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Journal Journal: Comcast is screwing up the Olympics 5

So I've got the ReplayTV and it's typically set to record anywhere from about 12 to 17 hours of Olympics/day. These olympics are on NBC, USA and BRAVO.

Apparently Comcast thinks that even though they are listing that they'll be showing Olympics on BRAVO that no one will mind if they just take over the channel to let me know for THREE FREAKING HOURS that I can watch 50 First Dates, Scary Movie 3 and a bunch of other crap on Pay-per-view. Sometimes it's not even that.

At least twice now I've recorded 3 to 4 hours of nothing but silence with the Comcast logo on the screen. That's over 7 hours of nothing. I hope it compressed really well, since NOTHING CHANGED and it wasn't Olympics.

But I guess they know better than me. They know that I don't really want to watch Handball, or field hockey, or weightlifting, or tae kwan do, or judo, or wrestling, or shooting, or archery, or kayaking or any of the *athlons, or freaking anything else that isn't swimming or normal gymnastics.

I mean why would I want to see any of those sports? They obviously shouldn't be part of the olympics like synchronized swimming, synchronized diving, rhythmic gymnastics and trampoline. They even let me see the highly edited competitions of javelin, discus, or shot-put (no shot-put yet) where I can see the top three throws of the top three competitors.

That last part isn't really comcast's fault though. At least not as far as I know. But replacing the Olympics with ads for pay-per-view or just their logo is driving me nuts. The few times that there are some olympics recorded when they screwed the rest go like this:

3 hour recording consisting of:

2.25 hours of comcast ads and pay-per-view crap
.5 hours of Music Choice

then, in the last 15 minutes it jumps right into the middle of the olympics in some sport I don't normally get to see, but really wasn't one of the sports that I set the recording up to see.

I guess I should be greatful that I got to see anything... Somehow I'm not.

XBox (Games)

Journal Journal: Fun with Rainbow Six 3 on the Xbox 2

So I picked up Rainbow Six 3 the other day for Xbox. All the Tom Clancy branded games have been getting great reviews and I love Splinter Cell 1 & 2 and Ghost Recon so it seemed logical. After this I still need to get Ghost Recon: Island Thunder and Rainbow Six 3: Black Arrow, but I'll wait on those until they're cheaper. That's the main reason I got RB63 the other day... On sale for $20.

Another reason I got it was a new gameplay feature they are offering. Voice support. Other than RB63 and Manhunt (to some extent), I'm not aware of other games that have voice support built into the single player portion of the game. (Again, xbox only, I am aware of and have Seaman for Dreamcast).

The basic idea of RB63 is that you're the leader of a four-man elite anti-terrorist squad. Beyond that it's your basic strategic first-person shooter relying much more on strategy and planning and coordination than say Quake 3 or Doom. Running and gunning in RB63 will get you and your team killed.

That being said the voice support is really good. I can point my reticule at a doorway and say "Open, flash and clear" and my team will respond with "Roger. Open, flash and clear." Then they'll line up on the sides of the door, one of them will give a signal, the door gets open, a flash-bang is tossed inside, the team covers their eyes, flash-bang goes off, my team rushes inside and shoots the crap out of all the now disoriented bad guys and leaves the hostages or surrendered terrorist relatively hole-free. I can then point at the hostages or terrorists and say "Secure [hostage|terrorist]" and my team will do just that.

So it's a sweet way to play and coupled with the fact that my team is talking back to me via my earpiece (and it sounds like a radio) it can be very immersive.

I still need to figure out all the commands I can issue and how I should proceed in ordering my team around the place so as to not get them or me killed in the process and subsequently killing or capturing all terrorist and rescuing all hostages. So far I haven't been able to successfully complete any of the missions past the training missions. I feel that's partially my fault and partially the fault of my team. Here's why...

My team is very obedient. They never question authority. I'm sure if I could tell them to jump, they'd ask "how high?". That being said, they are more like computers in that I need to tell them everything to do... or not do.

If I need windows to empty the recycle bin I can pretty much tell it to do that (not via voice, but still), and it will empty the recycle bin and that's about it. I don't also have to tell it that while it's emptying the trash that I'd appreciate if it didn't also:
a) format the hard drive
b) add my email address to a bunch of spam lists
c) double the processor voltage
d) try to read cds at 300x speed
e) switch the video mode to something my monitor doesn't support
f) shut down and install OS/2 warp.
g) run all email attachments
h) replace work wallpaper with lesbian Pr0n

These things typically go without saying. If we did have to worry about that then there'd hopefully be some programmer's that would have new burger flipping jobs and more people would be using linux.

Unfortunately with RB63, you cannot take for granted that your team has any more sense than that of a bagle. While they will flawlessly execute your commands when a door is involved, ie

[open|breach], [flash|frag], and clear [on zulu], when there's no door way, they don't seem to know quite what to do, or I don't know the correct commands to tell them to get them to do what I need them to do.

For instance, last night, I'm clearing out a small village in Switzerland where the G8 conference had been invaded and a couple of Venezuelan high-muckamucks were being held. I was in process of clearing out a house to get to another area of the map. I happened to notice a terrorist down the stairs and facing away from us who must have been unaware to all the shooting and flash-banging that was going on in the upper parts of the house. I didn't know if there were more down there and didn't have a great shot on him, so I told my team "Frag" which to me means, throw a frag grenade where I'm pointing.

So I hear "Roger, frag" and the other three members of my team step up in front of me. Out comes a grenade, out comes the pin, and down the stairs goes the now live grenade. Perfect. One dead terrorist coming up.

So somewhere in my team's AI must have been some logic along the lines of "Crap! I was keeping that grenade, it was signed by General Schwarzkopf and Colin Powell and I need it back now!"

So my team proceeds to run full speed down the stairs to retrieve the aforementioned live grenade. The terrorist who isn't deaf and isn't completely stupid proceeds to turn around and open fire just as


The presumably autgraphed grenade explodes, killing the terrorist, and the first two of my team members who chased it down the stairs. The third was severely injured.

I'll take a look at the manual tonight and see if there's a "Frag and then stay up here with me. No really, that grenade's gone, you should have made sure it wasn't the signed one before you threw it, yes, I'll buy you another when we get home." commmand.

I mean you've got to assume that if you're throwing a live grenade, about the last thing you want to see after pulling the pin is that grenade either coming back or getting closer to you. I know I wouldn't. Apparently my team really liked that thing.

I can tell a 4-year old to use the bathroom and there's certain things that are implied with that. Mostly they'll be followed, but the result of any thing that was implied being followed can usually at worst be resolved with a mop and/or a bath. I don't need to tell them to go to the bathroom and then follow it up with:
1) don't crap on the seat
2) don't crap on the floor
3) don't crap/pee in the sink
4) don't re-wallpaper the bathroom
5) do wash your hands when you're done
6) don't eat the poo
7) don't play with the poo
8) don't eat anything in the bathroom
9) do nothing that involves smearing in any way

So either the kid knows all of this stuff, or knows that doing (or not) anything will result in bad consequences, or they haven't ever used the bathroom on their own before. I'd assume the military would probably train their forces with something along the lines of
1) Grenades blow up
2) Blowing up a grenade will hurt or kill someone in the vicinity of the exploding grenade
3) Don't be in the vicinity of an exploding grenade

My guys, if the thing actually wasn't signed must have figured out that the grenade was probably going to really hurt the nice terrorist, so the whole team needed to run down the stairs and jump on top of it so the guy didn't get hurt.

Anyway, that was my experience with the game last night. I couldn't continue playing after that. I'll try again of course, after I learn the commands to make my team "heel", "stay" and "sit" and if they're good boys then I will give them a treat. It just won't be an autographed hand-grenade.


Journal Journal: Ebay followup and conclusion 4

So the story has a happy ending now anyway. I sent the movie back last week and put delivery confirmation on it so the seller couldn't claim he never got it. Fortunately he let me know he got it even before I knew he had from the tracking number. He said he'd credit my account with the refund.

About a week later I still hadn't seen anything from paypal so I emailed him again and asked that he please refund me ASAP. I got a fairly quick response saying he'd look into it, but that he was sure he'd already issued the refund. A few hours later I got another email with an apology that said he was certain he'd sent it but now found that he hadn't and that it was coming right away. A few minutes after that I got the paypal notification of the refund. A little after that I got another email to my ebay email account (not my paypal email account) saying he'd sent a credit for the return shipping as well.

I didn't really want to make a new paypal account for $2, and I don't think I can even withdraw just $2 anyway, but I noticed another link that let me add another email address to my paypal account.

So overall I think I've only lost a little bit of time and maybe a few cents for the mailer (the $2 for shipping was more than it cost to ship, but the cost of the padded mailer probably bumped my cost with shipping to a little over $2).

So I think the bottom line is to be civil with the people as much as you can. My guess is the people that got negative feedback from this guy were not the most civil in corresponding.

This isn't to say I'd buy something from this seller again, but it's restored some confidence in ebay. (or rather the ebay process).

User Journal

Journal Journal: Ebay Update 2

I finally heard back from the guy I got the fake DVD from. He gave me an address to send it to. I sent it with delivery confirmation, so hopefully that will help in getting my money back. I haven't left feedback on him at all yet. I guess it will depend on how he responds when he gets the movie back.

I guess if the USPS says he got it, and he claims he didn't or doesn't refund my money I will absolutely be going to paypal and ebay to try to get it taken care of. I'm hoping it goes smoothly.


Journal Journal: Ebay question 17

Wow, two in a day.

Anyway, I have an ebay question. I've recently (finally) opened an ebay account and have tried the buying and the selling thing. I've attempted to sell 3 things so far and was able to sell one of them. I've also successfully won three auctions.

I got a pair of sunglasses that are excellent considering I only paid $.99 + shipping, an adapter for the xbox controllers to plug into the computer and a pokemon DVD (for my wife).

The problem is with the pokemon DVD. I'm about 99% sure it is fake. It's got a box that looks different than the ones being sold on amazon, it says it was made in the "U,S,A" (yes, with commas). Additionally, it has Thai, Malay and Chinese subtitles, the DVD is somewhat translucent, the label seems to be printed on, and the phrase on the front of the case is "The MORE Action Packed Pokemon Movie Ever!". Oh yeah, on the back there's a blurb that most movies I have use to say something about how awesome the movie is, etc. This one says something along the lines of "In the fifth movie the animators have reverted to the lackluster animation style of the TV series." Not exactly a glowing review to use on the DVD case I would say.

Oh yeah, the DVD and case reek. I mean they farking stink. It's like burned peanut butter with some burned rubber and some butt thrown in. I mean butt after running a marathon in 100 degree weather in a body suit and having not-so-good personal hygeine to begin with. I mean the thing stinks. To top it off the picture is shaky in the DVD player (sony).

So the auction said 100% satisfaction guarantee, blah blah. I've emailed the guy and asked to get my money back since I think the DVD is not legit and what to do. This was several days ago and I haven't heard anything yet. I've noticed on this sellers feedback (feedback rating is over 8000 with over 10k positive), whenever someone leaves negative feedback, this seller seems to retaliate with negative feedback and saying the buyer doesn't know what he/she is talking about and throwing around terms like "libel" etc.

So anyway, since I've just started the ebay thing, I'd like not to receive negative feedback, but at the same time, I'd also like to not be ripped off by buying a pirated DVD. Any suggestions on what to do if I end up not hearing from this person? I plan on giving it a few more days, but it shouldn't take someone this long to respond to a customer's email.



Journal Journal: I have seen the gmail, and it is good 6

I've finally got my gmail account, thanks to neverkevin. So far, I've received three emails. Well, two considering the first one was from gmail about gmail and was there when I signed up.

Labels sound interesting as do conversation threads. So far I have not received enough email to really use either yet, but I'm suspecting they will rock.

Combining the gmail account with the fact that my yahoo accounts just went from 6MB to 100MB of space, and it's like these companies are trying to throw storage at me. And I am catching, that's for sure.

I've also started a switch from Mozilla to Firefox at work. I'll probably update my home machines sometime soon, although I am really wanting to backup everything I want to CD and blow them all away and start over with a fresh OS install. They are starting to behave less-than-ideally.

Anyway, Firefox seems to rock quite hard, and I am loving mouse gestures for doing stuff. I wish they were in other programs. There are a few things that I don't like so far that I liked in Mozilla better.

1) In firefox, the google search box is separate from the location bar. I don't know why this is, but after getting so used to typing in my google query in the location bar, hitting "down" and enter, and getting my search, I find I am trying to do that and then I end up having to copy the query into the little tiny google box and trying again. I don't know of any reason they need to be separate. Maybe someone knows how to make this behavior how I am used to it?

2) Open typed url in new tabs. In mozilla I would hit ctrl-enter after I typed in a url or a google search and the results would open up in a new tab. In Firefox it seems I cannot do this and I have to first open a new tab manually, then type the url in the new location bar. Anyone know how to make it work like mozilla?

So that's the Firefox stuff. I am going to start writing more stuff in here (I have probably said this before). I don't know if anyone reads this stuff or cares, but I'm thinking I will try to start writing about the games I am playing, or have recently played. This would include Xbox and PC, both old and new games. Since I got xbox live recently, I've been spending a little more time playing games than watching TV. Maybe I'll throw some TV reviews in there too, who knows.

User Journal

Journal Journal: My latest Indian food adventure 5

Let me start by saying I like a lot of different kinds of food, but most kinds of food don't like me. I like Mexican food. It tries to kick my butt from the inside out. The Indian food I've had previously was pretty good, but it doesn't like being inside me for very long. There's a lot of foods like that so I usually find something that my body doesn't have any problem with and stick to that for the most part. So about the only time I eat Indian food is with my team at work.

We haven't had team lunches for quite awhile, so this was a fairly rare occasion. I think my boss actually paid for it out of his own pocket, so that was very nice of him.

So anyway, the food. It was buffet like the Indian restaurant we go to usually, but they didn't have much that the other one has. So I tried to figure out what stuff was. I had some sort of chicken, some kind of lamb (never had lamb before today, and it wasn't bad), some rice, some kind of dumpling, a tortilla-like thing made from ground rice and lentils, and some other items.

So anyway, I get my first plate and start eating and it's not too long before I notice something in my mouth isn't chewable, and it feels pretty sharp, so I discreetly remove it. It was a thin very sharp bone about 2.5" long. Great... So the chicken isn't deboned... So I put it to the side, and continue eating... And I find a chunk of bayleaf. Those aren't edible and I believe are poisonous for those of you still foloowing along so far.

So I keep eating... And find another bone, but this one's shorter, so I remove it and make a comment about how I've found another bone. At this point I stop eating the chicken and go for the rice. I figure rice is safe. Except there's a white rice-shaped bone in there too. I make another comment about how many bones I'm finding and some of my coworkers comment about how that's very much not good.

So no more than 4 seconds later, and my coworker on my left says he just found metal in his food. I thought at first he was joking since I'd found all those bones in my food. But I look at his plate and sure enough there's a piece of ribbon-like metal all twisted around. It looked like it may have been about 6" if it were pulled straight.

The only place I've seen metal like that is when it's forming part of a brillo pad. Normally brillo pad is not part of my diet and it's not part of anyone's diet who I know. We generally subscribe to the Tick's philosophy of "Don't... eat.. metal!" but that's a completely different story.

So at this point we decide that while bones may be part of the normal food preparation routine, and may somehow legitimately end up as part of the food, brillo pads should not ever end up in the portion of food that people eat, so we alert out waiter to the metal.

He takes a look at it and then asks to take it and leaves with the metal. Later on in the meal everyone got up to go get seconds... I looked at the buffet again and decided I really didn't care to eat any more bones or metal that day, so I was the only one who didn't get seconds. The waiter came back and asked for my metal-eating coworkers name and left again.

When they brought the bill the metal-meal was comped and they brought him a gift certificate to the restaurant, but I seriously doubt it will be used. I don't think I'll be going back there any time soon either, but at least I have an amusing story as to why I won't be.

It's funny.  Laugh.

Journal Journal: An open letter to my daughter 17

Warning: This JE is likely to contain the words and descriptions of "poo", "poop", and other derivatives many times. If these words offend you or gross you out, I recommend not reading any further.

Dear Joey,

I understand being a baby is rough. Everything is new, stuff is changing all the time, especially you, and it is hard to get used to all the rules.

Speaking of changing, I don't mind changing your diaper when you need it changed and do it happily. I don't mind changing it even when you've pooped. It's ok. Everyone poops. It's natural. It's a good thing. I just ask this one thing of you:

Poop when you need to or want to. Please don't hold it all in. I understand that being stripped down and wiped off with a wet wipe multiple times per day may not be on the tip of your fun scale, but it is far better for all of us than the alternative. What is the alternative you ask? How about holding it all in for several days until you just can't hold it in any more and then letting it all out.

Now granted, I haven't been a firsthand witness to every time, being that I missed the most recent one, but you seem to be developing a pattern. The first time you did it we were worried and thought you might be constipated or sick or worse, and even though you, at a mere 7 lbs, managed to completely fill your diaper right before your check-up, we asked the doctor to make sure everything was ok. He assured us that it was indeed ok and you were looking just fine.

The next time was just a few nights ago at my parents' house while you were being held by a friend and neighbor of my parents. The sounds and noises you made were quite amusing and everyone around was very encouraging -- perhaps too encouraging -- in your efforts to poo. What I saw next will forever be etched into my mind.

It was a literal river of poo completely filling your diaper from front to back, and side to side. Thank goodness for the little blue leg flaps, or it could have been a real mess. Fifty or sixty wipes later you were all clean and no worse for wear, although I suspect you may have lost a pound or two. That was as bad as I thought it could get. Alas I was much mistaken.

I just received a phone call from my wife, your mother, about what she had been doing for the last 30-45 minutes. I admit I must have nearly laughed my head off as she described the events that occurred, although this was probably because I was at work and not at home at the time of the "incident". I'd like to record it here so you will know what your mother had to take care of for your because you apparently don't like pooping on a regular basis.

Apparently your mommy was talking on the phone to her mother, your grandma, and feeding you when you started to strain and make noises. That's about when she noticed that it was becoming a bit odoriferous and that maybe, unlike most of the other false alarms we have so often, this was the real thing and not just some more farts-of-extraordinary-effort.

That's when she noticed, and screamed. Apparently size 1 diapers, although rated for up to 14 pounds were a disappointment. I'd estimate you weigh only about 8 pounds or so at this point, which by logical extension and heavy use of my math degree would leave about six pounds of "space" available for anything you could dish out. Again utililizing my advanced math skills of subtraction, I'd have to note that if six pounds of something came out of you, you should only weigh about two pounds afterwards. Since this is obviously not the case and you still must weigh at least 4 or 5 pounds (estimating), then it is thus far a mystery as to how you were able to only weigh 8 pounds, and produce what must be about six pounds of poo, yet you still weigh almost the same. Does your diet somehow contain bits of dark matter, a pound of which weights ten thousand pounds?

Anyway, back to your mommy and you. As I said earlier, you were being fed, happily eating and pooping while mommy was talking. When she hung up she noticed that the pink boppy cover (boppy is a c-shaped foam pillow used to help hold the baby when she's being fed) was now orange. That's probably when the scream occurred. So you, the boppy and mommy went upstairs and noticed that you had exceeded the maximum structural load limit of your diaper and now poo had escaped all over your onesie (baby clothes) down your legs and up your back.

The first order of business was to extract you from your clothing so cleaning could commense. Due to the engineering of a onesie, this would involve scissors, or the moving of the onesie up and over your head. This action resulted in poo being spread into your hair. It also didn't make you too happy and your flailing made sure that the disposable diaper changing pad would need to be disposed of when this was all over.

A combination of the events above was why you got an unscheduled bath. It was all for your own good.

Anyway, I'd like to wrap this up and say one more thing. Please, please, please, poo whenever you need to or feel you need to, or want to, but don't hold it in. Each time I saw what had transpired, I was in shock and thought there was no possible way that it could be any worse, and each time you've shown me how wrong I was.




Journal Journal: And the winner is... 12

Josephine Sarah was born 2/3/4 at 4:55 weighing 7lb 4oz and being 19 1/2" long. She's got dark curly hair and she's a really strong kicker and she's beautiful. So I guess subgeek was the closest in the last JE.

Goodnight :)

The 2000 Beanies

Journal Journal: The pool is open 8

So the time is any time. The gender is still undetermined.

In fact I don't know if anyone reads this thing, but I have noticed that several people with journals I read have marked me as friend so maybe some people read?

Anyway, feel free to guess. Here's the relevant info:

The original due date was Feb 14. However due to complications and what-not, the doctor will be inducing labor if it doesn't happen by February 2nd, so the latest the kid could be due is Feb 3rd. So if anyone has any interest in doing this, I am open for guesses to my first-born's weight, height (or length I guess), gender, birth date and time, names, whatever. We do have names picked out, except I still need to figure out the middle name if it is a girl.

Some more info: The induction is because of gestational diabetes meaning the kid is/was growing faster than it should, so use that information as you will.

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