Shades of grey in Net Neutrality

You may have heard the expression, Net Neutrality bandied about lately. It could effect what you pay your internet service provider. For one side of the story (in which the very structure of the internet is in peril) go here. For a Canadian view on the story go here. For a PBS side of the story go here. If you want Sir Timothy John "Tim" Berners-Lee's (one of the founding fathers of the internet) side of the story go here.If you'd like to read what Wikipedia has to say on the topic go here.

You can also read about United States Senator and then Chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) and his unintentionally humorous and strange interpretation of the internet and net neutrality. To hear him stumble over his own words and hear a discussion by tech experts go here.

And if you'd like to see an intentionally humorous side of Net Neutrality, Ask A Ninja.


Heroes & Villains of the Animated Kind

If you spent your childhood in the 1960's as I did your reward for a week toiling in the vineyards of the public school system was Saturday Morning Cartoons.

Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Wile E. Coyote, and the like were funny, but even more important to a boy in his pre-teen years were the adventure cartoons. Three of my favorites were Space Ghost, Jonny Quest, and The Herculoids.

If you're from that period, watch these and relive your youth, and if you're a bit younger watch these and see what sparked the imagination of your father or grandfather. Enjoy!

Space Ghost, Intro

Space Ghost, End Credits

Jonny Quest, Brazilian Intro

Jonny Quest, Yesterday & Today

Herculoids, Intro

Herculoids--The Tiny World of Terror

Silly, Scary, Stylish, or Sad?

Why Paint Cats is a book brought to my attention when I received e-mailed photos from a friend of painted cats. Not paintings of cats, but cats that had been painted by artists, some at a cost of $60,000.

You can go here to read comments on Why Paint Cats

You can go here to see the book, Why Paint Cats: The Ethics of Feline Aesthetics

And finally read what happens when reality rears its Photoshopped head as Snopes steps into the fray.

Let the cat fight begin!


Bungee, Don't Fail Me Now!

It's amazing the lengths to which human beings will go to ensure that their adrenal gland is working. After you watch these three videos your exclamation will either be, "I gotta do that!" or "Are they nuts!"

He is NOT amused!

There are SO MANY things which could have gone wrong!

The Human YoYo!

Bungee Jumping according to Wikipedia

Patterns & Chaos, Order & Turmoil

Humans see patterns everywhere. Clouds and Sudoku are no match for the ability of the human mind to see images and patterns, whether they exist or not.

Look here to view some of the most amazing photographs I've ever seen.

WARNING: Don't attempt if you only have a dial-up connection.



Star Trek Fans, set your TiVo's for The History Channel

Star Trek Tech:
Real technology prompts ideas about gadgets in Star Trek stories.

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Star Trek: Beyond the Final Frontier
A tribute to Star Trek features appearances by many cast members associated with the show's legacy.
Hosted by Leonard Nimoy

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Look, up in the sky! It's a bird, it's a plane, it's . . .

Growing up, I fell in love with animation. The Warner Brothers Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies were among my favorites, but I also loved the more formal animation of Disney's movies. It wasn't until I became an adult that I discovered Max and Dave Fleischer and their animated adventures of Superman.

Created for theatrical release, the Fleischer Studios produced nine Superman cartoons (distributed through Paramount Pictures) in 1941 and 1942. Simply titled, Superman, the first short in the series, at $100,000 had one of the highest budget for a short produced at the time, and was nominated for an Academy Award. Lavishly produced in Technicolor and employing rotoscope techniques, these cartoons still stand among the most visually interesting of any series animated short films ever created. Fleischer Studios was disbanded in 1942 and changed into Famous Studios where the remaining eight shorts were produced in 1943 for a total of seventeen shorts. In 1994, members of the animation field voted the series as #33 of the 50 Greatest Cartoons of all time.

In the 1980's, most of the Fleischers' films and shorts became available on video, and that's when I discovered Superman. Available in department stores, supermarkets, and other low cost outlets, the poor-quality videotapes were unable to diminish the amazing craftsmanship of the originals. Having entered the public domain in the 1950's, the Superman cartoons were released in various forms and lengths, with the final eight of the seventeen episodes difficult to find. The UCLA Film and Television Archive in conjunction with animation fans have been able to restore the cartoons in high-quality editions available in a variety of forms including DVD.

At present, there are three versions containing all seventeen episodes: The Complete Superman Cartoons — Diamond Anniversary Edition (released in 2000 by Image Entertainment) and , the difficult to find, Superman Adventures (released in 2004 by Platinum Disc Corporation)--a third compilation using restored and remastered materials was released in November 2006 by Warner Home Video as part of their DVD box set of Superman films.

Superman 1941

Eleventh Hour

Billion Dollar Limited

Mechanical Monsters

Electric Earthquake


The Mummy Strikes

The Bulleteers


The Magnetic Telescope


Terror on the Midway

Jungle Drums

The Underground World

The Arctic Giant

Secret Agent

Destruction Inc.


The Man Who Fell To Earth . . .And Lived

Michael Holmes, a champion skydiver, fell two miles with his main chute and then his reserve chute becoming entangled. Most of us would assume the worse, it would all be over. Michael came out of it alive and mostly whole.

Check it out:

Intro Video


Pachelbel Rant

Can you hear the pattern?
Vitamin C - Graduation
Aerosmith - Cryin'
by Lambert-Potter, sung by Coven - One Tin Soldier
Blues Traveler - Hook
Green Day - Basket Case
Rob Paravonian - His own lyrics
matchbox 20 - Push
Better Than Ezra - Good
Bush - Machinehead
U2 - With Or Without You
Natalie Imbruglia - Torn
Avril Lavigne - Sk8er Boi
Twisted Sister - We're Not Gonna' Take It
Laverne and Shirley Lyrics - "Making our Dreams Come True" by Norman Gimbel and Charles Fox
Bob Marley - No Woman No Cry
Beatles - Let It Be

Citizen Hero-The Video

With the advent of cheap video camcorders and inexpensive video editing programs such as iMovie, Windows Movie Maker, and Photoshop Premiere Elements, video has come into the hands of the people. The following is a nice attempt at an amateur group video project, although the singing at the beginning was poor and the editing got a bit sloppy near the end.

Seeing Is Believing . . .

Or is it? Some of the following photographs were staged, and some of them were serendipity. None were Photoshopped. You'll know which is which.

Chalk Talk

Julian Beever creates Anamorphic illusions, 3-D pastel drawings on pavement that defy the eye.

Here is a link to his pastels on pavement: http://users.skynet.be/J.Beever/pave.htm

Here is a link to his website: http://users.skynet.be/J.Beever/

If You Think It's Cold Where You Live . . .

If you want to see cold, check out the following link related to Versoix, Switzerland, a town near Geneva City:


Tiki Tiki!

If you find yourself in Phoenix, Arizona and you're on 27th Avenue, North of Glendale Avenue, South of Orangewood Avenue, at the corner of State Avenue and 27th Avenue, examine the palm trees on the East side of the road and you should see these:



Zuner or later, Microsoft will get it right


Shane Shellenbarger

Picture if you will a group of hardware and software technicians listening intently as upper management gives them the following directive: build an iPod-killer. The technicians retreat to their respective laboratories (cubicles), laboring from dusk till dawn, day after day, fueled by their passion (or Pepsi, Coke, Starbucks, and Red Bull) to produce a superior product, a product they themselves have yearned for, a product that will topple Apple from the 70% market share-mountain it has built from the sale of iPods. Then one day the technicians emerge from their dark lairs, unveiling the fruit of their labors, and they call it ZUNE.

Since Microsoft’s Zune is going head-to-head with Apple’s iPod, let’s compare their features. The Japanese company, Toshiba, manufactures the Zune and the Chinese company, Inventec, produces the iPod. Each comes in a 30 Gigabyte size, the Zune for $249.99 and the iPod for $249.00, roughly $8.34 per gig. Apple also offers an 80 Gig version for $349.00, or about $4.36 per gig. The Zune comes in black, white, and the very collectable brown while the iPod is available in black and white. The Zune is 4.4 inches high, 2.4 inches wide, 0.58 inches deep, and weighs 5.6 ounces. The iPod is 4.1 high, 2.4 inches wide, 0.43 inches deep, and weighs 4.8 ounces. The 80GB iPod is 4.1” H, 2.4” W, 0.55” D, and weighs 5.5 ounces.

The audio formats include Windows Media Audio, MP3, and AAC. The iPod plays AAC, MP3, Audible, Apple Lossless, AIFF, and WAV.

As for video, the Zune plays
WMVideo, H.264, and MPEG-4 while the iPod plays H.264, M4v, MP4, MOV, and MPEG-4. The iPod has a 2.5-inch (diagonal) QVGA transflective, over 65,000-color liquid crystal display with white LED backlight at a 320 x 240 in resolution. The Zune has a 3-inch screen at 320 x 240 in resolution with portrait and landscape viewing. The Zune supports JPEG images while the iPod supports JPEG and BMP.

Currently, Zune does not work with Macs Operating System or Microsoft’s OS Windows Vista (!), and it does not natively support podcasts, although you can use such software as Doppler, iPodderX, Juice, WinAmp, and TvTonic to retrieve podcasts and then sync the Zune to the downloaded audio file. The Zune has built-in FM radio reception, while the iPod requires a separate accessory. The Zune control disc is not a touch-sensitive wheel as on the iPod, but is instead a 5-position tactile click controller. Both players use a built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery. Early reports put the battery life for the Zune at 11-12 hours of audio playback, with the video playback length yet unknown. The 30GB iPod has 14 hours of audio playback and 3 ½ hours for video, the 80GB iPod has 20 hours of audio and 5 ½ hours of video playback.

Both the Zune and the iPod connect to a computer using USB 2.0, and the Zune is 802.11b/g Wifi enabled. The Zune Wifi is crippled in that it cannot be used to surf the Internet, it cannot be used to connect to the Zune Marketplace, it can only be used to “squirt” songs among other Zune uses within range. If you are in range or in a Wifi-enabled area and your Zune shows other Zunes with songs you may want you need to seek out the owners, ask them to send you a song, accept the song when they send it, and then the song is only available to play for three times or three days, whichever comes first. Can Microsoft add any more barriers to usage? Yes, they can! The Zune Marketplace requires you to buy “Zune Points” in $5.00 blocks, with 79 points equal to 99 cents, thereby attempting to make the customer think they are getting more for less. For $14.99 per month, you can buy a Zune Pass, an “all-you-can-eat” subscription service similar to Napster or Rhapsody is available, and if you have audio from those other services or iTunes forget about playing them on the Zune. The Zune will not play any material that contains digital rights management (DRM) other than its own. DRM protects material downloaded from the Zune Marketplace, including material “squirted” between Zunes. Microsoft claims it has over 2 million tracks available.

The Zune comes preloaded with both audio and video files, which will be deleted by most people to utilize the hard drive space. Independent music and video production companies appear to be the principal content providers.

For you Xbox 360 owners, connect you Zune to the Xbox 360 and use audio tracts from the Zune in your Xbox 360 game play, so you can play “Need for Speed” and create your own soundtrack.

Microsoft sometimes does things differently, but one of the odd things they are doing is giving Universal Studios a cut for each Zune sold. Reports are that Universal Studios and Microsoft have reached an agreement in which Universal will receive revenue from Microsoft for songs downloaded through their Zune Marketplace, which is an industry standard. The weirdness enters into the equation when Microsoft agreed to pay Universal a flat fee of $1.00 (some reports state it’s more) for each Zune that ends up in a customers possession. Who agreed to this? Microsoft and Universal are treating each Zune customer as if they have already stolen from Universal Studios. How long will it be before other music industry producers come to Microsoft with their hand out?

Another oddity occurred during the week of the Zune launch when Bill Gates said the iPod was "phenomenal, unbelievable, fantastic" - something the public had taken to heart. Gates stated Microsoft's goal with the Zune is "more modest" than replacing the iPod. "It's a growing market... we can get some of the new users and some of the switchers. We need to excite people about the concept - the idea of sharing music and video through Zune's built-in Wifi,” he said. It sounds like Gates is prepared to accept Steve Jobs leavings.

The Zune had great potential. It might have been a real challenge to Apple’s iPod, but when Microsoft made odd choices for the transfer of files, for revenue participation choices, for DRM and Zune points, turning control over to lawyers and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) they slapped the face of every customer they sought to gain and then turned their backs on them. I, for one, will not turn the other cheek.














http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6o0tNa6FbA&NR (Caution: Language)