I thought I was bad

I think that I like gadgets as much as the next guy. My mom often reminds me that I don’t always have to have the latest and the greatest. (To which my reply is, “Yes, yes I do.”) For instance, I would really like one of the new Mac Minis from Apple. Sure, I already have a couple Apple Computers. (One for each hand, but I can learn to type with my toes.) I don’t have a pressing need for it, but it just looks so cool. And it’s so inexpensive. It’s a fully functioning computer, and it’s about the size of a Chicken Pot Pie Box. And I think that I would keep it on top of my TV and use it as a DVD player, but with all the movies already stored on the hard drive. Think how cool it would look up there.

Macmini

I thought I was bad with wanting gadgets, but I have certainly found my superior. As I was reading some articles online the other day, I read about a kid in India who has a serious problem. You see, he was embarrassed by his mobile phone. He said that all the other kids at school had the coolest new phones, but his was old. So what does he decide to do? Find random jobs and save up to until he had enough money? Wrong! Little bucky decides to fake his own kidnapping and demand money from his parents.

One day after school, he decided not to go home. He called his dad from another part of town and, disguising his voice, he demanded that he would have to give up money if he wanted to see his kid alive again. For three days this went on. Police started to become suspicious when the kidnapper was demanding that the father give the money to the kid’s best friend. the police decided to trace the call next time it came in. A call came in and the located the phone, as they went in they found the kid with a piece of cloth over the phone. The kid had no remorse, other then the fact that he didn’t get the money for the mobile phone. You can read the story here.

Dad, if you get a call demanding for $499 plus tax, just ignore it.

Looks like I have some places I need to go! (update)

I found a neat new site that will keep track of your travels for you and color in the states as you visit them. It will also work for countries that you visit. The site is www.world66.com. I spent a couple minutes and made a map for myself. I thought that I was doing good on my travels, but after making the map I realized that I mostly visit the same places. My total count was 25 out of 51. (Includes DC) Looks like I have some traveling to take care of.

Here is my map. If any of you make a map, I’d love to see it. There will be a map kept current in “Links” list.

map

I have had some questions as to whether layovers in Airports count. Of course everyone can make their own rules, but here is how I decided it for myself. I didn’t count layovers in airports because you can’t see the state. However, I did count states that I drove thru in a car because most freeways go thru major cities and you see quite a bit of a state as you drive thru. So those are my rules, do with them as you will.

I almost want to buy the car

I just came across the coolest commercial that I have ever seen. It is a commercial by Volkswagen for the old/new Golf GTI. The Golf is an old car that was really popular, but it has been redone for 2005. In order to show that, they took another old “thing” and updated it. They chose the famous clip of Gene Kelly , “Singing in the Rain”.

Using computer effects, Gene Kelly’s “old” dance changes from dancing in the rain to breakdancing in the rain. They rebuilt the street that he danced on then three different dancers tried to follow the same route that Mr Kelly took, but with the new style of dancing. Finally, they superimposed the face of gene Kelly to the face of the dancers. What a great job!!
(No doubt this was all done on a Mac. When I find proof that it was, I’ll post it.)

Check out the video here

New Way To Keep Updated.

Each time I write posts on this blog I send out about 300 emails to people who have asked me to keep them updated on when I write. This has posed a couple problems. #1) Those emails take a lot of time. #2) There is no way for a person to ask me to stop sending the updates without them having to write me and say, “stop sending updates”. I understand that can be a little awkward because it might make me cry.and # 3) There are filters on alot of email accounts that would put emails in the “junk folder” if there are more then a few addresses on the email. So I made a change…

As you may notice, there is now a box on the right hand side of this blog that will let you submit your e-mail address and you will be notified each time this blog is updated. I thought that this would be useful for people who don’t want to check my blog everyday and just want to know when I have written something. (Not saying that there is even one person in this whole world who would desire my writing so much that they would in fact check it every day)

So here is how it works. As of now, we are starting from scratch. The list of emails is at zero. If you want to receive updates, please put your email address in the box and it will go onto the new list. If you have been receiving emails and have been looking for a way out…here it is. Do nothing and you’ll get nothing from here on out.

When you sign up, there will be an e-mail sent to you confirming that you want the updates. Just follow the link in the email and you are set. You will receive the updates when I post to the blog. Each email will tell you the name of the entry and give you a link to the blog. At the bottom of each email, there is a link if you want to stop getting the emails.

So now there are two ways to get the updates RSS feed and e-mails. now I just have to find something of interest to write about. (And don’t worry, you won’t get any spam from doing this. It is just for blog updates.)

I’m Just Not Sure Why

I know that usually I will write about music that I like, but this time I don’t know. There is an album by “The Streets” called “A Grand Don’t come Easy” and I just can’t tell if I like it or not. I enjoy listening to it but I can’t tell if I like it. I think that I am mostly just intrigued by it. You see, this rapper is out of England. The American rappers are popular in England, but this is an English rapper that is popular in England.

I was reading an article about a man who was late for work and blamed it on his iPod. He said that he got on the subway in New York City and flipped his iPod on. He was listening to “The Streets” album and next thing he knows he missed his stop by 10 stops. He wasn’t paying attention to anything because he said that he was “just so intrigued by the sound.” Well, of course with an introduction like that I had to locate the album myself. And Mr. Tardy-to-work is right, it is a different kind of sound that you want to listen to. There is something strange about a man rapping about the life of guns and drugs in a proper English accent. Those of you who read this in England probably won’t get the irony of it.

I thought that i would include a sample of it so all of you know what I am talking about. It’s the first minute and a half of a song called “Fit But You Know It”. It is rap (I guess that is what it would classify under) but there are no cuss words in it so listen with confidence. The song is here. If you take the time to listen, comment on what you think. Help me get a grasp on this.

Another view on Iraq

I received an incredible email from a friend of mine serving with the Marines in Iraq. He was writing about a speech by Gen. Michael W. Hagee who was the Marine Corps Commandant over the marine who was videotaped shooting that Iraqi in the Mosque a couple months ago. General Hagee was giving his opinion on putting journalists with the troops. He is a supporter of it and belives it is the right thing to do. “However,” Hagee adds, “I don’t think (the coverage) is very well balanced.”

Here is a quote from my friends email:

The national media, he said, has been
slow to report on things that have been handled correctly. He recalled a
sergeant, a squad leader, leading his unit through a city of 200,000
people, when they came upon a funeral. Mourners were carrying the body on
their shoulders, and firing guns into the air. The sergeant ordered his
soldiers to point their guns at the ground and place their helmets over
their hearts in a show of respect. “Let me tell you, that took guts,”
Hagee said. “I arrived in An Najaf two weeks later, and they were still
talking about it. We did more to cement relations in An Najaf with that
one incident than anything else we have done.” It can be difficult to
allow a young girl to run up to your armored vehicle when you’ve had a
friend killed by an explosive device delivered the same way, but, Hagee
said, “Today’s Marine will not shoot, and I’m quite proud of that.”

My friend, George Moleni from Tonga, goes on to talk about how alot of the Iraqis are as tired of the insurgance as the soldiers are so they are helping more. I appreciate the insights that George gives me. His emails are usually quite detailed and informative. If any of you would like to send a line to George, feel free to leave a comment and I will forward it to him.

Here we go again

For any of you that are interested, there was an article in the New York Times this last Sunday that highlighted my company here in Vegas, and there is a picture of yours truly. (I promise I am not working myself to death, no matter what that picture may look like.)

The article can be read here

Is it the chicken?

I took a quick trip down to Southern California this week. I was supposed to take a class at a consulting firm down there, but they dropped the ball so it didn’t work out. (Probably more on that in a future post.)

I left Las Vegas at about 2 and headed to Oceanside, CA. My grandpa has a condo there that he is very generous with and he offered it to me while I took my class. The traffic was a little worse then I expected so I didn’t get to Oceanside til after dark. As I came into town, I stopped by a Riteaid to get some cereal and milk for the morning. However, when I went in I noticed a group of mischevious fellows looming around my truck. (A truck full of computers and gadgets.) So i quickly ran in, grabbed a box of Honey Nut Chex and a quart of milk, then got back out to my truck.

I arrived to the condo and got all of my stuff brought up. I had some work I wanted to do so luckily there was a neighbor with a wireless network. After a little tinkering, I was surfing the web (which was an ironic thought for me since I was so close to actual surf as well.)

I found myself getting hungry, but wanted something more then cereal. I took a peek into the freezer and there was a box of taquitos in there. They were not in an enclosed bag, but they did have a nice drafty box “protecting” them from freezer burn. I didn’t know how old they were, although after biting into one I had a much better idea of it. But I ate six anyway. the story probably would have ended there, but then I came across a picture on the web that made me wonder if those taquitos weren’t up to par. I could have sworn these little walnut looking things were moving.

Ouch

After looking at that for a few seconds I wondered if I was ok. Luckily, besides that picture there were no other signs of bad food so I considered it a good meal and left it at that.

a quick review of the new ipod shuffle (updated)

I made it out to San Francisco for this year’s Macworld. As I was sitting in the keynote I was just so impressed with all that Steve introduced. When he went into his trademark “one more thing” speech, i was anticipating what it would be. He then went onto to talk about the ipod family, it’s succes, and it’s newest member, the ipod shuffle. I immediately caught the point of the ipod shuffle. It would be like a radio station but with no commercials and playing only a mix of the songs you like (because they all came from your library). When Steve mentioned that the San Francisco Apple Store (two blocks away) would have a few in stock, I quietly excused myself and rushed over to the store. I wanted to be sure to get one of these right away. I was the third one in line at the Apple store. I bought two of them, one for me and one for good measure. I like to think that I was the third person in the world to BUY one.

ipodshuffle

The ipod shuffle comes in a tidy little box. It is about the size of two cd cases stacked on top of each other. Inside, you have the regular software and documentation. There are just three pockets in the plastic. One for the necklace that will hook onto the bottom of the ipod, one pocket for the standard Apple earphones, and the last pocket is of course for the ipod shuffle. I didn’t take all kinds of pictures as I opened it. I didn’t exactly treat this like birthing a child (plus pictures are all over the web already) I wanted to write a quick note as to what it’s like using it.

If you want to know the size, put four quarters in a line on a table. It is about that length and about that weight. If you’ve ever had those 5-packs of gum, it is about that size and weight.

I like the regular ipods as much as anybody, but all the ipods that I have bought I eventually sold because they didn’t quite fit me. The ipod shuffle however is right on the mark. I plugged it into my powerbook and named it. Then it immediately starting filling with random songs. Songs I haven’t seen for a while (I have 23,000 songs on my computer) I was just so excited to plug it in and let it direct my listening. I popped it onto the necklace clipping and headed back to Macworld.

For anyone who says this isn’t enough because there is no screen and you can’t get thousands of songs on it, they are missing the point. You can’t compare this to the other ipods. It’s not even supposed to be the same thing. Compare this to other flash drives on the web and you’ll see how nice it is. The price is incredibly low. The music is plenty (i’ve been walking the exhibit hall for four hours and haven’t heard the same song twice.)

Another worry that I had was if the cap would stay on or not. I’ve had a flash memory chip for a while and lost the cap almost immediately after buying it. But these caps on the ipod shuffle are not just regular slide on ones. There are little balls on the inside of the cap. When you put the cap on, it locks into place pretty good. Of course you can pull it off (that is what it is designed to do) but at the same time it stands on the good. On another note, if you ever get it caught on something, it’s nice to have two points of contact. The necklace is connected to it on one end, and the earphones are on the other end, so one may pop off but the other will keep it hanging.

If anyone has any questions about actually using it, please feel free to contact me. blog(at)brianstucki.com.

update: One more thing that I wanted to mention. When you plug in the shuffle it gives you an option to Autofill (as mentioned above). You can also decide where you want your music to come from. You can choose to take from different playlists, or songs that are highly rated, etc. However, my opinion is, don’t cheat yourself by limiting the autofill. The randomness is what is so fun about the shuffle. Sure you will get some songs on there that you don’t really like or aren’t in the mood for at the moment. (i.e., I was taking a run the other day and I was listening ot my ipod shuffle. There was a Ma$e song that came on that really got me moving, but then a Willie Nelson song followed it. I like Willie Nelson, but it’s hard to jog to “Red Headed Stranger”) But the shuffle holds enough songs that if one or two aren’t really right for the mood, there are still PLENTY left to navigate thru. Limiting the “Autofill” to just music that you always listens to cripples the experience. But that’s just my humble opinion.

Thanks for Reading.

what’s so great about San Francisco curves anyway?

Most everyone that I take to San Francisco wants to see Lombard Street “The Most Crooked Street in the world.” I do admit that it is a pretty neat thing to see, but all the real action is on Market Street. Market Street is the hub of the city. Most of the shopping is there, or near by. This street is where the cable cars end up and turn around. The gay pride parade marches right up this street and you can find a protestor, or two, or 20 at anytime there. When I visit San Francisco I often just find a nice place to sit on Market and watch the world go by. The street runs right down the middle of the city and is very easy to find on any picture.

market

Market Street down the middle of San Francisco.

Well, when I was in San Francsico this last week, I stopped by a little cafe right on Market, just south of Montgomery. I went in and ordered my usual, a Egg Salad sandwich with pickles and mustard all on a Sour Dough Roll. Yummy. I took one of the seats outside the cafe and just ate my food and took in the scene.

When I was sitting there on Market Street, there were hundred of tourists walking up and down. Trolley cars, busses, street trains and taxis covered the streets. Cars were darting back and forth across market street (as just about every street in San Francsico passes across Market.) They looked like little mice when they run across your kitchen floor from one hole to another. poking their noses out from between building, disappearing as fast as they appeared. Giant buildings on both sides with so much style in each one makes Market Street like a giant hallway full of life.

As I was sitting their enjoying my sandwich, the giant hall started echoing with loud sirens. There were cop cars racing down market. They were going way faster then I imagined. I would guess about 40mph (down a street that was VERY crowded and very confusing) I was just waiting for an unexpecting car of tourists to poke their car out, and BOOM! But that was until I noticed something that was just so cool to me.

As the police cars were rushing down Market St, all of the busses (and there are always quite a few of them) would make their way towards intersections. they would stop right in front of the perpindicular intersections, leaving enough room for the cop to turn their if they needed to, but but being present enough that cars couldn’t pass thru them and across Market. This happened three times in front of my eyes. The busses just naturally took their spots in some kind of unspoken rule of harmony. i just thought it was the neatest thing.

I quickly finished my sandwich and jumped on the first bus I could find. Ignoring the “For Safety reasons, please do not talk to the driver” signs and asked if he knew anything about the rule. Just my luck, he didn’t speak English. So I hopped off and jumped on another one (thank goodness for transfer slips). I talked to this man, Jerry, for a while. He told me that all bus drivers try to do it. I told him, “That is sure admirable. What a neat rule of existing together.” but he corrected me saying, “No, actually it is selfish. If there is a wreck right in the middle of Market street then we all get held up. Our bus schedules get off on timing, and we go home late. You got to watch out for yourself brother!”

well, that kind of took the chvalry out of it for me, but oh well. Let the rest of the world go watch cars go back and forth down a very crooked street. As for me and my time, we’ll spend it on the Market.