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A little aside…

If some of you hadn’t heard yet, the ol’ Dayton vs Kennedy blog was “hacked” and it’s archives lost. The assailant has since apologized, and some of the archives have been recovered through search engine caches. This reminded me of an article I read a long time ago [pre-blog] that reported the lamentations of bibliographers who reported that a lot (the number that sticks in my head is 40%) of online sources cited in scholastic journals were disappearing.

The responsibility for your own work, for the sources, for the archiving, rests on the shoulders of the author. For all of my papers, columns, and miscellany writings I have all my drafts, hard copies of each, and for the most part I have photo-copies or electronic copies of all the sources I used. I even have hard copies of my blog archives.

If you’re an author, have copies of all your work and spread those copies around to more than one archivist or library. I’m not saying that everything one writes is worth the effort of quality archiving. What I am saying is that if there’s something you want to save, be it blog archives or scholastic sources, you need to do it yourself. You can’t leave it up to blogger/google.


Radio Show Today,

Link to webcast on Racetotheright.com. I will not be on the show today, my voice is completely gone. I can barely whisper, and it hurts to do that.

I’ve had all of these links sitting around for almost three days, I can’t put them into a coherent post, so I’m just going to throw them out there:

Greenspan warns about high deficits hurting economy, prescribes lower spending and warns against trade barriers. Also says our economy is doing quite well now.

Story of the first video game (in 1958) with video goodness.

NBC prez trash talks blogs.

Number comparison between California and Iraq, and yes, I know it’s not per capita.

An important little article on where the news comes from. Take it with a grain a salt, like everything else

Kensington Runestone is still cool.

Prince William Sound google search, don’t ask.

President Bush with a robot.

Hastert Blog. Cool.

Chronicles of Narnia critic fisked.

Suicide bombings at 7 month low.

Caffeine = good

Still problems with the flight 93 memorial? The most telling part is that the four hijackers are still going to be memorialized. Incredible.

Here’s some blog guide/stuff:

Add value to information.

The 3 types of blog posts.

A blog network.

20 Types of blog posts to prevent blogger block.

Blogs and traffic stats.

Funny stuff:

Squirrels kill dog.

PVC pipes to Highland Pipes.

Christmas Gift Guide III

My favorite type of character in cinema and in literature is one that teeters on the edge of the supernatural. Conjurers, enchanters, magicians. Those are the people I want in a story. It’s probably just the Catholic in me I guess. Some of my favorites included the Billy Crystal character in “The Princess Bride,” Merlin from “The Sword in the Stone” and Tim the Enchanter, from “Monty Python and The Holy Grail.”

There’s just something about a person who conjures up something useful in almost magical ways, be it fire or valuable information that results in a confrontation with some foul creature or fearsome rodent. There’s even a story about the wizard of Mauritius who could tell when a ship approached several days before the ship became visible. His method died with him, though some theorize that there was some sort of atmospheric disturbance that the wizard could detect with keen vision that would signal a ship’s approach before the ship’s visibility.

Nostradamus claimed to use various desktop items to see the future. There is Orffyreus’ wheel. Macgyver’s knife. Gandalf’s Staff. And now, it is possible for all of us to become “seers” in our own offices.

One such device is this weather orb:

The Ambient Weather Beacon silently and elegantly communicates weather data using color and light. It glows more red when warmer weather is forecasted, and colder blue hues if cooler temperatures are on the way. The Beacon will also subtly pulse to show the chance of rain or snow. It’s a quiet interface that avoids the buzzing of cellphones and the complicated interfaces of computers. Design and technology blend, a fine glass object is revealed as a powerful weather indicator.

Right next to that little item on your desk you could have another magical orb. This one can tell you what the stock market is doing, or a host of other things:

The Ambient Orb is a device that slowly transitions between thousands of colors to show changes in the weather, the health of your stock portfolio, or if your boss or friend is on instant messenger. It is a simple wireless object that unobtrusively presents information. Imagine if you had to go to your computer and type in your zip code whenever you wanted to check what time it was. Your important information should be as accessible as looking at a clock, now the Ambient Orb can make a variety of information just a glance away.

The Orb arrives set to indicate the Dow – glowing more green to indicate market movement up and red to indicate movement down, or yellow when the market is calm. If the market is up or down more than 1.5% the Orb will pulsate. It can be customized to a set of free channels, such as market indices (Dow, Nasdaq, S&P 500) or weather in select cities. Optionally, you can upgrade to access more premium channels, such as your customized portfolio, local weather, pollen count, or IM buddy watch. There’s also a developer interface where any semi-savvy web programmer can control the color of their Orb with a simple http “get” call. Track how full your hard drive is, traffic on your website, Slashdot posts, or your credit-card debt.

I can just imagine my friend RightWingWacko (who works in a basement where there is no natural light) or Other Marty having these devices in their work areas, grabbing a friend for lunch and telling them “Grab your umbrella, it’s raining, but we’re going to [some expensive nearby restaurant] and I’m buying because my stocks are up today, oh yea!”

It’s all in the presentation. Really, anyone could just look at you and say “oh, you just checked all that on the internet” but if you can, use a computer that isn’t connected to the internet or keep these orbs where there ain’t no internet, like Duluth.

The final little gadget that makes you look omnipotent is best left hidden away in a pocket. TV-B-Gone is a small device that fits on a key-chain and can, at the push of a button, turn off any TV in the world (or just about):

there are some occasions when you just need to do everyone a favor and turn the TV off. A certain portion of television content is just plain questionable and about as healthy as second-hand smoke.
Enter the TV-B-Gone, a small television remote that hangs on your keychain and turns off virtually any television with the press of button. “Now, what would be the purpose of such a device?” you may be asking yourself. Well, without revealing too much of our devious nature we can think of a few things. Imagine sports bars or annoying talking head shows that appear on monitors at the airport. Add to that your own creativity and we’re pretty sure you’ll come up with some ideas. All you need to do is press the button and keep pointing it at the TV until it turns off (which may take up to 69 seconds).

Again, the key here is presentation. Anyone can buy a gadget, just like anyone can by a book on magic. You need to be a showmen about it. When you sit down and you’re trying to have a nice chat with someone, and the TV is blaring, palm the device or handle it in your pocket, press the button, and turn off the tely. While you’re hands are doing that, stare at the person, then stare at the TV. Look like you’re concentrating really hard, then when the TV finally blips off, shake your head a little, and continue with some witty line like “as you were saying” or “I didn’t think that’d actually work.”

The question I ask myself, who is the MOBster most likely to pull off such a mystical presentation? For me it’s a tie between the wily King Banaian and the sinister (just kidding)Psycmeistr