NBC dumbfounded by 2006 Olympics closing

It's amazing. NBC just sat there with God knows how many commentators, like bumps on a log during the 2006 Winter Olympics closing ceremonies. Keep in mind that all of this is taped, NBC literally has HOURS to edit and improve their broadcast. Hell, they could have even sub-titled the speeches and songs!

Instead the only thing NBC could do was:

1. Ask the American team members "How did it feel?"
2. Identify Avril Lavigne and announce that she is a Canadian.
3. Identify Ricky Martin.
4. Point out that fireworks were going off after the torch was extinguished.

Amongs the things that NBC had no clue about:
1. The show started with a white-clad clown on a white horse to symbolize "ice."
2. He was followed by snow explorers, a huge band of clowns, and acrobats, including a few that "flew" in the air above a giant fan.
3. One of the themes was the "Carnevale" parade which included people dressed as tarot cards and characters from Italian mythology.
4. Some of the clowns performing wore the original costumes from Fedrico Fellini's 1971 film, "The Clowns".
5. Famous tenor Andrea Bocelli performed.
6. The guy who grabbed the microphone yelled "Passion lives in Torino". NBC identified him as a person advertising an on-line casino. The "casino guy" incident actually took place on Friday when a guy streaked the curling bronze medal award.
7. NBC never figured out that the roller bladers with flames coming off their heads at the opening and closing ceremonies were called the "Sparks of Passion" bladers.
8. They never mentioned the next Summer Olympics to be held in Beijing in 2008. Only that the next Winter Olympics will be in Vancouver in 2010.
9. The 400 brides represented hope for the world. They formed a peace dove and then the Torino logo. Each bride carried a lighted lily. When all of the lilies simultaneously faded out, the torch extinguished.
10. There was a lot of confetti during the closing ceremonies. The Italians invented confetti.

The Italian Olympic Committee handed out books to the press that explained every single nuance of the opening and closing ceremonies. Evidently no one at NBC bothered to obtain, let alone read one of these media books.

Basically NBC's employees have no right to refer to themselves as journalists. The entire NBC Olympic coverage was shoddy and lacking in depth.

Dual Deputy Deaths

Don Knotts and Dennis Weaver died.
Don got his start as a deputy in Mayberry.
Dennis got his start as a deputy on Gunsmoke.
I saw Don at a dinner theatre a few years ago where he starred in On Golden Pond.
That's it. No other news for today.

Two more Valentine's Day beers

While watching Breakfast at Tiffanys on DVD last night, I drank a Paulaner Salvator Double Bock and a Coopers Brewery Best Extra Stout from the Valentine's Day beer box.
The Paulaner is a German beer with a pretty extensive web site. I didn't really care for the beer itself though. The Coopers is from Australia, and was ok; not bad, not great; just ok.
I find all these beers and their respective web sites interesting. I haven't seen a good site that ties all the world's breweries together in one central database yet. There are a couple that try, but none that I have seen that really stand out.

Birthday Swag

Yeah, I hit 57 yesterday. Don't need a walker or a cane yet so life is still interesting. Stayed home, ate Cheezer's pizza (always good and from a local pizza shop), drank two of my Valentine's Day beers, a Singha from Thailand and a San Miguel from Mexico. Don't rush out to buy either of these beers, they were ok as in pretty much like the usual watered down taste of a Budweiser.
Watched Zathura on DVD.

The birthday swag was:

PC Game: Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel without a Pulse. You play Stubbs the Zombie. You attack "normal" humans by throwing your rotted off arm, guts and other body parts at them. Once you kill them, you get to eat their brains. Oh come on! You know deep down inside that you are dying to play this game!

2006 Calendars: The Onion and Dave Barry.

Books: Diary by Chuck Palahniuk. He wrote Fight Club (amongst his many works). I've never read Fight Club. I haven't seen the movie, Fight Club. Obviously I lead a sheltered life. Now you know.

Naked Conversations by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel. Scoble and I (along with millions of other people) exchange email on occasion. Although Scoble puts out a great blog, he has no influence at Microsoft to the point where he doesn't even have the authority to steal post-it notes. It's tragic, so I asked for this book in the hope that it would provide a clue as to how he found himself in this predicament, along with possibly an insight as to his obsession with cell phones.

Micro-ISV by Bob Walsh. This looks to be a totally cool book. I am excited to start reading it in the near future.

DVDs: The Terminal. I love Tom Hanks' movies!
Wallace & Gromit - The Curse of the Were-Rabbit I love Wallace and Gromit movies too!

Alhambra Beer

Well, I tried yet another beer from the Valentine's Day case: Alhambra from Spain. The beer was good, supposedly a dark beer, but since I drank it straight out of the bottle I can't say if it was dark or not. The theory is that if one uses a glass, then the glass has to be washed, which uses energy resources that potentially contribute to global warming.

Therefore one should always drink their beer directly from the bottle or can to help prevent global warming.

Anyway, I liked the beer, and Alhambra's website looks nice even though they only offer it up in Spanish.

More on Supporting the Danes

The Danes are taking quite an economic beating from the Islamic nations over the cartoon controversy.

Support the Danes and freedom of expression by buying more products from Denmark.

I for one, am switching to Carlsberg Beer for an indefinite amount of time.

Every little beer or bit counts. Do your part.

Congress investigating Microsoft and others over Chinese censorship

A BBC report covers the news of a congressional inquiry into Microsoft, Google and Yahoo bowing to Communist Chinese government demands to censor content.

The Chinese are on the Internet. These three companies (and others like Cisco) are only in China to make money.

Human rights such as freedom of speech are obviously of no concern when it comes to making money.

We are all Danes

Support Freedom of Expression

What's This All About?

This was created by Lewis Purdue, whose novel Daughter of God was plagarized by Dan Brown and turned into The DaVinci Code.

Chuck Palahniuk quotation

People who would never throw litter from their car will drive past you with their radio blaring. People who’d never blow cigar smoke at you in a crowded restaurant will bellow into their cell phone. They’ll shout at each other across the space of a dinner plate.
These people who would never spray herbicides or insecticides will fog the neighborhood with their stereo playing Scottish bagpipe music. Chinese opera. Country and western.
Outdoors, a bird singing is fine. Patsy Cline is not.
Outdoors, the din of traffic is bad enough. Adding Chopin’s Piano Concerto in E Minor is not making the situation any better.
You turn up your music to hide the noise. Other people turn up their music to hide yours. You turn up yours again. Everyone buys a bigger stereo system. This is the arms race of sound. You don’t win with a lot of treble.
This isn’t about quality. It’s about volume.
This isn’t about music. This is about winning.
. . . . .
These music-oholics. These calm-ophobics.
No one wants to admit we’re addicted to music. That’s just not possible. No one’s addicted to music and television and radio. We just need more of it, more channels, a larger screen, more volume. We can’t bear to be without it, but no, nobody’s addicted.
We could turn it off anytime we wanted.
. . . . .
These distraction-oholics. These focus-ophobics.
Old George Orwell got it backward.
Big Brother isn’t watching. He’s singing and dancing. He’s pulling rabbits out of a hat. Big Brother’s busy holding your attention every moment you’re awake. He’s making sure you’re always distracted. He’s making sure you’re fully absorbed.
He’s making sure your imagination withers. Until it’s as useful as your appendix. He’s making sure your attention is always filled.
And this being fed, it’s worse than being watched. With the world always filling you, no one has to worry about what’s in your mind. With everyone’s imagination atrophied, no one will ever be a threat to the world.
--from Lullaby by Chuck Palahniuk

2006 Winter Olympics open in Turino

The only sporting events I follow are the Olympics, and I love to watch the opening ceremonies. Unfortunately NBC continues to be incompetent (see my December 2005 blog) at covering the Olympics.

Did NBC send anyone who speaks Italian to the 2006 Winter Olympics? Did NBC fail to buy a program guide for the opening ceremonies?
Did NBC mention the actor playing Dante in the opening ceremonies? Does anyone at NBC even know who Dante was?

Do you or anyone at NBC understand why the cows of Piedmont were honored in the opening ceremony? Do you or anyone at NBC understand the relationship between Turino and Piedmont?

Well, I'm not telling. Go Google it for yourself.

I was pissed that NBC spent the first hour of their Olympic fawning over Michelle Kwan, Bode Miller and Shaun White. I know we will hear about them ad nauseum before the Olympics end. It's all taped anyway so I had to stay up until midnight instead of 11 since NBC wasted my time yakking with those three airheads.

Is it only me or does anyone else think that Mary Carillo (who interviewed Michelle Kwan on NBC) looks exactly like Nancy Kulp, who played Mr. Drysdale's secretary on the Beverly Hillbillies?

My Rip Van Winkle PC

Recently my PC started having "Thermal Events" which is Intel's way of saying it was overheating. Thanks to Intel's Active Monitor program, their program shut down my PC before it burned up the CPU. I opened up the PC case and pointed a house fan on it, but I could hear the power supply rising and falling like a roller coaster ride, so I knew that despite the fact the thermal events had ended I needed to replace the power supply.
After pricing power supplies at the two rip-off stores here in Folsom, I headed to Fry's, the major rip-off store chain in California. I rarely enjoy Fry's as about 99.9% of their prices are at full retail. People seem to think that if one sees a price in a newspaper then it magically must be a bargain. That is rarely the case at Fry's.
Well to cut to the chase, I discovered that PC power supplies have changed and that I didn't get the memo. The really cool power supplies are modular so that you only plug in cables to your power supply and to your PC components that you actually need, thus increasing air flow inside your PC. The "traditional" power supplies just come with a zillion pre-installed cables and the ones you don't need, you just tuck away as best you can within your PC's case.
So! Quickly name three brands of PC power supplies! Yeah, I couldn't either. I spent a long time looking at the power supplies at Fry's. Naturally I had no assistance as all computer stores require that their employees know nothing about PCs and are forbidden to assist customers unless the customer tackles the employee or puts them in a head lock.
Eventually I decided to purchase an Antec power supply, because they are a popular PC case manufacturer. Upon driving the 20 miles back from Fry's and removing my PC's old power supply, I discovered the new generation of power supplies have a 24 pin connector to the motherboard. My three year old motherboard has a 20 pin connector. Once again I missed the memo!
The next day I took the Antec back to Fry's, stood around for an hour and finally figured out that possibly an Asus power supply would do. Naturally when I got to my car I opened the box to count the pins so that I wouldn't have to make another trip. Initially I was shocked because the connector had 24 pins AGAIN! However upon closer examination I found that 4 of the pins were attached as a separate plug so I just unplugged the plug and all was well.
The important bit here is that this power supply had a 140 mm fan on it to help with the PC cooling. Most of the power supplies in PC cases and even on the shelves at Fry's lacked decent fans. In fact for the $80 I paid for the power supply I could have purchased a brand new PC case that included a power supply. However the power supplies that come in PC cases are as a rule pretty lame and all of the ones I looked at didn't have good fans. Plus I didn't want to go through disassembling my PC when I only needed a new power supply.
As a footnote the new power supply is 500 watts and my old one was 350 watts. The fan is the best part of it though. It also has connectors for PCI boards and SATA drives in case I upgrade my PC in the next ten years.
I'm happy but my advice to PC hackers like myself is that if you are looking for a Sunday afternoon project, upgrade your PC power supply to one with more power, a big fan and modular cable connections. I got the additional power and big fan, but the modular power supply was $20 more, so (being unemployed at the moment) I skipped that feature this time.

Halo 2 to only run under Windows Vista

Well, the title says it all. If you have a burning desire to run Halo 2 on your PC then you are in the elite group of people who actually have a reason for purchasing the non-upgrade to Windows Vista.

Windows Vista (aka Windows Katrina) continues to generate hot air

Mary Jo Foley's Microsoft Watch quotes Microsoft's Michael Sievert, corporate vice president of Windows Product Management & Marketing on Microsoft's expectations of how much Windows Vista will pump up profits.
The analysts quoted are just a circle of industry analysts having a mutual compliment and admiration session.

There is absolutely no compelling reason for an individual or enterprise to "upgrade" to Windows Vista.

I quote: "Sievert identified four reasons that Microsoft is so bullish about Vista's prospects. Overall industry and PC growth; Microsoft's plans to combat software piracy; a change in the mix of the types of PCs being sold; and the Redmond software maker's plans for improving its customer "relationship after the sale" all will be key drivers for Vista growth, he said."

1. Industry growth is slow if not stagnant.
2. Combatting software piracy is not a driving reason for anyone to purchase Windows Vista.
3. A change in the type of PCs being sold? Does Microsoft think people are going to buy tablets or Media Center PCs in droves because of Vista? This seems to be a continuing fantasy at Microsoft.
4. Improving the customer relationship? That's certainly an area Microsoft needs to improve but again, it is not a driver for buying Windows Vista.

We're still waiting for a compelling reason to purchase Windows Vista, like say, some new features? Surveys are indicating that 50%+ of current users have no plans to upgrade to Windows Vista.

US backs Islamic cartoon protests

OK, the Bush/right wing Christian administration is now backing Muslims in the European cartoon dispute in an obvious attempt to suck up to the one billion Muslims that the US has already pissed off by invading Iraq.

As the leading German newspaper, Die Welt, stated when they reprinted the cartoons, "They can't bomb us all".

This is a world of diversity. Some actions will always infuriate a set group of people. When I eat bacon, I am not doing it to anger Jews and Muslims, nor frankly do I care. If anyone in the world wants to picture Allah (God) or Mohammad, so be it.

Maybe that's actually a picture of Allah on the roof of the Sistine Chapel. Should it be painted over?

This is much ado about nothing

Mix 06, Web2 and the almighty dollar

Microsoft's Australia/New Zealand branch is offering a free trip from down under to Mix06 in Las Vegas for the best gadget for Windows Live.

Microsoft certainly could use some help with developing gadgets for Windows Live, that's for sure!

Interestingly enough a session entitled "Web 2.0: Show Me the Money" has been added. This the true core value set of what Mix 06 and quite frankly Web2 is all about; ensuring that no one misses out on becoming a millionaire if Web2 creates Internet Bubble 2.


Sadly it's what America is all about now.

Lavigne label defends 'file-sharer'

Amazing as it may appear, a Canadian record company is paying for a Texas family's legal defense against the RIAA stormtroopers.

Cheesy excuses over melted PowerBook

apcmag's coverage of a melted Apple powerbook with pictures. Looks icky. Despite some controvery, Apple replaced the notebook, although I tend to side with Apple's initial reaction as to how this notebook ended up in this condition.

Marilyn Manson heads to Berlin Film Festival

Ok I have attended three Marilyn Manson in the last three years, due to my daughter being a big fan. I like Marilyn Manson too. As a sidenote I have taken my wife to one concert in the last three years, and that was Cher who appears to be on a farewell tour that will only end when the sun burns out. Anyway I won't go into my conspiracy theory that Marilyn Manson and Cher are the same person, but I did want to provide this link and this link to a story on him heading to the Berlin Film Festival to find backing for a feature film he wants to start shooting this summer.

Oscars 2006 - Traditional Animation Only!

Here's a tidbit on how and why the Academy made their decision regarding this year's nominations in the Animation category. I found it interesting especially when you see that they only nominated three films out of a large pack of animations that came out in 2005, like Chicken Little, Robots, etc.