Friday, June 30, 2006

Going on hiatus

I'm about to head to Europe for my honeymoon, so I (and the blog) will be going on hiatus until I get back in late July. Thanks for reading, and I'll get back with you soon.

In the meantime, I've set up another blog dedicated to the trip. If you're interested, head to the Lenahan Travelog: Our Honeymoon in Europe. My goal is to find an internet cafe in each city that we visit, so check back every few days or so for an update.

Thanks for stopping by, and stay classy San Diego (and beyond).


Jan Ullrich and Ivan Basso pulled from Le Tour!

The Tour de France's two favorites, Jan Ullrich and Ivan Basso, were ejected from the Tour in the wake of a Spanish doping scandal. The two riders, expected by many to finish in first and second (I have my own opinions of this as well), were suspended by their teams in the face of evidence brought to them by investigators for Operación Puerto in Spain.

This is big news. According to Velonews, the Tour has been "thrown into its biggest crisis since the 1998 Festina scandal." 51 other riders were named on the list, including other notables Oscar Sevilla (T-Mobile), Joseba Beloki (Astana-Wurth), Marcos Serrano (Astana-Wurth), Roberto Heras (Liberty Siguros-suspended), Tyler Hamilton (Phonak-suspended) and Francisco Mancebo (AG2R). CSC's team manager Bjarne Riis says this:
I think it's a huge blow for everybody. I'd rather be here because Ivan has won the tour. Right now it's not the case. It's a hard situation for all of us, but this is life. But you have to stand up and face it. It's easy to sit down and cry, but you have to be responsible for your own life. The only thing I want to do is be responsible for my team.

I have no other choice.
The timing of this investigation is just uncanny. With just one day before the start of what could have been (and still could be) the most exciting Tour yet, this is a huge blow. The Tour organizers take these allegations very seriously, and so do the teams. Here's what a "friend" had to say about it:
But I hate this, and regardless of what comes out of this, Jan definitely had contact with that sleazy doctor, and Jan definitely lied about it. Innocent until proven guilty, but if you're T-Mobile, and staring at a very likely Tour de France victory, everything you've dumped hundreds of millions of dollars into for the last five years, you don't pull Jan out of the Tour unless you've seen some pretty hard evidence. And then for CSC to pull Basso AFTER Jan is already gone? Ivan Basso was nearly guaranteed a free ride to the Yellow Jersey with Jan gone, so don't tell me CSC didn't see something scary.
This Tour was shaping up to be very exciting now that Lance has retired. There was a feeling that it was wide open, that it was anyone's race to win. Now that some of the biggest players are now out, that feeling is stronger than ever.

Update: Francisco Mancebo has now retired!


Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Creating digital "Lomo" photography

Rusty Skylark Lomo
I've just stumbled on the website for Digital Photography School and must say that I'm impressed. They've got a ton of interesting content, from equipment tips to digital photography techniques. They've also set up a Flickr group where members can share samples and compare "assignments" related to the techniques outlined on the site.

One technique in particular, titled "How to Make Digital Photos Look Like Lomo Photography," has really caught my attention. It focuses on a Photoshop method for making digital photos look like they were taken from an old Russian LOMO LC-A camera.

I've never heard of the camera before, but the effects are dramatic. See above for my first stab at the technique. Take a look at the Lomo Assignment on Flickr for more examples.


Labels: , , ,

How to photograph fireworks

This one comes just in time for the Independence Day. Here's another photography guide, this time for taking photos of fireworks. Time to go out and pick up that bulb/remote.

Link (via Digg)

Labels: ,

How to photograph lightning

Michael Bath, a storm chaser from Australia, has some beautiful photos of lightning and severe thunderstorms taken over the past 18 years. He also provides some tips on how to take photos of lightning in your area. I can't wait for the next storm to give these a try!

Link (via Boing Boing, photo courtesy of Michael Bath)

Labels: ,

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

FareCast tells you when to buy your plane tickets

FareCast is a site devoted to when you should buy a plane ticket to get the best deal. According to their website:
We use data-mining algorithms to search for patterns, in the accumulated airfare data, which are associated with significant price changes. These patterns are represented and stored in models, and the models are then rigorously trained. Once created and trained, we use these models to predict the future. Then, new, current airfares can be scored by the model to answer the question, "is the price going up or down in the future?"
It's a limited beta right now that only works with flights originating or arriving at Boston, MA or Seattle, WA.

Keep an eye on this. This could be a very useful tool as they add more cities to the search.

Link (via Boing Boing)

YouTube finds a revenue stream?

After hearing about how yours and my favorite video repository YouTube was spending upwards of $1 million on bandwidth a month, I was sure that they wouldn't last long. With $11.5 million in venture capital and an ad-supported business model that has only recently materialized (they didn't receive a penny of revenue until March of this year), I couldn't see how they'd survive the year. Haven't we learned anything from our days in the world wide bubble?

Without a revenue stream to speak of, and with mounting legal pressure from NBC, CBS and other content owners (allegedly) over their content, things weren't looking good for the popular upstart. Don Dodge offers an interesting perspective on the legal minefield that is their bread and butter. Now, it seems that YouTube is finding a new revenue stream with NBC. After receiving scathing criticism in the blogspace for their handling of YouTube, NBC has finally noticed that there might be an opportunity in using the site to generate buzz for their new shows:
"These viral sites are interesting to us in instances before a show becomes an asset and we are trying to expose it to people," says John Miller, NBC's chief marketing officer. "Once something becomes a hit it's a different story. Our interest here is generating revenue for ourselves." (
Now there's no mention of dollars and cents here, so it's hard to tell what's in it for YouTube. NBC, however may have gained a powerful partner for viral marketing on the web. At the very least, they stand to save some bandwidth by hosting their videos on YouTube.

YouTube and NBC. Strange bedfellows indeed. YouTube may just survive past the year's end after all.


Labels: ,

Friday, June 23, 2006 Five Aces

A buddy of mine forwarded me the screenshot from a online game. Is this the real deal? I've heard about a couple cases of cheating/fraud with online poker, but this is a bad beat to to beat all bad beats.

I Google'd this one, but couldn't find any evidence corroborating it. Does anyone out there know if this is the real thing or a Photoshop job?

Click on the screenshot for a larger view.

Link (thanks, Burt!)

Labels: , ,

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Hypnotic Pennysaver radio commercial

I don't know what just happened, but I want to go read classified ads now. Listen to the Pennysaver ad below the Head On! TV spot (which is weird in its own right).

I rented a room for a short time from a guy who worked at Pennysaver when I first moved out to California. He seemed like a stand-up guy at the time, but now I'm starting to have my doubts.


Cali Caddy, baby! [Flickr]

PDF redaction follies

Queue the silly sound effects. Apparently the guys and gals in legal at both AT&T and the DoJ need a little training in Adobe Acrobat. They have been releasing redacted court filings in PDF form (such as the AT&T filing in the NSA wiretapping case and the Balco grand jury leak case), but are merely putting black lines over the redacted text. The text, however, is still available under the black line, and it's simply a matter of selecting the text under said line and then copy/pasting it into your text editor of choice. Try it here.

Classic stuff. The comments are even better:

Perhaps after another dozen or so incidents they'll decide a little training is appropriate for the folks who are doing the redacting.

No, more than likely they will just pass a new law, stating that "Copying and pasting of blacked out (redacted) lines is a felony" or somesuch...


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Vincent Ferrari appears on NBC re: AOL cancellation woes [Video]

Remember that guy that had a hard time trying to cancel his AOL account? If not, I wrote about it here and here. Apparently, NBC News picked up his story. You can view the segment below.

I don't know what to chalk this up to. Is it that NBC couldn't pass up on a chance to poke fun of AOL-Time Warner? Is NBC trying to show that it's got its finger on the pulse of the blogspace?

I think that it's a little of both. This can't simply be a public interest piece. At any rate, it's pretty amazing how quickly a guy can go from posting an MP3 of a shitty customer service experience to participating in an interview with Matt Lauer.

Link (via Digg)

Rusty Skylark [Flickr]

Guinness is Irish for Awesome!

Hell yeah!

Link (via Wil Wheaton)

Seth MacFarlane gives Harvard graduation speech [Video]

Seth MacFarlane (of Family Guy fame) recently gave the graduation speech to the class of 2006 at Harvard Law. Watch and listen as he channels Peter, Stewie and Quagmire after the jump.

Link (thanks, Amber!)

The Windows XP Boot Process

Here's a rundown of the entire boot process for a PC running Windows XP, from when you first switch on the power supply to logon. It pretty much contains everything you wanted to know.

Link (via Digg)

Labels: , , ,

Word of the Day: Erudition

erudition n: profound knowledge, especially that based on learning and scholarship

"I hope this is a book for the people and not just slaves to erudition."

Link (thanks, Jim!)

Diver blows perfect bubble rings [Video]

Check out this video of a Japanese scuba diver blowing perfect bubble rings in a pool. You'll probably want to mute it, though. The announcers are pretty annoying.

Link (via Divester)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

1000 bottle opening tricks

After posting the entry about how to open a beer bottle with another beer bottle (that I also posted here), Boing Boing got a flood of emails about other ways to skin this cat. One gem included a German site detailing nearly 1000 ways to open a beer bottle.


Link (via Boing Boing)

Caddy [Flickr]

Monday, June 19, 2006

Bottle opening trick

Here's how to open a beer bottle with another bottle. You've probably already seen the lighter trick. Here's another way to get that bottle open, assuming you have another bottle around.

Link (via Boing Boing)

Jiffy Lube Scam [Video]

Update: The MySpace video seems to have gone dead, so I replaced it with one from YouTube. This one includes two follow-up stories as well.

Link (via StudioGlyphic)

How to dual boot Windows XP and Vista Beta 2

Lifehacker has a straightforward how-to on how to create a partition on your system drive for a dual-boot XP/Vista Beta 2 install. The Vista installer makes this process a breeze as long as you have Symantec's Partition Magic (a product that I'd recommend anyway). I was a little trepidacious about trying this at first, but it worked out perfectly.

If you're interested in giving Vista a try but aren't willing to trash your current XP install (which is wise, IMHO), this may work for you. Just make sure that you've got about 20 GB on your system drive to devote to the install.


Labels: , , , , ,

USB Teddy Bear

I think that this is even better than the USB Barbie drive from last year.


Thursday, June 15, 2006

AOL fires zealous customer service rep

Two days ago, I posted an entry about former AOL customer Vincent Ferrari's hellacious time attempting to cancel his AOL subscription. I had my suspicions of its authenticity at the time because the recording was simply way over-the-top (you'll find the audio here). Apparently my suspicions are unfounded, as AOL spokesperson Nicholas Graham issued this response:
At AOL, we have zero-tolerance for customer care incidents like this - which is deeply regrettable and also absolutely inexcusable. The employee in question violated our customer service guidelines and practices, and everything that AOL believes to be important in customer care - chief among them being respect for the member, and swiftly honoring their requests. This matter was dealt with immediately and appropriately, and the employee cited here is no longer with the Company.
Rightly so! This guy was way out of line. Click through for an interview with Vincent regarding his experience.

Link (via Boing Boing)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Ping Pong [Flickr]

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Word of the Day: Jingoistic

It's apropos (oops, a two-fer), and I like the sound of it:

jingo·istic adj: fanatically patriotic

Related to:
jin·go·ism (jngg-zm) n: Extreme nationalism characterized especially by a belligerent foreign policy; chauvinistic patriotism.


I'm on Divester!

Well, one of my Flickr photos is at least. I recently posted some underwater pictures that I took while scuba diving into a new Flickr group called "This is Why We Dive." The scuba diving blog,, recently took notice of one of my pics and posted it on their site. Thanks for the props, Divester (pronounced dive-ster)!

If you're a diver or are at least interested in what's going on under the sea, check out that group. It's a great collection of some really nice underwater photography. Check out Divester as well, as it's a great place to keep up to date on your scuba news and tech.


Labels: , , , ,

AOL really doesn't want to lose you

Holy crap! I've gone through the runaround when canceling a credit card before, but it was nowhere near this intense. I got pissed off just listening to this. If this is legit (you never know with the 'net), AOL is really going to great lengths to keep their dwindling customer base.

Update: The site is suffering from the Digg Effect, so try these mirrors first:

Mirror of article
Mirror of audio

Update 2: This was the real deal.

Link (via Boing Boing)

"Transparent" art and advertising

Boing Boing had a post yesterday about transparent signs, but I found their links to two other similar projects much more interesting. The first is a Flickr set consisting of "transparent" computer screens. The displays are set with a desktop wallpaper that mimics the background, making the windows and icons appear to hover in mid-air. The second involves an advertising campaign by the Swiss arm of Amnesty International setting acts of human rights abuse against backdrops of the city itself. Striking.

The technique is somewhat obvious, with a photograph of the background taken at an appropriate viewing angle. When viewed at that same angle, it creates a seamless transition between the photo and the environment surrounding it. The transparent signs are a variation on that theme, blending a semi-transparent overlay of the background behind a street sign on the sign itself.

Disguising electrical substations

Do you remember the last time you saw a cell tower disguised as a pine tree? There's one on Highway 330 on the way to Big Bear that sticks out like a sore thumb. Well, they've been doing this type of thing for a while now. From the looks of things, they've been doing a much better job of it with electrical substations in Canada.

A Canadian photographer named Robin Collyer has been documenting them for years. They are designed to match the architectural style of the neighborhood in which they are built, complete with window shades and landscaping. As BLDG BLOG says:
So if you live in suburban Toronto and your neighbor's house is humming – perhaps now you know what's really going on inside.
Link (via Boing Boing)

Monday, June 12, 2006

Big Spanish Castle Color Illusion

I'm kind of on the optical illusion tip lately. Here's a simple, but effective color illusion from John Sadowksi. Simply stare at the dot in the center of the image for about 30 seconds, then mouse over the image. Although the image is black and white, it'll appear to be in color until you move your eyes.

Link (Thanks, Burt!)

Friday, June 09, 2006

Abdul Jalib's Theory of Sucking Out

A little Poker theory for your Friday. I present to you Abdul's Theory of Sucking Out.


Labels: , ,

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Milk your $60 router for all it's worth

Here's a story from this year's Maker Faire put on by Make Magazine. It's a how-to that claims to "turn your $60 router into a $600 router." Upgrading will add a bevy of features, including a stronger wireless signal, advanced QoS (quality of service) support, VPN access, and more.

Firmware upgrades for the Linksys series of routers, specifically the WRT54G series, have been around for a while as a result of the discovery of Linksys/Cisco's use of GNU/Linux in the router's firmware. Per the GPL, Linksys had to make the firmware publicly available. The open source community has really run with the software, and taken it to new heights.

I don't know if this will truly make your router compete with the higher priced offerings from Cisco, as I haven't tried it myself yet. Although I've been weary hacking up my router, I think that I'm willing to give this one a go. I'll let you know if I manage to brick my router.

Link (via Digg)

Labels: , , , , ,

Recursive photomosaic

Take a look at this intriguing recursive photomosaic. A photomosaic is a picture whose individual "pixels" are made up of photos containing the pixel's "appropriate average color." In this example, each photo-pixel is a photomosaic in its own right, made up of the some of the same pictures for which it is a component of.

Make sense? Don't worry about it. Just click through and zone out for a few minutes.

Link (via Boing Boing)

Fancy scissors: A personal portable shredder

Being kind of a privacy nut myself (just ask my friends), I would love to get my hands on this decidedly low-tech five-bladed pair of scissors that can be used as a personal, portable and silent shredder of sorts. Use it when a shredder is not available, or when you feel like literally slicing your documents to ribbons.

Link (via Boing Boing)