From GOOG Maps to Gold Medal

Kristin Armstrong

I meant to post about this last week, but better late than never…

Kristin Armstrong of the USA won the Women’s Individual Time Trial in Road Cycling at the 2008 Olympics.

She did it in large part by preparing like everyone else, but unlike everyone else she traveled to the site in advance, went through the course one time while using her husband’s GPS. When she returned to her home in Utah, Kristin uploaded the lat/long results from the GPS unit to Google Maps and found a local route that was similar to the one to be used in the Olympics.

So she was able to practice, practice, practice on a road route that mimicked what she’d have to endure for the real thing?

Is it cheating? No!

But I guarantee you that next time either everyone will be doing this or the IOC will not announce the official route until the games are going to begin so that everyone has an opportunity to compete on an equal playing field.

Kudos to Kristin for using her noodle, not just her brawn, to win the race.

Oh Frak! It’s Not a Curse Word.


Here’s some excellent insight into how the Battlestar Galactica writers came up with ‘Frak’ as a replacement for it’s more vulgar cousin F*ck. And they’ve never received a complaint from SciFi owner NBC or the FCC over their word.

Snippets from the story:

It was Larson who first used the faux curse word "frak" in the original "Battlestar Galactica." The word was mostly overlooked back in the ’70s series but is working its way into popular vocabulary as SciFi’s modern update winds down production.

Larson, one of television’s most prolific and successful writers, doesn’t much care for the new series. He used "frak" and its cousin "feldergarb" as alternates for curse words because the original "Battlestar" was family friendly and appeared on Sunday nights. The words fit in with his philosophy that while the show was about humans, it shouldn’t have an Earthly feel.

The word has even appeared in the funny pages where Dilbert muttered a disconsolate "frack" — the original spelling before producers of the current show changed it to a four-letter word — after a particularly dumb order from his evil twit of a boss.

"Dilbert" creator Scott Adams calls the word "pure genius."

When new series producer Ron Moore first introduced "frak" in early scripts, Bamber said the actors were dubious. But as writers expanded its use, they caught on to the possibilities.

"I mean why are we not offended by ‘frak’ because it means exactly the same thing as the other thing?" said Bamber, who plays fighter pilot-turned-president Lee "Apollo" Adama.

Why Rank #1 in Google?

Google search behavior

Think Eyetracking is the specialist eyetracking and market research arm of Bunnyfoot Ltd, the leading usability and user experience consultancy.

They’ve posted some interesting findings related to how people scan the GOOG search results page today compared to how they scanned the page 3 years ago. This is a good article, if you’re have any interest in SEO at all, you should check it out. If you’re not in the field, let me boil it down for you: Google has trained you to expect high quality results in the first 3 results. Beyond that, it’s a waste of your time and you’re likely to not go much further. Let alone click through to a second or third page of results like you used to.



Pirates vs. Ninjas Dodgeball Released


Gamecock Media Group announced recently that Blazing Lizard’s Pirates vs. Ninjas Dodgeball will release on Wii this winter; if you live under a rock like me it was apparently released to Xbox Live Arcade on Sept 3 2008. The title features two ancient rivals, Ninjas and Pirates, along with several other teams, all looking to settle the score once and for all – on the dodgeball court.

Besides Pirates and Ninjas you can also choose to team with Zombies or Robots. But who are we kidding, we all know Pirates kick ass in the underworld and is the smart team to join…right?

You can read more about it at or on its Wikipedia page.

Space Station Infected With W32.Gammima.AG Worm

virus logo

With a US$30 Billion dollars invested in the International Space Station, don’t you think NASA and the Russian Gov’t could pony up a couple of bucks to install antivirus software on the laptops and other computers?

Apparently they don’t, but are doing so now. Seems the ISS found itself infected with the W32.Gammima.AG worm.

W32.Gammima is a worm that spreads through removable media and steals information related to the MapleStory online game. This particular infection was in fact found on a compact flash card brought aboard by one of the astronauts.

The worm monitors Internet Explorer and steals the following information:

  • Accounts and passwords to the MapleStory online game
  • Role and item information in the game

The stolen information is sent to the author via email and HTTP

Systems Affected by this worm: Windows 98, Windows 95, Windows XP, Windows Me, Windows NT, Windows Server 2003, Windows 2000

HTC Keeps Hopes Alive for us Non-Touchscreen Faithful


Though well-known for its “TouchFLO” enhancements to Windows Mobile, HTC has not abandoned non-touchscreen phones. Windows for Devices has details on the newly announced, candybar-style “S740” runs Windows Mobile 6.1 Standard, has a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, sports a 3.2 megapixel camera, and includes GPS, WiFi, plus an FM radio.

I for one welcome more candybar mobiles like my Pantech Duo I bought this Spring.

Top 50 Hottest SciFi Girls

This is a well rounded list of at as they attempt the near impossible which is to identify the hottest women of scifi. They have everyone from T’Pol of Enterprise to Colonel Wilma Deering from Buck Rodgers in the 25th Century to Yori of Tron.

After you’ve gone through that list, check out my own work in progress this year called “The Women Of Sci-Fi And Their Provocative Poses“, so far we have:

Hottest scifi women

The Unicorn Man – A Collection of Verses, Short Stories, Images

The Unicorn man

Vox Anon contacted me the other day promoting his new book The Unicorn Man. From the description it sounds dark and interesting. The kind of work that causes me to reflect on my own life and future and makes me wonder if I should be scared.

Vox Anon promised to send a copy for review, I can hardly wait! If you can’t wait, good news for you because it’s available on Lulu.


An epic poem, an ecstatic prayer, & a beatific psalm authored by an anonymous master. The Unicorn Man is not for children, the faint of heart, &/or faithless. It is a grotesque self portrait of physical love & spiritual longing unraveled in an apocalyptic vision. These are verses of eternal hope written by a man with an acute suicidal condition. A man with an undiagnosable tumor growing in the shape of a horn from the center of his forehead. He hides from the world. This symbolic disfigurement transforms him from human into a fantastical beast. Until the love of a girl changes him back. The Unicorn Man is a highly personal collection of hidden text. Intimacy on a universal scale. A few poems about Love, G-d, & Death. Enjoy!

Here’s the full Press Release:

The Unicorn Man is: selected unpublished verse from earlier poetic works “The Voluptua” & “The Epitome” collections (1999 – 2007) inspired by artwork from “Anatomia Ecclesia: The Anatomical Brides” . “My life’s work adds up to this: Beauty, Love & G-d & Death.” Vox Anon WWW.THEUNICORNMAN.COM

The Unicorn Man 08/08/08 version contains: 3 short stories, 216 verse poems & +55 unique images that were too unfinished, too profound &/or too sacred to be disclosed to anyone other than the initiated. The 3 short stories “I Awoke”, “Once Upon A Time”, and “Non Plus Ultra” have been added to help introduce and contextualize the 7 chapters of poetic verses that follow.

The White, Black, Red, Pale, Gold, Lost, and Last Verses are meant to pique, Not satisfy the curiosity as to the truth and wonder of The Unicorn Man’s existence. Images/text on the origin of beauty and the price one pays for dying for it/killing for it will be revealed.

Although his disease remains undiagnosable, it is not unlike Cutaneous horn (cornu cutaneum), a rare projectile, conical, dense, hyperkeratotic disease that resembles the horn of an animal. State of the art technologies along with X-rays, fMRI, and CT scan imagings show that the base of this horn is rooted at the very seat of his soul; the pineal gland. Surgical removal of this tumor from his forehead may prove fatal.

These verses are collected from diaries and journals he has kept over many lifetimes. The text starts out in the tradition of an epic poem then translates into experimental stream of consciousness. Methinks Cain killed Abel because he wanted to marry his Twin sister, & in a jealous rage murdered him. Now he walks the earth until the end of time as a punishment for the 1st murder. For Love. For Beauty. For Self.

The Unicorn Man is a collection of love notes and self-portraits in verse that is at times fantastic, horrific, and sublime. Names, places, and events in the texts date back 10,000 years and predict the end of the times on December 21, 2012.

A search for truth, beauty, and identity is recorded in these pages. These verses inquire: Who is the most beautiful creature on earth? Is the anatomy of man G-d’s greatest creation? How will the End of Times end? Who is the Wormwood Star? Is this a tumor growing down my face? or Am I Qayin? The Unicorn Man? A few poems about Beauty, Love, G-d, & Death. Enjoy!

Hopefully, The Unicorn Man will find a home in your imagination with the likes of Dostoevsky’s “Notes from the Underground”, Darren Aronofsky’s “The Fountain” and Guillermo Del Toro’s “Pan’s Labyrinth”. If you love the book of Psalms or works of fiction like The Crow or The Sandman, then you will love The Unicorn Man!

What Words Would You Add to the Microsoft Spell-Checker?

The other day the Seattle Times profiled the Microsoft Natural Language team and their challenges in keeping the up with spell-checking since languages are constantly in flux.

Now the paper’s blog asks us “What words would you add to the Microsoft spell-checker?“. Here’s a few quotes:

A friend who works in the sciences said it’s difficult to trust the spell-checker in her field. “You think Bromodichloromethane or 4-Methyl-2-Pentanone are in there? Or whenever we use borehole the suggested correction is brothel…”

A man who works in Olympia had this question: “I’ve often wondered why a corporation based in Washington has a spell-checker that doesn’t include Walla Walla as an acceptable proper noun instead of insisting that it’s a repetition… Apparently, Microsoft thinks there’s a town called Walla, WA — where they grow Walla onions.” (Only half as delicious, I’m sure.)