Bushism(s) du jour - "I can look you in the eye and tell you I feel I've tried to solve the problem diplomatically to the max, and would have committed troops both in Afghanistan and Iraq knowing what I know today." Irvine, Calif., April 24, 2006 (Bushisms continued)


3:15 PM -
Why I want to Kindle my Kindle. I really wanted to like the Kindle. And in fact, until an hour ago, I did. I was able to overlook most of the issues that other people have with it (such as the DRM, or the design, or the pricing). I'm convinced that you are on to something, and soon we will all read books this way. In fact, in the time I've had it, I've undergone something of a reading renaissance. Its just so easy to discover new books, and they're so easy to buy.

But today, as I sit here on a plane to Brazil, having just spent something like $20 on books and magazines, I've decided that I'm done. Once I get back from my trip, I am packing it up and shipping it back.

Why? No not because the buttons are too easy to press or the case is lame. Although the case is lame. Rather, because the Kindle has horrible power management. It's shit, and for the second consecutive time, it's totally out of batteries just when I want to use it. I'm staring at 9 more hours on a plane, and I am stuck carrying around a useless brick and have nothing to read. I find it hard to imagine a worse user experience.

The first time was soon after I first got the device. I had been carrying it around for a few days and didn't realize then that the batteries drain, even in sleep mode. To keep it from killing the batteries, you have to switch off the wireless and power on the back, which I didn't do. I picked it up to use it after 3-4 days or so, and it wouldn't start up. It was a brick. At the time I thought, no problem! I'll just plug it into a USB port. It has a mini usb port on the bottom, and the charging light even lights up when you plug it into USB. No dice. Apparently, even though they are able to charge all sorts of devices, including Blackberries, MP3 players and coffee mug heaters using USB, there is no way to power the Kindle using USB. Well that's not entirely true. According to Amazon customer support, if you plug a kindle into a usb port for 24 hours, it MIGHT charge. Well, that's a terrible solution, but oh well. Its a first gen device, and now I know.

Cut to today. In preparation for a trip I am taking, I charged up the Kindle, and made sure to turn off the power and wireless switches on the back. While sitting in the airport, I spent an hour or so downloading some books, magazines, etc. While I was doing this, we were called for boarding, and I threw the kindle in my bag. Just now, about 1-2 hours after takeoff, I pull out the Kindle, and of course its totally bricked. After 1-2 hours without a radio signal.

So here's what I've gathered. The Kindle is an insufferable power hog. It battery drains very quickly, especially if you're on a plane. It can't be powered by convenient and common USB chargers, but instead requires a proprietary power adapter. And because of this, you the user are required to monitor its power situation like a nurse in a neo-natal ICU unit.

Needless to say, I think this is totally unacceptable. I mean, how hard would it be to put in some logic or circuitry that shuts off the wireless when the battery is low, or only turns on the wireless every hour or something? There must be a way. Also, they have to figure out a way to charge and operate via USB. I'm not an EE, but I really find it hard to believe that you couldn't figure out how to use USB power better.

All this is especially unacceptable on a device, that by all rights, should be at least half the price. I mean really. I've been spending money on my Kindle like crazy. Why should the early adopters like me foot the bill and subsidize Amazon as they build up what is now a pretty shoddy inventory of content. I bet most Kindle users spend a good chunk of change on content. If Amazon were smart, they'd drop the price to get more devices in the hands of users, so that they can build up their library faster. Anyway it soon won't be my problem, because I'm returning this thing.


4:21 PM -
Yesterday that scumbag traitor 'president', George Bush commuted Scooter Libby's sentence. In yet another blatant hypocricy, he did so saying that Libbys sentence was "excessive." A 30 month sentence is apparently way too long of a sentence for a friend, but as the Governor of Texas, the treasonous Bush had no problem with death sentences for the mentally disabled. I'm still not sure why we aren't working on impeachment...


6:05 AM -
Pardon me while I gush about what is possibly the best bookstore in
the world - the new Eslite superstore in Taipei, near the city hall
MRT stop.

Yes I said the world. Where do even begin? First of all is 8 stories
tall. They have full selections of books in at least 3 different
languages. And magazines too.

Oh yeah, and they're also a department store too, with cool
departments selling everything from Japanese stationery and bags (my
favorites) to clothes. It is mind blowing.

Of course you may know of a better one... But I doubt you're right.


1:42 PM -
Cool New Songs: "Today's song of the day: Love Me Or Hate Me - Lady Sovereign "


10:37 AM -
The Google Book Search, whose "ultimate goal is to work with publishers and libraries to create a comprehensive, searchable, virtual card catalog of all books in all languages that helps users discover new books and publishers discover new readers," is great for society. In case you were unconvinced, here is a great speech by President Mary Sue Coleman of the U of Michigan that explains why Michigan is involved.


8:34 AM -
The site Drivl.com has this post on the worst of Web 2.0, and they link to what they say is the "worst MySpace Page," from a seemingly wonderful girl named Abbi. Check it out for yourself. It will make you cry.


10:44 AM -
Don't forget Journey
I just watched Journey's video for Separate Ways because it was posted on Andrew Sullivan's blog here and it is as awesome as anything I've seen recently. Bow down to Journey!


12:25 AM -
The NY Times Magazine has a cool section full of fun articles about soccer, on this, the weekend before the start of the World Cup. As Ali G would say, Check it...


8:39 PM -
I was surfing online to get my World Cup fix, when I noticed this headline on the Mirror.co.uk site, home of "The Best Newspaper on the Web."


I personally would trade our gun culture for a knife culture any day.


4:01 PM -
It's almost the mid-year point. How well is your new years resolution to get healthy going? Mine is tragically failing due to my inability to find time to exercise, and my failure to properly exercise the discipline for portion control. As an added incentive to work out and stop eating so many Doritos, here is a list of the Top 10 Causes of Death Worldwide. Notice that heart disease and stroke are the top two for both developed and developing worlds.


4:48 PM -
Crazy Russian cyborgs climb shit...


6:48 PM -
Excellent video that teaches us why copying software is a bad idea.


9:53 PM -

People, do you want to know one of my biggest pet peeves? Airport terminals with no power outlets. Now you five, my loyal readers, know that I am a total 'nerd' with too many 'gadgets' so perhaps I have special needs. And I also know that when some of the older and crappier airports in the world (Midway comes to mind) were built, there WAS no such thing as electricity, and so they couldn't have known to add outlets, but what's the excuse now? We all have laptops now, and even my mom has a cell phone, so the old men who design airports must have heard about outlets...

As we speak, I am sitting in a beautiful new terminal at Dallas Fort Worth, and I am not exaggerating when I tell you that there is only ONE power outlet in the whole fucking airport! Really! I took a picture of it!

And since outlets on planes are as common as unicorns, what that means is that if your flight is longer than about 2 hours, you must ration your precious electricity on the plane. Don't turn the screen too bright!

By the time you get off the plane, you're jonesin' for electricity. Kind of how sometimes I drink a Big Gulp, and don't have access to a bathroom for a few hours, except in reverse.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is this. We need more outlets, airport people. Join us in the 21st century.


11:06 PM -

Rob Thomas Concert Report - A coworker gave me a couple of tickets to the Rob Thomas concert (thanks Douglas!) at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland. I'm not a huge RT fan, but I do like a few of his songs, so I got JB to come with me. Here's our report.

1. All RT fans are white. Or Asian. 2. Asians often are seen in places with white people where other minorities wouldn't be caught dead.
3. RT fans are easily tired. When RT first came out, the whole audience stood up. Exciting! Then during song three, we got tired and sat town.
4. JB was forced to use a men's restroom. Women require more restrooms, person per person than men. The person who develops the technology to decrease womens' average bathroom cycle time will be RICH!
5. RT has a magnificent earring. Even from our seat a quarter mile from him, it glistened like the Queens crown jewel.
5. RT's av man should be shot. RT had this really lame digital diaplay behind him that had pixels so large that I was actually able count them. There were 5 panels, each one 50x10 pixels. I think the whole thing was driven by an Atari 2600.

All in all, it was well worth it. I enjoyed the concert, and Rob Thomas sang like a bird.


11:22 PM -
Here's a picture of Audrey Simon, who is super - cute, but is not a good actress. In this photo, she is trying to look angry.


5:03 PM -
Ever wonder how to type 'special' characters in Microsoft Windows? I remember that in the Mac OS, many of the most common ones were available using keyboard shortcuts. Like for instance for umlauts, you would type Option U (or something like that) and then a U. Simple! Intuitive. In Windows, many keys are available using "Character Map', (and a tedious copy and paste procedure) but I could never figure out the keyboard shortcuts. For instance, the character which occurs alot in Portuguese, has "Keystroke: Alt+0231." Hmm. Well, I finally found out how to do it (below) and boy, is it lame. Windows Alt Key Codes: "Windows assigns a numeric code to different accented letters, other foreign characters and special mathematical symbols. For instance the code for lower case is 0225, and the code for capital is 0193. The ALT key input is used to manually insert these letters and symbols by calling the numeric code assigned to them. To use the codes: 1. Place your cursor in the location where you wish to insert a special character. 2. Activate the numeric key pad on the right of the keyboard by pressing Num Lock (upper right of keyboard). The Num Lock light on the keyboard will indicate that the numeric key pad is on. NOTE: You must use the numeric key pad; if you use the number keys on the top of the keyboard, the characters will not appear. If you are on a laptop or computer without a separate numeric keypad one of the other methods is recommended. 3. While pressing down the ALT key, type the four-digit code on the numeric key pad at the right edge of the keyboard. The codes are 'case sensitive.' For instance, the code for lower-case is ALT+0225, but capital is ALT+0193. NOTE: If you have the International keyboard activated, you will only be able to input codes with the ALT key on the left side of the keyboard. # Release the ALT key. The character will appear when the ALT key is released. NOTE: You must include the initial zero in the code. For example to insert (0225) you must type ALT+0225, NOT ALT+225.


1:20 PM -

Strolling through SOHO yesterday, we saw a few cool things. First, was a rice pudding establishment. It's called Rice to Riches, and they sold expensive pudding in various flavors. I actually didn't think it was 'the bees knees,' but it was new, and it was stylish. Also, we found a shop called Mogu, where they sell upscale, space age pillows like the ones they routinely send into space. As you might imagine, they were expensive.

1:05 PM -

This license plate frame describes my philosophy on life.


10:07 AM -
I know it's cheating to have a blog which consists totally of stuff that I find on the internet, but I guess it's easier than talking about how I really think that the CIA is following me home every day and that sometimes, when I pee, it hurts, and I don't know why. Anyway, here is a fascinating article about how some wierd scientists in Pittsburgh have brought dead dogs back to life.


1:45 PM -
Google just launched Google Video with video playback today. If you want to watch a video, I would recommend this one which is of an AMAZING breakdancer. Some of you may know that I am a breakdancing wannabe. I love breakdancing, although I haven't so much as mastered the moonwalk. Anyway, watch the video, and be amazed. There's a move at the end that is mind blowing. (download required)

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