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Recently I liberated a Jack Lalanne power juicer from my mother's clutches - she owned it for many years, and in that time it gathered a lustrous coating of dust, nearly changing its color from white to gray (shortly thereafter, she purchased a second juicer, this time in stainless steel... perhaps so the dust would be less noticeable?).

In any case, I too let the juicer languish in my kitchen. I tried one time to make a juice from a couple different ingredients, and the result was less than stellar. The last time I was visiting the parents in Connecticut though I found a copy of Elaine Lalanne's Power Juicer recipe book; I liberated this item as well and perused it for ideas about different combinations of fruits and vegetables, and proper ratios for good tasting results.

Having read through it a couple of times, I feel like I have a grasp of the fundamentals. Today I made a carrot, beet, celery, and onion juice (little spring onions) and it came out totally delish. I generated a huge amount of pulp, and I proceeded to take that, saute it in a pan with olive oil and garlic, then added a bunch of water, pepper, curry, cumin, and bay leaves and simmered it for a bit; so in additional to six cups of tasty juice, I created another ten or so cups of a spicy gazpacho for this awful heat wave. Not bad!!
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Remember how I lost all my photos in a horrible hard drive crash some months ago?

As it turns out, I have a ton of photos in my email that I never once considered. Practically every image I've ever sent as an attachment, or has been sent to me, is in my mailbox. I've been poking around with Spotlight on my Mac, and just generally searching for JPEGs, and I've already come up with a number of gem photos that I forgot existed.

It's going to take me a long time to scour all of my hard drive, but now I know there are a whole bunch of photos floating around in there that I can salvage and organize in my iPhoto; I may very well not have lost as much as I thought I did.
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[Error: unknown template qotd]A pelvis.
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After a little thought and analysis, I've decided I'm going to start allocating time to my "extracurricular activities". I made some estimations of where all my time needs to go with "life maintenance" and work and then prioritized the activities I want to spend time on.

Chinese - 1 hour every day of the week
Greek - 1 hour Monday through Friday
Art - 2 hours on Saturday
Writing - 2 hours on Sunday

It comes out to spending a little more than two hours a day on my non-work pursuits. I left myself two hours a day of "free time" to fill with whatever I want, but more than anything I just wanted to come up with a rough estimate of how much time I can afford to dedicate to other things each day.
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I'm begging for it!!!

On top of having to pay the whole cost of my iPhone upgrade, AT&T socked me for another $25 for a hidden "upgrade fee". IT'S NOT ENOUGH THAT YOU'RE NOT SUBSIDIZING IT, YOU HAVE TO TWIST MY SACK ONE MORE TIME.

Blood from a stone. Please Mr. Obama, please break up the telecom monopolies and make it stick this time? For the children? For the future of the country?
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B.P.R.D. - Still good.

Hellboy - Also still good.

Astro City - Actually got an issue of this, finally! I'm really hoping they just wrap up this arc... it would be nice if there were some kind of reboot of Astro City at this point, but that may be so pomo that it eats its own head.

Planetary - LAST ISSUE IN OCTOBER FINALLY I CAN'T BELIEVE IT HAS BEEN TEN YEARS FOR 27 ISSUES

Batman and Robin - New take on old characters by Grant Morrison. Grant and Frank Quitely did amazing work with All-Star Superman, and this new Batman stuff (with Dick Grayson as bats and Batman's son as Robin) is really really awesome. The feel is exactly what Batman should feel like, but it's a new story with new character development; I love it.

Top 10 Season Two - Haven't seen this lately, must be running late again... maybe it's time to put Top Ten to bed.

Red Mass For Mars - Watchmen-like uberfuture where humanity is doomed. I think this book is about done, it never really grabbed me so now I'm just getting it to be complete with it.

Walking Dead - Still reading this zombie soap opera, it keeps pulling me back in.

Anna Mercury - Alternate worlds and a boob-laden secret agentess. New story arc, looks promising.

Viking - This is a very moody, art-centric, historical fiction piece about Vikings. I like it, but we'll see how long it lasts.

Buck Rogers - Indy take on the classic character. Could be good; we'll see what happens.

Doktor Sleepless - Bio/Hacker superhero wants to end the world. Still wearing thin.

Gravel - Warren Ellis, John Constantine with a badass military twist. This series not only excels for Warren, it's setting up its next whole story arc with this great weirdo all magician super-team. A very very cool idea, Magic X-Men. I hope it takes off - I also think it would be great if Avatar did an omnibus collection of all the Gravel stories they've ever put out (as the character starred in a number of mini-series before getting his own regular series).

Ignition City - Where pulp space heroes go to die. Still good, thanks be to Warren.

Irredeemable - Superman-level hero runs amok. This is some good stuff - deconstructing the idea of an alien super-being living in human society, much further than anyone's ever dared to go with the idea before.

No Hero - Take a drug, become a superhero via a horrific biological transformation; just read the penultimate issue, and it should all resolve nicely in the last book. I'm reminded of Black Summer, which I did like, but it also felt a little shallow like No Hero does. Both story ideas could have been expanded more, but Warren is the million armed writer of the Apocalypse, he doesn't really have enough time to write every damn thing in the universe.

Incognito - Supervillain in witness protection regains powers and becomes a "hero". From Ed Brubaker, still loving this book, hope it goes for a while or continues exploring the continuity in other series.
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I don't believe in outgrowing anything I love. If I enjoy something, I don't give a shit if someone else calls it "childish". If someone insists on "giving up all childish things" they love, that person will live the rest of his or her life quite miserably.
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I saw an advance screening of this film tonight and have to say that I was overall disappointed, though very glad that I was invited to see it for free by my friend. I elaborate under the cut.

spoilers ahead )

Person

Jul. 13th, 2009 12:36 am
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Given that a person lives for a finite period of time, that said person collects a finite number of memories as stored experience (due to limitations in time, resources, or capacity - let's call this amount X), that said person for any discrete period of time is defined by those memories and reacts to certain stimuli in certain ways according to what is contained in the collection of memories.

As an example: a person who has seen a particular movie will recall it and express opinions about it when prompted.

Now, a new assumption - let us remove the constraints of resources and capacity, and perhaps even relax the time constraint somewhat. Let's say that instead of X, a person can now have access to 2X worth of memories; the equivalent of two lifetimes worth of human experience. And of course we are also assuming that memories can be manufactured and installed by some means, or that forgotten memories can always be backed up and stored so that a more "complete" life's worth of memory is available.

We can say that a person gains the ability to preserve additional memories via some kind of external store, and has the ability to move memories back and forth between that external connection and the "working memory" of their brain and consciousness. The constraint that remains is that the working memory can only process a certain amount of information at any given time, because it is not made to handle the additional capacity, so memories must be moved back and forth; only the maximum amount of X can be in working memory at any given time, even though access to 2X worth of information is possible.

What amount of memories does a person need to retain in order to keep his or her person being? Is that even a valid question? With 2X available, one could conceivably replace all of the original X worth of memories with another completely different set of memories of X size. That is a completely different person. But if a person keeps 50 percent of their "original" memories, and replaces the rest of working memory with other memories, he or she will probably still be a different person; he or she will react differently when asked "Did you see this movie?" depending on whether or not the memory of the movie is in the person's working memory at that given point in time.

Is there a critical mass of particular memories that defines a person, like a personality DNA? What memories are actually important to always retain, and which could a person afford to lose?
mik3cap: (Default)
I've always considered myself a savvy online consumer. I'm an IT professional, a software engineer and independent consultant. I make all my passwords strong, I don't click on popups or install suspicious software, I don't ever purchase anything from shady online dealers or web sites that don't use secure connections. I thought I was fairly vigilant and smart about how I conducted business online.

Apparently not!

Someone, somewhere managed to get the number of the debit card for my business. They went to PayPal and opened up a "one time use" account with my name and the debit card number. They then used this PayPal account to purchase about $450 worth of virtual goods (gold/items) from various sites that sell World of Warcraft junk, in eight separate transactions at eight different web sites. I imagine that the person responsible is quickly turning these unreal items around for real cash, likely at a discount which encourages gamers to buy fast and not ask too many questions. Highly effective money laundering! (Thanks, World of Warcraft!)

I blame PayPal one hundred percent for this. People should not be able to open up new PayPal accounts without some kind of in-person verification, even if it's just a phone call - there need to be more stringent requirements at sign up, especially for so-called "one time use" accounts. I wish PayPal lots of luck in tracking down the malefactor(s) behind this neat little theft... everyone thinks PayPal is "crazy secure" and it's the gold standard for online commerce, yet it is VERY easily compromised. The hackers didn't need any of my bank account numbers or info, they didn't have to decrypt anything, they didn't need any of my passwords or "key questions" regarding personal information, or special images that only I can verify by sight - none of the measures that supposedly make online transactions more "secure". They didn't have to "phish" me. They just obtained the number and my name, and maybe got my SSN and address from one of the big lists floating around the Internet that hackers trade with each other. Calling the person(s) responsible for this "hacker" may even be an insult to real hackers, considering how little effort they needed to expend. (Thanks, PayPal!)

Luckily for me, I check my bank account online on a daily basis. And also lucky that they decided to make a bunch of transactions all on the same day, making it blatantly obvious what was happening. The bank cancelled my debit card (now I have to get a new one and figure out how to readjust all my billing) and PayPal is aware of the situation, so all I have to do is sit back and wait for my money to be given back to me. Maybe it's even possible that I reacted fast enough to stop some of those transactions from going through and screw the "hacker" a little bit and also make the "vendors" selling WoW junk aware that they just got screwed too.

Moral of the story - I will no longer use my business debit card online, will not use it to pay bills, and will not attach it to PayPal. I'll just use my bank's bill paying utilities to pay off my vendors and send them checks for the bills; that should even help my cash flow a little bit because money won't be instantly deducted by them any more. Be very, very wary of PayPal folks! They're the weak link in the chain at this point.
mik3cap: (Default)
Computers do math with electricity.

If you're familiar with the concept of an electrical circuit, you know that it involves electricity traveling in a circle on a wire between a power input and some output (like between a battery and a lightbulb). That is essentially all a computer is; it's millions and millions of circuits and they're all extremely tiny. Each microchip in your computer is a collection of "integrated circuits" and those are the business ends of your computer, where all the math happens.

Remember way back in kindergarten or first grade, when you were learning numbers? There were flash cards that showed a picture of two apples, then a plus sign, then two more apples, then an equals sign and question mark. That was math in its most basic form, 2 + 2 = 4. Your computer is doing the same thing inside its microchips (especially the Central Processor a.k.a. CPU), except it's doing math with electricity; different circuits and different amounts of electricity represent numbers and operations - a computer in kindergarten might see two lit up lightbulbs plus two lit up lightbulbs equals four lit up lightbulbs! At any given time, the electricity inside your computer's circuits is either "on" or "off" and that's why computers use binary representations of numbers for their math (1 for on and 0 for off). In short - when the electrical currents are combined, the logic built into the circuits changes it into different configurations, and new numbers are the result.

People use decimal numbers, the digits zero through ten; but because computers only use on and off it's easier to use just two numbers to represent all numbers - this is called binary notation. A binary digit is also called a "bit" and when you hear about a 64-bit processor that means it's a collection of circuits that can read 64 binary digits at the same time, a string of digits that could look something like this:

0010101010111001010100010011101101111110101010101101010101101001

It may not look like it means anything, but those numbers represent one or more instructions the computer has to execute - something along the lines of "Add 2 and 2" or some other step in a series of instructions that tells the computer to do things with other instructions. When someone says that a CPU is "Two Gigahertz" they're saying that the computer is doing two billion instructions every second (hertz just means "per second"). Your computer is doing something like "Add 2 and 2" TWO BILLION times every second! You can do a lot of really cool things when you can do that much math that quickly.
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You can really tell that it's faster. The response time on tapping things like mail and photos has sped up quite a bit. The new camera makes images look great, though it doesn't seem like you can autofocus while you're recording a video - and the ambient sound recording during the video isn't half bad, I was worried I would need to get some kind of external mike in order to really catch sound.

The setup process was completely painless for me (I upgraded); I just synced all my info (all my photos and a bunch more of my audio) and went to AT&T's web site to confirm activation. It's all working very well so far... really the only differences I've noticed so far are response time and photos. The compass is a trinket by itself, but it also works well.

Not having MMS PISSES ME OFF. This is a huge feature, I want to be able to send locations and pictures and clips of things to other iPhones!! Not having tethering also pisses me off, but nowhere near as much as the lack of rich messaging. Screw you, AT&T.
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I don't know if people really care about this sort of thing as much as I do... but as a New Yorker (and still a relatively new one, that may factor in) I find that I need to plan my trips around the city. Travel time on public transportation is an important variable to consider, as are schedules for said transportation options.

The thing is, even though applications like Google Maps allow you to make multiple "stops" on a trip, you still can't figure in the time you plan to spend at any particular stop. So for examples, let's say I'm going to run errands in Manhattan for a bit, then meet a friend for dinner, then need to hit the pet store in my neighborhood to get litter for my cat.

I want to be able to start my journey at a particular time and hit location A to make my first errand. I figure running that errand will take me 30 minutes - so I should be able to enter in that first stop, then add +30 to the arrival time to figure out when my start time is for the next leg of the journey, and that should then figure out the next best transportation option to location B based on the schedules. This feature of "added time" alone would make my life a bit easier. But let's also say that I'm scheduled to meet my friend at 5:00p.m. for dinner; wouldn't it be impressive for the application to figure out my current trajectory, and determine whether or not I'm going to be late, and then suggest sending a text message to my friend notifying them about my current position and revised ETA?

This too would be awesome.

Lastly, this application would also be alerting me when I'm spending too much time in one place - if I lose track of time while running an errand, it would be great to be reminded of when I need to catch the next transportation option. Or even whether or not it's still possible for me to make it home in time to get to the pet store before it closes; if I couldn't do that within the current calculations of time, maybe I'll go to a pet store in my current area that's still open instead.

All of this is within easy reach technologically. I want it.
mik3cap: (Default)
I love my camera, I really do - it's convenient, good to use, and takes great pictures. But I HATE HATE HATE that you make me use a proprietary memory stick that I can't use in ANY OTHER DEVICE I own. It's just stupid and horribly inconvenient. It doesn't make me want to buy all Sony products, it makes me want to NEVER BUY SONY AGAIN. Why can't you morons learn?? UMD didn't work. Even Nintendo AND Apple have finally realized that having an SD slot is a huge boon to their hardware platform. I hate that I have to be bottlenecked by the USB cable that comes with the camera (or a card reader) and that I can't just move the memory stick around, ever.

What's wrong with you Sony bozos? Are you really that isolated from the consumer world? Do you truly believe that people will only buy Sony consumer electronics?
mik3cap: (Default)
I have the feeling there is a quota at work - there has been at least one Really Crazy Motherfucker (tm) on board every time I've ridden the bus. It's like the city mandates that at least one nutjob must be on the public transportation at all times, and they have to either argue with the bus driver about why they don't need to pay, or stare at everyone with their creepy wide eyes, or must continue to write frenetic little stories in the margins of their chosen holy scriptures.

Also, bums here beg for change like it's their JOB. While I admire their tenacity on one level (just think what they could accomplish if they set their mind to it!), I also think they breach the rules of the mendicant/payee social contract. They're so aggro they practically mug people. And there's a really for real skid row here too, I walked all along it the other day. It's really sad; what the hell are they actually doing to people here? Does anybody here even care about these folks? I thought California was supposed to be all progressive and junk.
mik3cap: (Default)
Looks like fingerprint smudging on iPhones was enough of a problem that Apple actually created a fingerprint resistant coating on the iPhone 3Gs. I wonder if they got requests from government and security people for that as well?
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Holy crap... Google Maps at street view now lets you click on BUILDING SURFACES within the view and it zooms in and reorients the photo image to that resolution and surface?? CRAZY.
mik3cap: (Default)
Now talking about improvements in Snow Leopard:

3D rendering of icons

AI in page layout structure

Character recognition for multitouch - specifically Chinese characters

Safari 4 is now being shipped for all OS's including Windows

Safari benchmarks for JavaScript outpace three other leading browsers and is 100 percent compatible with standards, included in Snow Leopard (this is a 32 bit benchmark - 64 bit is even faster)

Interesting note: browser plugins are the number one cause for crashes in the OS - Safari now sandboxes plugins so that crashes don't sink OS X

Quicktime is now using hardware acceleration, ColorSync and streams over HTTP - interface is now completely minimalist, all interface components disappear

OS Desktop functionality - improvements in Stacks, Finder; Stacks are scrollable, thumbnails are more interactive (paging through documents, viewing movies)

[Expose is getting a lot of attention, has had improvements, more drag and drop functionality makes workflow much easier]

["Nitro" JavaScript engine demos are extremely fast]

More Safari 4 demos - search history in Cover Flow (keyword searchable), tracking changes in Top Sites (multiple frequently used windows that update when things update on sites)

Quicktime demo - [WOW] now with "Trim" which is instant video editing and one-click video sharing. Demo shows a visual thumbnail timeline that allows a clip to be chosen and uploaded to any video site

Now reviewing 64 bit and Grand Central

Now talking OpenCL [this is the big stuff] - C-based, abstracted, optimized, numerically accurate GPU harnessing

Exchange support in Snow Leopard - built directly into Mail, iCal, Address Book

Live Exchange support demo; mail completely autodiscovered all Exchange info, pulled emails, folders, To Do and Notes - can search all exchange info with Spotlight, can QuickLook all Office documents in preview without having Office installed, can accept invitations and view in iCal. Search Exchange address lists via Address Book, can also schedule meetings into Exchange calendars with drag and drop of a Group in Address Book into iCal.

[All this Exchange support is GIGANTICLY HUGE for Trojan horse strategy into Microsoft IT - every user will want the ease of use that Mac delivers]

Paraphrased: "Ironic that we do not charge for Exchange support in Snow Leopard when you need to buy a product to use it for PCs"

Price of Snow Leopard?

$29!!!!!

$49 for family pack!

iPhone update next!!

1,000,000 SDK downloads, 50,000 apps in App Store, 40,000,000 iPhones and iPod touches, 1,000,000,000 apps downloaded in NINE MONTHS.

Now showing a video of developer testimonials

[Interesting choices of testimonial - game developer, game developer, entertainment/sports developer, healthcare developer]

iPhone OS 3.0

Cut, copy, paste, undo - talked about it before, reviewing it again

Landscape support, all native key apps use landscape keyboard now

MMS - audio, video, locations, all sendable via text message - AT&T is NOT ready to support it [maybe by August or September]

[29 other carriers in 76 countries can support MMS... why does AT&T suck so hard?? DAMN MONOPOLISTS]

Spotlight support, rent and purchase movies, TV, audiobooks, music videos directly to iPhone wirelessly

Parental controls! Support for movies, TV, content, and apps that are rated appropriately

TETHERING - Works on Mac or PC, USB or Bluetooth! [AT&T NOT SUPPORTING, 22 carriers in other countries do!!]

[Go to hell AT&T!!!]

Safari on iPhone is faster, has better autofill for webforms

More support for languages on iPhoneOS 3.0 - 30 languages!

MobileMe service - Find My iPhone! [Good for Sol! Shows you on a map where your phone is] Send it a message, makes it play an alert sound to locate it. Can also send remote wipe command - just plug back into iTunes again and restore from backup

More review - in app purchase, peer to peer connection (Bluetooth wireless), external accessories

iPhoneOS 3.0 developer demos

Gameloft racing car demo, uses iPod interface to play music in game, uses better graphics, peer to peer Bluetooth multiplayer, worldwide network play via WiFi, in app purchase of cars and game packs.

Airstrip healthcare demo, Airstrip critical care - push notification of chosen clinical parameters, live monitor of patients vital signs via iPhone in real time with waveforms [didn't seem to be any 3.0 features, but looks cool]

Scrollmotion demo, (Iceberg reader) using in app purchase, copy and paste, automatically puts in bibliographic information, has made deals with a ton of content providers for books, textbook publishers, magazines, newspapers... [Kindle killer???]

TomTom [???] demo, plans a route using iPhone, turn by turn directions with audio and has an external dock accessory TomTom connector that allows for portrait and landscape turning, microphone and speaker for handsfree calls and music to stereo, charges phone, enhances GPS signal. TomTom car kit!

ngMoco demo, Star Defense game - tower defense 3D game with in app purchase, scores, push to play head to head over WiFi

Pasco demo, science education [Oops, broken demo!]

Zipcar demo, maps embedded for Zipcar locations - make reservation in app, MAKE CAR HORN HONK and UNLOCK from iPhone... no more ZipCard needed!!!

[Another broken demo]

iPhoneOS 3.0 - June 17th - Developer seed available today! [9 DAYS!!]

Here it comes... big iPhone announcement

[10x more apps on iPhone than in Android store]

NEW VERSION iPhone 3GS [no front facing camera?? Is iPod VIDEO A TRULY SEPARATE PRODUCT?]

New 3MP autofocus camera - tap to focus! Improved light sensitivity, auto macro zoom to 10cm

Video capture! Auto focus, white balance, exposure - same "Trim" functionality and editing with one tap

[It's so embarrassing that our country's exclusive phone provider can't send MMS video]

Voice control of iPhone - issue any command by voice, even picking songs or playlists, iPhone will speak back!!

Digital compass in iPhone, includes longitude and latitude, MAP ORIENTATION

[OMG WHEN CAN I BUY THIS PHONE]

iPhone hardware encryption [?? Hm... I wonder if there's a backdoor key in there somewhere. Watch this space to see who hacks this and discovers the secret government mandated hack there...

iPhone 3Gs price?

$199

for 16G, $299 for 32G

iPhone 3G - $99 for 8GB AVAILABLE TODAY AT THIS PRICE



6/19 for iPhone 3Gs!!!



Is there one more thing? Nope... guess all that front-facing camera stuff was faked...

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