sent to a Hotmail address bounced (this even received coverage from ZDNet). Search Engine Roundtable writes that several ISPs are blocking Gmail. It's already well-documented that Yahoo moves Gmail invites into the Bulk Mail folder. I've personally confirmed the Hotmail and Yahoo blocking." Please note: I've not been able to verify this one way or another.


If this is true, would you really want to use an e-mail service that just discards valid e-mails?

And just for total disclosure, my main e-mail is handled through my web host. I do however have Yahoo and Gmail e-mail accounts.

Posted by robbernard at 1:57 PM in Technology/Internet

Thursday, May 20, 2004
The end of Call for Help

Sad day. Call for Help taped its last show yesterday. G4 is shopping Call for Help to other networks, but the only thing Leo will be doing on G4TechTv is his pretaped tip segments on The Screensavers.

I suppose my ideal situation given the end of Call for Help would be for Leo to take back over The Screen Savers from Kevin, but I won't be holding my breath.

Posted by robbernard at 5:00 PM in Technology/Internet

Sunday, May 16, 2004
I was promised flying cars. I don't see any flying cars!

Oh wait, there's one.

Posted by robbernard at 2:47 PM in Technology/Internet

Friday, May 14, 2004
MT 3.0

Movable Type 3.0 is out and it's created quite an uproar over the pay structure. If you want to have more than 3 weblogs or more than 1 author you need to pay $70 and the prices go up to $149 for the Personal edition. I only have one weblog and one author, but still I don't know that I like it. I don't know that the can really call the free version a "fully-functional" version if they're going to limit how many authors you can have.

That being said, I imagine I'll upgrade at some point in the future.

Posted by robbernard at 4:44 PM in Technology/Internet
Geez, do you think this is in response to gmail?

Yahoo's upgrading e-mail storage to 100MB.

Posted by robbernard at 1:19 PM in Technology/Internet
Fair use

Currently the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) makes it illegal for you to make a backup copy of any copy protected digital media you have legally purchased, including software, music, and movies. You know that copy of The Lion King you just bought your kid? You're not allowed to make a copy of it for when your kid bends it, breaks it, steps on it or does any of the number of things kids do to small shiny discs that can be scratched.

Rep. Rick Boucher of Virginia has introduced the Digital Media Consumers' Rights Act (H. R. 107). This bill would change the law so that you can get past the copy protection legally and companies can make software that allows you to do this.

It's just common sense that you should be able to make backup copies of digital media for your own personal use if you've paid for the right to use it.

Please consider writing to your Representative and encouraging him or her to support the Digital Media Consumers' Rights Act.

Posted by robbernard at 2:43 AM in Movies , Politics/Government , Technology/Internet

Friday, May 7, 2004
Who's on First for the computer age

From any number of places on the net:

ABBOTT: Super Duper computer store. Can I help you?
COSTELLO: Thanks. I'm setting up an office in my den, and I'm thinking about buying a computer.
COSTELLO: No, the names Lou.
ABBOTT: Your computer?
COSTELLO: I don't own a computer. I want to buy one.
COSTELLO: I told you, my names Lou.
ABBOTT: What about Windows?
COSTELLO: Why? Will it get stuffy in here?
ABBOTT: Do you want a computer with Windows?
COSTELLO: I don't know. What will I see when I look in the windows?
ABBOTT: Wallpaper.
COSTELLO: Never mind the windows. I need a computer and software.
ABBOTT: Software for Windows?
COSTELLO: No. On the computer! I need something I can use to write proposals, track expenses and run my business. What have you got?
ABBOTT: Office.
COSTELLO: Yeah, for my office. Can you recommend anything?
ABBOTT: I just did.
COSTELLO: You just did what?
ABBOTT: Recommend something.
COSTELLO: Y ou recommended something?
COSTELLO: For my office?
COSTELLO: OK, what did you recommend for my office?
ABBOTT: Office.
COSTELLO: Yes, for my office!
ABBOTT: I recommend Office with Windows.
COSTELLO: I already have an office and it has windows! OK, let's just say, I'm sitting at my computer and I want to type a proposal. What do I need?
COSTELLO: What word?
ABBOTT: Word in Office.
COSTELLO: The only word in office is office.
ABBOTT: The Word in Office for Windows.
COSTELLO: Which word in office for windows?
ABBOTT: The Word you get when you click the blue w.
COSTELLO: I'm going to click your blue w if you don't start with some straight answers. OK, forget that. Can I watch movies on the Internet?
ABBOTT: Yes, you want RealOne.
COSTELLO: Maybe a real one, maybe a cartoon. What I watch is none of your business. Just tell me what I need!
ABBOTT: RealOne.
COSTELLO: If it's a long movie I also want to see reels 2, 3 & 4. Can I watch them?
ABBOTT: Of course.
COSTELLO: Great, with what?
ABBOTT: RealOne.
COSTELLO; OK, I'm at my computer and I want to watch a movie. What do I do?
ABBOTT: You click the blue 1.
COSTELLO: I click the blue one what?
ABBOTT: The blue 1.
COSTELLO: Is that different from the blue w?
ABBOTT: The blue 1 is RealOne and the blue w is Word.
COSTELLO: What word?
ABBOTT: The Word in Office for Windows.
COSTELLO: But there's three words in office for windows!
ABBOTT: No, just one. But it's the most popular Word in the world.
ABBOTT: Yes, but to be fair, there aren't many other words left. It pretty much wiped out all the other words out there.
COSTELLO: And that word is real one?
ABBOTT: RealOne has nothing to do with Word. RealOne isn't even part of Office.
COSTELLO: Stop! Don't start that again. What about financial bookkeeping? You have anything I can track my money with?
ABBOTT: Money.
COSTELLO: That's right. What do you have?
ABBOTT: Money.
COSTELLO: I need money to track my money?
ABBOTT: It comes bundled with your computer.
COSTELLO: What's bundled to my computer?
ABBOTT: Money.
COSTELLO: Money comes with my computer?
ABBOTT: Yes. No extra charge.
COSTELLO: I get a bundle of money with my computer? How much?
ABBOTT: One copy.
COSTELLO: Isn't it illegal to copy money?
ABBOTT: Microsoft gave us a license to copy Money.
COSTELLO: They can give you a license to copy money?
ABBOTT: Why not, they own it.

Posted by robbernard at 3:36 PM in Technology/Internet
Entire Tech TV staff fired

Looks like Comcast is moving the operation to L.A. and has thus fired everybody at Tech TV (giving them 60 days notice) and is posting 100 of the jobs for those willing to move to L.A. No real idea how this affects programming and/or on-air talent other than that if the stars don't want to move to L.A. they won't have a job.

This from Leo Laporte's blog.

Posted by robbernard at 1:37 AM in TV , Technology/Internet

Thursday, May 6, 2004
A note to NBC (Or "You bleeping sons of bleeps!")

When you say the finale of Friends is going to end at 9:59 YOU HAD BETTER BLEEPING WELL END THE BLEEPING SHOW AT 9:59, NOT 5 MINUTES LATER!!!! Every person with a DVR and everybody who taped it according to the times you gave them missed the end of the series finale of Friends.

A quote from September that illustrates NBC's feelings towards their customers with DVRs:

But NBC Entertainment prexy Jeff Zucker doesn't feel your TiVo pain.

"I guess the 10 people who own TiVo have now been informed," he sniffed. "I'm glad they're helping us out."


Way to go NBC, way to go. You just ticked off and alienated the ever-growing number of TV viewers who have DVRs.

I realize the disdain NBC execs have for Tivo, but do you really need to go out of the way to piss people with DVRs off? I guess so. In a world where more and more viewers are transitioning to cable can you really afford to keep ticking off your fans at every turn?

*sigh* My hatred for Network Execs has once again been reinforced. May you all spend eternity being forced to watch episodes of The Swan.

Posted by robbernard at 11:01 PM in TV , Technology/Internet

Thursday, April 29, 2004
First people charged under CAN-SPAM

Four people in Detroit have been charged with hiding their identities in hundreds of thousands of pieces of spam which they bounced through unprotected computers on the net.

Posted by robbernard at 3:36 PM in Technology/Internet

Wednesday, April 28, 2004
I don't get spammers

Do they really think a subject line like "calypso embraceable paraffin bentham lithology asparagus haggard hereinabove cozy companionway seaweed corporeal crap necessitate marine gibraltar atrophy brimstone expansible midge compendia cominform execrate estimable impeccable gibby boyish bonito imprison reptile chopin elastomer bisect immunization" is going to get me to open up their message? There's not a chance in hell that I'm going to open that message and you would think they'd be able to figure that out.

Posted by robbernard at 1:25 PM in Technology/Internet

Monday, April 26, 2004
This is pretty cool

A crystal chandelier that can recieve and display SMS text messages.

Posted by robbernard at 3:45 PM in Technology/Internet

Wednesday, April 21, 2004
Prime Minister of Swaziland fired with text message
Swaziland's King Mswati fired former Prime Minister Sibusiso Dlamini last year via a text message on his cellphone, enraged local lawmakers say.

"This was an embarrassment," said Magwagwa Mdluli, a former natural resources minister now serving in parliament.

Attorney General Phesheya Dlamini, reportedly acting on instructions from the king, sent Dlamini an SMS message in September informing him he was being replaced as part of a wider government shake-up ahead of parliamentary elections.

--Yahoo! News

Looks like somebody forgot to teach the king that your supposed to break up with people in person.

Posted by robbernard at 2:27 PM in Technology/Internet

Monday, April 19, 2004
Good news

Just noticed this. Leo Laporte, who was fired from Tech Tv earlier this month has been rehired thanks to fan support.

Welcome back Leo.

Posted by robbernard at 7:43 PM in Technology/Internet

Thursday, March 25, 2004
Big changes at Tech TV

Comcast has agreed to buy TechTV and is folding it into their own network, G4. Additionally tonight was Leo Laporte's last night as host of The Screen Savers. Sad to see Leo taking a diminished role on TSS, personally I'd rather see him give up Call for Help, but I understand that there's not really a good alternative hosting option for CFH like there is with TSS.

I can't say I've ever seen one show on G4 that I liked, so let's hope they don't mess with TechTV's shows too much. At the very least I think they need to keep Call for Help, The Screen Savers, Tech Live, Fresh Gear, and X-Play(which is a better gaming show than anything G4 has).

Posted by robbernard at 11:35 PM in Technology/Internet

Monday, March 15, 2004

My RSS reader bombed out last night and for some reason half my feeds disappeared. Had to go back and find and reenter all the XML urls I had before. That went ok, but now I've got one spot left and I have no idea what feed went there. I've gone up and down my blogroll and I just can't find one that I had before that I don't have now. *sigh*

Posted by robbernard at 10:02 AM in Technology/Internet

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Microsoft, AOL, EarthLink and Yahoo are filing lawsuits under Can-Spam against what they say are six of the most prolific spammers. Most of the suits are against John Doe but this is the first step in tracking down who is responsible.

It's good to see. It's not a permanent solution, fixes need to be made to the e-mail system itself, but itís nice to see somebody taking the spammers to task.

Posted by robbernard at 3:31 PM in Technology/Internet

Friday, March 5, 2004
Stamps for e-mail?

Bill Gates is suggesting that we should have to pay per e-mail.

This is such a bad idea. We don't need to pay more money. What we need is an e-mail system where the "From:" address can't be faked. Allow people to always know what address an e-mail is coming from and then you'll have the ability to actually enforce current and future anti-spam laws.

The great problem of e-mail isn't that it costs nothing to send it, that's a great benefit. The problem is that you have no way to ensure that the address in the "From:" field is the actual address it was sent from.

Posted by robbernard at 12:47 PM in Technology/Internet

Monday, February 9, 2004
Online Political Citizens

The Institute for Politics, Democracy & the Internet at George Washington University has released a study on "Political Influentials Online in the 2004 Presidential Campaign", this would include a lot of the bloggers and blog readers out there.

  • Online Political Citizens are not isolated cyber-geeks, as the media has portrayed them. On the contrary, OPCs are nearly seven times more likely than average citizens to serve as opinion leaders among their friends, relatives adn colleagues... Normally, 10% of Americans qualify as Influentials. Our study found that 69% of Online Political Citizens are Influentials.
  • About 44% of Online Political Citizens ahve not been politically involved in the past in typical ways- They have not previously worked for a campaign, made a campaign donation or attended a campaign event.
  • [OPCs] are twice as likely as member of the general public to have a college degree; they have higher incomes, are slightly younger, and more likely to be white, single and male.
  • [OPCs] are significantly more likely to donate money to candidates...
  • E-mail is their lifeline: 87% receive political e-mail and 66% forward political e-mail to friends and colleagues. OPCs frequent political Web logs, political discussion groups and political chat rooms much more often than the general public.
  • We estimate that [OPCs] comprise about 7% of the population.
  • --Political Influentials Online in the 2004 Presidential Campaign

    There's some more interesting conclusions there.

    Posted by robbernard at 2:59 PM in Politics/Government , Technology/Internet

    Friday, February 6, 2004
    Tivo and Nielsen team up
    Nielsen Media Research has signed a deal with TiVo that will allow the media-monitoring firm to track consumers' digital video recorder use, according to the companies. ... Nielsen has been criticized for its lack of DVR audience measurement capabilities. TV and marketing executives widely regard the increased use of digital TV devices as an important industry development.

    According to a statement released by the two companies, TiVo and Nielsen will collect data on a permission basis, utilizing an "opt-in" panel that allows users to volunteer to be monitored. The new service will collect data on approximately 5,000 to 10,000 TiVo users.

    Good. Tivo and the other DVRs are changing the way people watch TV. The processes for tracking viewership need to keep up.

    Posted by robbernard at 3:55 PM in Technology/Internet

    Tuesday, February 3, 2004
    A fortuitous search engine ranking will do wonders for traffic

    Thanks to nipplegate and several high search engine rankings the site's had a 2,000% increase in traffic from yesterday. What would we do without search engines?

    Posted by robbernard at 7:32 PM in Technology/Internet

    Monday, February 2, 2004
    Big bust regarding the Nigerian scam e-mails
    Dutch police have arrested 52 people suspected of defrauding gullible Internet users in one of the largest busts of the infamous "Nigerian e-mail" scam.

    Also known as an "advance fee" or "419" scheme, the scammers sent spam e-mails asking for help in transferring a large sum of money out of a politically or economically troubled country, in exchange for a generous percentage.
    A task force of 80 officers raided 23 apartments, seizing computers, fake passports and euro50,000 ($62,000) in cash. One suspect was injured attempting to escape by leaping from a third-floor apartment, he said.
    The suspects worked from their homes and sent more than 1 million e-mails, at times clogging the servers of their Internet provider, Dutch-based cable company UPC. Police enlisted UPC's help to trace them, Meulenbroek said.

    Six people, three from Nigeria and three from Benin, were convicted in a similar case in Amsterdam in May, receiving sentences of up to 4{ years. They had defrauded victims for several million dollars (euros), including a Swiss professor who lost US$482,000 after being promised 25 percent of a US$36 million sum.

    Nigeria has recently stepped up its efforts to eradicate the scam, which taints its image abroad. The Central Bank of Nigeria denies any connection to the scammers, and Nigerian agencies have been placing warning advertisements in international newspapers for years.


    Posted by robbernard at 2:28 PM in Technology/Internet

    Sunday, January 25, 2004
    A good day on Mars

    Opportunity is safely on Mars and talking and they now think Spirit's problem is bad flash memory which can be bypassed.

    Posted by robbernard at 12:36 AM in Technology/Internet

    Friday, January 23, 2004
    Gonna try updating to mt-2.661 now

    So if things go terribly wrong you'll know why.

    --Seems to have worked. That wasn't hard.

    -- 11:10 PM --Hmm, comments aren't working, guess it wasn't as easy as I thought.

    -- 11:29 PM -- Ok, comments are working again. A note to future upgraders. If you get an error something like "An error occurred: Global symbol "$body" requires explicit package name at lib/MT/App/ line 251." try making sure you uploaded your .pm files as ascii and that your ftp program didn't default to binary.

    Posted by robbernard at 6:48 PM in Technology/Internet
    Good Mars news

    Spirit is kinda talking again, and there's officially water on Mars.

    Posted by robbernard at 2:13 PM in Technology/Internet

    Thursday, January 22, 2004
    Damn Martians and their probe destroying ways!!

    Spirit's Spirit's stopped talking. Look on the bright side though, we've got another one landing Saturday.

    Posted by robbernard at 7:53 PM in Technology/Internet

    Tuesday, January 20, 2004
    Damn spammers!

    Just got hit by a comment flood so I suppose it's time to upgrade to Movabletype Version 2.661. Hopefully it'll go smoothly, but if it goes kerblooey that'll be why.

    On a related note, I highly recommend mt-blacklist. I can't imagine what a pain it would have been to clean up the flood without it.

    --15:45--Well ok, maybe I'll hold off until mt-blacklist has a new version that plays well with the new version of mt...

    --16:02--Holy cow, in the past 45 minutes blacklist has rejected over 400 attempted spam comments, this is just insane.

    Posted by robbernard at 3:39 PM in Technology/Internet

    Sunday, January 4, 2004

    We're back on Mars.

    The best part of it all is all the giddy nerds on TV.

    Posted by robbernard at 2:59 AM in Technology/Internet

    Friday, January 2, 2004
    Some days I feel almost normal

    Then there are days like today where I realize just how geeky I am.

    I'm getting far too much enjoyment out of this coding I'm doing.

    Posted by robbernard at 2:11 AM in Technology/Internet

    Tuesday, December 9, 2003
    It's about freakin' time!

    Somebody's finally stepping up to the plate and moving forward with authenticating e-mail.

    A scheme for fighting spam by authenticating the sender of every email is being developed by the Yahoo!, a US internet portal.

    The project would involve revamping the email system by building a worldwide database of digital domain name "keys" - a string of characters associated with a domain.

    Under the proposal, email messages would be automatically signed by the email server from which they are sent. Using a cryptographic scheme known as public key cryptography the receiving server could then check to see if the message really came from a valid system.

    Yahoo! believes this would prevent spammers from using forged email addresses - a common trick used to defeat anti-spam filters.

    "What we're proposing here is to re-engineer the way the internet works with regard to the authentication of e-mail," Yahoo! spokesman Brad Garlinghouse told Reuters.

    --New Scientist

    It's things like that that will defeat spam. Until you can know for sure who the spam is coming from you can't effectively end it.

    Posted by robbernard at 12:03 AM in Technology/Internet

    Thursday, November 13, 2003
    Spam busting
    OK .. Internet taxes are one thing, but would a continuation of my ban mean that we have to abandon my spam-buster idea? It's simple, just charge everyone five cents for every email message they send. That five cents doesn't go to government, and it doesn't go to Internet Service Providers. That five cents goes to the person to whom the email was sent. If you send me an email five cents is added to your account at your ISP and is credited to my account at my ISP. If it isn't worth five cents for you to be sending the message then maybe you shouldn't be sending it in the first place.

    What's the purpose? Busting spam, that's what. That nickel isn't going to hurt you for the five or six email messages you send every day ... but it's going to break the bank for spammers. What about free newsletters? They would be exempted for all emails sent to those who requested them.


    Now, why won't this work? First off not all e-mail is ISP based. There are plenty of free web-based e-mail services (i.e. Yahoo,, and hotmail) that would either be put out of business by this or forced to start charging.

    Secondly, a U.S.-based 5-cent per e-mail charge would still leave the problem of foreign-based spammers. I doubt youíre going to be able to control the ISPs in China or the like.

    Additionally the suggestion that you exempt free newsletters isn't very practical. How do you go about proving that everybody on those lists actually wants to be on them? There are millions of mailing lists in existence and I would imagine the effort to make sure that every one of them is a bona fide mailing list and not a spam list would be quite prohibitive.

    I would suggest that the better solution is simply to change the e-mail system so that from-addresses canít be faked. Once itís impossible to fake the address that the e-mail is coming from itís possible to create a ďdo-not-e-mailĒ list that you can actually enforce.

    Posted by robbernard at 3:57 PM in Technology/Internet

    Tuesday, October 28, 2003

    Downloaded the new Napster 2.0 and I have to say I much prefer the interface of iTunes. Napster's new interface just seems unnecessarily complicated and muddled and just overall confusing.

    Posted by robbernard at 1:12 AM in Technology/Internet

    Monday, October 27, 2003
    More than five years after people got their first easy way to download music off the Internet, they're finally getting a reasonable opportunity to pay for it. That it's taken this long for an otherwise functional capitalist system to go after this market is an embarrassment.

    --Washington Post

    Posted by robbernard at 4:11 PM in Technology/Internet

    Sunday, October 26, 2003

    I don't think it would be possible for Sun to make it any more confusing when trying to download the Java SDK. You only need to wade through about a half dozen levels of pages only to get to a page that gives you about 50 different files you can download. It's like they're trying to weed out the people who aren't smart enough to be doing programming in the first place.

    Posted by robbernard at 4:32 AM in Technology/Internet

    Friday, October 24, 2003

    From CNN.

    This really isn't going to work. The do-not-call list works because telemarketing is done by reputable companies within the United States. Spam is a lot more likely to come from outside the country and/or to be from one or two people operating out of their home. But even with that you could stop it if it weren't for the problems with the e-mail system itself.

    Spammers don't need to put their real e-mail address on the spam. It's a lot harder to go after spammers when you don't know their address. Even if you can get their ip address from the header it's still not a simple task. The best way to solve this issue I think is to fix the e-mail system itself. E-mail servers really need to be fixed so as to force the from-address to be the sender's real address. This would be an inconvenience for some who want an e-mail from one of their accounts to look like it came from another, but the benefits of having an actual address for the spam you receive would far outweigh it.

    Posted by robbernard at 12:47 AM in Politics/Government , Technology/Internet

    Wednesday, October 15, 2003

    We've all been getting those Nigerian scam e-mails for quite some time, and as I said yesterday I've started receiving Christian spam lately. Today I open my mailbox only to find a Christian version of the Nigerian scam. *sigh*

    Posted by robbernard at 4:03 PM in Technology/Internet

    Tuesday, October 14, 2003

    I am now actually getting Christian spam. "You are loved", "Jesus died on the cross to save us all", "Search for The Bible on the internet", blah, blah, blah. The least they could do is let people who are already Christians opt out.

    Posted by robbernard at 2:52 PM in Technology/Internet

    Wednesday, September 17, 2003

    This has got to be the mother of all science fair projects.

    Posted by robbernard at 1:44 AM in Technology/Internet

    Friday, July 4, 2003

    Came across a listing from Microsoft in my continuing effort to find a job and thought this sentence was funny: "The basic strategy of the Microsoft Business Solution division is the defragment the business solutions marketplace." In other words, they want to run it all.

    Posted by robbernard at 6:29 AM in Technology/Internet

    Tuesday, July 1, 2003

    That is all.

    Posted by robbernard at 6:42 AM in Technology/Internet

    Wednesday, June 18, 2003
    "No one is interested in destroying anyone's computer," replied Randy Saaf of MediaDefender Inc., a secretive Los Angeles company that builds technology to disrupt music downloads. One technique deliberately downloads pirated material very slowly so other users can't.

    "I'm interested," Hatch interrupted. He said damaging someone's computer "may be the only way you can teach somebody about copyrights."

    The senator acknowledged Congress would have to enact an exemption for copyright owners from liability for damaging computers. He endorsed technology that would twice warn a computer user about illegal online behavior, "then destroy their computer."

    "If we can find some way to do this without destroying their machines, we'd be interested in hearing about that," Hatch said. "If that's the only way, then I'm all for destroying their machines. If you have a few hundred thousand of those, I think people would realize" the seriousness of their actions, he said.

    "There's no excuse for anyone violating copyright laws," Hatch said.

    --Washington Post

    I don't have the words to properly express how stupid this is. Illegal downloading is wrong, but that isn't an excuse to destroy someone's property. If someone steals a CD from Best Buy the folks at Best Buy don't have the right to burn the coat the guy hid the CD under, do they?

    The best way to stop illegal music downloading is to provide an easy legal way (like iTunes) to download music. Beyond that, downloaders should be prosecuted; the answer isn't vigilante justice.

    Posted by robbernard at 5:15 PM in Technology/Internet

    Monday, February 3, 2003

    Solar panels have been installed on the White House grounds to help heat water for the pool and spa.

    It's a small matter really, but it wasn't publicized at all, and you'd that that if the Bush administration were really as hungry to appear eco-friendly as the cynics would have us believe they'd have at least mentioned this.

    Posted by robbernard at 12:55 PM in Technology/Internet

    Sunday, February 2, 2003

    Thursday, December 19, 2002
    Mike Binder, creator and star of ["The Mind of the Married Man"], had set his home TiVo to record his 1999 movie, "The Sex Monster," about a man whose wife becomes bisexual. After that, Mr. Binder's TiVo assumed he would enjoy a steady stream of gay programming. Unnerved, he counteracted the onslaught by recording the Playboy Channel and MTV's spring break bikini coverage. It worked, he says. "My TiVo doesn't look at me funny anymore."

    His wife, however, was taken aback when she saw all the half-naked women he was ordering through TiVo. He told her those women meant nothing to him: "I'm just counterprogramming because TiVo thinks I'm gay." She was unamused. The incident inspired an episode of his show.

    Just don't go too far or it'll think you're a Nazi.

    Posted by robbernard at 12:22 PM in Technology/Internet


    Creative Commons License
    This site and all associated works created by Rob Bernard are unless otherwise stated licensed under a Creative Commons License.

    My Ecosystem Details