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Journal Journal: Scientology Advertising

I see that I can disable advertising now. Normally, I wouldn't really care as Slashdot earns money through advertising and the Advertising is nowhwere nearly as bad as at most other sites. However, yesterday I was confronted with advertising from Scientology. I was extremely offended. I know that it is free speech and all that, but really, what the hell got into the advertiser's minds when they decided that that particular organisation, on a technology site, was a good idea. Or was it just the stuff that got into the advertiser's pockets?

In any case, advertising is now disabled.


Journal Journal: Slashdot just isn't "it" anymore 2

My current gig is working on a major newspaper's website. Now that I have access to logs and stuff of a MSM, it is very interesting to see where the traffic comes from—and slashdot doesn't really figure into the mix, even though we've been linked.

The three biggest sources of hits are Drudge, Digg and Fark, in that order, with Drudge being larger than #2 by an order of magnitude.

Least you think this is a small-time site, the whole enchilada gets 6 million hits a month by users, sans bots.


Journal Journal: Ask the dot 10

I have been a long time Pinnacle Studio user.

Unfortunately, the latest patch for Studio 10 does not appear to like me. Before reloading my windows box, it left me unable to use some of the functions of the program. After reloading Studio itself, it left me unable to use it, period, it crashed all the time. After reloading windows on a new, larger drive (for other reasons) and reloading Studio from scratch, the menu system is badly broken, basically hanging the program if I try to set up a menu (which is the whole effin point of my projects). In all of this, Pinnacle has shown themselves incompetent at providing support.

Next, I looked around at some of the Free options....and they're all STILL horrible science projects to get installed and all the various peices hooked together. They may well work fabulously once you get them there, but I found no straightforward "you just install it" solution there. I already have spent three days pretty solidly re-installing and verifying all my standard apps (firefox, trillian, quicken, etc), I'll be damned if I'm going to spend another three days trying to get one function (video editing) to work. And I don't think it's reasonable to move to a workflow where I have to run 3 or 4 different programs sequentially to do what Studio could do pretty seamlessly. When it was working.

So looking at other options, I tried out DVD-Lab and DVD-Lab pro....which don't appear (as far as I could tell trolling through the myriad menus and help system) to have any way to 1) zoom in on a section of video and 2) move frame by frame as opposed to i-Frame by i-Frame. In other words, no single frame advance/backup. This leaves me with insufficient precision to cut up my videos as I would like.

So now I'm at a loss where to turn next. Google is pointless, because you get a dozen copies of the same conversations about solving this or that, or companies selling video software with no indication of quality, etc. If any of y'all have recommendations for video editing/authoring software that is reasonably easy to install and well integrated, not to mention has zoom and frame-level editing capabilities, and can move easily between SVCD quality TiVo captures and DVD burning, I'm all ears. If it comes with a trial period, so much the better. I'm actually quite glad that DVD-Lab does have a trial period, or I'd have spent $100 or more on other people's recommendations that turned out to not fit my needs.

In the end I may try to find an archived copy of the last previous Studio patch, which always worked fine for me, but after the horrible support job Pinnacle has done (email support making outright ridiculous suggestions, and "live chat" support unwilling to spend more than a few minutes with me), I'd rather take my attention and money somewhere else. I say money, but of course $500 professional kit is not in my budget. DVD-Lab Pro was only an attempt to see if maybe it did what DVD-Lab standard did not, I doubt I could afford the $245 sticker price.

Let me know what you think....


Journal Journal: my conspiracy theory take on Foley 8

Weird, isn't it, how ABC, a mere week or two after airing a miniseries that tried to completely re-write 9/11 history (as if the Republicans weren't responsible for distracting Clinton by dragging Whitewater & Monica through the press for years), is breaking a story that creates a HUGE media circus.

Weird, isn't it, how the story broke just about the time that a seriously flawed piece of legislation was passed, effectively rubber stamping the President's ability to torture whoever he wants by defining them as enemy combatants. Sure, John McCain has the President's word that he'd never ever contravene the Geneva Conventions, but I think it should be clear what the President's word is worth, and what his administration really thinks of the Conventions.

Here's my theory. ABC is still working with the Republicans, at least partly. They get to break a big story that appears to reinstate them as watchdogs of the public trust (after all, Foley did need to get pushed out). The ensuing media circus distracts from the really more significant issue of the day. Perhaps the republican house leadership gets further pulled into the story than they meant to, but in the end, it still looks like a win, and at least the Foley matter is something they can attempt to spin without looking like the torturing bastards they really want to be.

BTW "more significant" doesn't mean that Foley's conduct and the House leadership's inaction aren't significant. It's just that I think torture is a more significant and NEW problem for the republic. Foley just needs to get hoist on his own legislative petard to make another example for public hypocrites and predators.

Puzzle Games (Games)

Journal Journal: Hot Blooded Adventures in Honing

Two separate items:

Just saw an Unplugged version of Hot Blooded by Foreigner. Lou Gramm is sitting there singing while banging on...wait for it....A COWBELL!

Ok, so maybe I'm the only one who found that funny.

Adventures in Honing: last week I found myself needing to plane the top of a door that would not close, in a house I'm trying to help sell (long story, some other time) for my sister in law. Took out trusty old plane that I'd just used successfully to trim a screen door at the same house so that it actually would shut.

Except that the trim for the door was MUCH SOFTER than the top of this door. And it wouldn't do much to dent it. Called experienced woodworking buddy (I'm a novice, despite trying to take on way too complex projects...like a maple bed frame, but that too is for another time), who noted that most likely cause to bounce off the door is DULLNESS. He points me at some references, and I luckily had along "the complete book of tips, tricks & techniques" by popular woodworking, and together we discovered Scary Sharp. Which actually works fantastically.

My newly sharpened plane, despite the obvious lack of expertise (secondary bevel way too wide, not entirely square) sliced that door down to size with much less work. I had to use the belt sander on the upright post on the outer edge, 'cos my plane wouldn't hack the end grain, but otherwise, it was a dream.

So any of y'all who haven't sharpened your tools lately, get to it. The investment in sandpaper, a marble tile, and mineral spirits (recommended over water as a lubricant) is very small compared to the improvement in your tools.

"We don't care. We don't have to. We're the Phone Company."