Does Today Suck?

Ever have that feeling ‘Today is a great day!’ or ‘Man, today sucks’, even though nothing particularly great or sucky occured to sway your gut feeling?

Well, “Does Today Suck?” is a blog that may help answer where that feeling comes from. Each day is a high level review of events in history on that day with either a ‘Good’, ‘Bad’, ‘Cool’ rating. Sum up all the ratings and that day in history gets an overall rating.

Here’s an example for April 16th in review:

746 – 1,600 men are killed in the Battle of Culloden. – BAD

1780 – The University of Munster is founded – COOL

1946 – Syria gains independence. – COOL

1947 – 600 lives are claimed in an explosion aboard a freighter, in what would be known as the Texas City Disaster. – BAD

1963 – Martin Luther King, Jr. pens his famous letter from Birmingham Jail. – COOL

Notable Births:

Louis the Pious, Henry George Chauvel, Wilbur Wright, John Millington Synge, Ernst Thalmann, Charlie Chaplin, Spike Milligan, Peter Ustinov, Kingsley Amis, Pope Benedict XVI, Dick Lane, Dusty Springfield, Margrethe II of Denmark, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Belichick, Billy West, Rafael Benitez, Ian MacKaye, Martin Lawrence, Selena, Fredrik Ljungberg, Cat Osterman

Notable Deaths:

George Villiers, Francisco Goya, Alexis de Tocqueville, Rosalind Franklin

OVERALL DAY RATING: COOL

What Is That??

Wow!  There were some good guesses for the last picture post 🙂  Noone got it, but the right answer is the speaker for a Blackberry 8700g.   Too tough for you?  Well it’s only going to get harder!  Perhaps I can even convince my editor to pony up a small prize for correct answers on these….I’ll keep you posted.

This week I was removing everything from my kitchen (including the sink!) to do that once a year cleaning job that is always a very daunting activity.  You know…getting all that stuff that fell behind the oven, dust under the fridge, etc.  Not a pleasant or anticipated task, I assure you!  So, in a break from all that nifty cleaning, I saw this little gem.  Drop your guesses in the comments..I’ll be watching 🙂

What Is That??

Einstein Was Right After All

For the past three years a satellite has circled the Earth, collecting data to determine whether two predictions of Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity are correct. Sunday, at the American Physical Society (APS) meeting in Jacksonville, Fla., Professor Francis Everitt from Stanford University provided the first public peek at data that revealed whether Einstein’s theory has been confirmed by the most sophisticated orbiting laboratory ever created.

This is the longest project in NASA’s history, has cost over US$700M and started in 1963. It went on so long that the project was canceled 7 times and of course revived each time. To get a layman’s explanation of the project, listen to the NPR story on Gravity Probe B that was first aired shortly before it was launched in 2004.

From the Stanford Press Release this weekend:

Gravity Probe B has been a great scientific adventure for all of us, and we are grateful to NASA for its long history of support,” Everitt said. “My colleagues and I will be presenting the first results today and tomorrow. It’s fascinating to be able to watch the Einstein warping of space-time directly in the tilting of these GP-B gyroscopes—more than a million times better than the best inertial navigation
gyroscopes.

The GP-B satellite was launched in April 2004. It collected more than a year’s worth of data that the Stanford GP-B science team has been pouring over for the past 18 months. The satellite was designed as a pristine, space-borne laboratory, whose sole task was to use four ultra-precise gyroscopes to measure directly two effects predicted by general relativity. One is the geodetic effect—the amount by which the mass of the Earth warps the local space-time in which it resides. The other effect, called frame-dragging, is the amount by which the rotating Earth drags local space-time around with it.

According to Einstein’s theory, over the course of a year, the geodetic warping of Earth’s local space-time causes the spin axes of each gyroscope to shift from its initial alignment by a minuscule angle of 6.606 arc-seconds (0.0018 degrees) in the plane of the spacecraft’s orbit. Likewise, the twisting of Earth’s local space-time causes the spin axis to shift by an even smaller angle of 0.039 arc-seconds (0.000011 degrees)— about the width of a human hair viewed from a quarter mile away—in the plane of the Earth’s equator.

Additional References:

  • Website for the Gravity Prove B project
  • Wikipedia page on the Gravity Probe B
  • Discovery Channel representations on what the gravity effect would ‘look’ like. Pic1, Pic2

Rogue Apple Dev With An Anti-War Message?

[Update: See the Doctor’s link in the comments, looks like it’s not Apple’s fault after all]

Macenstein has talked to Oxford University Press about the Anti-War and Anti-President definitions in Apple’s Oxford Dictionary widget. It appears that a rogue dev at Apple snuck in some not so nice easter eggs.

Here’s just one example below. You can read the investigation over at Macenstein; while you’re there, check out April’s Mac Chick.

Apple Dictionary Widget

Sun Acquires Java Based Mobile Phone OS

Jasper Phone

Looks like Sun is getting into competition with Symbian, Microsoft and Linux in the mobile space.

Deviceforge.com is reporting that Sun has acquired the assets of SavaJe Technologies. SavaJE developed the OS from the kernel on up and is deployed to the Jasper S20 mobile phone which won ‘Device of the Show’ aware at last year’s JavaOne conference.

The SavaJe mobile platform is an open standards based Java platform and enables operators and handset OEMs to rapidly brand and customize the mobile phone.

[Via Linuxdevices]

My Idea Of A TV

Now this is my idea of a plasma tv – The Waterfall Plasma Television.

The one shown here would make a great demo machine if you plug in a DVD with your sales pitch. One application here that is to put it in your lobby, it’s sure to draw attention with the water cascading around the 42″ or 60″ plasma screen.

Check out the manufacturer’s site for more custom waterfall fountains.

Waterfall Plasma

Domain Tools As Crystal Balls

DomainTools Blog has an interesting article. It shows that by monitoring the registered domains of a Web heavy corporation such as GOOG, you may get insight into their strategy.

Oct 2000 – Sergey Brin.com Defensive Registration of a co-founder but they forgot to get Larry Page.com.
Oct 2001 – Schoogle.com Perhaps an alternative name to Google Scholar.
March 2002 – Fourth-Party.com Why would Google register this?
May 2002 – Fire Hunt.com Looks like Google quietly bought this company.
June 2002 – Blazing Search.com Related to Fire Hunt
July 2002 – Cobra Search.com Related to Fire Hunt
Jan 2003 – Charity Visa.com & Charity Debit Card.com – Perhaps Google wants to get into the Credit Card business.
Feb 2003 – Got Google.com Marketing department wanted to make bumper stickers or shirts.
Feb 2004 – Google MasterCard.com Google wrestled this away from the copycat
May 2004 – Google Time Warner.com – Just in case they bought Time Warner back in 2004.
Feb 2005 – Every Classified.com – Google’s alternative name to Google Base.
June 2005 – Free-Wifi.info – But they don’t own the non-hyphen version or the .COM, bad tip off they want better names.
April 2006 – Participating Store.com – Two months before Google Checkout launches.
June 2006 – Bay Area Burritos.com – Maybe a Google local search sample site that never launched.
Aug 2006 – Image Labeler.com & Google Image Labeler.com – One day before launching they bought the domain.
Aug 2006 – Bench-Index.com – Secret Benchmark Utility?
Aug 2006 – Beach Wood Car Care.com – Maybe another future Google local search sample site.
Sept 2006 – Search Mash.com – Registered twenty days before they silently launched this new search engine.
Feb 2007 – Guxiang Com.com – A miss-spelling of a chinese portal

Most of those domains are dormant but notice how the tool revealed GOOG’s plans early wrt Scholar, Wi-Fi and Google Checkout?

So now the question is, based on the recent purchases, what are their plans? Well, clearly they have intent to get into Mexican dining.

Four Reasons To Use Multithreading

Marc Jacob’s has a developer centric blog and has recently posted a fairly high level article on the four reasons that you should be multithreading your applications. The focus of the article is an observation that many developers he’s worked with over the years are adding threading to their projects without full consideration or the concept of *why* threading would be helpful.

The four subsections of the article are:

  1. Keep a Process Responsive
  2. Keep a Processor Busy
  3. Keep Multiple Processors Busy
  4. Simplify Coding of Cooperating Tasks

From An ‘A’ to ‘DD’ With The Winerack

OK, maybe this isn’t exactly ‘geeknews’ but sometimes it’s just, erm, interesting or immature fun? In any case…

Old News: You’ve probably heard of ‘The Beerbelly‘ which is a large bladder that you wear around your gut under a shirt; this bladder is filled with beer that you can easily smuggle into the sporting arenas that would charge you an arm and a leg for a cup of mead.

New News: Now the laddies can get into the act with the ‘Winerack‘. Whether your an A or a DD, now the girls can sneak in that bottle of wine or flask of her favorite beverage!

winerack

Note, this is likely a spoof but we’ll keep our eyes peeled! 🙄

[Via my new favorite girl geek Techie Diva]

XBOX Takes a Step Closer to PC Land

Yeah, it was just a matter of time, really.  Microsoft dropped hints of this slick little unit a few months ago, and now its been confirmed.  The QWERTY will be making it’s debut this summer for eager console owners to make their messaging and typing a whole lot easier. The addon connects seamlessly to controllers, and provides easy typing access without hindering normal gameplay.

QWERTY

I’m not a console fanboy by any means, and i’m not sure what the purpose of this device is really, since a computer would do a much better job of anything you’d need to accomplish with a keyboard.  However, if a demand for these types of accessories are created…who’s to blame Microsoft for generating a new source of funds for their XBOX cash-cow?

Windows Live Messenger Coming To XBOX

Sometimes I think you can just be too connected. And that’s the reason why I turn off Communicator at work, because people can randomize me to the point where little gets done.

Of course I’m not the target audience for this XBOX announcement anyway since I don’t even have a ‘360’. In fact, I’m still waiting for the prices of the Atari 2600 VCS to come down in price before I jump into this whole console deal.

Here’s the press release.

B.C. Creator Johnny Hart Dead At 76

BC Comic

The comic strip legend Johnny Hart, creator of ‘B.C.‘ and co-creator of ‘The Wizard of Id‘, died over the weekend at the age of 76. Hart suffered a stroke while working at his storyboard, died working on his labor of love; that’s the way I want to go. MSNBC has the story of his life and his death.

When I was a kid, the running gag that got me hooked on BC was ‘Clams got legs’ and that whole line of evolutionary fun he had with the stories. G’night Mr. Hart.
BC Cast