April 26, 2006
Warp Core Breach

Here is video of me drinking a Warp Core Breach at Quark's Bar in Vegas. I'm saying 'Take the picture' since I didn't realize a movie was being filmed. Thanks to Cyril for the video.

Posted by michael at 11:36 AM | Comments (9)
April 25, 2006
Best Quote So Far at NAB

Brad says "Don't eat a half pound of meat and then go to bed."

Posted by michael at 08:27 AM | Comments (0)
April 23, 2006
Off to Vegas

I'm about to drive to Las Vegas for the NAB Conference. While I'm away, here is a short video to keep you entertained.

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch. (via Writer's Almanac)

Posted by michael at 11:37 AM | Comments (4)
April 21, 2006
Why I want to be a billionaire

If I was a billionaire, I could win this auction for a samurai helmet with antlers. (via Boing Boing)

For a long time, when playing MMORPGs, I have liked to wear deer antlers.

Here's a few images from Ultima Online of me:

Now take a look at what's for sale on ebay:

You see what I'm talking about? Why Bill Gates hasn't snapped this up is beyond me...

Posted by michael at 05:13 AM | Comments (5)
April 18, 2006
On a lighter note

A few other things I have been remiss in not posting:

Mister P. writes about a Doonesberry comic that involves my alma mater, RPI

My cousin Richard is now blogging at Otigoji.com

If you want a visual display of what's on your hard drive, try SequoiaView Windows software (via dl.tv)

Strenghting my geek cred, I had a story I submitted to Slashdot approved.

I am now a writer for the Metroblogging Azeroth site, focused on World of Warcraft news and issues.

A good article on HDTV standards, focusing on 1080p in next gen DVD and gaming displays. (via digg)

Sean "Internet Mogul" Bonner doesn't get Second Life either.

And finally, 30+ years into my readership, Legion of Superheroes is coming to television in 2007 on the WB.

Sidenote: I really do need to get around to making a linkblog thingie for this site...

Posted by michael at 07:51 AM | Comments (3)
April 17, 2006
Paid circulators

Here in California, we have process where the citizens can put a law or constitutional amendment on the ballot without the involvement of the politicians. This capability was designed as a power reserved to the people to counter a possibly corrupt state government.

This is what was used to recall Gov. Davis and put Arnold in place. The problem is that it is legal for someone to pay someone to collect the needed signatures. Currently, you need just under 400,000 signatures to get a law on the ballot. So if you pay $1 per signature, for around half a million dollars, you can get your law on the ballot. In California, the insurance and pharmaceutical industries regulary pay to have bills put on the ballot, simply because they can and hope they can convince the public to vote yes.

To me, this is bullshit. The initiative process is abused by this kind of think. As a result, I don't sign any petitions that are run by paid circulators. They are required to tell you if they are paid, that's the law.

Today I was stopped by a circulator on the way into the supermarket and she asked me to sign some petition to save the children from [fill in the blank] and I asked if she was a paid circulator. She went nuts. She started asking if I got paid for what I did. I simply said, "I don't sign with paid circulators." At this point, I thought her eyes would pop out of her head as she began spotting off about minimum wage and other topics. I went into the store and bought some milk.

When I walked out she was at the other entrance talking to other people and not there to yell at me more. As I walked ot my car, I reflected on my stance. Was I being too harsh?

Hell no. Fuck her and the rest of the people fucking up my state by selling our laws to the highest bidder. Damn blood-sucking leeches. Next time I get a spare million bucks, I'm buying a vote on getting rid of paid circulators.

Posted by michael at 07:47 PM | Comments (7)
April 11, 2006
Podcast Ethics

I've been a reader of PC Gamer magazine for years, ever since the death of my beloved PC Accelerator magazine. Recently, they started a podcast about PC game news and discussion and I've been listening.

Several shows ago, the initial host of the show Dan Morris left and was abruptly replaced by Greg 'theVede' Vederman to lead the discussion. I wondered what had happened, but didn't think much more about it. After three or four shows, the issue was finally addressed.

What happened was the Dan became Associate Publisher of PC Gamer, formally moving to the business side of the magazine. In the world of journalism, the wall between the busness side and the editorial side is significant. There is a real concern about the influence of ad sales money and business relationships with the journalists to not taint the news with concern over the business impact.

Taking over the podcast reins was Greg Vederman, new Editor-in-Chief of PC Gamer, who felt that ethically it would be wrong to have Dan on the podcast, on the journalism side, now that he worked on the business side. So in the most recent podcast, they openly discuss the issue. Talking about both sides and weighing the impact. Even if you aren't a gamer, give it a listen, it's the first thing they talk about, so you don't have to sit through the gaming chat. Although if you are a PC gamer, listen to the whole thing.

I called my father-in-law Tony, an editor at a major midwestern newspaper, to get his take. He felt that the 'firewall' between the business side and the journalism side had eroded over the last several decades. He said that as the internet and new technologies enable things like weblogs and podcasts, the guidelines are unclear on how to deal with them. He mentioned that as newspapers embrace weblogs and citzen journalism, it's not easy. He said it's demonstrated in the recent controversy over a "Grandma In Iraq" weblog that the paper was running.

Back at PC Gamer, they have take an interesting approach on how to resolve the issue of whether Dan Morris will contribute to the podcast or not. They are leaving it up to the readers and listeners. On the front page of the PC Gamer Podcast site is a poll to let Dan's fate be decided.

I've read a number of discussions about these kind of ethics regarding weblogs, but not much in the realm of podcasts. With many podcasts vying for the almighty dollar of advertising these days there are bound to be issues raised since podcast advertising is not as firewalled as placing Google or Yahoo ads on a web page. With podcast advertising, there is a direct relationship between the performer/jounalist and the buyer of advertising. Who knows what the future holds in this area, controversy is for sure...

Posted by michael at 05:53 AM | Comments (1)
April 10, 2006
Let me just clear something up

Make no mistake, X is the greatest punk band ever.

Black Flag and the Pistols are good, but X is superior.

Posted by michael at 09:38 PM | Comments (6)
April 08, 2006
Coke BlaK

Yes, Coca-Cola has done it again. Another new version of Coke for Cruft Labs to investigate. Coca-Cola BlaK is "Coke Effervescence with Coffee Essence". You will note that I am spelling it correctly. It's not 'black' it's 'BlaK'.

I spied Coke BlaK on the internet a week or so ago and looked for it at 7-Eleven regularly. Last night, while picking up a pint of Oatmeal Cookie Chunk, I found that Coke Blak had arrived.

Loyal Cruft Readers know that I have much love for Coke and even more love for canned iced coffee. Could this be some sort of beverage nirvana?

Coke BlaK comes in a small 8 ounce glass bottle in the classic curved bottle. 12 ounces bottles would be better, but it's better than the plastic bottles.

Taking a look at the back of the bottle, the first thjng to notice is that Coke BlaK is a diet drink similar to C2. To sweeten it, Coke uses corn syrup, Aspartame (Nutrasweet), and Acesulfame potassium (Ace K), just like Coke C2. Coke BlaK has 12 grams of carbohydrates (think sugar) in 8 ounces, the exact same ratio of sugar in C2 (18 grams in 12 ounces.). While not promoting it, Coke is basically using the C2 base formula for Coke BlaK.

Enough looking, let's get to the drinking. It has a lower amount of carbonation than a typical Coke. No striking aroma either. I took a drink and could immediately taste the coffee flavor. I was hoping to like it, but it just doesn't taste that great. The coffee flavor doesn't taste quite right. It's so specifically coffee that it almost tastes synthetic. It didn't taste like Coke with some cold coffee mixed in, it tasted like coke with drops of Coffee Flavor #57 dropped in. I don't have a better way to describe it other than 'artificial'.

Michele gave it a taste and said, "My god, that's horrid. I mean truly terrible!" Zoe took a taste as well and commented, "That's yucky.". Sadly, I tend to agree.

On the bright side, I removed the label from the bottles and the kids want to use them as water bottle. The classic shape, screw top, and 8 ounce size make them perfect for little hands. Here is the bottle in use in today's afternoon picnic in the front yard.

Posted by michael at 03:56 PM | Comments (22)
April 06, 2006
The Best Show You Might Not Be Watching

I'm been meaning to write about Big Love on HBO, but Mike W. has written a better post about than I could have.

Set your Tivo to record it, you won't be disappointed.

Posted by michael at 09:38 AM | Comments (1)
April 05, 2006
cruftbox plays with live crawfish

Photo by chokersandwich

Martin took this shot of me at Len's annual crawfish invasion. If you remember, last year we revealed the truth about crawfish boils.

Posted by michael at 09:45 AM | Comments (1)
April 03, 2006
My Tahoe Commercial

Following Sean's lead, I also have made my entry in the Tahoe Commercial contest. Take a look at it now.

Posted by michael at 12:30 PM | Comments (1)
April 01, 2006
Yesterday's prank aka My Little Travis

No April's Fool Joke here today. Anil writes about it, and I have to agree that the weblog April Fool's joke has jumped the shark. Real life pranks are the new hotness.

With April Fool's Day landing on a Saturday, work pranks need to be done before or after the weekend. Here's what happened at work yesterday.

One of my co-workers, Travis, is a fan of horror films and enjoys collecting 'action figures' from them. When he first placed the 'action figures' in his cube, he was sure that everyone knew that they were 'action figures' and not dolls, toys, or anything else not suitibly masculine.

Here is Travis's area at the office. Note the long line of action figures.

Also adorning his cube are the friendly and welcoming Darth Maul and Dawn of the Dead posters.

Once Travis headed out to lunch, my secret partner (who is definitely not Mister P., wink, wink, nudge, nudge) and I took the action figures down and put them on a cart for safe keeping.

The next step was obvious as they were all replaced with cute My Little Pony action figures.

And the posters were swapped to bit different message.

The end result being a new look and feel for Travis when he returned from lunch. We thought it gave his cube a more friendly appeal for the casual passerby.

Travis was engrossed in a phone call when he got back from lunch and at first didn't notice. Focused on his phone call, it wasn't until others gathered around his cube in open mockery did he realize what was going on.

Travis's neighbor Miles, also had a lone action figure from Halo, and we made sure that we 'enhanced' that figure as well.

I think everyone had a good laugh, including Travis. My only concern is what my office will look like on Monday morning... Payback's a bitch.

Posted by michael at 08:56 AM | Comments (2)