Wednesday, July 18, 2012

How many instruments does it take to make a band?

We've all seen the stereotypical "one man band", where one guy plays multiple instruments. He usually has a bass drum on his back, a horn or harmonica, a guitar, cymbals he can play with his elbow, or number of other options.

One Man Band image from Wikipedia Commons
But what about when a group of guys plays a single instrument, at the same time?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Put a helmet on!!

Comedian Brad Stine has been referred to as the Christian Dennis Leary. He has a very fast-paced, frenetic style of delivery. One of his most popular sketches is called "Put a Helmet On." In this sketch, he bemoans helicopter parenting and the over-coddling of society.

Here is a sample of his work:

It seems that more of society needs to take heed of Stine's warnings. Today's example is the mother of a Justin Bieber fan. The mother,
[...] claims that, because of the alleged incident, she now suffers "hearing loss, severe tinnitus and hyperacusis (an oversensitivity to certain frequency ranges of sound) in both ears."
What is this "alleged incident" she mentions? A Bieber concert in July of 2010. The mechanism of injury? The shrieking voices of thousands of adolescent girls.

What happened to personal responsibility? A pack of foam ear plugs can be had for less than $2 at most any pharmacy or the first aid section of any grocery store. Concerts are loud. Adoring fans screaming their heads off are loud. Protect yourself, because no one else should be responsible for you.

Sometime I fear that society has become so dysfunctional that there is nothing to be done to save it.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

If Dr. Seuss Did Star Wars

(h/t my sister)
(image from apparently)

You can count me in

Science channel is airing a Firefly 10-year anniversary special in November.

I wonder how far out my DVR goes.

Exploit found in Windows Sidebar and Gadgets

If you're running Windows Vista or Windows 7, there's a fairly nasty exploit running around related to the sidebar. Microsoft isn't even releasing a patch for it. Their fix is to just disable the sidebar completely. That functionality is being discontinued in Windows 8, which most likely factors into Microsoft's approach to this.

Microsoft has released a "Fix It Tool" that will disable the sidebar for you. Simply click on the applicable link to download the "enable" or "disable" installer (MSI file), and then run it. If you are responsible for multiple PCs, you can download the MSI file, put it on a USB drive or CD, and install it from there. It does NOT require an active internet connection to install.

I've already applied this on my work PC, and will be applying it on my home PCs this evening.

I'm not real thrilled about having to disable the sidebar. I've really liked some of the sidebar gadgets, like weather and calendar and Google and the like.

Also, I have no idea if this exploit applies to the Google sidebar, if you have that installed. As best I know, it only applies to the Windows sidebar. I also don't know if disabling the Windows sidebar has any impact on the Google one or not. I'm sure I'll find that out this evening, as I believe I'm running the Google sidebar on  at least one machine.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Metro Area Affordability

Here is an interesting article over at Forbes about how far a paycheck stretches. As is typical for a study like this, they look at cost of living as well as wages. I think it just looks at metro areas (they don't say if they're using MSAs or not), so there's not comparison between metro/urban and more rural areas.

If you live in a metro area, how does it stack up? The Cincinnati area comes in at 7th on the list. When I moved up here 3 years ago, it was lateral from a pay perspective. When you factored in differences between housing costs, insurance costs, taxes and the like, our cost of living went down a bit. In other words, we could afford more house on what we were paying previously.

This puts a little rigor to the oft-held notion that even "rich" people are broke on the coasts. The one that surprised me though was where Silicon Valley ranked.

(Edited to add: Here's the link to more detailed information on the study, with pictures)

Update: According to the methodology discussion, they are using MSAs, and they looked at the top 51.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

QOTD - Do Your Homework Edition

From an editorial in the Dallas Morning News comes this quote:
Better yet, do even more homework, and make sure you check on crime stats. That way, you won’t have to depend on the news media — me included — for your information. That’s always a dicey thing when it comes to gun news.
In fact, relying on mass media is a dicey proposition when it comes to any news. You should always check their sources, and be on the lookout for bias, both from them and confirmation bias from yourself.

It's a good thing to have your assumptions challenged every now and then. You just might find out they were wrong.

(h/t to FarmDad over at gunblogger_conspiracy for the link)

Monday, July 2, 2012

The oddities of logistics

My current watch has what they call a resin band. To me, it's plastic, but I realize it's a bit more high-tech than that. It lasted about two years, but then started developing cracks. So, I ordered a replacement band for it (cloth, not resin, so it should last longer).

According to the track & trace logs, this is the journey my little watch band has taken so far:

Day 1 - Evening - Left fulfillment center
Day 2 - Morning - Arrived first stop (this is ~10 miles from my house)
Day 3 - Mid-day - Left first stop (again, this is ~10 miles from my house)
Day 3 - Evening - Arrived major city (~130 miles from my house)
Day 4 - Overnight - Left major city
Day 4 - Morning - Arrived in my town

My package took a journey of an extra 250 miles or so. I realize that's the nature of mass logistics. Everything goes to the hubs, where it's then sent back out in smaller shipments for specific areas. They just don't have the manpower to intercept one little package like mine and stop it from going to the big hub.

But still. 2 days ago it was just 10 miles away.