Mar 31 2004
Here we go again. A new record average price for fuel at the pump. [
1 2
] With likely extra cuts in oil production and now another refinery gone up in
smoke; we’ll be heading a little more to European prices again. Ok, it’s not
that bad yet as Europeans pay about about 1 euro /
liter
~ $3.5 / gallon. EU maximum prices are government controlled
with about 70% taxes (about 16c fuel + 14c distribution + 70c taxes). The US at
least doesn’t have such a tax base
(yet?) but I don’t like the prospect. After every hike the price never drops
back to normal.

Driving less & switching to more fuel
efficient vehicles seems like a good thing. I for one am glad we don’t have an
SUV. Only: less fuel sales => less fuel tax income fore states, counties
& cities + higher transportation expenses => more fuel tax => sales
drop further => shrink supply further to inflate price some more …

Maybe it won’t spiral that bad, but every cent spent at the pump
diverts millions to billions in consumer spending from the ailing US economy
right to the oil cartels. Which can’t be a good thing. I can already hear the
airline industry in trouble again too. The cartels make billions & simply
can’t get enough of them. Cut production, add some bogus reasons, charge more,
increase revenue. Seems like a great monopoly to be in.

Wasn’t one
of the motivations behind the Iraq war to get a good deal on fuel? We haven’t
heard much about that lately, nor what Halliburton is charging the US government
(= tax payer) to import Kuwaiti fuel (while Iraq sits on one of the largest fuel
reserves in the world!). Halliburton was charging $2.5+ ~ $3 / gallon while the
general wholesale cost was less than 3/4 of a $. I wonder what they’re charging
now and if they’ll jump on the price hike bandwagon too … Maybe it’ll be in
the news again before long.

Click here to read more …

Mar 30 2004
I have some government forms I need to fill out, so why
not use the fillable Acrobat ones? Saves on handwriting deciphering ;) and
potential confusion.

With about a 1/4 filled out Acrobat bleeps. Ugh.
Ok, I’ll just download a copy & fill it out offline, saving periodically.
Acrobat tells me I cannot save over the original but allows me to save a copy.
Fine. I fill out 3/4 of all the pages, re-saving after every page. Acrobat
crashes again when I try to resize the window. No biggie, or so I thought! The
save copy file does not contain any typed filled out data??? What the?!

Unbelievable … isn’t it supposed to save what you fill out in a
fillable form?
Or am I missing something?

… what a waste of
time. 3rd time will be on paper. Unfortunately I have to look all data up again.

Click here to read more …

Mar 28 2004
I had my very first dose of skiing today and … I love
it :)

yours truly near the bottom of the slope

We drove West towards the Sunday River Ski area (Bethel,
Maine).

Cross country skiing on Saturday was great, apart from the
downhill bits on thin packed snow & ice. Nothing but fun on the flat &
going uphill, but I couldn’t quite get the skis to grip on the way down and fell
a few times while the tips of those boots stay locked in. Ouch! Horrible for the
ankles and no soft landing either. It probably would have been better without
the wintry mix earlier in the season.

This morning I had a first
skiing initiation class. Great thing was, I was the only pupil :) Scott, my
trainer was absolutely great! Rather than getting on the snow after 45 minutes,
we were out the door in 15 :) After a little bit of practice on the flat with
one ski and some turning & stopping practice amongst other things; we
started using the small tow lift. In no time we went up higher with the medium
lift & then used the main lift to get to the top of the green slopes after
an hour. Wow. I couldn’t believe it! It was like magic. Riding the big ski lift,
slopes everywhere you look … and I’m just a newbie! Things went really well. I
hit the snow a few times, but at least it was soft :) After 4 rides we tried a
blue trail, but that was a bit too challenging. A matter of technique &
confidence … I need a bit more mileage for the next level ;)

After
the class I skied some more in the afternoon, but I was really getting tired,
both in my legs & brain. One thing is sure: I’ll ski again! And I won’t
forget the sunscreen and will be wearing gloves :)

Click here to read more …

Mar 25 2004
Brazil 1910. Two families continue a feud over a piece of
dry land between their farms. Generations carry over the circle of violence. Now
it’s Tonio’s turn to vengeance his brother’s death. Will he live? Will the
family survive?

Behind the Sun – 2001 – Portuguese – PG13 – [ Netflix - Walmart ]
Golden Globe Award Nominee for
Best Foreign Language Film

A very compelling film about loyalty,
honor, love and desire to break the circle of families locked in circles like
oxen on a mill wheel.

Click here to read more …

Mar 25 2004
I’m posting it under funny, but it fits just as well
under technology. Click here:
the 12 step
program
to save yourself from web addiction ;)

Click here to read more …

Mar 24 2004
Wizard is far more difficult to photograph than “little
princess photograph me me me” Seven. He likes to stay in the dark, ignores the
camera & photographer, moves around, keeps his eyes half closed, dislikes
the flash, …

Enter: idea + small dose of patience + remote
controlled camera on a mini tripod + one low box placed in a well lit location
2/3 under a cabinet. It didn’t take long before I was able to snap him with his
eyes open looking at Seven who was inspecting the camera just about too much (no
wet noses on the lens fortunately) and looking at the camera while I was making
a little noise with the
zoom.
wizard

wizard close up

Got
ya! ;)

Click here to read more …

Mar 24 2004
The latest news for consumers from Apple includes iPhoto
4.0.1, iChat 2.1 (with video conferencing to PC users), wireless keyboard &
mouse firmware. Time to use software update :)

Click here to read more …

Mar 22 2004
This has
been hanging in the air for a while already. By all means the police authorities
should have the means to do their job and need to have the means to catch up
with new technologies such as VoIP (internet telephony) and
others.

But nationwide permanent “doors” installed & integrated
at all ISPs networks to capture broadband communication (“at substantial new
compliance cost for broadband providers” = passed on to the consumer) and FBI
approval will be required before new technologies can be introduced?

What is next? Mandatary routines in the OS? An extra chip in your
broadband modem? On your NIC or motherboard? It makes me think of China where
they have 30.000 government employees scanning Chinese webservers & all
incoming + outgoing email to enforce censorship.

Click here to read more …

Mar 19 2004
I thought the headline on the Sony Style homepage was
funny:

Sony
: ” Why rent DVDs when you can make your own with
the DCR-DVD101 Handycam

Mar 19 2004
Apple. Apple. Apple. When o when will we see the G5
updates?

For quite a while (G4 MDD anyone?) I’ve been waiting to
upgrade my main system to a rev. B dual G5. Since the DP G5 2.0 GHz was
announced last summer – with the promise of whole processor line-up and a Dual
G5 3.0 in a year (!) – there has been no CPU update. Steve Jobs announced
January 6th this would be a very exciting anniversary year.

Well, I
haven’t seen any of that excitement yet. It is nearly Spring and a lot of people
seem to be waiting.

Am I unreasonable to think that:
- we
should be at about dual 2.4 GHz or a bit more by now? (dual 3.0 this
summer)
- that a matching monitor and keyboard mouse combination are long
over due?

Function & style were always #1 for Apple, but since
the G5 was launched, for 3/4 of a year you can only buy an ugly $5000 mismatch
… Why not at least use the keyboard & mouse set from the G4 series? Or are
we to spray paint the G5 tower white to match the iMac eMac mouse & keyboard
combo? I wont rant on about the antique single button mouse ;) Apple seems to
stubborn to improve that critter. Pro mouse without a second button & scroll
wheel? Tssss.

I guess my fingers are itching too much for extra
horsepower …
It’s time to see something new from Apple. Too much focus
on the mini iPod & iTMS for me.

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