New toy just arrived.

I’m no Apple fanboy, but I must admit their packaging is pretty sweet. Simple, not overstated, compact, nothing wasted.

Now we’ll see if this little box lives up to the hype. It’ll replace my aging hacked Xbox and hopefully give us some nice HD video capabilities, optical-quality audio, etc. Oh, and something new to hack.


Cell phone carrier: 1, Terrorists: 0

Of course terrorism and suicide bombers aren’t funny, but I can’t help but chuckle at this:

An unexpected and unwanted text message from a wireless company prematurely exploded a would-be suicide bomber’s vest bomb in Russia New Year’s Eve, inadvertently thwarting a planned attack on revelers in Moscow, according to The Daily Telegraph.

The would-be suicide bomber was planning to detonate a suicide belt bomb near Red Square, a plan that was foiled when her wireless carrier sent her an SMS while she was still at a safe house, setting off the bomb and killing her. The message reportedly wished her a Happy New Years. Cell phones are often used as makeshift detonators by terrorist and insurgent groups.

If true, the SMS might be the only time that a wireless carrier’s SMS message has ever been useful.


At 6am this morning Zack ran into my room shouting, “Dad, I don’t feel very good!”

My response was sort of a mumble, since I had been fast asleep. I sat up in bed and asked what was wrong…

… whereupon he bent over and threw up all over the carpet.

Being the sensitive, caring dad that I am, I immediately started shouting at him to run into the bathroom, for crying out loud. He did his best, leaving a trail behind him, took a second to toss his cookies all over the bathroom rugs, and finally managed to maneuver above the toilet where he finished his work.

Ahh, the joys of parenthood. The dark stain on my carpet will remind me of this day for the next few years.


Seen on Slashdot:

Dear Everybody,

You’re not us. That means you’re either a pirate or a pirate pretending to be a consumer. That includes ICANN. That includes the Vatican. That includes OPEC. That includes the United States government.

You want to use the word “music?” Only if you pay royalties to us. And right now all we see is people profiting off of our artist’s copyrighted works (i.e. all music) that we broke our backs locking down with crippling contracts.

Remember our motto: “If you’re not us, you’re against us.”



Kyra’s rat, Bella, died today.

She had a weird inflammation in one of her paws last night, and was limping around pretty badly. She died in her sleep sometime in the night, and while that was probably a good way to go, it was pretty tough on Kyra when she woke up in the morning to find Bella cold and stiff in the cage.

(Yes, Kyra looks like some kind of zombie. It’s because she’d been crying on and off pretty much all day.)

We buried her in the back yard, next to Pumpkin (Kyra’s gerbil).


I taught the kids how to play Risk today, so we’ve been locked in an endless battle for world domination. The game’s two hours old and still going, as we each turn in sets for 20+ armies and wrest control of each other’s continents to avoid the bonus armies each turn.

I’d forgotten how much fun Risk is. Oh, and how much depends on the roll of the dice… strategy isn’t a big factor around here.


I just found out that later this year, they’re going to remake the 1984 classic Red Dawn.

But this time the bad guys are going to be… Chinese.

Uhh. Is nothing sacred?


Once again, the PATRIOT Act is up for renewal. Back in 2001 when it was proposed and signed into law, it was pretty shocking all of the things it would do, and all of the liberties it would strip. But Congress assured us that it was a temporary measure, and it would need to be renewed annually in order to remain in force.

Not surprisingly, Congress has renewed it every year. In fact, in 2010 it was renewed as part of a bill called the Medicare Physician Payment Reform Act. As if that’s not underhanded, right? Now it’s up again, and despite Obama’s repeated campaign promises to stop this sort of thing, close down the Guantanamo Bay prison, and make the government more transparent, I don’t think anyone is shocked that he allowed the renewal last year and won’t do anything to stop it this year. (Remember the President has veto power, if only he’d use it.)

What keeps most Americans from being shocked by the shredding of the Bill of Rights is that they have yet to feel the consequences, either personally or through someone close to them. It would appear, however, that they only have to wait.

— William Blum

The waiting continues. Things ain’t getting better over in the marble halls.