Monday, December 31, 2007


It's going to be on of those days. Loaded with links.

First - mild poker. Played in the 750k last night, went out in the 2000's. Lack of focus being the culprit. I was happy to lose, since I had too much shit to get done and should have never signed up. That said, it was fun to totally dominate one of those rapid turbo 100-chip satellites to get in 15 minutes before the start.

Every other game I played, I played like crap. Except a $1 Turbo to get the donk out. THAT was fun. All-in with A4o on the first hand won (against QJ and K9s?), and I steamrolled the table for awhile before succumbing in 4th. The funny thing is, I lost my massive chip lead on GOOD starting hands and solid draws. Ah well, it accomplished the goal.

Enough poker. Onto other things.

Goodbye Netscape. The first browser I ever used was XMosaic. The creator of this went on to make Netscape. I, like everyone else, used this in those heady early days of Web proliferation. We all know the story. IE came in and wiped it out, AOL took it over and screwed the pooch with it, the codebase became Phoenix which became Firefox, but the AOL Netscape continued to flounder. AOL fucked it further, and now it's officially dead. Poor Netscape. Then again, I'm using Opera right now, and Firefox at home.

Goodbye musical fidelity. I won't go so far as to say that today's music sucks like a toothless hooker, but it's not very good. Especially the popular stuff. This is partially due to the technical reasons outlined in the link. Mixing and recording for an inferior format seems ridiculous to me. I get it, everyone listens to MP3s today. They're much easier than CDs, and let's admit it... cheap or free. The problem is that most MP3s and other lossy compressed formats lose a huge chunk of dynamic range. Highs and lows are lost (just like if you played it through a BOSE system), and the subtlety is destroyed. So what do you do if you're a producer? Crank up the loudness. So stuff like The Arctic Monkeys becomes a nonstop assault on the ears. Toss in tweaking of pitch and "mistakes" and you have loud, unsubtle, "perfect" music. It's crap and sounds artificial. It also explains why I have such an urge to flip the station or hit the next button when listening to new music, yet can stay on classic rock, jazz, or classical for hours.

Good riddance Circuit City. Most of the article is boring financial stuff. EPS, share price, etc.. I've never been to a Circuit City, because we don't have them in Canada. Correction - we have The Source by Circuit City... essentially Radio Shack with a different name (legal issues). That said, I've heard enough stories, and had enough tech store experiences to relate. The important part is at the bottom:

Circuit City laid off 3,400 workers in March to replace them with lower-paid new hires. This week, it announced the approval of millions of dollars in cash incentives to retain its top talent after the departure of several key executives over the past year. Executive vice presidents could claim retention awards of $1 million each, and senior vice presidents could get $600,000, provided they stay with the company until 2011, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Get it? 3,400 senior employees fired so they could hire cheaper workers. In plainer terms - the salespeople who knew what they were talking about were canned because they earned $14/hr and replaced with new idiots with no sales or tech experience for $8/hr. Why would you want to shop there? Then the moron executives who have led to the downfall of this company got paid $1 million to stick around and keep fucking up. Bravo.

Hello common sense. One of the best articles I've seen on the ridiculous security theatre that is now encountered at airports in North America. Thank you once again USA for making my life difficult. I was in Israel earlier this year, as was another friend of mine later on. When you leave that country, the security goes like this: Pre-screen of all bags before you can get in line. Check your bags. Standard security checkpoint (x-ray and metal detector). Get on your plane. You know what they laugh at? People who throw away liquids or take off their shoes. Why? Because, "We only scan for real threats in Israel sir." You can't walk into a shopping mall without a bag check for explosives in Tel Aviv, but airport security is quick and painless. The staff is trained and know what to look for, so that there isn't a line going out the door because someone has a bottle of Evian.

Robert Reed sticks it to the writers.No, this has nothing to do with the WGA strike. Robert Reed is dead. You know him as the dad in The Brady Brunch. He was also a classically trained Shakespearean actor, and had a hard time with some of the scripts in the show. That's a letter to the writers where he explains the basics of writing and drama to them. It's incredibly well-written, if a bit on the cranky side. I think I'll have to find a way to use "Batman in the operating room" in casual conversation.

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