Solutions: the bite of the retail bug

Feeling a little less-than-festive, now that several radio stations are burping out the traditional holiday tunes 24×7? Feeling the credit pinch from the traditional, well-thought-out list of gifts you feel incredibly obligated to purchase?

The best ways to combat these feelings if they hit you every year is to find a way to step back and redefine (without the helpful chatter of retail giants) what it really means to you.
Give some careful thought and consideration to 12 ways to de-commercialize the holidays for starters.

Hey, Putting up the lights in the lawn getting you down? just go geek. Take a different tack, and do it up in your own unique style, like the Tesla Coil Tree! What a great project, eh?

Skipping on some of the traditional festivities could lead to some more interesting pusuits, like discerning the true purpose of those Costa Rican stone balls. I’d like to see their positions flagged on a google map mashup. Maybe if you zoom out far enough, there is a message to be seen.

And hey, you’re headed to a family gathering at some point, so you may as well ask younger cousins, nieces and nephews to help you remember the basics of geometry you have forgotten completely so that you might be able to solve The World’s Hardest “Easy” Geometry Problem while you are there.

The Open Cell and Crap in the Stream

I was reading about Verizon’s plan to open their network, and thought that it’s a great idea, both for business and for cross-compatibility. They are going to allow you to use the Verizon signal with any device. So if you are a DIYer, or get a google phone, or a linux phone, you would have their network as an option. This also allows people to develop other applications and devices to be used on the cell network that couldn’t have existed before. You also have the option by T-Mobile of using any open 802.11 wireless signal. So, taking the two ideas together, I have an idea for developing a system to be installed in cars that would have a couple of antennas and act as a repeater for both 802.x wireless and for the Verizon cell signal. The car would then have communications available for things like routing and traffic information via internet sites, be able to place phone calls, and would also give better range to others in the area using wither type of signal.

I saw some interesting anti-Vista, pro-Linux case badges yesterday. I’m wondering if people still use case badges, really, unless they are making some kind of statement. For those of you who don’t know, these are the domed stickers that go on the front of a desktop computer, usually with the brand of the company you got the computer from, like “Bob’s Computer Shop”.

Garagenous Zone (noun) – The area in which your garage door remote is effective. e.g.: Jaques liked to roll slowly up the block, groping for the outer limit of his garagenous zone.

Facebook released a new service that I’m sure seemed like a good idea at the time, but are now backpedaling on their “creeptech” ad system. Facebook users and privacy advocation groups alike were pointing out ways that the service could be used for adverse means. I’m sure that officials at Facebook wouldn’t have released it if they had been aware of its potential for misuse.

In a lot of ways, I’m glad that I don’t use cable service at home. I’ve been accosted with debates over speed, etc in the past. Since I do a lot of things online, the connection is important. One of the things I do a lot of is bittorrent traffic. I was reading an article just this morning about Comcast apparently blocking peer-to-peer traffic. They are denying this effusively, but the EFF’s data suggests they are. I’d like to invite all the ISP’s to do some self-examination. You charge as a service for access to a stream. We all have to crap. Why not crap in the bushes or dig a latrine, rather than in the stream that is generating your revenue?
When I am working on someone’s computer, and fire up a bittorrent so that I can get the latest Knoppix or Slax disc, I just want to complete the download and get to the task at hand. If I pay for a service and that service impedes me, there is always another provider of the service. Especially with ISP’s.

I know you have looked. We all have.

Did you find your GoogleGänger? It seems very narcissistic(ego-surfing!), but with all the tons and tons of searches using all of the search engines, meta crawlers, and self-serve spiders, you know that everyone eventually decides to plug in their own name, just out of sheer curiosity.
Sometimes, people with uncommon names find out that there is one after all… someone walking around with the same name as you. Not only that, but also indexed on “teh interwebs!” Can you believe it?
, especially if someone with your name is highly profiled, or in the public eye for some reason or another.
Just like when doing image searches, you need to brace yourself for those little uncertainties, though. If your name has any connotations with lewd behavior, you will likely have been ribbed a good bit in grade school, and already be aware, but there’s always the chance that your surname turns out to be a slang term for some really vile bedroom follies in a faraway culture. If this happens to you, please let me know. (it might be a good idea to check at Urban Dictionary as a precaution) I would find it fascinating, out of sheer enjoyment of neologisms in general. Even better if it’s a paleogism.
But then, after you have identified your GoogleGanger, by all means follow Sara’s lead and turn it into some friendly SEO competition… vying for position where the search term is your name can be quite good practice for larger SEO projects!

Google: cash rocket!

Google stock hits 600 USD

I don’t do any sort of stock investing, but this is really big news. I knew that it would happen, but just seeing the numbers seems surreal. Heavy investing in Google ads have sent Googles’ stock roaring through the roof.

I’ve always been impressed with Google as a company. Their out-of-the box management model should be the one that all companies use for their knowledge staff.

How they get the best and brightest to work for them here

If you haven’t seen google finance before, it’s really neat, by the way. Click Here to open the page for jsut the “GOOG” stock. it’s interesting how the value graph is zoomable, and there are marked points on that graph, showing news stories to the right that may have had a bearing on the stock rising or falling. The related blog posts and enough stats to choke your average accountant, and you have lots to look at for any sort of casual, fantasy, or serious investing you might be doing.

The same info page at Yahoo shows a good graph and the headlines, and of course, a lot of the same information, but it just doesn’t seem to be cross referenced in one view the way that the Google page is. I did notice that there is a beta graph on Yahoo that is much more robust and AJAXed out, and I really like some of the features, lik having the main competition for whatever company you are looking at listed just to the left, as well as benchmark indexes.

Of course, I’m looking at these without any background in investing, and knowing only the bare basics of what the stats on these pages mean.
They both are much nicer, friendlier, and approachable than what you see on the “serious” investing sites. I mean, look at this one… …sheesh!

Bonne semaine pour la Boum

Mardi Gras floatOkay… so I’m a day early in posting this. Most Mardi Gras parties were over the weekend, anyway, unless you happen to be in New Orleans or one of the other areas where carnivale is ingrained in the local culture.

I have so much alcohol left over. I ned to throw a party or something to get it down to a manageable level.

hmmm…. Mardi Gras is tomorrow… hmmm…

I did a bunch of new development on the google API maps, and am looking forward to the rollout to the public so you can all see it.

At Mark’s Mardi Gras party, I met several very interesting people. It was a blast. They did a great job planning it, too. The weather was really rough getting up there, but is was fine getting back home.

Time to hydrate.