Friday, March 30, 2007

Dyson To Field Roomba Terminator

It looks like Dyson is preparing to go, wheel-to-wheel...with iRobot using the DCO6.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

It Was the Dawn of the Third Age of Game Consoles

More Xbox news today: Microsoft has announced new agreements to make TV series and movies downloadable over Xbox Live. For example, Warner Brothers will be offering their direct-to-video on XBL at the same time they release the films on DVD. One such film will be the first installment in Babylon 5: The Lost Tales.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Newton Stealing a Sock

I came up with this metaphor after hearing tiny thunder in the apartment and then seeing Newton galloping down the hallway with more-than-usual jauntiness.
Newton stealing a sock, metaphor. Any person or animal who is especially excited about an activity because it is forbidden.

Google Smart

I yoinked this phrase from my colleague Ken:
Google smart, adjective. Possessing only the knowledge that can be obtained from a few hours of searching the internet.
Example: I'm no expert on the subject of my new project, but I made myself Google smart about it over the weekend.

Hack That Coffee

Javaholics in the readership may be interested to know that MAKE has collected five previously published caffeine-related hacks into a PDF e-book. Of course, you are also welcome to borrow the relevant copies of the mag from me.

360 L337

Microsoft recently took the wraps off the Xbox 360 Elite. The main differences are that it has an HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface) port (and cable) and a 120-GB hard drive. Oh, and it's black. The console hits stores in the US and Canada on April 29 and will be priced at 479 smackers. Owners of existing 360s will be able to buy the big hard drive separately for 180 bucks.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

This Post is Plagerized

Instead of putting actual thought into what I write, this time I'll simply copy a letter Nick just sent me. His words express my feelings as well as any of my own would:
Man, do I ever wish I had a few thousand dollars laying around and nothing to do with it. I would love the Exploding Man or Hiro and the T-Rex.

First Impressions

Apparently, the guys at Penny Arcade find Puzzle Quest...worth buying. Maybe I should steer our resident puzzler, Alison, away from this one.

Monday, March 26, 2007

President Picker

Check out this link. It's a website where you answer some questions about your opinions on various political issues and how important they are to you. Then, it ranks the 2008 presidential candidates based on how closely they match your political beliefs. If I didn't already know that I'm a Democrat, I do now! I thought it was pretty cool! Enjoy.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Once More Unto the Tardis, Dear Friends

Season 3 of the re-imagined Doctor Who hasn't even begun airing, but the Beeb has (or have, as the Brits would say) announced that the show has been renewed for a fourth season (or series). Season 3 premiers March 31 in the UK; look for S4 about the same time in 2008.

Friday, March 23, 2007

War Rhinos!

I'm sure everyone in the readership is aware that both the graphic novel and the film version of 300 are only very loosely based on the historical Battle of Thermopylae, but does the war rhino featured in the film have any basis in reality? Well, my favorite paleontologist/blogger has the answer. Check it out.

I'm Proud to Report I Never Eat at McDonald's

I encourage you to check out this article describing the ingredients in McDonald's Chicken McNuggets. You may not be surprised to learn that they are less than 50% chicken, or that they contain several entirely synthetic compounds---chemicals which are not parts of plants or animals---but the article is still a sobering read.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Throwin' Frag!

New Line Cinema has just bought the film rights to the runaway-hit* Xbox 360 game, Gears of War. The purchase also includes a 21-page treatment by Stuart Beattie. So, perhaps we can expect a Gears movie in a couple of years. Alison and I have been discussing whom we would cast in this movie, but I'd like to read your input. So, please post your ideal cast to the comments.

* The game is selling well for good reason: The gameplay is well designed, and the video is beautiful.

The 6-Million-Dollar Starbuck

(Spoiler warning: this post contains no spoilers, but the second link contains a significant spoiler for Season 3 of Battlestar Galactica.)

In other Battlestar-related news, Katie Sackhoff, who is most famous for playing Starbuck on the re-imagined Battlestar, will guest star in the pilot for David Eick's re-imagined Bionic Woman. Sackhoff will "an evil bionic woman and nemesis to [title character Jamie] Sommers. Doesn't sound to me like she'll be stretching her acting muscles much.

BSG: S4, DTV, and Caprica

The Sci Fi Channel has just increased their order for Season 4 of Battlestar Galactica from the 13 episodes I reported earlier to 20. Their announcement also mentions "a special two-hour extended episode that will air during the fourth quarter of this year and be released on DVD." This special episode sounds to me like the stand-alone telefilm that's been rumored.

In other Battlestar news, I haven't heard much about the Caprica spinoff series lately, leading me to wonder if it would happen. However, according to this article from the 'Pedia, the rumors of its abortion have been explicitly denied by the producers. Meanwhile, Joseph Adama, William's father and Lee's grandfather, who will be a central character in Caprica, has been mentioned several times recently on Battlestar. I guess that's no coincidence.

If Only Life Ran Like Xbox Live

Nick pointed me to this funny article about how we can make the world a better place by implementing Xbox Live's Gamerscores in real life. For the record, I yoinked the title of this post from him, too.

Monday, March 19, 2007

It Was Gametastic

Thanks to everyone who made it out to our gaming/chatting/eating party this weekend. A good time was had by me.

Friday, March 16, 2007


Everyone in the readership who also enjoys Penny Arcade---so, just Nick---will be interested to know that the first trailer for the first episode of the game based on the comic, Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness, has hit the web. Enjoy.

Newton vs. The Bath

Let's be clear: Newton HATES to be bathed. He tolerates it and stands more or less still, but that's only because he tends to slip and fall over if he struggles. So, he just stands there looking pathetic and whining at you while you lather him up. It makes you feel like the world's worst human...but then you's just soap and water! *sigh* Well, perhaps Newton is not totally in the wrong about baths. They do make him look like this:

Um, yeah, not his best look. Like all dogs, Newton prefers not to use a hairdrier. He gets a twofer...he dries himself off AND soaks anyone or anything nearby. Bonus!

Still, how can he truly complain when he looks like this when all is said and done?

All together now..."Awwwww!"

Neofelis Diardi

There's been a bit of news in the online press lately about a paper published late last year announcing the discovery that a long-known subspecies of clouded leopard is actually a distinct species of its own. The newly promoted species will have the scientific name "Neofelis diardi" and the common name "Bornean clouded leopard." I'd suggest "murky leopard" or "turbid leopard" as funnier alternatives, but I'm certain no one would listen to me.* This critter is distinguishable from the mainland clouded leopard by a darker pelt with different markings and parallel dorsal stripes as well as by its very different genes. As might be expected, Darren Naish has posted a good blog entry on the history of this animal's classification. I encourage you to check out both of the above links for information and for photos of this beautiful animal. And be sure to note the size of its canine teeth; apparently, all the clouded leopards have proportionately large canines.

* Nor should they.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Lessons Newton Taught Us: Shampoo

Here's another bit of wisdom we'd never have come by without our puppy around:
Even if the dog shampoo has a picture of a Westie on the bottle, it's very easy to reach for it in the shower.


Oh, gawd. This one again? The shortest interval between repeated workouts since I started CrossFit, and it had to be this one? Ugh.

Seriously, though. The pull-ups aren't bad, but the million-or-so handstand push-ups are quite a challenge.

Update: In spite of my preemptive whining, I managed to cut a significant amount of time off this workout. So, yay me.


Happy Pi Day, everyone! I'm sure Weird Al is partying hard.

Irony Can Be Pretty Ironic Sometimes

I find the latest Frazz strip quite amusing. I hope you will, as well.

Monday, March 12, 2007

It Turns Out It's Pronounced "Cross-Bow"

You ca go here to see video of my new favorite car, the KTM X-Bow, but you will only be able to understand the description if you speak German. Be sure to note the rocker-based suspension working visibly. Meanwhile, you can see photos of the vehicle at the the Geneva Auto Show here.

Thar She Blows, Indeed!

Longtime readers of this blog may recall my article on a proposed explanation for the narwhal's tusk. Well, uber-cool blogger and paleontologist Darren Naish recently summed up the research on this animal oddity on Tetrapod Zoology. Check it out.

Sir Mix-a-Lot Would Approve

Women in the readership who like to describe themselves as "curvy" will be interested in this article describing recently uncovered paleolithic female figurines with more than generous hips and buttocks.

300 Training: CrossFit

If you've been curious to see what this CrossFit thing I've been blathering about looks like, or if you want to know how the Spartans in 300 got so uber-buff, you should check out this video chronicling the training the actors underwent. The actors were trained by Mark Twight's Gym Jones. Twight was once affiliated with CrossFit, though he references XF very infrequently on his site. Nonetheless, the workouts and approach illustrated in the video will look and sound familiar to any XF adherent.

Movie Review: 300

Alison and I have somehow gotten in the habit of only going out to movies or dinner when our friends are around. Last Friday, we decided to buck that trend by going out to eat and to see 300, which was opening that day. The film is based on Frank Miller's graphic novel of the same name, which is, in turn, inspired by the Battle of Thermopylae.

Here are a few assorted comments about the film:
  • The look of the film is spectacular; the costumes, the prosthetics, and the stylized blue-screen effects---and almost every scene in the movie was shot in front of the blue screen---are all visual feasts.
  • I enjoyed the music very much. It's an odd mixture of music that could have been performed in the ancient Mediterranean and modern guitar licks, but it somehow works. It works so well, in fact, that when we left the theater, when went directly to the bookstore to pick up the soundtrack.
  • The story is only loosely historically accurate, but you have to expect that in a film based on a comic book.
  • The dialog is often quite melodramatic, but, again, that is to be expected in a graphic-novel adaptation.
  • Several plot points are quite obvious long before they happen, and I'm not just talking about the inevitable ending here. I found that rather annoying.
  • Despite the above shortcomings, the movie does successfully manipulate the viewer's emotions. I found myself identifying with the Spartans and cheering them on.
Overall, I give it 8.0 out of 10. I would have only given it 7.5, but I'm bumping it up half a point for reminding me to crank up the intensity of my workouts.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Colbert Meets His Maker

Those of you who get their news from Comedy Central and who have also been wondering why I've been talking up MAKE magazine---I know there's at least one of you in the readership---may be interested to know that the zine's editor-in-chief appeared on the Colbert Report* recently.

You can check out a video of the segment here or here.

* Those of you not familiar with the show will want to know that both Ts are silent.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Beer-View Mirror

Those of you in the readership who enjoy both cycling and beer*---I can think of at least one---may be interested in this hack: It's a rear-view mirror meant to be mounted on your bike helmet or sunglasses, rather like ones you see in the cycling catalogs. This one is different, however, in that you get to make it yourself and in that a beer-bottle cap is involved.

Hmm. You know, this project would would give me an excuse to use my Dremel and that hole-saw kit I just bought...

* Though not at the same time, I hope.

Under the Hood

Have you always wondered what's inside all your electronics, but were unwilling to crack open the cases to find out? Well, wonder no longer! The MAKE blog pointed me at this honking-big database of tear-downs of electronic gadgets. Neat, eh?

Monday, March 05, 2007

This is Starting to Seem Incestuous

Tim Minear has announced that the beautiful and talented Katie Finneran, who played Sharon, my favorite character, on Wonderfalls, has been cast in his new series, Drive. Finneran will be playing---get this---the sister of Nathan Fillian's character. So, to recap, what we have here is a new Tim Minear series staring Nathan Fillian and including Amy Acker and Katie Finneran . If I were half my age, and a girl, the only way to describe my feeling would be "Squee!" Instead, I'll just say that I'm quite optimistic about this show. Of course, given that this show is being aired on the don't-give-the-series-a-chance network, Fox, and the Curse of Tim Minear, I can't help but worry that it won't last past episode 10.

Look for the first two episodes of Drive to premier on April 15 with the next ep the very next day. After that, the show will air regularly on Mondays at 8:00 PM.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Sophomore Heroes

It appears some changes are in store for Heroes' sophomore season.

Friday, March 02, 2007

How cool is this?

Very...that's how! Check out this article (with pictures). Apparently a dolphin in Japan was fitted with a prosthetic tail after her tail had to be amputated.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Heroes: A Spoiler-Free Comment

Alison and I watched this week's episode of Heroes last night---yet another example of the time-shifted viewing that has all the ratings people so flustered. It was very entertaining; if the rest of the series hadn't already hooked me, this episode would have done the job. If you aren't watching this show, you need to get caught up on the old episodes and start watching the new ones. Now.