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about me
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wFavorite posts
halloween 2002 roundup
the future of online gaming
star wars cereal review
japanese culture link of the day (12/6/2002)
japanese culture link of the day (12/23/2002)
reviews: hentai games sux0rz
anime term of the day (fan service, 02/17/2003)
retro gaming link of the day (battletech)
 

Recommended:
megatokyo
sinfest
8-bit theatre
mac hall
penny arcade
twisted kaiju theater
this modern world
dilbert
destroy all monsters
giant robot
8bit joystick
retrolounge
teleport city
stomp tokyo
anime web turnpike
radio paradise
neil gaiman
william gibson
greg costikyan
techrepublic
u.s. constitution
indiana democratic party
tompaine.com
fark
boing boing
metafilter
kuro5hin
the hoosier review
spinsanity
the daily howler
this modern world
the joe bob report
gamespot
quake 2
 

Blogs:
nextblog (random)
blogdex
daypop
the truth laid bear
technorati
the lefty directory

#!-usr-bin-girl
alas, a blog
andrew hagen
angry bear
annatopia
asymmetrical information
bertrand russel
blog left
blog of the moderate left
blue streak
body and soul
bookslut
brut4c
busy, busy, busy
byzantium's shores
calpundit
charles murtaugh
cogent provocateur
confessions of a g33k
cooped up
corrente
counterspin central
crooked timber
cut on the bias
daily kos
democratic veteran
destroy all blogs
die puny humans
disgustedliberal
d-squared digest
electrolite
eschaton
exploits and musings of heidi
flit
founding issues
geisha asobi blog
gorilla-a-go-go
how appealing
hullabaloo
insanekungfu
intel dump
interesting times
ipse dixit
it's still the economy, stupid
kieran healy
late night thoughts
lillianchan
long story, short pier
making light
mark byron
mark a. r. kleiman
matt welch
matthew yglesias
meryl yourish
min jung kim
modulator
mydd
nathan newman
never trust a monkey
no more mister nice blog
notes on the atrocities
not geniuses
oliver willis
oni blogger
onye's livejournal
open source politics
orcinus
pacific views
pandagon
peevish
p.l.a.
political aims
quaker in a basement
reachm high
roger ailes
royal blue
ruminate this
sadly, no!
scoobie davis
seeing the forest
self made pundit
semi-daily journal (brad delong)
shadow of the hegemon
sixdifferentways
skeptical notion
skippy the bush kangaroo
south knox bubba
swanky conservative
tacitus
talking points memo
talkleft
tapped
tbogg
ted barlow
terminus
testify!
the adventures of accordionguy in the 21st century
the agonist
the avocado couch
the blog of chloë and pete
the left coaster
the light of reason
the likely story
the people's republic of seabrook
the power pill
the rittenhouse review
the road to surfdom
the sideshow
the talking dog
the volokh conspiracy
thinking it through
through the looking glass
to the barricades!
to the point
tristero
uggabugga
unmedia
unqualified offerings
untelevised
uss clueless
very big blog
wampumblog
warliberal
whiskey bar
wil wheaton
worldgonewrong
 

wRecent referrals
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L337 lexicon
...speak l337?
(image courtesy megatokyo)
L33t/l33+: elite
b33r: beer
h4x0r: hacker
j00: you
L4m3: lame
L33t: elite
ph33r: fear
sux0rz: sucks
sw33t: sweet
w00t: woo hoo!
download a l33+ 5p34k generator here

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Saturday, May 11, 2002x


greetings from florida


florida postcard
I'm somewhere near Orlando, at my wife Crystal's uncle Robert and aunt Ruth's place. The flight was long but not notably unpleasant. There was a delay in Baltimore because someone didn't board the plan and his bag had to be found and removed, but other than that everything was fairly copacetic. Well, I didn't get a chance to have dinner until like 10 pm my time (11 pm local), but my wonderful wife got some takeout fried rice for me from the Chinese place where they had dinner. We stayed last night at Crystal's brother Rex's; we're bunking here tonight.

I'm grabbing some time on Robert's computer, in exchange for setting up a couple of programs and tweaking the filing system on his AOL 7.0 email. (Not that I have much room to throw stones, but this machine is not L337 at all; truth be told, it's fairly L4m3.) Since I'm connecting thru AOL on a 56K modem, I'm going to keep this short and sweet, so I'll check back later.

posted by Gregory Harris on 5/11/2002 //



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Friday, May 10, 2002x


sign o' the times


A Los Angeles artist responded to a confusing freeway sign by donning an orange hard hat and scaling the sign last August to add more precise directions. 46-year-old Richard Ankrom downloaded official Federal highway department specifications, and his work was so precise that the state transportation department was unaware the changes weren't its own doing.

posted by Gregory Harris on 5/10/2002 //



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x


blogs in the news


Today's edition of Salon featured a pair of articles on blogging, by Scott Rosenberg and Steven Johnson.

posted by Gregory Harris on 5/10/2002 //



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Thursday, May 09, 2002x


it seems...


old school geek
What sort of geek are YOU?




posted by Gregory Harris on 5/9/2002 //



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x


on the lighter side...


A NASA-developed compound that's 99.8% air has made the Guinness record list as world's lightest solid substance. The aerogel, composed of silicon dioxide and sand, is 1,000 times less dense than glass, weighs .00011 pounds per cubic inch and can endure temperatures of up to 2,600 degrees F. The aerogel is currently riding a NASA probe called Stardust; its job is to trap tiny particles of interstellar dust.

posted by Gregory Harris on 5/9/2002 //



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x


how cool is that?


It's been more than a decade since what Rolling Stone thought was cool mattered to me, but inspired by Charles at SixDifferentWays, I decided to check out the mag's list of 50 Coolest Albums of All Time. The result: I own five of the coolest and at least three of the uncoolest (although it's been a while since I've flipped thru my vinyl; it could be five and five). The specifics?

// "cool" //



// "uncool" //




posted by Gregory Harris on 5/9/2002 //



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two towers "controversy"


Musashi over at Destroy All Monsters posted a juicy rant this morning about an online petition calling upon director Peter Jackson to rename the second film in the Lord of the Rings trilogy from the supposedly "offensive and morally repugnant" The Two Towers.

Personally, I suspect the petition was started as a joke. At least I hope so...Musashi went ballistic over the petition's phrase "When I learned that there apparently was to be a sequel, I was overjoyed," which exhibits total ignorance of the story's inherent three-part nature. Honestly, given the extensive hype and coverage the first film received, could anyone, even folk who haven't read a book since school, be unaware that the story was the beginning of one of the best-known literary trilogies this side of The Divine Comedy? Certainly a number of the people who signed the petition (1242 at this time) took it less than seriously, judging from some of their comments.

The trouble is, I can't rule out that whoever created that petition wasn't totally sincere in his or her ignorance and utter failure to put a so-called "offensive" title into any sort of context. I suppose it's a good sign that, lest anyone take the original petition seriously, petitiononline.com has both included a disclaimer at the top of the original petition (noting that LOTR was written more than 40 years before 9/11) and is hosting a number of counter-petitions, one of which describes the original as "at best...misplaced sensitivity and at worst pernicious nit-picking."

posted by Gregory Harris on 5/9/2002 //



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x


gone // yawn


Crystal and the girls are visiting Crystal's grandparents in Florida. While in some respects the two nights I have on my own before I fly down to join them give me a nigh-unprecedent opportunity to live like a man without responsibilities—play PlayStation, watch a lot of anime and movies, and mess around with the computer 'til all hours—I really miss them. One of the things I hadn't considered about living in a bigger house is how much emptier it can seem. Rachel, our dog, was on edge last night; I'm sure she was missing the rest of her pack too and afraid I'd go next and leave her alone (poor dog, she doesn't know how right she is).

Fortunately, I was able to make arrangements with my friend Onye. She needed to do laundry, so I invited her over to wash her clothes. While her stuff was in the washer, we took in the Hong Kong horror flick Bio-Zombie (which I haven't seen since I reviewed it, although that isn't such a long time) and the first episode of Neon Genesis Evangelion (heads up: that's three links there). We also had a long, rambling conversation; anyone who knows me knows how much I love to talk, so you know I dug it the most. But between getting all her laundry done and the unaccustomed difficulty I had getting to sleep last night, I'm a little sleepy this morning. I made the coffee extra strong, though, so I'm sure I'll make it.

Today I have to pack, print out my e-ticket itinerary, and get some cleaning done around the house. When we all come back I'd like the place to not be this messy. I also don't know what kind of computer access I'll have down there (I'm not bringing my laptop, but that's OK 'cause it's far from L33t), so I may not get to post until Sunday. If so, assuming I post Friday morning, Saturday may be the first day I don't update this blog since I started it. We'll see.

posted by Gregory Harris on 5/9/2002 //



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Wednesday, May 08, 2002x


plastic man


Me as a Lego man
This is how I represent after using Christopher Doyle's Mini-Mizer, a nifty little Flash app that lets you build a LEGO version of yourself (a randomizer is available if you're in a hurry).

posted by Gregory Harris on 5/8/2002 //



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x


favorites


I was going to update my list of favorites, but when I started I realized not enough has changed to make it worthwhile. Here's a recap (scroll past the blank space; it's there):


















current favorites (5/8/02):
Movie:Moulin Rouge
Kung fu Movie:The Five Deadly Venoms // Review at Teleport City
Zombie Movie:Dawn of the Dead
Anime:Kimagure Orange Road
TV Show:The West Wing
Record:Björk, Debut
Writer:William Gibson
Beatle:John
Color:black
Animal:tiger
Muppet:Fozzie Bear
Holiday:Halloween
Donut:Krispy Kreme lemon-filled
Candy bar:Zero (good luck finding them in Indy, but the company where I work actually stocks them in their vending machines! Yippee!
Non-alcoholic beverage:black coffee
Alcoholic beverage:Gin and tonic


posted by
Gregory Harris on 5/8/2002 //



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x


w00t!


My friend
David Henry emailed me yesterday. I'd lost touch with him when he left his last job, but he did a Google search and located me through my main Web page. (Search hint: I'm neither the basketball player nor the Marine who died in Vietnam.) It's great to hear from David; we shared an apartment for a while when we were in college (and a heck of a lot of coffee), and have stayed in semi-regular contact ever since. I'm looking forward to resuming that after this too-long hiatus.

posted by Gregory Harris on 5/8/2002 //



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x


busted!


Frankly, I'm amazed. Mere days after a series of pipe bombings in the Midwest injured six, not only did the FBI identify a prime suspect, but the same individual was nabbed by Nevada authorities following a high-speed chase. Although Luke John Helder, 21, was apparently armed when he fled from police officers, he wisely surrendered without a struggle. Helder is scheduled to appear in court today, where he will enjoy the Constitutional protections of the very government he derided.

// minor rant alert //


I'm no anti-government activist. While I've disagreed with many actions of administrations both Democratic and Republican, I think overall our system of government is good. I adhere to the belief laid out in the Declaration of Independence: "That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." And for proof, you have to look no farther that the way this nation handles dissent. Helder is alleged to have planted the bombs to call attention to his complaints about the Federal government; I guess they don't get the Fox News Channel where he comes from.

And further proof exists in the fact that when a self-declared enemy of that government steps over the line from advocacy to violent action and is then caught, he or she enjoyed a wide variety of legal rights. Indeed, due to the inevitably high-profile nature of the case, the trial is likely to be scrupulously fair. Other nations make examples of their antagonists by detaining them or worse, with scant legal process if any. In the United States, even an individual who allegedly planned to take part in the murderous September 11 terrorist attacks receives scrupulous legal protection, including the opportunity to enjoy free legal counsel or subject the court to anti-American harangues while representing himself. We're able to do this because the system is strong, and it works, even if imperfectly.

// end mini-rant //


I also note with some amusement that Helder, a 21-year old college student whose notable obsession seemed to be the band Nirvana, not the government, is much younger than postulated in the profile authorities originally cooked up (to be fair, they did so with scant evidence).

posted by Gregory Harris on 5/8/2002 //



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x


you can help save internet radio


As I've mentioned earlier, royalty fees scheduled to be imposed May 21 seem certain to force a number of Internet radio stations to shut down. You might say, that sucks, but what can I do about it? You can use this nifty service, that's what. Simply fill out a little contact information on the florm, and the site automatically faxes a form letter to your Seantors and Representative. It's a quick and easy way to participate in the democratic process!

posted by Gregory Harris on 5/8/2002 //



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Tuesday, May 07, 2002x


a legend passes


Despite growing up in Louisville, I've never been a big fan of the Kentucky Derby. But a news item that just caught my eye: Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew has just died at a Lexington horse farm. He was 28, a relatively advanced age for a horse, and the last surviving Triple Crown winner. I saw Seattle Slew win the 1977 Derby, and he's widely regarded as an outstanding thoroughbred.

posted by Gregory Harris on 5/7/2002 //



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x


// update //


In this morning's AnchorDesk column, David Coursey echoes a point I made yesterday...that consumers have always had the power to skip advertising in a variety of media, and it's up to the advertisers to create content so compelling the viewer will pay attention. Since Coursey explicitly supports deep linking in his column, I'm linking straight to it.

posted by Gregory Harris on 5/7/2002 //



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Monday, May 06, 2002x


burn unit


I have been moving slowly in burning new CDs lately because I have been using the wrong app. I had been using RealJukebox, which functioned (most of the time), but had to burn CDs in real time, and occasionally resulted in an audio CD my little boom box will play but this computer won't. Not l337 at all. Just today I was using the Adaptec Easy CD Creator software (now sold by Roxio), and to my surprise, it converts MP3s to CD as easy as you please—plus it has a super intuitive interface, and best of all, it can burn CDs at the capacity of my CD-R drive (well, 4x—any faster and I risk a buffer underrun). So where before burning CDs used to be a seriously time-intensive process, this evening I did:

  • The Princess Mononoke soundtrack

  • The Akira soundtrack

  • The Soul Edge OST

  • The Soul Edge Khan Super Session OST

  • The Resident Evil (PSX) OST


And I still have a little time to play some Graduation before I turn in.

ph33R my L337 cD 8URNIn9 5k1llz ! (hee hee)

posted by Gregory Harris on 5/6/2002 //



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video games in the sights


Meanwhile, the video game industry is under a two-pronged assault. A new bill introduced by California Representative Joe Baca would outlaw selling or renting violent video games to minors. While that isn't a bad idea in itself, the bill's title—"The Protect Children from Video Game Sex and Violence Act of 2002"—raises serious alarms with me. When you go around giving your bill such a grandiose and hard-to-dispute title as that, I start wondering what's really in there.

Worse, in St. Louis, a judge has ruled that video games do not contain any valid expression of ideas and therefore are not a form of speech protected under the First Amendment. Judge limbaugh reviewed only four titles, each several years old, before arriving at this sweeping generalization, and still managed to misquite the titles of two of them. The St. Louis ordinance was modeled on one passed here in Indianapolis, but that one was quashed on First Amendment grounds. The city government asked for a Supreme Court review, which was rejected; still, the Indianapolis city government has pledged to keep an eye on games carrying a notice of violent content.

I've been playing video games all my life. I agree that certain titles are not appropriate for minors—I don't play fighting games like Mortal Kombat 4 or Tekken 2 in front of my toddler—but I'm the one exercising that judgement. When the time comes for me to buy my girls video games, you can bet I'll make a point of knowing what they want before I spend my money on it. Legislation like this is indeed sad as it usurps the parent's role in deciding what is appropriate for their children. And it's even sadder when parents fail in that responsibility to the extent that someone feels such legislation necessary.

posted by Gregory Harris on 5/6/2002 //



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software company ordered to spy on users


Just weeks after the
furor sparked when a copmany revealed it was about to activate spyware bundled with a popular file-sharing program, a company that allows users to digitally record TV programs was ordered by a Federal magistrate to activate hitherto unused code that can monitor user's viewing habits.

Sonicblue, whose product lets viewers record programming digitally for later playback, offers many of the conveniences of the ubiquitous VCR, including fast-forward and commercial skip. It also creates digital files that one user could pass to another, and the company is under suit by representatives of the entertainment industry. The magistrate's order compels the company to collect information on user's viewing habits and turn it over to the plaintiffs in the suit. Industry lawyers countered all the collected data would be anonymous.

ZDNet AnchorDesk columnist David Coursey isn't as concerned about the monitoring—though he's hardly sanguine about that—as he is about the implications for technology allowing users to skip commercials. Although I don't own a digital recorder, I agree with David that skipping commercials, whether digitally, with the good old remote control, or by taking a snack break is simply not stealing. By this argument, it's also wrong to switch radio station channels at a commercial break or flipping through a newspaper or magazine without reading each ad.

Give me a break! Television advertisers know that they're competing with viewer's attention spans, to say nothing of their bladders. That's why they strive to make commercials catchy, and the best are remarkably effective a it. I've often watched commericals despite myself, and frankly, I've seen entire programs that were vastly less interesting than the commercials that sponsored it.

As I've said before, I'm utterly sick of corporate yo-yos running craven to their pet legislators when they fail to adapt to the marketplace. This is a clear case of using copyright as a thinly veiled excuse for their failure to adapt to the marketplace. Well, guess what. Steam-powered locomotives and telegraphs—both once-dominant industries—don't see a lot of demand these days, either. Hopefully Sonicblue will prevail at least on the commercial-skip issue. Meanwhile, it seems, the company will be forced to collect information for its legal antagonists.

posted by Gregory Harris on 5/6/2002 //



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marvel-ous


My friends Hardin and Sparky saw Spider-Man over the weekend. I thought I'd share a couple of the comments they e-mailed me.

Sparky emailed this morning:

The SPIDER MAN movie is the best comic book adaptation I've ever seen...I was hooked from the opening sequence...

Best of all, I thought they absolutely nailed the tone of the piece -- and I thought that would be the hardest thing to do. It would be easy to make Spidey too dark (picture a Burton Spider-Man) or too light-hearted, but I thought they found the perfect bittersweet tenor for the film. They definitely had the right guy behind the camera in Sam Raimi; I'm not sure anybody else could have pulled it off half as well.

Hardin chimed in:

I liked it quite a bit--I would agree that it replaces Superman and the best of its ilk...I would compare it favorably to The Lord of Rings in that, while LOR was far more faithful to the letter of source material, I think it largely missed the spirit of the original; there are a ton of modified details in Spider-man, but it captures the essence of the character perfectly.

My one complaint is with the Goblin (which really bore very little resemblance to the comic character, but that's OK, given the father-figure theme the movie tackled). 1) I don't think the script did a very good job of ever establishing Norman Osborne as a kind of surrogate father for Pete, which makes the whole Goblin/Darth Vader "come to the dark side" thing falter a bit, and 2) why would you hire an actor with such an expressive face and then hide it behind that stupid green plastic mask? Bad, bad character design.

Although I don't get out to many movies, I'm definitely hopeful to catch this one sometime soon.

posted by Gregory Harris on 5/6/2002 //



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Sunday, May 05, 2002x


does whatever a spider can


I haven't seen it yet (heck, I haven't even seen X-Men yet), but it seems the cinematic version of Spider-Man opened to record-setting box office, and this early in the "summer," no less. I've been praying less for its success than that it simply won't suck. Anyone out there wanna let me know if it's worthwhile?

posted by Gregory Harris on 5/5/2002 //



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