As the weather changes and we all start to get a little warmer, barbecues across the nation are going to be wheeled out of their hibernation spots. Getting the grill together requires perhaps a little cleaning, finding a suitable location, and of course, collecting all the accessories. I am always down for a barbecue, but that doesn't necessarily mean I am always ready for one. I keep my charcoal in one area, lighter fluid in another, and my utensils are scattered all about. While some people may have their grilling act together a bit more, I would certainly benefit … Read more
I noticed something yesterday. It happened around 5 o'clock when I was looking out the window: It was still light out. There was plenty of light, in fact. It sure does sneak up on you. Before you know it, the days are going to be long and the air filled with the sweet smell of barbecue. Not long to go now. It's just around the corner. Of course that means one important thing: grilling time.
As I get older and more seasoned with the grill, I realize some things that I may have missed in my younger years. … Read more
Granted, summer (or spring) picnic season may seem like a long way away, but it will be time to break out the blanket and head to the nearest patch of grass before you know it. Since the local weather here in San Francisco this week has been on the warm side, I think it's never too early to look ahead. Those winter doldrums aren't going to last forever, and when they melt, parks and beaches will be filled with hungry people, and I plan to be one of them.
Having a nice chilled meal outdoors on a clear, … Read more
I consider myself a fairly patient person. In June, I sold my 34-inch Sony KV-XBR910 CRT HDTV. I was moving to a new apartment that month and the thought of moving this 250-pound behemoth--that I'd already moved twice before in the last three years--was just too daunting.
I paid more than $2,000 for the TV in 2003 and in June 2008, I put it up on eBay and Craigslist for $500. I got $150. Unfortunately, because I had an extremely small window of time before having to vacate my old apartment--and because I was afraid of being stuck with this huge piece of hardware I could not move on my own--I ended up selling it for a price much lower than what I had originally desired.
It's hard for me to even write that, honestly, as I'm sure there were things I could have done differently to get a much better return on my investment. But what's done is now done. I truly wish the soulless excuse for a human being who bought it from me the best of luck with it and I mean that in the best way.
I guess I can't blame all the eBayers and Craigslisters who passed up my TV at $500. I mean why buy a 5-year old, 250-pound TV which, although in great condition, does not have as many connection options or as big of a screen as a 50-pound, 40-inch LCD they can get for $1,000 or so.
Yes, I see how this could have been a hard sell. However, it really depressed me to realize that I was having trouble selling a 5-year-old TV for just a quarter of its original price. Is this even normal depreciation? Actually, I don't really want to know, now that what's done is done. Perhaps I should just move on and look toward bigger and better things.
Unfortunately, I've yet to actually do that. Since selling it, I've been forced to slum it with my girlfriend's 15-year old, 13-inch Philips/Magnavox TV/VCR combo while I determine which LCD HDTV I want to invest in. A few weeks back I watched the season finale of Battle Star Galactica. I won't spoil it here, but the final shot of that episode has a reveal that let's just say I had trouble fully appreciating while watching it on this thing. I remember having to get off the couch and get within a foot of the TV to see anything and even then I was like, "Um, WTF am I even looking at?"
Thanks to high-definition pics I've found on forums, I've since learned what I was missing. Friday I watched the opening ceremony to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and like most people I was greatly impressed by the incredible show China put on.
On Saturday, I went over to my friend Dan's house to hang out and to finally meet his 9-month-old daughter. The visit contained both the highlight and the low point of my weekend. While his daughter was one of the coolest babies I've ever met, watching the Olympics in HD on his HDTV was so visually impressive that it depressed me that I'd just watched the opening on such a clunker. This was an opening of such ambition that nothing like it will probably ever be attempted again in my lifetime and I got to waste its full impact on the gadget you see above. … Read more
On Wednesday, a 42-year-old UFO enthusiast lost his bid in a British court to fight extradition to the U.S. on charges he hacked into several U.S. military bases and even NASA.
Gary McKinnon has been fighting extradition for nearly six years, and his latest setback occurred in the British House of Lords. McKinnon admits breaking into U.S. databases in order to uncover evidence of secret UFO documents. His supporters contend that if deported to the U.S. for trial, McKinnon could be portrayed as a terrorist, seeking military secrets in general.
At the heart of Wednesday's … Read more
I'll be taking the summer off from blogging here at Surveillance State.
On May 5, I started a summer internship at the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California. I want to avoid any possible conflict of interest regarding my blog posts, and so the simplest solution is to not blog.
In early September, I move to Boston to begin a 1 year student fellow position at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School. I fully expect to begin blogging again as soon as I get to Boston.
See you in a few … Read more
Google just announced its mentoring organizations for its 2008 Summer of Code. I was really happy to see that the open-source Mac instant messaging client, Adium, was selected as one of the mentoring organizations.
Looking at the list of ideas Adium has for its incoming student developers, however, I'm a little bummed by the lack of ambition. Or, rather, creativity.
On tap? Adding the ability to remote control a Mac through Adium (similar to Apple's iChat) and video conferencing support (similar to Apple's iChat), plus improving group chat capabilities. These are nice to haves, but they're simply replications of proprietary products. The reason I use Adium instead of iChat is for all the other things that Adium does better than iChat (customizability being the top reason).… Read more
I'm in Silicon Valley on Friday for the annual economic summit organized by Stanford University. Earlier in the morning, the government reported that the nonfarm payrolls registered the fastest rate of decline since 2003 and the markets predictably tanked. Good thing the Wall Street crowd didn't have a video link to the presentation by Havard professor (and ex-Harvard president and former Treasury Secretary) Lawrence Summers. Then they'd really bolt for the nearest bar.
"I believe we are facing the most serious combination of macroeconomic and financial stresses that the U.S. has faced in a generation--and … Read more
Just as a reminder, Google is about to start accepting applications for its Summer of Code. Google will begin accepting applications from open-source mentoring organizations (i.e., open-source projects) on Monday, March 3, 2008, and will then stop accepting them on Wednesday, March 12th. Students can then start applying to participate in these projects on Monday, March 24 until Monday, March 31, 2008.
Not much time until the application process kicks off, but also not much time to submit an application.
Google's Summer of Code started with just 40 open-source projects in 2005 and jumped to 130 in 2007. … Read more