Minnesota Town to Google: ‘Go To Hell’


From Information Week: Minnesota town vanishes from Google Street images.

OK, perhaps my title for this post is a little harsh. It appears that the city council for North Oaks, Minnesota saw the Google Maps Street View pics on the net as a violation of the their trespassing ordinance. The city asked Google to take down the photos, Google complied.

I’m impressed.

Google last week filed a motion to dismiss an invasion-of-privacy and trespassing lawsuit brought by a couple in Pennsylvania over Google Maps Street View images of the couple’s house. While Google has removed the images in question, it rejects the couple’s demand for damages, claiming that the couple’s expectation of privacy is too high.

Goofy News Bits: 6-2-2008

News and Coffee in the morning

Cylon Baseships Run Windows XP?

Wiener water soup – I can’t believe someone green lighted this recipe on cooks.com?

A blog dedicated to pipe-dream ideas, broadcast for anyone to pursue.

Mötley Crüe Sells More Through ‘Rock Band’ Than iTunes

A fact of the male brain “Bikin-clad women make men impatient” – A recent study shows that men who watched sexy videos or handled lingerie sought immediate gratification–even when they were making decisions about money, soda, and candy. Duh.

Fractal furniture! 

How Rock Band saved my marriage

The sad demise of whimsical teasing in Comic Chat

Analyst: Netflix Will Come to Xbox 360

I found this analysis on GameDaily.

It’s been rumored before, but Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter is more and more confident that Microsoft will team with Netflix. GameDaily chats with Pachter about this potential partnership.

…there’s 5-6 million Xbox Live subscribers that Netflix would love to have join Netflix service and there’s probably 5-6 million Netflix subscribers that Microsoft would love to sell an Xbox 360 to.

For me personally, I use Netflix yet I don’t have an XBOX 360. I do have the original Xbox and a Wii but this service wouldn’t be enough to get me to purchase the 360 unless it was significantly discounted (< US $100).

Pantech Breeze, A Mobile Phone Targeting The Older Generation?

Pantech Breeze

AT&T and Pantech have announced the Pantech Breeze. Why ‘Breeze’? It’s EASY to use: breEZe.

This phone appears to be targeting an older consumer according to some of the reviews out there, while Pantech says it’s designed to be used by children as well as adults.

But they also hype is as having oversized buttons, large text, easy access advanced function buttons (speakerphone & camera) as 3 special keys for one-click calling. I won’t bore you with specs, you can get them at Pantech’s Breeze product page.

Here’s a close-up of the top half of this flip phone:

Pantech Quick Call keys

Dueling Chess Shops

Chess Pieces

Someone should write a screenplay on this one, the New York Observer has the story on these chess geeks.

The Scene: Greenwich Village, New York City

The Players: Owners of The Chess Forum (est 1995) and The Chess Shop (est 1972)

The Plot: Two chess stores across the street from each other, the owners feuding for 13+ years after a falling out. The story involves Russell Crowe as a customer, the intellectual elite, betrayal, a knife drawn on a longtime chess opponent and more.

[via Purple Pawn]

Update: Denver Video of "Alien Confirmation"

Alien in Window

This is a follow-up to the earlier post on the gentleman, Jeff Peckman of Denver Colorado, that supposedly has a video of real life aliens. In his much ballyhooed press conference today he released a still photo from the video, more like a teaser! Seems he has a documentary deal already in the works and is not allowed to share more with us lest he give away the good stuff. You can watch an interview of him about this video on MSNBC.

Oh, and regarding Denver and aliens…he says “Denver, after all, is closer to outer space than most other major cities — we’re the Mile High City — so it’s a natural first stop for them.”

But of course! After possibly traveling many light years it makes perfect sense that the additional 5,000 feet saved from having to make it to sea level is all the difference in the world to get that extra alien contact.

Man to Unveil ‘Visual Confirmation’ of Space Alien in Video

Alien Grays  (photo on file from Roswell Press 1947)

A video that purportedly shows a living, breathing alien not of this Earth will be shown to the news media Friday in Denver. Jeff Peckman, who is pushing a ballot initiative to create an Extraterrestrial Affairs Commission in Denver to prepare the city for close encounters of the alien kind, said the video is authentic and convinced him that aliens exist.

‘‘As impressive as it is, it’s still one tiny portion in the context of a vast amount of peripheral evidence,’’ he said Wednesday. ‘‘It’s really the final visual confirmation of what you already know to be true having seen all the other evidence.’’

UPI has the gory details, though I wouldn’t bet on this being legit.

Researchers Say Stonehenge Was a Family Burial Ground


New research is indicating that the secret of Stonehenge may have finally been solved. The mysterious circle of large stones in southern England was mainly a burial ground for about 500 years, and the site may hold more remains of a family that ruled the area for quite a while.

Based on radiocarbon dating of cremated bones up to 5,000 years old, researchers with the Stonehenge Riverside Project said they are convinced the area was built and then grew as a “domain of the ancestors.”

LA Times has the full story. So does BBC News, MSNBC and New York Times

Monkeys Managing Machines. Or, Monkey Brain Hardwired To Robotic Arm, Feeds Self.

 Monkey brain controls robotic arm

In a mental meeting of monkey and machine, two primates have learned to feed themselves with a robotic arm by controlling the appendage with signals from their brains.

The success boosts hopes for mind-controlled robotic prosthetics that may help disabled humans achieve some mobility.

Jeebus, something about this gives me a feeling of impending doom, maybe subconsciously I’m seeing this as the beginning of some kind of twilight zone thing that doesn’t end well for society. Like maybe a Planet of the Apes kind of thing.

Take your pick for more details, some with video:

BBC News
Voice of America
Science News

Search For The Titanic Was a Cover For Secret Cold War Sub Missions

Scorpion Submarine

Almost unbelievable, but still, here it is: <snip>

When Bob Ballard led a team that pinpointed the wreckage of the liner in 1985 he had already completed his main task of finding out what happened to USS Thresher and USS Scorpion.

Both of the United States Navy vessels sank during the 1960s, killing more than 200 men and giving rise to fears that at least one of them, Scorpion, had been sunk by the USSR.

Dr Ballard, an oceanographer, has admitted that he located and inspected the wrecks for the US Navy in top secret missions before he was allowed to search for the Titanic.

Times Online has the full story.

BTW, the pic above is the USS Scorpion, it was the sister ship to the first sub I served on. They were part of the Skipjack class of boats and they were pigs, but I say that with love and with fond memories.

Portal Page For Your Mobile

2 mobiles


I created a portal page for mobile devices, renders pretty quickly on mobiles, is pretty small and links out to other mobile optimized sites. I’ve set this as one of my favorites on my smartphone and it comes in handy quite a lot.

In fact, I ordered the new Stargate Ark of Truth DVD from Amazon via this portal the other day while I was in bed. Apparently Amazon Mobile keeps the ordering process to the barebones, it took just a couple of clicks fewer than it does using the PC.

What’s missing from the categories that you think would be useful to your average geek? Is there a mobile optimized site that you feel should be a must have?

D-Link Introduces Ethernet-to-Coax Kit For Extending The Home Network Using Existing TV Cabling

D-Link DXN-221

D-Link today introduced an easy-to-use Coax Ethernet Adapter Kit that taps into existing coaxial wiring throughout the home, delivering fast and stable connections for extending a network to devices at the entertainment system and to multiple rooms without interrupting cable service.

The D-Link Coax Ethernet Adapter Kit (DXN-221) is ideally suited for adding bandwidth-demanding applications such as high-definition (HD) media streaming, music sharing and online multi-player gaming to the home network. The DXN-221 comes with two adapters, each of which includes an Ethernet port as well as a Coaxial F-type connector for bridging the two adapters together. The adapters may also be purchased individually (DXN-220).

Users can easily connect the D-Link Coax Ethernet Adapter to their existing router and then to an available coaxial outlet in the home, enabling network and Internet access to multiple rooms. A second adapter is added in another room to connect Ethernet-enabled devices like PCs and media players. The DXN-221 may be used in rooms with multiple devices by connecting a switch to the adapter to connect additional devices.

In a typical scenario, a single adapter comes from the home network router via an Ethernet cable and then connects to a nearby coaxial cable. The second adapter can then be placed anywhere in the home where there is another coaxial cable which can then plug into an Ethernet-ready device or network switch for connecting multiple devices. The technology also works as a point-to-multipoint network which enables placing multiple adapters throughout the home for connections in any room with a coaxial outlet.

The Coax Ethernet Adapter Kit is an ideal solution for home networking requiring no new in-home wiring. Pairing the device with existing coaxial cabling in the home can extend the network to the home entertainment center where more devices are now network-capable such as gaming consoles, digital video recorders (DVR), and media players.

The D-Link Coax Ethernet Adapter Kit DXN-221 will be available in Q3, 2008 from retail outlets and will be available from D-Link’s e-tail shops with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $199.99. Individual adapters (DXN-220) are available with a MSRP of $109.99.

Read more about this device:

PC World



Viacom Ups Ante In YouTube Copyright Spat


It appears that this tiresome issue of YouTube hosting copyrighted content may have just taken the next step.

It’s clear to just about everybody that YouTube is hosting content that has been illegally copied or integrated into personal works, but we all look away with a wink wink nudge nudge. And Youtube/GOOG have insinuated all along that they’ll do what it takes to remove offending content but that they’re not directly responsible. In fact YouTube’s website still purports to be a forum for users to share their own original ‘user generated’ video content. In reality, YouTube is rife with infringed copies of everything from SpongeBob SquarePants to Ren & Stimpy to The Colbert Report and much more.

To back that up, in March 2007 YouTube themselves identified 150,000 unauthorized clips of copyrighted material that had been watched 1.5 billion times.

What’s new in this discussion though is that in Viacom’s latest amended complaint (pdf), they emphasize that YouTube’s embedded and sharing features as particularly problematic because it *encourages* infringement. Their argument is that YT isn’t just facilitating copyright violations, they’re an infringer. This may hold water.

GOOG’s argument is not changing, it can be boiled down to: ‘we supply the tools, what our users do with them is their business’. That’s just BS. It’s the same argument used by black hat hackers that distribute hacking tools and key crackers and rootkits.

For further reading, check out IP Democracy’s view now that GOOG is firing back with a (in my opinion) pretty weak response.

Is It The Lazy Spammers Giving The Spammer Profession A Bad Name?


There’s two kinds of spammers that just really chafe my hide –

Inept spammers and lazy spammers.

When I see ineptness within the spammer ranks I usually roll my eyes and chuckle at how they’ve screwed things up in their latest spam run. I’ll provide details on this bucket later, right now though it’s all about the Lazy Spammers.

To make my point as to what constitutes a lazy spammer allow me to provide Exhibit A, a list.

Here’s the full text of 6 recent spam messages Geeknews has filtered out for moderation. Note what these have in common:

  1. dfgdsfg gdfgdsfg gsdfgdsfg dsfgdsf gmobile ring tones
  2. hgfhgf hgfhdfg hgfhfgh gfh v635 ring tone
  3. fgdsfg gdsfgdsf gdfgdsfg sgdsfgdsf free ring tones for samsung verizon wireless prepaid
  4. sfsadf fsdafas fdasf asdf back ring tones verizon wireless
  5. fsdfs fdasfasd fdsafas fdasfas teenies
  6. fdsfdas fdsafas fdasf asdf sex you tube xxx

It should be obvious what they have in common, the gibberish isn’t just gibberish. A majority of the text is generated using one hand on one row of the keyboard typing randomly on the same 3 or 4 keys over and over again like this:

asdfasdfasdf -OR- ;lkjjkl;;lkj -OR- zxvvczxcvzxvvzcx

If you’re going to decide to take on the profession of spammer, act like a professional, try treating your text like art, make a statement with your spam while providing links to  your services. Take the opportunity to show people what you’re capable of for crying out loud.

Is it too much to ask for? For god’s sake have some pride in your work. As it stands today lazy spammer, I delete you with disdain.

Postal Service Wants To Recycle Your Junk Through The Mail

  eWaste 2

Free and green. Those are the goals of a pilot program launched recently by the U.S. Postal Service that allows customers to recycle small electronics and inkjet cartridges by mailing them free of charge.

The “Mail Back” program helps consumers make more environmentally friendly choices, making it easier for customers to discard used or obsolete small electronics in an environmentally responsible way. Customers use free envelopes found in 1,500 Post Offices to mail back inkjet cartridges, PDAs, Blackberries, digital cameras, iPods and MP3 players – without having to pay for postage.

Postage is paid for by Clover Technologies Group, a company that recycles, remanufactures and remarkets inkjet & laser cartridges and small electronics.

If the electronic item or cartridges cannot be refurbished and resold, its component parts are reused to refurbish other items, or the parts are broken down further and the materials are recycled. Clover has a “zero waste to landfill” policy: it does everything it can to avoid contributing any materials to the landfills.

The free, postage-paid Mail Back envelopes can be found on displays in Post Office lobbies. There is no limit to the number of envelopes customers may take.

The pilot is set for 10 areas across the United States, including Washington, D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles and San Diego, but could become a national program this fall if the pilot program proves successful.

This is really cool, but I have a couple of questions:

– How can we extend this to other nations?

– Can I get a Mail Back box big enough to hold about a dozen old fluorescent tube lights, 1 broken down old PC and 1 busted 21″ CRT? 🙂



[via ecolectic]

Witchblade Sharpened For Bigscreen

Witchblade Teaser Poster

Platinum Studios, Top Cow Prods. and Arclight Films will team on a live-action feature adaptation of “Witchblade,” based on the Top Cow comic book franchise (link to the Wikipedia Witchblade page).

The comic book introduced the Witchblade mythology, which centers on an ornate jewel-encrusted gauntlet that gives extraordinary powers to the wearer, a specially chosen female from each generation.

From Wikipedia on Witchblade:

The Witchblade is an intelligent, ancient, and conscious weapon with extraterrestrial origins. It is one of thirteen weapons of this type. It is the offspring of the universe’s opposing aspects, the Darkness and the Angelus (the dark and the light). The Witchblade is a male aspect created to act as a balance, which must have a female as a host.

The comic book franchise has sold more than 100 million copies worldwide since debuting in 1995 and spawned a 2000 telepic that turned into a weekly series that ran for two seasons on TNT. “Witchblade” has been published in more than 21 languages and 55 countries, with merchandise widely sold. The most recent incarnation was an anime TV show in Japan by Gonzo Digimation in 2006.

The companies are already eyeing a location shoot in Australia.

Platinum Studios is involved in screen transformations of several titles from its comics library, including “Atlantis Rising,” a DreamWorks drama being produced by Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, and “Cowboys and Aliens,” another DreamWorks title that Kurtzman and Orci are producing with Imagine Entertainment. Platinum Studios has a Disney deal for “Unique” and is partnered with Hyde Park Entertainment on “Dead of Night,” based on the Italian comicbook series “Dylan Dog.”

Flintstones Arrested!

Flintstones Arrested

Fred and Wilma Flintstone attempted to deliver a simple message (on a stone tablet) to the European Parliament recently, after winding their way through the streets of Brussels in a ‘Flintstone car’.

Their message was simple: Stop listening to the stone-age bilge of the car lobby, and start standing up for the climate.

What they got for their efforts was to be arrested and hauled off in a paddywagon.

Read the blow by blow account at Greenpeace’s blog. Go to the blog to see more photos, I love the beard the guys have donned.