Friday, July 29, 2005

Slowly I turned: I'm off on vacation, and there may be no posts here for 2 weeks.
Mexican Salsa: Most all Mexican and "Tex/Mex" resaurants bring fried corn tortillas chips and red salsa to the table when you sit down. Lately I've run into an astounding variety (mostly unacceptable) of salsa at restaurants. You'd think they could follow a standard recipe. Fine, maybe add a dash of lime or vinegar, and choose your pepper based on how hot you want it. But I've run into:
1. An upscale restaurant with no salsa, just some wierd bean soup
2. Another where it was 99% coursely chopped tomato
3. One where it was mostly vinegar
4. One where it tasted like ketchup

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Grand Theft Auto Lawsuit: It was bound to happen
Vent Visor Greatest low tech after market product for a car. These small Awning-like devices fit over a cars' window, allowing one to securely leave a windows open an inch while away from a car, allowing hot air to vent, so in the middle of the summer you car is 120 degrees inside when you return instead of 160 degrees. And with the awning effect, they keep out anything except hurricane rain.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Microsoft tries catch up. for a while now has been better than, in part because of the excellent way Google has integrated Satellite imagery. Now Microsoft is getting into the act, blatantly copying the look and feel of Google. Then Microsoft accidently used 14 year old imagery for just that area of California covering where Apple's Headquarters is.

Monday, July 25, 2005

On my wish list: Motorola has been very successful with its Razr V3 cell phone, selling millions. To try to keep the buzz they introduced a Black model. No special features, just black. But hopefully later this year, a true successor, the V3x is due to appear. Seems like maybe V4 would make more sense, but regardless, I want one.

Followup. This Motorola puppy isn't so bad either.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

a new Target store: I went to see a new Target store minutes after it first opened for the first time today (Meyerland, Houston, TX). I was underwhelmed. They took 6 months to remodel a former K-Mart location that had stood vacant for a year. They were still stocking shelves. They had done zero to announce the store. No ads in newspaper or weekly papers. No flyers or mail to neighborhood. No specials for the opening, no prizes for first 100 customers. Big surprize, the store was very empty, and will likely stay that way, as the upper middle class lily white neighborhood may not react well to a store where 90% of its staff is minority. Doesn't Jesse Jackson complain when a stores' diversity doesn't match the community it's located in?

Followup: 30 hours late, I receive a postcard announcing the opening of the new Target. I call their 800 number and after 5 minutes on hold am hung up on.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Where to buy Grand Theft Auto - San Andreas now? With major chains no longer carrying this item (see July 20 post), one can turn to eBay. This $49.99 PC game goes for over $70 on eBay.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Web sites that don't want to communicate with you: PC World writes about web sites that hide their "Contact us" link, making it hard to do so. What they fail to mention is all too often anymore, any answer you get is worthless boilerplate sent from India at 3 AM U.S. time.

I've had issues with Banks violating their own "privacy" rules and sending me junk snail mail, and then :

- There's no one to complain to
- The droids at their 800 number will hang up on you
- You won't even get an apology, let alone compensation

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

GTA rating changed: As I expected.

Followup: Target, Walmart and BestBuy have announced they're discontinuing sales of the game. The NY Times reports on it all, a day later.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

More on GTA: See my July 12 post, this is a followup. Hillary Clinton has complained about the now revealed x-rated Game Play. There is a difference between adult content, and adult content that treats women as sex objects. Some, perhaps too willing to criticise our next President have wondered how genuine her criticism is. While a change in game rating from Mature (over 17) to Adults Only (over 18) shouldn't affect sales too much, in reality it would as many outlets refuse to sell Adults Only games. Others (July 16) worry about law suits that may now be generated. Me, I'm more concerned about the misleading statement released by the game publisher, Rockstar making like the sexual content wasn't there before. It's effectively disputed by the author of the patch that reveals the additional game elements in question, apparently by merely flipping the "censor" switch.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

This week's report of MAJOR security flaws in Microsoft Windows. Still new avenues of attack against Windows are being identified ==and== used. The story is here. Seems everyone needs to be a patchmaster to safely use a PC.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Gmail (Google email) humor: At 6:30 AM CDT today the following was returned when I attempted to check my Gmail:

Server Error

Gmail is temporarily unavailable. Cross your fingers and try again in a few minutes. We're sorry for the inconvenience.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

X-rated Easter Egg in the news: "Easter Eggs" have been in software just about since the first commercial software. An Easter Egg might require a non obvious game play, or some secret key press to activate a hidden message or aspect of the game. They were in computer game software 25 years ago. Now it turns out a "blocked" and/or "Easter Egg" feature of the game Grand Theft Auto - San Andreas is made available by a patch, readily available on the internet. The patch, labeled "Hot Coffee (adult) Mod", changes game play so that if you ask a girlfriend to have coffee with you, she will then be intimate with the character. This is apparently not the first X-rated Easter Egg. Check here.
If this part of the game, here to fore unavailable, is available, it should make the game itself x-rated, and a change in rating for the game as a whole is in fact being considered.
Revealing already extant x-rated software is different from a third party adding features to a
game to make it x-rated (and this also has been going on for at least 8 years, and with little in the way of complaints). Although the end result may equally upset the parents of a young teenager.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Broadband via your power lines? Certainly possible and now being tested in Houston, Texas; it was considered by Enron Broadband ($550 for details). Only one question. What speed? DirecWay currently sells 500 kbps as Broadband, as do cellular carriers. Dsl broadband over phone lines is about to be at 6000 kbps, 12+ times faster.
Microsft Windows machines still vulnerable: Despite efforts by Microsoft to close some security holes in their operating systems, Windows PCs are still vulnerable. Do you have antivirus software on your PC? Is it updated to July 2005 definitions??? As always never open email or an attachment you are not expecting. Here is the latest trick to get you.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Prius for immediate delivery! I stopped by a Toyota dealer today to compare more carefully the Toyota Matrix with the Pontiac Vibe I had just purchased. I decided the Vibe was better, what with better tires, and other more customer friendly features. Then I noticed 2 Prius cars sitting on the lot, available for sale. The notion of a 6 month waiting list is not valid any longer. Checking on the Internet at, one can enter their zip code, pick a dealer, and search inventory, and find many new 2005 (60 mpg City rated) Toyota Prius sitting on dealers lots.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The next thing: TiVo results in time shifting. Slingbox results in place shifting! Think of it as a personal broadcaster. Take your Cable box, DVR or TiVo output, and watch it on a PC anywhere via the Internet. Read the review. It's now hit the mainstream news here.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

SBC stupidity : I was taught "Never blame on malice that which can be blamed on stupidity" So the fact SBC still hasn't (as promised) corrected my dsl bills from a month ago, nor issued any of the promised credits, I guess demonstrates what a stupid outfit they are, so I won't be buying any SBC stock, despite a high dividend.
At least the broadband (dsl) is working reliabily and fast, something I could NEVER say for Time Warner and their cable broadband.
FOLLOWUP: The numbers appear correct over at the SBC website, but zero itemization.
The SBC/Yahoo site has differing information. Next week they need to get organized so as to not confuse their customers and generate unnecessary support calls. STUPID.