August 31, 2006

The end of August and the unofficial end of Summer

Summer. Or, more appropriately put, the unofficial end of. I know you've all heard me wax poetic (or not) about the end of summer in years past (see posts from 2001, 2002 (scroll all the way down to August's entry)and 2005. But it's still true. We're now at the end of the cycle, which is exactly the end I don't like being at. See, I'm a guy that likes the anticipation of what will happen. I like the speculation, the planning, the dreaming of what might happen. Aahh, good times to be had ahead. Therefore, I like the very beginnings of vacations. The beginnings of holidays and holiday-related weeks like Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.

I do not like the end of any of those.

It's at the end that it's (naturally) over. And then there's no more expectation. It's done. It's not potential energy anymore, it's transformed into Kinetic, and even at that it's in the past because all that kinetic energy has already been spent. You've imagined it, you've executed on it, you've done it, lived it, finished it. It's over. The time for imagining is over, because the time-based window of opportunity is done.

So, with that in mind, I do not like August 31. It's one of my least favorite days of the year, actually. For that matter, I start to get uneasy after August 15 or so, because I know time grows short. It's amazing how quickly time can go from being the end of June, and there's graduation parties all over the place and friends are having other parties too and it's the start of summer and everything's fine and beautiful and oh we've waiting all winter to get to this spot and how great it's all going to be. And then you blink and it's the fourth of July. Okay, let's go to the parade and later we'll have a barbecue and then even later we'll spread out a blanket on the grass and watch the fireworks. Nice. However, before you know it, you're transformed pretty quickly to the end of July, almost as if someone was playing tricks with the calendar and you thought it was July 10 but no, they've put July 31 up there on the wall. However, it's not a trick and 3 weeks have magically sped by.

And then the next day comes. And it's August. No problem, you say. There's still one full month left until the dreaded Labor Day. Labor Day, which is the unofficial end of summer, because it's when the kids of all ages, from kindergarten age to college, all end their vacations and go back to school. Labor Day signals the end to the summer vacation, and thus it's been transformed into signaling the end of summer itself, even though summer itself doesn't end until about 18-20 days later, on September 21-22. So, you say there's one full month left. And you try and try to make the most of it, but before you know it someone says it's August 15 or something and how "oh it will all be over soon..where did the time go?" and you realize they're right. You've got mere days, maybe a week or two at most and then August itself will be over, just a memory. One more summer gone.

And then it's August 31. Damn I hate August 31.

I say this, having had one of the best summers I can remember in quite a while. I turned 40 in June, and that kick started the whole summer off quite nicely. I really enjoyed that. Good friends, good weather, and me entering into a whole new decade of my life. Now that's a good way to start the summer. The rest of the summer followed suit after that. There was plenty of reconnecting with friends, parties, activities such as tennis and bike riding, etc. All good stuff. All good memories, but now just that--memories.

I guess I'm just bitching because the season is on it's way out and that means some of the fun is over until next summer (expect another post like this on September 21 when the season officially changes). You've got to admit that although most of us try to enjoy ourselves all year long, it's hard to have the same kind of enjoyment in the middle of winter that you have in summer. It's just different, unless maybe you're lucky enough to live in Florida or Hawaii or some other moderate climate like that. Maybe you're exempt then.

Whatever you did this summer, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did and had a good time. Leave me a comment and let me know how your summer was.

August 29, 2006

Hoverboards, Godzillatron, and good pens

Straight from Back to the Future comes this new idea: instead of a mechanic's creeper to work underneath your car, how about a hoverboard? If I can overclock that baby and put thrusters on the back, I can ditch my car and take that to work. Yeeeaaaah. If that's not enough to make you go "Wow", check out the biggest scoreboard in the world: they call it Godzillatron, and it's located in Texas, where they make things BIG.

Stymied by bad cell phone coverage? This booster may be all you need. Usually I frown upon these devices, but when someone tries it and says it actually works, that's a pretty good endorsement.

Some bad news for Sony -- they may be in for some trouble as it bets the farm on the Playstation 3, and good news for you as you discover which pens you should buy during all these back to school sales.

August 28, 2006

Discoveries and Reveals

A warning to iPod owners: don't take it into the bathroom, or apparently, to an airport. Both could have undesired results.

The secrets of the male shopper have now been revealed! Jeez guys, I wouldn't have thought it would be that hard to figure us out. And that whole metrosexual thing? Yeah, we're glad that's over. Now clothes can be just...clothes. We are glad you put such thought into documenting the whole progression of our shopping habits though, even if it is a little over the top. But really all we want is a nice pair of pants, a nice shirt, and to be able to impress our girlfriends/wives. That's hard enough.

For the geek, and cat, lover here's a nifty weekend project: convert a linux workstation into a cat feeder. A novel approach toward using the CD/DVD tray.

For some, getting those dark circles around their eyes is a project -- this page aims to help. Wonder if it would help Johnny Depp? The last movie he was in he had some major dark circles going.

Finally, Google unveils it's ammunition against Microsoft Office. However, all of these have been available already, and there's no Powerpoint replacement. Old news indeed, but at least they made the effort and repackaged it.

August 25, 2006

Star Wars & VideoGame News

It's a Friday so the news organizations must leave the best for today. First, there's talk that the new Star Wars game will tip us off to the live action Star Wars TV show coming next year; let's hope so! Also, Nintendo DS Lite finally will be shipped to the United States in the most coveted of all colors -- black. It's about time...they've only had it overseas for months now. Also, the Playstation 3 might face production problems, and may only be able to manufacture half of what it promised for the holiday season. Maybe that's why they're shipping pink PS2's instead?

August 24, 2006

Barbie's New Look

She's been a nurse, a doctor, a model, a socialite. Now Barbie's in the computer business. I've never seen anything quite like this before. Think this will be a hot commodity for the Christmas season?

August 23, 2006

iPod troubles, safeguarding digital photos -- and Bacon!

Reports, or at least conjecture, that Apple's iPod development has hit a snag. Well, I know there's lots of new stuff out there, but don't count Apple out just yet -- even though I think the new devices from Sandisk are totally smokin'.

If you're a digital photo enthusiast, check out these tips for making your digitial photos last forever.

And some fun stuff while we're here, too. If you've ever been annoyed at a plastic blister-pack packaging of an item you've bought, take heart. There's something new on the horizon.

And click here to check out a Bacon Wallet. Yes, you read that correctly.

August 21, 2006

News on Gadgets, Disney and Couric on demand

A nice mix of things today, but favored heavily in the gadget department. First, while the world waits for the new Playstation 3, Sony is giving us instead a pink Playstation 2 for the holidays. ***&&$####? Are you kidding me?

In better, and more honest to goodness REAL new products being announced (not like you Sony -- shame on you), there's a new Sandisk player in town, and it looks poised to take on the Nano and win hands-down. There's also a new handheld/PDA which promises to combine a laptop and a PDA (yeah, we've heard that before), a supplier has been chosen to create the ID chips in all the new US passports, and Google opens up it's online word processor, which among things, allows you to freely create PDFs, thereby undercutting Adobe's software by hundreds of dollars.

If you're into multimedia, check out this collection of old Disney animator's pictures, kind of a behind-the-scenes look at the animators in the company's heyday, and Katie Couric's broadcast will be simulcast live on the 'net.

August 17, 2006

Make that Honda fly

I can think of many more uses for jet power than this. Don't get me wrong, it's a great start, but strap that baby to a Honda Civic or the top of the line Accord and you're in business.

Timepieces - on the wall or in your ear

FYI -- I'm especially proud of that headline.

For the timepiece lover out there there's news today. You can further alienate loved ones and friends by prominently displaying this digital stag-themed successor to the cuckoo clock, or better yet - take a perfectly nice analog watch and stick it in your ear when an incoming call comes through your cell phone. Take your pick, or get 'em both -- you know you want them.

Wii don't like hidden costs; PSP also to cost less

Costs are dropping all over the place. Nintendo claims it's Wii console, the successor to the much-loved but never-really-took-off-wildly Gamecube, will ship in November, cost less than $250 and won't have extra charges for online play. When this ships it will officially open up the online gaming console wars, flying squarely in the face of the Xbox live system, which costs $60-100 a year for the same privileges.

Also in gaming news, the Playstation Portable (PSP) is set to shed a few pounds from it's price tag.

August 16, 2006

So Cool Solar System

USAToday has one of their trademark slick graphics presentations, this time dealing with the solar system and the issue of what constitutes a planet. You see the planets in their formation and mouse over for more information. Very cool.

A Hummer of a Happy Meal

McDonalds has started marketing a new "Hummer Happy Meal"... which packages a Hummer toy car in the box. According to McDonalds spokesperson, the goal is to "share the fun and excitement of Hummer vehicles to McDonald’s youngest guests.” Can we expect to get equal billing sometime soon with the Prius Happy Meal?

Perseids Meteor Shower

The Perseids meteor shower has come and gone. I went out and saw about a half-dozen in an hour and a half which is really low compared to what this annual shower usually yields. According to NASA's web site, next year's will be better, due to not having to contend with the full moon.

August 14, 2006

Game revolution - YouTube style

Microsoft is planning to give users the means to create their own games for playing on the Xbox360, and then upload it to the Xbox Live service so anyone can download and play it. Speculation abounds that this is Microsoft's way of trying to create a type of YouTube for video games on it's platform. If it succeeds, that would be pretty impressive, and probably fun.

August 10, 2006

Videos worthing of "owning"

One more Darth Vader video -- they just keep coming. Do a search on either Google Videos or YouTube and you'll find plenty. I'll post the best, or at least interesting ones here. For instance, watch Lord Vader scare his wife at 2 am, and then for some non-vader fun, a newscaster gets owned by a passerby. Ouch.

August 09, 2006

August 08, 2006

I want my blimp

I've written before about wanting a flying car, but check this out. It's a personal blimp, and yes -- I want one.

Sony's Mylo

I'm still in search of a good handheld to replace my trusty old Palm Tungsten E. A co-worker today was talking to me about it today and remarked, "It's really just a toy, isn't it?". Well, not really, but I couldn't convince him of that. So, in my search for a new "toy", I've been looking high and low. New today, and just announced, is a new device from Sony calld the Mylo (My Life Organized). It's got web browsing, music playing (up to 45 hours on it's batteries, which is phenomenal), instatnt messaging, and free phone calls via Skype software. Alas, it has absolutely no calendar or contacts list, making it useless for my work life. The search continues. Check it out anyway, maybe it's the device for you.

August 05, 2006

Track your wish lists and cars too

Here's a nice service that tracks wish lists from multiple online sources.

Also check out this new wiki with one subject in mind: cars. Could be a great source of open-sourced information on cars, direct from the people who own them and those that service them. Wondering which car is the best to buy? Your answer might be here.

Oh, and when you're posting in that wiki, be sure to sound confident. It matters.

Repair Windows XP

A way to repair Windows XP so it's basically like new but keeps your installed programs, documents and settings. Nice if your system is corrupted, system settings get ruined, or maybe even a virus has run amok.

August 04, 2006

What a Clown

Bad clown! Bad clown!
Check out the Clowns Galore section to really overdose on the whole thing.

August 03, 2006

Google Pizza

As a publicity stunt, software maker Cambrian House delivered 1,000 pizzas to Google's headquarters. The kicker? Google didn't know the pizzas were coming, and Google's in-house chefs (yeah, life's really rough when you have a business with built-in chefs) were a little cheesed.

August 02, 2006

More Darth Chad & Apple's Outage

There's a new Darth Chad video today, including a scene where he goes on a date. These videos are great. The production is well done, especially the voice of Chad. Nicely done.

Also check out the outrage that .Mac users have dealt with. Apple's strategy is that the .Mac "just works" but maybe not all the time.

August 01, 2006

Personal Wiki - Zulupad

If you've ever thought about writing a wiki, but wanted it for personal use only and didn't want to worry about hooking up to a server every time to update it, check out Zulupad. It's a program that runs off your computer, so you don't need to be online to use it. It has automatic hypertext linking, so if you reference something that you've already written about, it will automatically become a link. Looks like this could be a good program for a diary, or work items, or both. I've also used Evernote for the same kinds of things, and that program seems a bit more mature, but then again it doesn't have the automatic hypertext linking. Check them both out if this kind of program is what you need. They're both free.

Check out this page from Lifehacker on note taking tools and strategies to help you get the most out of this and other software.