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User Journal

Journal Journal: Z1 is awesome! I want it on the iPhone or it's competitor

Z1 is a simple, intuitive system for very rapid text input on a soft "qwerty" keyboard. The user simply traces a quick "connect-the-dots" path, roughly aiming to pass through each letter of a word.

The page after the first link has the videos.

The way I see it, this really is the replacement for 26-key keyboards on cell phones. Z1 comes from the same brains that made the T9 system for text messages. If handwriting recognition never becomes good enough, this will suffice and be faster anyway.

Now what I really want is these lengthwise-slider phones or a clamshell like the Nokia 9500 to get dual touch screens so I can properly surf the net or write stuff. The iPhone's screen is 480x320. What's really useful is 480x640.

How long before a reverse-clamshell phone comes out? Put two screens on the outside, rather than in. Then it folds out on a hinge for double the screen real-estate. If Apple thinks they can make one screen scratch resistant enough, then someone needs to do that to both screens.

1. Can check the time without having the flip the phone over.
2. Can use the camera for video conferencing or seeing what it sees when pointing it away from the user.
3. Hinged design means more space for the screen than on a slider.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Bill Moyers' Roundtable On Impeachment Of Bush & Cheney 17

"PBS' Bill Moyers sits down with The Nation's John Nichols and conservative constitutional attorney Bruce Fein from the American Freedom Agenda to discuss the crimes and abuse of power by George Bush and Dick Cheney and the need to impeach them both. While Nichols and Fein come from different ends of the political spectrum, they are in total agreement on this issue. Congress must put impeachment on the table because if they do nothing to stop Bush and Cheney now, we will see future presidents follow in their footsteps which would be a disaster for our country." -

JOHN NICHOLS: "the Scooter Libby affair gets to the heart of what I think an awfully lot of Americans are concerned about with this administration and with the executive branch in-- general, that it is lawless, that-- it can rewrite the rules for itself, that it can protect itself.

And, you know, the founders anticipated just such a moment. If you look at the discussions in the Federalist Papers but also at the Constitutional Convention, when they spoke about impeachment, one of the things that Madison and George Mason spoke about was the notion that you needed the power to impeach particularly as regards to pardons and commutations because a president might try to take the burden of the law off members of his administration to prevent them from cooperating with Congress in order to expose wrongdoings by the president himself. And so Madison said that is why we must have the power to impeach. Because otherwise a president might be able to use his authority and pardons and such to prevent an investigation from getting to him."

User Journal

Journal Journal: 22" monitor at CompUSA vs. others?

CompUSA has the wide screen Envision G22LWk 22-inch LCD monitor for $220 after two rebates totaling $90. After taxes it should be $260. My friend bought one yesterday and I went with him to compare. I'm need a new monitor and might get one today.

So far I'd rate if four out of five at the $250 price. Compared to a Samsung next to it I'd say visually they tied. That's after turning off color enhancement on the Samsung, and using paint.exe to draw blocks of colors. It has a very poor viewing angle though. Two people standing side by side three feet from it will see the same colors, but three people would not. Especially if there's a height difference. Tilting the monitor a bit up or down from the viewer noticeably darkens the colors. My friend bought it because he's going to sit at his desk and face it just where he should. HP has one for about $350 with a viewing angle that lives up to it's claims much better. So does Apple's 23" but it's hundreds of dollars more.

We checked in the store and found no dead or stuck pixels. At home next to my six years old 19" Viewsonic PF790 CRT I hooked it up digitally and messed with the controls on it and my Radeon for an hour or so before getting it remarkably close to match my screen. In fact I'd say it looks like the dark greens on my screen are a bit weak.

I made up the blocks of color test pattern again. On the Envision the blue and red match pretty well, the green is maybe a touch strong. But after playing The Rundown simultaneously on both and comparing the flesh tones as well as the jungle, I think it looks really good. I turned the brightness on the LCD down to 7 out of 100, the contrast to 66, and on my Radeon the brightness down to -69 on a scale of -100 to 100. At those levels the white wasn't causing eye strain on websites, and black was acceptably black. There's a little bit of light-bleed mostly in the bottom half-inch, but when watching a movie that's a black bar that wouldn't bother me.

So I'm wondering if anyone has opinions on, seen, heard, or read about the competition? I know there's 19" models with better colors and probably contrast too. I really like the 22" size, but if someone knows of a 19", or 20" that's visually great and has a fast refresh, I'd like to hear about it.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Successes and failures with thermal adhesive on video cards? 2

The fan on a friend's 7600GS is dying. I added a drop of oil but that's not good enough. It's a tiny 30mm surrounded by almost 60mm x 60mm of aluminum. I have a quiet 60mm fan but I don't think it'll stay on the existing heatsink, which is held to the board with two spring-loaded pins. I'm considering removing all that, then gluing to the chip an unused Athlon 1.2GHz heatsink. The quiet fan can go on that. Clearance shouldn't be a problem, but I'm concerned about weight pulling on the chip since the assembly will hang upside down.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Straight Talk on Palestine's New Unity Government

Wednesday night I went over to UC Berkeley to hear this guy speak for about forty-five minutes and thirty minutes of questions. He didn't have encouraging words though.

Currently the Palestinian government needs funding and aid from the US and European countries. These countries essentially give the money while saying "won't you please change some things to help your people and the peace process?" Then the Palestinians say they'll see what they can do. The money runs out, and the cycle repeats. The way Khaled Abu Toameh sees it, the Palestinian government won't change until the West firmly refuses more money until changes are made. For one, it needs to plainly acknowledge Israel's right to exist. Unfortunately, he sees no indications the Western countries are going to do that.

He also explained that that Fatah won the elections with promises of ending corruption and bringing change. Then they proceeded to abandon those campaign promises. Hamas won because their campaign was basically the same promises and voters figured they might as well see if anything would change this time, because Fatah sure didn't.

Just maybe the new Wasatia party will deliver on some of its promises.

Straight Talk on Palestine
March 20, 2007;
Wall Street Journal - Page A19

Even before the Palestinian "unity" government was sworn in Saturday at least five European countries announced that they would resume their business with the Hamas-led coalition.

The U.S. has endorsed Israel's position on the Palestinian government -- namely, that its political platform does not meet the conditions set by the so-called "Quartet" of the U.S., EU, U.N. and Russia for ending the boycott. Washington is now under heavy pressure from its Arab allies in the Middle East to deal with it.

But the U.S. should stand firm. The Palestinian government is not committed to the Quartet's demands that it renounce violence, recognize Israel and abide by agreements signed with Israel in the past. The speeches delivered by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his new Hamas partner, Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, at Saturday's parliamentary session show that the Palestinians are determined instead to continue their strategy of double-talk.

Neither the president nor the prime minister openly called for an end to terrorism or for recognizing Israel's right to exist. And to add to the confusion, the two men came up with a political program that contains many contradictions and ambiguities.

The wording of the program was drafted in such a way as to allow both Hamas and Fatah to argue that neither party had totally abandoned its traditional position. The equivocal tone is also designed to appease the Americans and Europeans. After all, the main goal of the new coalition is to get the international community to resume desperately needed financial aid.

With regard to the three main demands of the Quartet, the program leaves the door wide open for different interpretations.

On the issue of terrorism, the program states that the new government "stresses that resistance is a legitimate right of the Palestinian people . . . and our people have the right to defend themselves against any Israeli aggression." But the program also says that the new government will "work toward consolidating the tahdiya [period of calm] and extending it [to the West Bank] so that it becomes a comprehensive and mutual truce."

The program sets a number of conditions for halting the "resistance" -- ending the "occupation" and achieving independence and the right of return for Palestinian refugees, as well as an end to Israeli security measures in the West Bank and Gaza Strip (including the construction of the security fence). In other words, Fatah and Hamas are saying that the violence will continue as long as Israel does not meet these demands.

Regarding Israel's right to exist, the program does not even mention the name Israel. Instead, it refers to Israel as "The Occupation." It also makes no mention of the two-state solution. Rather, it reiterates the Palestinians' opposition to the establishment of a Palestinian state with temporary borders.

Although the document declares that the "key to peace and stability is contingent on ending the occupation of Palestinian lands and recognizing the Palestinian people's right to self-determination," it does not specify which "lands" -- those captured by Israel in 1967 or 1948.

Fatah representatives, of course, argue that the program refers only to the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem. Hamas, on the other hand, will be able to argue that the phrase "Palestinian lands" applies also to all of Mandatory Palestine.

Referring to the third demand of the Quartet -- abiding by agreements between the PLO and Israel -- the political program states that the new government will only "respect" agreements signed by the PLO.

Hamas leaders have already explained that there is a huge difference between "respecting" an agreement and making a pledge to fulfill it. In other words, Hamas is saying that while it accepts the agreements with Israel as an established fact, it will not carry them out.

Elsewhere in the program, the new government says that it will abide by unspecified U.N. and Arab summit resolutions, leaving the door open for Fatah to claim that this is tantamount to recognizing the two-state solution and all the agreements with Israel. Fatah will cite the 2002 Arab peace plan that implicitly recognizes Israel.

Hamas, on the other hand, can always claim that among the Arab summit resolutions that it intends to abide by is the one taken in Khartoum, Sudan, in September 1967. The resolution contains what became known as "the three no's" of Arab-Israel relations: no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, and no negotiations with Israel.

Although the program makes it clear that the PLO, and not the new Hamas-led coalition, will be responsible for conducting negotiations with Israel, it also seeks to tie the hands of President Abbas by stating that any "fateful" agreement must be approved by the Palestinians in the PA-controlled areas and abroad through a referendum.

The program, moreover, closes the door to any potential concessions on the problem of the refugees by emphasizing their "right of return to their lands and property [inside Israel]."

The international community must demand an end to the era of ambiguity and double-talk. If the new government is opposed to terror, there is no reason why it should not state this loudly and clearly.

If it recognizes Israel -- as some of its members claim -- then why not announce this in unequivocal language? The international community must insist that the messages coming out of the Palestinian leaders be the same in both English and Arabic.

There is no point in pouring millions of dollars on the "unity" government as long as it's not prepared to make a clear and firm commitment to halt terror and recognize Israel's right to exist.

Mr. Toameh is Palestinian affairs editor of the Jerusalem Post.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Is it hard to bold or note new comments in a thread? 3

I remember how some forums used to show posts and replies in a threaded Usenet-style. Only the title was visible until clicked on and unread ones could be in bold.

I can't remember any recent forums letting me easily see which replies are new since the last time I viewed the page. I find it hard to believe people wouldn't like this feature. I'd like to see which are the new comments on multiply, slashdot, fark, and so on.

So why doesn't this exist? It doesn't have to add work to the server. The server doesn't have to keep track of when a page was asked for. The client can do that, say for the last seven days (changeable), and bold the title of new posts.

User Journal

Journal Journal: FF 2: ^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^ And an idea.

edit: I overlooked a simple checkbox.

Just upgraded from Firefox 1.5 to 2, and Tabbrowser Extensions don't work anymore. I found Tab Mix Plus, which is almost as good. [Edit: cut, snip, delete.]

I just found the MileWideBack add-on. Just slam the mouse to the left edge of the browser page and scroll up or down to cycle between tabs, or middle-click to close a tab. Unless the cursor is already positioned over the tab bar, it's probably even faster and more convenient than having to accurately position the cursor along the bar.

Waitasecond. In the pursuit of further speed and convenience, how about if the user could just right-click-and-hold and scroll or middle click to do what MileWideBack does? Can anyone think of a problem with this? When I right click there's no menu until I release. With an extension, if I scroll or middle click those actions would cancel the menu from appearing. Or does this already exist too?

User Journal

Journal Journal: Late season shoppers 3

Specifically people from the Bay Area going up to the snow for the first time this winter. Until last week the snow was crap so I can sympathize. No sense buying snow clothing and boots for your kids in December if there's the chance you just won't go this year.

Nevertheless, outdoor retail functions a month or two ahead of the season it's targeting. Meaning that my store shifted to fall clothes in mid-August, replaced bikes with skis in October, and this past weekend was the start of our super clearance sale so we could have room for spring-wear. The sale runs through Monday, but 75% of the merchandise was sold last weekend.

So especially for kids, there is zero ski and snow-wear left. This has led to sad and frustrated parents. One solution is combine a rain jacket and pants with warm fleece leggings and jacket underneath. If the kid(s) have a jacket or fleece already, it won't cost so much, and the separate garments are useful in Bay Area weather and temps. Some of the parents get it. Those used to getting what they want take more time, or walk out to try another store that they'll find also has nothing. I experience a slight bit of schadenfreude when they break down and buy the rain-wear/fleece I suggested.

Alternatively, I know stores in the towns around Lake Tahoe keep plenty of stock on-hand longer than the Bay Area stores. Since there's basically no gloves and boots left, these parents will have to stop in to the Tahoe-area shops anyway and pay extra.

User Journal

Journal Journal: What's wrong with Boot Camp for gaming? 9

There must be something wrong with it, because I looked over Apple's hardware, and I don't see anything particularly wrong for casual gamers except the graphics cards are crap. Is it not worth it to Apple to get get the gamers onboard and another 2% market share?

I can buy an iMac with a Radeon X1600? That card retails online for $90. For $180 I can get a GeForce 7900 GS that has around three times the performance. More importantly, it will run today's and tomorrow's games satisfactorily. The X1600 will not. Furthermore, the X1600 only comes with 128MB, unless I pay Apple $75 for 256MB. The 7900 GS of course comes with 256MB.

Or I can buy a $2000 iMac with a GeForce 7300 GT. Too bad the 7900 GS is still twice as powerful. And that's still the 128MB version. If I want it with 256 I have to pay Apple $125. Wait. WHAT? According to, I can buy the 256 version today for $100. What a way to screw the customers.

It's such a waste. Macs could be fine gaming machines. The pieces are all there except for the video card. Damn it Apple. PC users already have monitors and most don't need a new one. Please sell a mini-tower headless iMac with power in the $900 to $1400 range.

The boxes wouldn't even have to be that big. As tall and deep as a 17" iMac, but wide enough for a replaceable PCI-E card and two quiet 120mm fans in the front and back. If not used for gaming, the fans would run silently.

User Journal

Journal Journal: I'm in Israel

I wrote a JE a week ago, but the browser ate it since I logged in with the Public Terminal option.

I went on a Birthright trip for ten days with 40 18-26 year-olds. We're all Jewish by birth, but most of us were secular. Our program had four mountain bike rides, aparently the first tour to try that. Some other tours are for Hillel or Orthodox groups. Tuesday night the official tour ended and about 30 people flew back to New York. For $200 I extended my stay until Monday night to see my Mom who has been living here for two years.

I've had a great time going around this New Jersey-sized country. We traveled just over 1000 miles in our bus. Now I'm more rested and seeing a few things there wasn't time for before.

The rules for extending tickets are both flexible and strict. For the same fee I could have flown back up to 90 days after the tour. However I have to fly back from Tel Aviv to JFK no matter if I lived in New Jersey or Miami. (One tour departs from Miami) A few of the ~10 who extended are flying to Egypt or eastern Europe to sight-see before coming back to Tel Aviv for the flight home.

Of course I live in the Bay Area, and I before this trip I hadn't been to New York. So I"m spending Tuesday through Friday afternoon in the city. Tuesday morning at 01:00 my eleven hour flight takes off and I'll be in JFK around 06:00. I'll sleep on the plane, giving me a long day, but maybe I'll nap before seeing Rent at 8pm. Thursday night I'm seeing Avenue Q, but the rest of the time I've left open.

User Journal

Journal Journal: [videogames] F***ing Christmas 2

If there wasn't a Christmas shopping season, hundreds of games would have been allowed to develop further instead of getting dumped on the market prematurely. So many glaring flaws would have been fixed and the games would have been so much better.

User Journal

Journal Journal: (UPD Solved) Ignorant Win2K ?: removing history links? 3

When saving files, I never got in the habit of using the History button. Now I want to, and I have hundreds or thousands of links such as "My Documents (35)". I don't want to delete them one by one. I searched for "History" and "Recent" and haven't found them yet. Googling is a PITA since I don't know what to search for that won't bring up stuff for Internet Explorer. Help?

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