Tuesday, November 30

Apture

That's not a typo.

I'm one of those types that, when finding an interesting bit of text in a news article, or blog entry, I'll highlight the text, copy, and paste it directly into Google. Firefox makes that easy, with a Google text search box in the upper-tight corner of the browser. Highlight, copy, paste. I probably do that at least a hundred times a day.

What if there were an easier way to do that, if that weren't easy enough.

Enter Apture.

From their website: "We give readers the power to search and explore rich content and media from the web without even leaving the page."

I've got it running here on my blog. Try it - highlight any word or phrase; immediately a box pops up like that shown at right. The context menu that pops up with more search suggestions is rich and full of more information on whatever text you have selected.

It's easy to incorporate it into your own website, and they even have a plugin so you can use it wherever you are, on ANY website.

Couldn't be more simple than that.

Apture. It's a good thing.

Jon Stewart And Gate Rape

Yeah, I'm running with this. With my luck, I'll be singled out on my trip next week for even commenting about it. "Oh, you're that blogger dude." In my dreams.

Last night on Jon Stewart's programme, he took on newscasters newsreaders who use puns, in a segment called "You're Not Punny". In the following video, as well as this article from the Los Angeles Times also shows, he states "The point of reporting the news is not to make one recliner-bound old man smile for half a second," he said. "For God sakes, you are the news, not Ziggy!"

Sunday, November 28

Apollo 18?

Yeah, this'll get at least one reader's attention.

Off looking for cool pictures this morning, and happened onto a film site with unprotected directories. Unprotected in the sense that they're using an older version of WordPress software that has a - well, let's call it a bug. Bug in the sense that it's an undocumented "feature".

Ask me how you, too, can find this "feature".

Anyway.

One such picture on that film site is a poster for a movie I hadn't heard ANYTHING about, but it's supposed to premeire on March 4, 2011. Called "Apollo 18", the only thing that can be said about it - apparently - is from the tagline:

"There's A Reason We've Never Gone Back To The Moon"

The film's website - www.apollo18movie.net - isn't much help, and IMDB's site isn't, either. Under tight wraps, I suppose.

VERY tight wraps - not even an actor or director listed.

Maybe someone who's into nuking ET can find out more about this:

Saturday, November 27

Messing With Mia

Fun way to mess with your dog in the winter - throw snowballs for them to fetch. Not the yellow ones, they're too easy to find.

Maybe Her Name Was Cookie

Saturday Morning. Pure bedlam in the house. Mia and Bowser have already been out, as had Bambi and Lexie. But Mia and Bowser are in that state of mind that it's time to go outside again. No way.

If "going outside" gets them riled, one thing that really gets everyone in a tizzy, though, is to just say the word "cookie".

So we're watching HGTV - not intently, I suppose - when one of the designers is enlisted to make cookies. Cookies? We've had cookie fixin's on the counter for the last couple of weeks, and I say "Cookies?" in a little-boy voice. Marilee turns to me and in a stern voice says "No cookies."

Lexie's ears perk up.

Says Marilee "Maybe her name was Cookie!"

"COOKIE?"

Well, that was a smart thing to say.

Friday, November 26

HIPAA, The TSA, and "Gate Rape"

Insightful article written by Roger Ebert of Chicago Sun-Times fame, in which he draws the line at body cavity searches by TSA agents. No, they're not doing that, yet:



In that article from Ebert, is admission that he's had some "work" done to his jaw; I haven't been keeping up with his health issues, so I cannot imagine what it's like having a TSA agent eye you suspiciously for whatever may be under some bandages. I'm going to be flying the beginning of next month, and while I don't know if the titanium plate in my neck will sound bells and whistles, I cannot imagine how I'll explain it away. Will I be forced to say AHHHH and have someone look down my throat? And, Mr. bobsbs, where is the scar from your alleged surgery?

Where does personal privacy come into play, if at all? But it's really not a matter of personal privacy, at least from Ebert's jaw or my titanium plate - it's just how much information do we need supply the TSA about our medical conditions, and whether it's any of their damn business. One of the comments from Ebert's article says it best, to wit:

"As someone who has a series of wires embedded in my chest from open heart surgery, I take special interest in this. I wonder if the rifling through medications, forcing passenger to reveal and explain prosthetic devices, and the like, violate our (otherwise) scrupulously circumscribed HIPAA medical privacy laws."

Marilee's gonna love this topic.

Thursday, November 25

Turkey Tips

Yeah, this was well-planned.

Marilee got the idea about a week ago to do something I'd never really heard of, but in hindsight, makes perfect sense.

Cook your Thanksgiving turkey in a crock pot.

Judging by the search results through Google, everyone else had thought of this, just not us.

Here's what has transpired in the last twenty-four hours, give or take, in a somewhat chronological order:

Marilee: "You have a project".

Me: [Shuddering]: "What?"

"Find out why it's not a good idea to cook a turkey in a crock pot."

"Why do you say that?"

"Because all I can find is how to cook turkey breasts in a crock pot, but not the whole turkey. There must be a reason."

Search terms are everything, folks. Searching for " Cooking turkey in a crock pot " won't get you specifics. Searching for " turkey 'crock pot' whole ", well, now you're talking.

So I do my search, and in a few moments, I have the answer.

"Other than finding one that FITS, there should be no problem."

Fast forward to this morning.

"We have a problem."

"WE?"

The turkey towered over the top of the crock pot by a full six inches.

Marilee, just having extricated the crock pot from its hiding place in the secret cabinet off the kitchen had just pulled the turkey from the refrigerator, and had plopped the carcass in the crock pot.

"We need to pull the legs off."

Fast rewind to family Thanksgiving feasts of the past - 40-50 years ago. My Dad was the turkey carver. Watching that time-honored tradition is burned into my conscience as I'm sure it is yours.1 But there's one thing I always recall. My sister Karen would always want the leg. Never fail. But there was one thing for certain - the leg was attached during the carving process.

Thanksgiving 2010 will be remembered as the one where Bob carved a wet, slippery turkey before the turkey was cooked. [I'll spare you the details - I would never have been a surgeon.]

So the legless - and wingless - turkey will be simmering away in the crock pot, but carving won't be necessary as the meat will likely just fall away from the bones.

Look in this space for the outcome tomorrow.


1 Yeah, we're carnivores. If you're a vegetarian - or vegan, for that matter - this is what carnivores do. Get over it.

Monday, November 22

Hang This Up In Your Time Machine

You'll thank me later. Or earlier, depending on which tangent of time you're in.

Sunday, November 21

Ephemeral Films

Ephemeral means "lasting for a very short time." Or at least that's what it's supposed to be.

Years ago, when the technology of multimedia was in its infancy, I'd picked up a CD-ROM chock-full of short films of the instructional variety. Quite literally old-school, they were films shown in schools in the 1940's and 1950's. Obviously before my time, but I seemed to recall seeing some of them even in the 1960's and 1970's. Indeed they were classic, and although quite dated for the current generation, some of the subject matter is relative even today.

OK, so maybe not.

I misplaced that CD long ago, but re-discovered them recently in the On-Demand portion of the cable provider we have here locally. "Something Weird" if you'd like to take a look.

But they only have but a few selections, and you never really know what you're going to get month-to-month.

So rather than waiting for "Shy Guy" with Dick York to come up again, you can see it and more, really on-demand, via the internet.

Available at The Internet Archive - www.archive.org - is the entire "Prelinger Archive", the same outfit that had generated that CD-ROM of long ago.

Take, for example, TV commercials from the 1960's.

Take a look at that, and spend some counter-productive time checking out the other items.

But, being in the archive, it's no longer ephemera.

Measurements

It's Sunday. Not just any Sunday It's the day of the last race in the NASCAR world, and the family is all abuzz with the hopes that Jimmie Johnson will have a five-peat.

It's also the day after the first MAJOR snowstorm of the season. There was at least a foot of snow on the ground this morning, and more is forecast. One of our trees did not fare at all well; we're counting the number of branches broken, not quite in the teens, but rather close, particularly if you include the branches in neighbors' yards.

but the more telling measurement was Bowser's first weigh-in.

OK, so it wasn't official, at least from a high-end veterinary scale. Nay, it was a bathroom scale in the dining room. Don't ask.

I'd just picked up Bowser, and Marilee's reaction was "You're gonna hurt your back!!"

I didn't do that, but it was then that Marilee grabbed the aforementioned scale. My weight was measured, then up I picked Bowser once again. The stats came up as follows: Bowser, 65 lbs. Then Mia at 55 lbs, Bambi at 15 lbs, and Lexie at a paltry 9 lbs.

Me? 227.

At the beginning of the race, Jimmie was just fifteen points behind Denny Hamlin. Though the tree is regaining some flexibility, there's still leaves to fall and likely a few more branches.

And another storm or three with expected snowfall in inches if not feet.

Saturday, November 20

I Want This Coffee Mug

From "The Bureau Chiefs", the wise-asses that created @FakeAPStyleBook on Twitter:


Just sounds like my cup o' tea.

Mug available from Zazzle.

Friday, November 19

Greenlight!

Another Fark Photoshop, but this time it's "personal".

I submitted this as a Fark link, and it was posted as a main page entry - otherwise known as a "greenlight". My first one in that category. Quite an achievement, since there are literally thousands of submitted links that never get "that far".

Here's the original I found, after some late-night browsing for pictures - Photoshop this leap of faith:



I didn't post my entry right away - I wanted to see what others might do with it before I found "inspiration".

My inspiration was a typical Saturday-morning of my youth - Wile E. Coyote and the RoadRunner:



...now here's the ├╝ber-cool nature of this particular entry - not only was this a green-lit post, but it was also a winner!

Yeah, watch out - it's gone to my head!

Friday, November 12

Klinefelter Syndrome

What, you've never heard of Klinefelter Syndrome? I'm not surprised, even though it's the most common chromosomal disorder know to man. Or men, since it only affects males.

Occuring in 1 in 500 to 1 in 1000 men, it adds an extra X chromosome to a male's karyotype. XXY in other words, rather than the more common XY. So instead of 46 chromosomes, someone with an XXY makeup then has 47. Also known as 47,XXY, the condition is more commonly referred to as Klinefelter Syndrome.

That extra X chromosome does some fairly obvious things to a man's appearance, some of which are quite dramatic, outwardly at least. For example, a Klinefelter Syndrome male can be expected to be taller than their fathers and younger siblings. That, and their legs are longer than their torsos. And their "wingspans", that is, from the tips of one outstretched arm to the other, will be "longer" than their height.

As might be expected, that extra X also makes a man have certain characteristics that are quite un-male: Breast development, female fat distribution, and incomplete beard growth.

But the rather telling part about Klinefelter Syndrome is the sexual nature of the condition. In fact, it's what makes a male seek medical advice during certain points in their life. Primarily, Klinefelter Syndrome makes a man sterile. Elevated levels of FSH or Follicle Stimulating Hormone, and LH or Leuteinizing Hormone, and a low levels of testosterone. FSH is that which promotes sperm production, and LH is what is supposed to produce testosterone. These three endocrinological processes are primarily what define a man as having Klinefelter Syndrome.

There are several times during a man's life, from birth through adulthood, where a man might be tested for the condition. Prenatally, where there is insufficient progress in the fetus' development, or in childhood where there are learning difficulties. Also suspect is when puberty doesn't happen in the time frame it should. Or even later in life, when a young man and his wife are trying to get pregnant, they find out then he is sterile because of the condition.

OK, folks, this isn't just some random interest I have in a medical condition. It isn't part of one of those "Mystery Diagnosis" shows that Marilee likes to watch. I have a deep interest in the subject, as you'll see soon enough.

One year ago today, I was diagnosed with Klinefelter Syndrome.

There's nothing chronological about it. A year with Klinefelter Syndrome is just like any other year I've lived. Except for one thing - for a year I've realized just what my life was like without knowing. Why my life was such a struggle socially, intellectually, professionally... the list runs the gamut.

OK, before you say it - as has already been said to me numerous times over the last year - I am not being too hard on myself. Take a trip in my mind for a few moments, if you will.

Lazy, scatter-brained, clumsy, absent-minded, hot-headed, quiet, shy... all have been used to define me, and all are symptoms of Klinefelter Syndrome. In fact, I have found that when compared to other early developmental disorders, most boys who are diagnosed as being ADD or ADHD are later found to actually have Klinefelter Syndrome.

So why now? As I said, there's nothing really chronological about living with Klinefelter Syndrome; as humans, we all need to have anniversaries to remember meaningful events. This one is no different, though it has afforded me the ability to reflect.

The next year will be quite a journey for me; I've decided to write a book about my life with Klinefelter Syndrome. My hopes are that it will be read by parents and friends of those with Klinefelter Syndrome, whether they know they have the condition or not.

Besides, who would have thought that I had an extra X chromosome?

Wednesday, November 10

Breakfast At Ginger's

Just had to share this one, it's so cute:

The Mystery California Missile Launch

Yeah, it's all over the news today. You won't find anything "new" here.

But I like this explanation from the Daily Intel at New York Magazine's website:

"The missile-launch system became self-aware, and this is the beginning of the machine takeover. All of our computers are about to turn on us, attacking us with weapons, shutting off traffic lights, and making debilitating changes to our fantasy-football lineups."



Some folks think it was just the contrail of a passenger jet, but one report I've seen this morning says there weren't any flights in the area, even with the distance calculated.

What do you think?

Sunday, November 7

Would A Boat Do?

Found this as a screen-cap at Hacked IRL (some links and videos are definitely not safe for work) - do a search at Google Maps for directions from Japan to China, and this is what you get:



Interestingly enough, you can't get from California to Hawaii with Google Maps.

These Skates Are Grating My Consciousness

There's a commercial gracing the airwaves lately, that is grating on my consciousness. It's driving me crazy(-er).

Hell, I don't even know what they're selling. Once the ad starts, I tell Marilee "MUTE THAT DAMN THING!"

The key thing to remember here is that it's sung in such a high pitch that it probably hurts the dogs' ears as well.

Listen for yourself:

Brand New Key

Thursday, November 4

The Three-Finger Salute

Ask anyone who works with Microsoft-powered computers what the "Three-Finger Salute" is, and they'll tell you it's a three-letter command to either a) log in to Windows, b) abort some process or other, or c) reboot a DOS-based machine.

Time was, that three-fingered salute was along the bottom row of a QWERTY keyboard. Two fingers on the left hand and one with the right. As technology - and the need for more keys - expanded, you could three finger with just one hand, typically just the right, as one of the keys had been relocated nearer the center of the keyboard.

And the keys themselves haven't changed. The locations may have, but they're still the same.

So it was a few months ago, and one of my coworkers was explaining to me how to do something on an [expletive deleted]. I readied my fingers, and before I could press any keys, he said:

"Hit control delete..." my mind flashed "WAIT - I HAVE TO WRITE THIS DOWN!"

"...alt."

REWIND. STOP BUTTON. PLAY.

"Control, Delete, Alt"? Had he just said what I think he said?

"Say that again?"

Yup, that's what he said.

I just grinned, and typed it the way I learned it, as Control-Alt-Delete, oh so many years ago. Pre-history.

I kept that in the back of my mind, just grinning whenever I'd have to do it again. And again. And again. Hell, I do that so many times a day I can't count. I'm sure you do, too.

Be quiet, Rachelle.

So it shocked me no end when, a couple weeks ago, I was working on yet another [expletive deleted], when a customer and I were working together on a problem, when I asked how she'd done some function or other, and she said...

"Alt - Control - Delete".

I started wondering if one can gauge how long someone has been working with PC's by how they interpret the three-finger salute.

But this time, I asked her why she did it that way. Not that it really mattered, since the end result is the same.

"Because that's in alphabetical order."

Ah. Like people who don't have OCD but CDO? CDO is in alphabetical order, just like it should be.

Wednesday, November 3

Artist Minds Equal Infinite Dreams

I saw that quote this morning on Twitter. I know not of its origin, but several places that quote the quote have "Baroque" appended to it.

Whatever.

Not knowing the source is, for me, rather difficult to explain. For one, it's giving credit where credit is due. It's somewhat like the quote by Ronald Reagan where he states "There is no limit to what you can accomplish if you don't care who gets the credit." Just by quoting his quote, I'm forever connecting him with his quote. Because, face it, folks, the internet is forever.

Wikipedia states, in its entry for "Quotation": A quotation is the repetition of one expression as part of another one, particularly when the quoted expression is well-known or explicitly attributed (as by citation) to its original source, and it is indicated by (punctuated with) quotation marks.

So, a well-known quote might be "A penny saved is a penny earned" or "Early to bed, early to rise...". Both were attributed to be from Benjamin Franklin; no one needs to add Ben as a citation since "everyone" knows where the quotes came from.

But that "Artist Minds Equal Infinite Dreams" quote has me miffed. Googling it doesn't help much; since Google now searches Twitter, all one gets is a cacophony of re-tweets, all without attribution. Maybe some day the attribution will be found out and "everyone" will know where it came from, and attribution won't be necessary.

Or, more likely, the subject will be forgotten, and "Artist Minds Equal Infinite Dreams" will fade into the background noise that has become the internet.

Tuesday, November 2

Am I That Predictable?

Morning Tuesday. I've just been out in the back yard throwing the "Circular Flying Device" (not a Frisbee®, but a look-a-like from PETsMART) for Mia.

Mia lives for these ® things.

That, and sticks. I'm sure she'd carry around a tree, if I could throw one.

But what got me wondering if I was predictable was that I'd just poured myself a cup of coffee, and was about to get up and go outside, when...

Yeah, I haven't posted much, if at all, recently. A fact that was made all too clear the other day when I posted a new high score in Three Towers Solitaire on Facebook. Someone commented on that post, saying:

"Pffft…now we know why there are no blog updates..."

Whack, right in the face. Thanks, PCJ.

Anyway, back to Mia.

Both she and Bowser were napping. Eyes closed. Guess the tinkling of the pot off the hotplate aroused her. Or the action of just getting up. I could see the thought bubble above her head - "Frisbee? Frisbee? Frisbee?"

Sorry - "®? ®? ®?"

"Yeah, come on."

And off we went.

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