Happy Holidays from Geeks R Us!

2009 has been a tenuous year for many of us. Some have been out of work, some have been on the verge of being out of work, many are starving while others are just plain nervous.

While this sounds like a downer for a Holidays note, I urge us all to remind ourselves about what is important – Family, love, compassion, freedom, empathy, courage and just plain ‘ole good will.

Sounds sappy, but a little of these goes a long way to improving the world we live in.

Happy Holidays everyone and here is to a much brighter 2010!

— Steve

Dear Microsoft

“Dear Microsoft,

I owe you an apology. For some time, decades in fact, I’ve often chided you for your products. I’ve poked fun at the quality and often sat agape with bewilderment as to why things were seemingly so awful.

However recently things became clearer to me. I saw a couple of your advertisements on the television where customers were beaming over Windows 7.

These customers stated that they had always wanted a stable or secure operating system and so they emailed you. Apparently some caring person at Microsoft read these emails, took those emails to higher ups and work began on Windows 7.

I apologize for making assumptions about a software giant such as yourself. I assumed that you knew that customers would want a stable and secure operating system. I can’t believe how embarrassed I am for this mistake on my part.

Had I understood that you didn’t know that we wanted stable and secure software, I would have fired off an email to you in 1992. To think that all this time, people have been suffering using Windows and all it would have taken to eradicate the pain and suffering was for someone to just write you.

So I apologize for not seeing the light. But now I am educated and aware, and I’ll do my best to help you out in the future.

I’ll start off by asking for a silent XBOX 360. I’ve spent a lot of money on an audio amplifier and speakers, yet when I watch movies on the XBOX, I can hear both the console’s fans and the power supply’s fans, especially in quiet, dramatic sequences.

I understand now that you likely didn’t know that we customers wanted a silent game console. I understand that you probably didn’t realize that fan noise is to audio content as blocky pixels are to the image.

I look forward to a silent XBOX 360. Can you give me a time frame for when I might see it?

Sincerely,

Steve”

RIP Forrest Ackerman

Just heard via Wil Wheton’s blog that Forrey Ackerman died.

I did have the pleasure to meet Mr. Ackerman once, when I lived in L.A. back in the early 90s.

Criterion had been working on the Jason and the Argonauts laserdisc and Curtis Wong clued me in that on Saturdays I could just go to his place, ring the doorbell and get a tour!

So we headed up there and sure enough, after ringing the doorbell, someone with an awful Dracula impersonation answered the buzzer. “Velcome, vhow mvay I hvelp vu?”

The next several hours were spent looking at his vast array of books, comics and artifacts he had collected over the years.

I never read his Monsters periodicals of old, but I could sense this was a man who loved Science Fiction. I mean not like today’s fans who seem to be fans because everyone else is a fan – This guy was the original fan.

He had models from War of the Worlds and had the very model of the Nautilus, the submarine from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. It was stuck in a dirt floored room under a deck. Crazy.

He showed us a letter from a aspiring writer. Some kid by the name of King.

He showed us one of three capes worn by Karloff. One is buried with Karloff, the studio has the other and Forrey had the third. He also had one of the rings worn in Dracula.

It was a very cool, special visit and I’m very thankful I had the opportunity to meet someone who was not just a fan of Sci-Fi, but who helped shape the genre so much.

Sigh

I’ll paraphrase from the debate I am watching now:

Palin: “Barack obama voted to raise taxes on the middle class”

Binden: “No, that is a lie, both McCain and Obama voted for that bill and it was not a tax increase”

Palin: “I’d like to still answer about taxes, but not in the way Joe or the moderator might want, I’d like to talk about when I was a mayor”

What. The. Hell.

Isn’t anyone else insulted?

Then she makes a joke about how the govt has been running things lately.

Meanwhile Biden is answering questions with facts, policies and confidence.

Meanwhile Palin smirks as if this is a game.

This is our country at stake.

Do Facts, Figures and Policies matter to you?

Do facts, figures and policies matter to you? When electing someone do you want someone with answers, any answers, or a master in the non-answer?

Over the last few days, I’ve been pointing out examples of non-answers. I’ve had to because my jaw drops each and every time one of these pops up on the internet. The bit of information I found today is an article by an Alaskan Republican who has debated Gov. Palin over two dozen times.

“Andrew, I watch you at these debates with no notes, no papers, and yet when asked questions, you spout off facts, figures, and policies, and I’m amazed. But then I look out into the audience and I ask myself, ‘Does any of this really matter?’ ” Palin said.

Really. She questions whether any of you are interested in facts, figures or policies. Really.

When you watch the debate tonight, listen for answers. I know I will be.

From What It’s Like To Debate Sarah Palin in the Christian Science Monitor.

Think about your country this election

Regardless of what party you affiliate with, there is one person running who is not qualified for the position they seek – Gov. Sarah Palin.

She is running for the number two position in the country. One tragic event from being the President.

When interviewed by katie couric:

Gov. Sarah Palin drew a blank when asked by Katie Couric to name any decisions by the United States Supreme Court that she disagreed with, beyond Roe v. Wade.

“Hmmm,” she said after a brief silence. “Well, let’s see. There’s, of course in the great history of America there have been rulings, that’s never going to be absolute consensus by every American. And there are those issues, again, like Roe v. Wade, where I believe are best held on a state level and addressed there. So you know, going through the history of America, there would be others but …”

In other words, Gov. Palin has no clue. No idea of one other judgement she might be against. Not a one.

Shouldn’t someone who is running for Vice President be versed in our court’s history?

I guess not when it comes to Gov. Palin. She is only versed in her religion, forcing her religious views onto others (hence the strong opposition to RvW, and insisting teaching abstinence only. We know how well that worked out) and not the great history of this country.

“There would be others but…” What? Any jackass can make that statement.

Gov. Palin’s pagentry skills have taught her well the art of political double speak.

How about if she just answers a question for a change?

Put your country first – Listen to what candidates have to say and if you still like Gov. Palin, write her and tell her to start answering questions. The rest of us are listening.

McCain has a short term memory

From The NY Times in Oct/2007 Republican Debate, McCain talking about Mitt Romney:

“I am prepared. I am prepared. I need no on-the-job training.

I wasn’t a mayor for a short period of time. I wasn’t a governor for a short period of time. For 20-some years, including leading the largest squadron in the United States Navy, I led. I didn’t manage for profit, I led for patriotism.”

Well gee, Senator, it is nice that you picked someone with those exact qualifications to fill your shoes should something disastrous happen to you.

HIllary must quit the race now

Citing the assassination of Bobby Kennedy as a reason to stay in the race shows several things:

  1. Such poor judgement, she is not qualified to be President of the United States
  2. Near criminal activity. To even mention the possibility that someone might assassinate Obama puts her as suspect #1 should such a horrible event occur, if not culpable.

Combine this with her over 30 million campaign debt and Hillary Clinton has proven that she is nowhere near a viable candidate for the Presidency of the United States.

Update:Here is a video of her statement: Video

Update:Keith Olbermann calls Hillary out. You really want to watch this.

Netipots

I have been hearing about netipots for two months or so, and as someone who has always had allergies, taken medication, worn masks in the yard and soon to have a new kitty, I am interested in any solution to allergy relief.

So a netipot is just a pot – some look like aladdin’s lamp, others more like pots, with the spout the right size to fit in your nostril.

You basically wash your nasal passages with a salt based solution, using gravity only.

The trick is finding a good solution with the proper temperature of water.

My first attempt, using a NeilMed netipot and their solution, was near perfect, except the water was not quite warm enough. Too cold and it feels a little like drowning. Warmer water cures that.

The results? Even with this cold, I am fully clear and breathing easier than even without a cold.

I think I will do this before I go to bed, and in the am, just to see how it keeps me clean. The concept is to repair the nasal hairs with moisture, while washing out the gunk, dust, bacteria, mucous that might be in your nose.

You are not sniffing at all, as that might draw solution into your ears. Rather, you tilt your head forward and to the side, run the solution from the high nostril and out the lower one it comes. Repeat with 50% solution on the other side.

Here is some guy’s video of the process:

Rock Band is A-Fantanstic

What a great game. Pricey at $170, you get a wireless guitar1, a set of 4 drums with foot pedal and a mic.

So you get to play solo as a drummer, singer, guitarist or bassist. Add some friends and you can form a band, go on tour, earn fans and get new stuffages.

I just unlocked “Timmy and the Lords of the Underworld.” How freakin’ cool is that?

I can’t do 100% on any song in Easy mode yet. Sometimes there are too many notes for me to keep up, other times there are notes on the up beat and my lack of musical sense triggers a brain freeze.

However, when I do complete a hard section, it is a really awesome rush of fun and it makes me look forward to getting better and playing on the harder levels.

We like this game so much we’ve already bought some more songs. My Sharona wore a blister on my thumb. I’m now taped up.

Rock Band for the PS 3 gets an A+.


[1]: I think the xbox guitar is wired, but for my PS3 it is wireless.