Bad Grades? No Games For You!

Brandon Scott, a manger of a GameStop in Dallas, Texas has been suspended for refusing to sell video games to school kids with poor grades.


“He needs to be reading a book. He knows how to play Madden before he knows how to do his ABCs and 123s – that’s backwards,” said store manager Brandon Scott, who imposed a policy of refusing to sell games to school-aged children unless an adult would confirm the child’s good grades. As a result, he has so far refused about two dozen game sales, he said, although most of them had returned with proof of good grades to make their purchase.

Cont. – Linky

As a parent to a 12yr old son who is addicted to video games, I am in agreement with the man’s policy.  Being rewarded for bad grades will get you exactly nowhere.  Comments?

Stargate Atlantis Season 4 Premier This Week

Stargate Atlantis

Season 4 opener for Atlantis is this Friday night, the episodes premise is: The team has escaped the Replicators, but now the city is adrift in deep space, running out of air, and losing power. What else can go wrong? Asteroids.

Very minor season 4 teaser/spoilers below:

Lead character Elizabeth Weir is out and Col. Carter is in, Teyla will be pregnant to handle the actress’ real pregnancy, we’ll get another episode of the McKay siblings, (dead?) character Dr. Carson Beckett makes at least one appearance in one show.

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NSA To Defend Against Black-Hat Hackers


I never really cared for the term ‘Cracker’ as the ‘bad hackers’, so we’ll stick with my favorite : Black Hat Hackers.

In a major shift in policy and intent, the National Security Administration (NSA) is examining what it would take to in order to monitor and defend against the bad guys that want to hack into the networks controlling the American power plants, utilities, subways and any other system deemed vital to the safety and well fare of its citizens.

The problem with this is that the original charter for the NSA emphasizes that the National Security Agency shall not spy on its own citizens, but this very thing would be required since the bad guys are coming from inside the borders as much as they are from outside.

From the Baltimore Sun:

The plan calls for the NSA to work with the Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies to monitor such networks to prevent unauthorized intrusion, according to those with knowledge of what is known internally as the “Cyber Initiative.” Details of the project are highly classified.

The NSA’s new domestic role would require a revision of the agency’s charter, the senior intelligence official said. Up to now, the NSA’s cyberdefense arsenal has been used to guard the government’s classified networks — not the unclassified networks that now are the responsibility of other federal agencies.

Potential cyberattacks are being discussed in chat rooms in languages that include English, Arabic, Russian and Punjabi. Terrorists and others already know many of the country’s vulnerabilities and are extremely concerned about the ability to hack into computer systems controlling nuclear power plants.

Link to the Baltimore Sun article.

NASA’s Lunar Exploration Trailer

Last week I discussed the details of NASA’s call for you to submit your application to join the Astronaut Class of 2009 for extended missions in space, possibly for the Moon.

Well here’s an incredible video produced by NASA to get you juiced for the space program again as their push for the Moon and beyond (Mars anyone?). The music jibes perfectly with the various technologies and phases of this proposed vision of Lunar Exploration.

Tip of the hat to the folks that produced this video, I love it!

[youtube L1__6TzLOqo Lunar Exploration Trailer]


Fall Games Galore

I don’t know about you guys, but I think this summer was pretty dry (hehe) for new games.  Yeah there were a few releases, but nothing to go nuts over ;P  However, titles like Shadowrun, Crysis, Quake Wars, and Unreal Tournament III are eagerly anticipated for putting the smack-down on our systems.

I thought I’d bust out a few links to the game sites, so you can drool over your near future in time wasting!

Bioshock has been the hotness ever since it released last month and it’s packing the digits and numbers to prove it.  Combine 50’s horror and sci-fi with genetic engineering; pack it all into an expansive city on the sea floor and you have the latest in advanced fps gaming.  This is not a game you want to pass up.

Unreal Tournament III – Hang onto your flak cannons. The Unreal Tournament series is gearing up for its next appearance, and it’s bringing the powerful new Unreal engine along for the ride.  New weapons, vehicles and maps recharge this offering along with all new multiplayer technology.  I hear it’s going to be optimized for DX10 for added sweetness!

Jericho is based on Clive Barker’s background in horror and thrill-packed novel writing.  You take command of a military tactical unit called the “Jericho Squad” that specializes in confronting paranormal threats.  Block by block, you lead your team through a city under supernatural siege and drive off other-dimensional forces that stand in your way.

Stranglehold brings a fresh look to the John Woo style of gunplay, just like in the movie “Hard Boiled”.  You take the role of Inspector Tequila who is forced to cross the line from sworn duty to bloody revenge.  Engage your enemies with intense cinematic gun battles and cause massive environmental damage in real-time or revolutionary slow-motion Tequila Time.

There’s more to come, but this should whet your appetite for the time being.   Look out next time for some info on games like Hellgate: London, Crysis, Frontlines: Fuel Of War and Heroes Of Might & Magic V.

Drop a comment if you’d like to see a particular game mentioned.  Game on! 

Inside The World Of Google The Dalles

GOOG The Dalles

For the first time ever, GOOG allowed the press (just two folks) to enter their data center complex in The Dalles, Oregon (The Dalles is at the end of the Oregon Trail), shown above.

With just a hint of transparency, these two reporters put a human face on one of the most secretive aspects of the internet behemoth, normally this location is treated with a level of secrecy as if it’s the CIA. And with good reason, with a global computer system estimated at around 450,000 computers, how they serve and analyze internet data is their ‘golden egg’.

The reason why they’re in this location one hour from Portland, OR is due to the cheap electricity from the Columbia River’s hydrodynamic power as well as easy access to data networking.

Link to The Dalles Chronicle article describing their visit.

Want more tangible information on the 2 football field sized computing center? Try this NY Times article from 2006.

Can I Have Some Of That?

Seriously.  The producers for Microsoft promotion videos *HAD* to have been taking something when coming up with some of their pitches for their former software.  Think I’m kidding?  Check out this previous post on a promotional video for Windows 386.

And just when you thought you’ve seen it all, here I discover yet another promotional video – this time for the MS-DOS 5 Upgrade.  I don’t know whether to laugh or cry…

Before Moving To New Locale, Check For Rotten Neighbors recently launched and is taking the online real estate ‘bidness to another level. This is essentially a Google Maps feature that allows you to pinpoint the locations of down right crazy, rude, lewd and just plain rotten neighbors.

Heck, wouldn’t you want to know in advance that your future neighbor lets their dog bark at all hours of the night before you bought that house? Do yourself a favor and check here before moving.

They have a blog up with helpful information on how to deal with different types of neighbors, to learn more about the service read their initial blog post.

The site is in Beta, but is fun for a little snooping though! Enjoy.


Rotten Neighbor

Help Wanted: Astronauts For Missions To Moon

Surely This Is Not an Astronaut? :-)

NASA is accepting applications for the 2009 Astronaut Candidate Class. On their recruitment page they throw out motivators like “America needs YOU at the frontiers of space and technology!” and “NASA HAS SPACE FOR YOU!“. Heck yeah!

As you’ll see below it may not pay that well depending on your education and experience, but what the heck, at $59k you get to go to space! 🙂

Those selected could fly to space for long-duration stays on the International Space Station and missions to the moon. From NASA’s Director of Flight Crew Operations at the Johnson Space Center:

We look forward to gathering applications and then being able to select from the largest pool possible. Continuing our impressive record in successfully carrying out challenging human spaceflight missions depends on maintaining a talented and diverse astronaut corps.

To be considered, a bachelor’s degree in engineering, science or math and three years of relevant professional experience are required. Typically, successful applicants have significant qualifications in engineering or science, or extensive experience flying high-performance jet aircraft.

After a six months of evaluation and interviews, NASA will announce final selections in early 2009. Then astronaut candidates will report to Johnson in the summer of 2009 to begin the basic training program to prepare them for future spaceflight assignments.

They’re accept applications through July 1, 2008 at

So I went to that site and found the open job position, where it does call out ISS ops but not the fact that it may end up being missions to the moon once you’ve proved your chops, I suppose it’s a given.

Salary: 59,493.00 – 130,257.00 USD per year

Duty Locations: Houston

Open period: Tuesday, September 18, 2007
to Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Key Requirements:

  • Position subject to pre-employment background investigation
  • U.S. citizenship is required
  • This is a drug-testing designated position
  • Frequent travel may be required
  • Selectee must pass a pre-employment medical examination

More information is at the Astronaut Recruitment page.

Found via NASA Press Release.

Time to ‘Cowboy Up’ my peeps, let’s ride!

She’s Geeky, Women’s Tech (un)Conference


She’s Geeky started as an idea between women working in technology. If you’re a woman working in tech or just a very geeky girl, they want you to attend and socialize, build a network and learn side by side with others just like you.

Their goal is to provide a forum for women to exchange skills and learn from women in diverse fields of tech, discuss topics about women and tech, connect the diverse range of women in tech/ computing/ entrepreneurship/ funding/ HW.

Topics at this 2 day event range from ‘Dealing with Analysts to ‘Nonprofit Technology Sector Overview’ to ‘Speakers training and the importance of speaking in leadership’ to ‘Hardware Hacks by Women’. They have a Proposed Topics page for more subjects.

Many topics still need to be nailed down and are tentative, but I gotta say that if I was a girl geek in technology I’d think seriously about attending. And for such a small fee you gain so much!


  Computer History Museum, Mountain View, CA.


  October 22-23

  Start Time: Noon on Monday

  Ending Time: Close 6pm on Tuesday.

  They will have evening ‘entertainment’ on Monday night.


  $125 until Sept 30, $175 after

Go to the home page for all the ‘about’ details.

Where Is That??

Gamers unite!  Here is a spiffy new subject I’d like to add to GN for a tryout with you guys, and see if ya’ll like it.

“Where is what”, you say?  Your home away from home!  Video games are the virtual homes of many a geek, and I’m here to pick your brain, and see if you can identify those locales where you build your armies, slay your sworn enemy or frag your friends.  Each post, I will display a screenshot of someplace within a popular video game (Mostly PC) and you folks will try and guess where it is 😉

Simple enough you say?  Heh, I’m not gonna make it that easy for you!  So lets get this business going….

 Where Is That??

Stab the comments for your guesses, and show us your stuff!

The History Of Microsoft Windows Start Up Sounds

This video takes us from Win 3.1 to Vista to relive all the startup sounds, that’s 1992-2007. I learned 2 things:

1. My preference was the NT 4 Workstation, until I heard it again here I had forgotten how much I liked it. So now I’m thinking of making it a ringtone on my Smartphone! 🙂

2. I don’t recall WinME and Win2K being the same though they came out about the same time. Hmm.

[youtube -8F4YF_pH-4]

A Killer Spreadsheet For The iPhone

iPhone charts

EditGrid does online spreadsheets and they now support an online version of a spreadsheet for the iPhone. They specialize in real time update and extensive collaboration features, concurrent users can view and edit your data in real time without conflict. If you’re interested in a comparison of their online service vs. Google vs. Zoho vs. Excel then check out a comparison matrix of features across all 4.

The benefit of this iPhone support by EditGrid is being able to receive a spreadsheet in mail on your Smartphone from your business partner and can open it via their online service. Cool! As opposed to what you’re doing today which is to e-mail the partner back and request they send you the raw data formatted for the mail client on your Smartphone. Uncool!

It’s about data access anytime from anywhere.

Watch a quick Scobleshow Podtech video on this or go straight to EditGrid’s iPhone page for more information and view useful sample templates.

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In-Car GOOG Search For Beamers

myTelus reports on the German luxury automotive manufacturer BMW installing Google search capability in their cars now. It’s called the ‘Google By Car’ function, is really just Google Local Search and is a service provided for free to new car owners depending on the service selected.

Question: Do the Ford or Fiat vehicles running Windows Automotive support Windows Local Live? 😉


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Confessions Of A Screenshot Addict

Bryan Eisenberg is a “screenshot addict”, in his blog post he comes clean by explaining why and what you can do with it today.

Now I don’t save full screens, but I do regularly take a full screenshot if I see something of interest on the screen, the rest of the page is noise to me. I’ll take a screen snap, ctrl+V into mspaint, wham bam thank you ma’am and I have a snippet of the thing that tickled me in the first place. Or if possible just drag a graphic into my pic folder.

Sometimes it winds up on Geeknews, usually it ends up in an archive on my PC at home or work ‘just in case’. Just in case I need it in the future, yeah I’m a pack rat like that, filling up my drive with graphics that looked like they may serve a purpose one day.

Like these fine examples chosen at random from my Pics folder, some are clickable. You can expect to see more random pics from my folder in the future, yeah I’m weird too:

ufo 4 

 TRS-80 at school


Military aircraft

AR girl

Digital money

Terrorist Takedown

Sea Turtles’ Mystery Hideout Revealed

From Live Science –

Once sea-turtle hatchlings hit the surf, they vanish for up to five years. Where the half-dollar-size tots spend these “lost years” while ballooning to the size of dinner plates has been a mystery, until now.

This has been a mystery for over 50 years, turns out the scientists have learned a few surprising things about these little buggers when they hit the open ocean. Well, I guess it’s surprising to the scientists, not surprising to me, just curious.

Here’s the article.

Geeknews Roundup: 9/20/07

News and Coffee in the morning
DNA barcoding: from fruit-flies to puffer fish
Terra Daily
Hundreds of experts in DNA barcoding meet in Taiwan next week for a major conference on this young, cutting-edge science which could have wide-ranging implications for health and the environment.

EU Proposes Bailout of Galileo Sat Nav Project
Beta News
Galileo, once billed as a potential rival to the US Department of Defense’s GPS system, is now facing serious issues following disagreements over the development of the system by eight companies tasked with its build-out.

Video: The fate of Moore?s Law
Watch the video. Speaking at the Intel Developer Forum, Gordon Moore, Intel co-founder and the Moore in Moore?s Law gives his law 10 to 15 years before it hits the wall.

Metal Gear Solid Online Trailer
Game Trailers
Finally, a trailer for Metal Gear Online. “I need backup!”, “I got you covered”.

GNOME 2.20 Released
The improvements in GNOME 2.20 include: Improved support for right-to-left languages; desktop search integrated into the file chooser dialog; convenient new features in the Evolution email and calendar client; enhanced browsing of image collections; simplified system preferences; efficient power management and incredibly accurate laptop battery monitoring. Developers receive more help with application development thanks to a new version of the GTK+ toolkit, improved tools, and a great new documentation web site.

Yahoo Mail Innovates, Gmail Stagnates


Lifehacker has a great comparison of Yahoo mail vs. Gmail, showing where they have parity in their features and where Yahoo is basically stomping the holy living hell out of GOOG’s mail site that is perpetually in Beta. 😛

I rarely use Yahoo, but it looks like I may have to go give them a second try after their onslaught of innovative feature improvements.

Beauty and the Geek Season 4- The Girls Are Prettier and Dumber Than Ever


The new season of Beauty and the Geek started tonight with a 2 hour opener so I’m up past my bedtime. 🙂 Oh boy, there’s a twist in season 4!

And good grief I can’t get over where they dig up some of these beauties. In the first hour they interview the women and ask easy questions, here’s some of the Q/A:

Q: Who wrote Beethoven’s fifth?
Girl1: I don’t read books.
A: Girl2: Mozart?

Q: What’s closer to the Earth, the Moon or the Sun?
A: Girl1: They are the same distance.
A: Girl2: Aren’t the Moon and the Sun the same thing?

Before I go hit the rack, here are some of the promo pics used to advertise the site on the web in the past, I’m not sure what it is that tickles my fancy, but here it is anyway’s:

Beauty and the Geek Beauty and the Geek 2

Beauty and the Geek 4              Beauty and the Geek 3

And here’s your new wallpaper at 1920×1200. Please, there’s no need to thank me, it’s a service I enjoy providing:


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