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My Archives: November 2003

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Decisions, decisions...
Posted by CKL @ 06:04 PM PST
Pop quiz! Which would you rather do: have sex with your hot-to-trot girlfriend, or watch a rerun of The Simpsons? (Hint: answers may vary.)

I wouldn't say programmers are, overall, any more chauvinistic than standard males, but they certainly do find more creative ways of expressing it.


Posted by CKL @ 08:57 AM PST
Not a hoax:
Equipment vendors who do business with Los Angeles County received a message in November 2003 from the county's Internal Services Department (ISD) informing them that "based on the cultural diversity and sensitivity of Los Angeles County," labeling or describing equipment with the term 'master/slave' is no longer acceptable...

Monday, November 24, 2003

"Holy crap, we only have one week left."
Posted by CKL @ 01:52 PM PST
So it's now the last week of NaNoWriMo, and like the lazy bum I am, I still haven't written a single word. Actually, I don't even have an idea for a novel bouncing around my brain, but that's no excuse. There are plenty of things I could write about. I'm just... not.

I feel like I'm being pulled in several different directions by all my passions. Work is great, but even after a month, still hard to get a handle on. Voice acting is fun, but again, with the new job, difficult to schedule-- I had to pass on two auditions because I didn't want to blow off training at my day job. And then there's the writing thing. Sure, I blog here, but that's not the same.

DeeAnn and I also have a wedding to plan. And a Game to run next year. I have shelves full of unread books, unplayed video games, unviewed DVDs. We can't neglect our cats, nor would we want to. Don't remind me about the chores-- laundry, dishes, bills, appliance repairs...

Freedom isn't the problem. Making the choice is the problem. But if I don't choose, someone else will choose for me. Or circumstances will make it academic.


Wednesday, November 19, 2003

TiVo Grammar
Posted by CKL @ 06:39 PM PST
TiVo's Wish List keyword parsing could be a whole lot better.

From TiVo's online help:

Replace hyphens (-), slashes (/), and periods (.), with spaces. For example, to create a WishList entry for the title 20/20, enter 20 20 for the WishList item... Any other marks, such as apostrophes (') and ampersands (&), are ignored. Commas are ignored, except in actor and director WishLists, where they are essential...
To enter dollar signs in keyword searches, substitute the letter S. For example, to find $100,000 Pyramid, use S100000. When searching by title, leave out the dollar signs in order to find these types of titles.

It's really annoying to have to remember three different rules for the same damn thing. "20/20" is "20 20", but "M*A*S*H" is "MASH". "Catherine Zeta-Jones" is "Catherine Zeta Jones", but "Frances O'Connor" is "Frances OConnor".

I'm sure there's a bad reason for all these exceptions. Why not be consistent, and either strip out all punctuation or require every non-alphanumeric symbol to be replaced by a space?

And don't even get me on the non-regex Kleene closure...


Tuesday, November 18, 2003

What the F**k?
Posted by CKL @ 06:21 PM PST
I'm so confused. What is this word "F**k" over which everyone is so agog?
Conservative Groups Denounce FCC Decision On Use of "F**k"

The heads of two leading conservative groups have asked the FCC to overturn a decision by its enforcement bureau that the use of the "f-word" on a national television show did not violate the FCC's indecency rules. The bureau ruled last month that the utterance of the words "f***ing brilliant" by Bono during the Golden Globes awards in January "may be crude and offensive, but, in the context presented here, did not describe sexual or excretory organs or activities," the FCC's guideline for indecency. However, the Rev. Donald E. Wildmon, head of the American Family Association, commented: "This ruling clearly opens the floodgates for general use of the 'f-word' in any TV show or radio program -- except in sexual situations." Separately Brent Bozell of the Parents Television Council commented that the ruling makes a "mockery of an organization charged with serving the public interest" and warned that it will result in expressions like "f**k you" being used "over the public airwaves, in front of millions of children."

-- IMDb Studio Briefing

Fork? Funk? Flak? Fink? Folk? I am so confused! What the fuck is it?

Interview Question of the Week
Posted by CKL @ 09:17 AM PST
"He takes out women's uteruses without their permission?"

Well, DUH
Posted by CKL @ 08:52 AM PST
ABC is pulling Karen Sisco and planning to put it back on the air next spring, on a different night. It took these morons long enough.

"Gee, sir, we've got this great new crime drama... when should we schedule it?"

"I know-- we'll air it against Law & Order! Wednesday at 10pm is perfect!"

"Gosh, isn't Law & Order, like, one of the most popular shows in the history of the world? Wouldn't it be better for us to put Karen Sisco on another night as counter-programming?"

"Of course not, you ignorant peon. Are you questioning my decision?"

"No, just your sanity, Mr. Hughes."


"More Kleenex?"


Monday, November 17, 2003

Products for old people
Posted by CKL @ 11:37 AM PST
A few days ago, I got a mail order catalog from a company called TechnoScout. After leafing through it, it's pretty clear that their target demographic is age 65 and above. Do you want fake, battery-powered candles which aren't fire hazards? A voice-activated remote control so you don't have to worry about confusing buttons? A clock radio with big-ass numbers? A light-up cane?

It's nice to see the senior population embracing the wonders of technology, even if they are more than a little cheesy and several years behind the state of the art. I have to admit, the two-way wrist radios for Dick Tracy fans are actually a pretty cool idea.

My problem with catalogs like this is that because they offer ostensibly one-of-a-kind products, they have no competition and therefore no impetus to create a better product. All they need to do is sell the gimmick. Talk to your TV and change channels! Get romantic candelight without messy wax drippings! Of course, they probably expect their consumers to croak in a few years anyway, so they're not so much worried about repeat business.

I'm a cold-hearted bastard? I'm not the one who uses "Your voice turns me on!" as the tagline for a voice operated light switch. Shameless, I tell you. Shameless.


Saturday, November 15, 2003

Posted by CKL @ 08:48 PM PST
I periodically e-mail myself links to interesting web sites or news stories, thinking that I'll find time later to work them into HotSheet entries. I usually don't. So I'm lowering my standards! Or at least abbreviating them:

Coming soon to a cell phone near you: live TV (SF Chronicle)
So how, exactly, does this not bring the network to its knees?

Walking directions to Mordor (
It's going to be a Lord of the Rings Xmas... again.

Weary Travelers Support Operation Iraqi Freedom Troops at BWI (DefenseLINK)
Yes, this would-be urban legend is actually a true story.


Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Die, Jerk
Posted by CKL @ 02:01 AM PST
Last night's episode of Gilmore Girls touched me even more than usual.

I didn't write for my college newspaper, but I did apply to be a columnist and a cartoonist. They rejected me for both. It wasn't until the end of my senior year, when I wrote a scathing letter to the editor, vilifying the practice of telemarketing, that they published my work.

And then the death threats came.

"But wait," you say. "Who in their right mind would defend telemarketers?" Ah, but it's not as simple as that... [more]


Google Deskbar
Posted by CKL @ 12:05 AM PST
The new Google Deskbar, the latest experiment from Google Labs, is a little weird, but still cool. I'm not used to actually paying attention to my Windows Taskbar-- I've always considered it a necessary evil. Maybe this will change my mind.

In any case, you gotta love FAQ #2: "How will this make me a better person...?"


Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Tops and Bottoms
Posted by CKL @ 12:15 AM PST
Based on CBS Marketwatch's Ten most overpaid jobs in the U.S. and Popular Science's The Worst Jobs in Science, CKL's HotSheet proudly presents...

Job Switch Randomizer!


Monday, November 10, 2003

Posted by CKL @ 10:10 AM PST
I'm so lazy, I can't even be bothered to put the "g" at the end of my gerund (above). But I am compelled to take the time to write an entire paragraph pointing out my almost certainly spurious idiosyncracy. I'm funny like that.

The real problem is that I signed up for National Novel Writing Month again, but I haven't started writing my novel yet. I thought about continuing last year's effort, but that's more than a bit cheating. So I'm stuck without inspiration or, frankly, much motivation. Like I said: Lazy.

On the other hand, I did spend six hours playing Civ3 PTW with DeeAnn yesterday. No laziness there. Building an empire is hard work.


Saturday, November 8, 2003

Marquee of the moment
Posted by CKL @ 02:01 AM PST
Last night at the Cinema Saver 10...

DSC00255 (83k image)


Thursday, November 6, 2003

TiVo in NYC
Posted by CKL @ 10:00 AM PST
Okay, now, this is just bizarre.

Wednesday, November 5, 2003

The wait is over.
Posted by CKL @ 10:32 PM PST
My initial review of Matrix Revolutions: Insufficient closure. The special effects were cutting-edge cool, as expected, but the humans could have used some strategy lessons. And the Wachowski brothers could benefit from a keener sense of irony. (Imagine if, instead, the Coen brothers had made the Matrix movies... Tim Blake Nelson is The One!)

Also, perhaps not inappropriately, Happy Guy Fawkes Day if you're British. Enjoy the bonfire.

The Angel set visit finally went for $16,400 on eBay-- in the low five figures, as I predicted-- and also to the bidder I predicted: a "24 year old single mother who ... could sell an ice cube to an Eskimo" and is "one hundred percent certifiably CRAZY over Buffy the Vampire Slayer." Just call me the Oracle. Cookie?


PowerPoint Is Evil
Posted by CKL @ 02:07 PM PST
"Power Corrupts.
"PowerPoint Corrupts Absolutely."
--WIRED magazine article by Edward Tufte

That darn Angel
Posted by CKL @ 07:59 AM PST
$7,600 now. I'm telling ya, it'll be low five figures before the dust settles...

Tuesday, November 4, 2003

But wait, there's more!
Posted by CKL @ 04:51 PM PST
The bidding for the Set Visit of WB's Angel TV Show has risen to $5,350. I would say that's insane, but I suspect it'll get into the low five figures before tomorrow night, when the auction ends. I will reserve judgment until then.

The sad thing is, the dinner with Buzz Aldrin-- one of the first men on the Moon-- is only up to $570. He walked on the Moon. The freakin' Moon, people! He rode a 360-foot rocket out of the Earth's atmosphere and traveled 200,000 miles to (wait for it) THE MOON! To the moon, Alice!

Why aren't we spending more money on manned space exploration? Because people would rather watch TV. Maybe we should just go ahead and fake a manned mission to Mars. James Cameron could direct it...


Angel For Sale
Posted by CKL @ 09:17 AM PST
Somebody on Angel really loves eBay. First they tried to auction off David's car, and now they're offering a Set Visit of WB's Angel TV Show. Plus you get a wooden stake signed by Boreanaz!

The current bid is $3,050, and there's more than a full day left. I'm afraid to speculate on what the final price will be. Still, it's for a good cause-- this is part of the WIRED Auction, benefitting the Starbright Foundation. You know, for kids!


Monday, November 3, 2003

You can have my cell phone number when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.
Posted by CKL @ 03:35 PM PST
Just in time for the holidays:
Beginning Nov. 24, cell phone customers will be able to keep their old phone number when signing up with a new carrier... "Local number portability" is expected to lead to unprecedented churn, new marketing campaigns by carriers and possibly a new round of consolidation.


Let's hear it for small victories! I personally think there are larger and more unavoidable annoyances associated with mobile phones-- e.g., when you upgrade to a newer, cooler phone, how do you carry over all your stored numbers and other data?-- but this is a step in the right direction.

The best possible thing would be for more consumer choice to produce smarter consumers.


after The Game is over
Posted by CKL @ 01:45 PM PST
Played in Overnightmare this past weekend, a slightly non-traditional Game in that it had a limited number of participants (10 teams, no more than 4 players per team), a fairly tight timetable, and very much emphasized experience over clue complexity. Still, 'twas lots of fun.

There's also a pretty good article, "Clued In", in the current issue of Stanford magazine, describing The Goonies Game from April.

Now I'm really excited about my team (Snout) running another Game next year...


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