livin' in the fast ilane

Now this is a good idea, and it’s from local yokels! IMS in Waterloo has created the world’s first solution for hands-free and (more importantly, I believe) eyes-free email communication for when you’re driving. They call it the iLane. It works via Bluetooth with smart phones and Blackberry‘s (another Waterloo invention).

The great thing about this device is that it will probably help in reducing accidents caused by drivers that become distracted while driving. The funny side effect is that we’ll see more people who appear to be talking to themselves in traffic :)

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a lost apple ad?

I’ve been doing a couple of contract jobs over at RentACoder for some extra cashola. One of them involves writing a tool that will convert over 700 MOV files to MP4. Ideally, the user should be able to run the tool, pass in two arguments (source directory and destination directory), be prompted for the export settings (window size, framerate, etc) and then be able to sit back and watch the conversions take place. I learned a few things with this project. For starters, I think Apple needs yet another one of those PC vs Mac ads, and it should go a little something like this:

Mac: I’m a Mac.
PC: And I am a PC.
Mac: Straight outta Cupertino, ya’ll! Hardcore to the Apple-core, biotches!

[PC has a confused and bewildered look on his face]

Mac: I buy my clothes at a wicked store in the mall. See these jeans and this shirt? It looks like it came from a thrift store but they actually cost like $150! Check me out, honeys!
PC: I purchased this suit at a Moores.
Mac: I run Mac OS X.
PC: I run Windows.
Mac: I can also run Windows, but for best results you should use Mac OS X. It’s tight!
PC: I have Microsoft Office.
Mac: I have Microsoft Office too, and it’s all sexy lookin’.
PC: I can integrate Microsoft Office with enterprise apps like SharePoint, BizTalk, Exchange, ERP, CRM and much more.
Mac: Dude, I said I have Microsoft Office. Duh. Who cares about enterprise shmenterprise? There’s like a trillion kagillion wozillion viruses and spyware out there for you. None for me. Nada. Zip. Zilcho.

[Mac high-fives a barefoot and bearded digital artist named Mordecai]

PC: This is true, but I am working on it.
Mac: Aw, man, you always say that. You’re all like “I’m working on it” and I’m all like “yeah whatever, now go get your DirectX on so I can play Prey“.
PC: So I’m not as lame as you say I am, or so it would seem.
Mac: Puh-lease, get over yourself, PC. You show up in ugly brown boxes…boxES. That’s plural, dude. And they’re all cardboard-y and stuff. I arrive in like one box, and it’s smooth and white. You look like you’re from a dirty factory and I look like I’m from another galaxy…or Finland, or something like that.

[A penguin enters and interrupts the conversation]

Penguin: I’m Linux.

[The penguin exits]

Mac: Who’s that guy?
PC: I do not know who that strange-looking fellow was.
Mac: Anyway. I can make movies and music and all sorts of cool stuff that people could post on MySpace.
PC: I also can do that.
Mac: Yeah, but not as cool as me. And your apps don’t begin with a lowercase ‘i’. The ‘i’ means “me” which is “you”. Deep stuff.
PC: Touché. Well played, my good man. However, I make it easy for developers to create software for me. I provide thorough documentation with plenty of examples in multiple languages, and there are many aficionados out there providing help and communities, too.
Mac: Oh yeah?
PC: That’s correct.
Mac: Oh yeah?!?!?
PC: Indeed.
Mac: Yeah…umm…well. I have half-assed documentation for my COM library for QuickTime, none of which resembles structured documentation; it’s more like an extremely brief FAQ at best or a conversation between two programming pals at worst. See what I mean? And I claim that said COM control can reuse serialized export settings in XML format, yet I explode and have yet to provide a fix or explanation, as evidenced here, here and here.
PC: I see. It is surely a pity that you do not provide stellar support for 3rd-party developers like I do.
Mac: But dude, I have a Dock that when you mouseover icons, it’s all “boop-boop-boop”. Rock! Cool! Bling! ‘Sup! No fat chicks! Ummm…give peace a chance? Yeah, that works! Wooohooo! Peace out, homeslices!

Apple makes some nice, albeit pricey, hardware. And Mac OS X is a great operating system. But their documentation for developers needs a lot of work.

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i'm so glad i didn't get a long-distance plan

July 21, 2006 under Computers, Gizmo, Internet, Skype, VoIP

A while back, I was pleased when I heard Skype was allowing free Skype-to-landline calls to/from Canada and the US. However, the stipulation is that it will be free until December 31, 2006. After that, it’s any body’s guess what eBay (who own Skype) will do; continue this bit o’ loveliness or not. Everytime I’ve used it, the experience has been great. The last thing I want is to be sweating, shaking and vomiting due to free long-distance withdrawal if eBay decides to charge for this next year. The scene in Trainspotting when Ewan McGregor’s character is self-detoxing at his parents’ place…that could be me. But it won’t be.

The Gizmo Project has made things interesting by announcing free Gizmo-to-landline calls to/from 60 countries for ever. I’ve had Gizmo installed on my desktop at home for a few months but I’ve never used it since I don’t have anybody in my Gizmo buddy list, and I don’t think it matters. I’ll make it my new [ahem] phone for calling people outside of Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge. I’ll even install it on my laptop should I need to call long-distance on the road and don’t want to use up minutes on the ol’ mobile phone. the only gotcha is that unlike Skype, the person with the landline that you wish to call needs to create a Gizmo account first. They don’t actually need the software (which is open-source); just an account. Even for those that don’t have a computer (ex: my aunts and uncles in Timmins), I could simply create an account for them.

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hobbit spam?

July 18, 2006 under Computers, Email, Internet, Spam

Spam sucks, yes. Spam shmpam. We all know what it is and we all hate it. HTTP and SMTP need a long-overdue retooling, but I don’t want to get all technical right now; I just want to laugh, or try to be less confused. This has to be one of the most pointless and super-geeky spam messages I’ve ever received:

Subject: tahoue
From: “Zvi Darcy” <darcyzvi @agiindustries.com>
Date: Mon, July 17, 2006 1:57 pm
To: Chris Bellini

the step with a white beard and a scarlet hood; and he too hopped
inside as soon as the door was open, just as if he had been invited.
I see they have begun to arrive already, he said when he caught
sight of

Now all of the geeks out there can laugh at me, but I had to turn to Google to find out if the body of the message was from something. It didn’t not appear to be like the spam I know. Sure enough, it’s from “The Hobbit”. Now I’ve never read “The Hobbit” or any of Tolkien‘s books. The Lord of the Rings movies bored me. So I’m not knowlegable in this area. Today, I got another one:

Subject: ooqupo
From: “Diogo Foutz” <foutz@gnoec.org>
Date: Tue, July 18, 2006 2:19 pm
To: Chris Bellini

hole in the roof.
They must have looked very queer from outside, popping out into the
air one after another, green, blue, red, silver-grey, yellow, white; big

Again, Google informs me that this is from “The Hobbit”. SpamAssassin on my POP3 server let them pass through unabated. The built-in spam filter in my mail client, Mozilla Thunderbird, saw no problems with allowing it into the confines of my Inbox. Then again, it’s not like there’s any links to sites promising to make me bigger, thicker and capable of more volume. There isn’t even a whif of phish-iness. It’s just snippets from the book. I guess there’ll be a Peter Jackson-directed film adaptation. If this is the film’s hype machine…eeek. Why won’t Jackson do another film in the same vein [muwahaha] as Dead Alive? “I kick ass for the Lord” would almost be spam worth getting :)

Maybe I should reply (with my addy and IP spoofed) to these much like the sbemail segments on Homestarrunner.com. I could try my hand at what Strong Bad does.

Dear Dog Fartz,

What the? What are you talking about? I’m sorry to hear about the hole in your roof. You should call a roofer, or maybe a few of them. Get a bunch of roofies.

Your pal,

Strong Chris

Meh. Needs work ;)

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i am a wild party

July 16, 2006 under Life

The immortal words of Kim Mitchell ring true. Or do they?

Dena’s gone to Crystal Falls for 10 days, as she had banked overtime to use. That means that I have the place to myself. Being the wild party that I am, you’re undoubtedly picturing plenty of mayhem and debauchery happening at Chez Bellini. Where the beer flows like wine [ha!], loads of booty-shakin’ bass, tossin’ hundred dollar bills like mad cheddar, and scantily clad women all over the place.

Reality, however, is a funny thing. It’s disgustingly hot outside, so our place is dark with drawn blinds and the A/C cranked, lots of my crappy (according to Dena) music in the background, and yours truly hunched over a laptop working on a few contract projects, with the odd sojourn over to the desktop PC for some Half-Life 2 action. I told you I’m a wild party…wild, wild party! ;)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

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for some, the crest of the hill appears at 30?

July 13, 2006 under Life

Somebody’s turning 946707779 seconds old today. Who dat? It’s Pat :) From reading his words about turning 30, he doesn’t seem to be taking it all that well, as evidenced here and even here.

Maybe it’s because my 30th is still five months away, but I’m not seeing why it’s bothersome to him. Back in my younger days (ahem…3 years ago), I rambled on about the perception of time. It was an aimless rant, but I stand by some of it. Age, as in the number of years that have passed since you drew your first breath, is a number that is (seemingly) required by law. You have to be a certain age to go to school, get a driver’s license, rent a car, buy alcohol, get a job and collect pension. All of these are government-regulated by way of age. Albeit, he is employed by the provincial government, so perhaps they got to him! Other than government-regulated milestones, what does age actually mean. If you have a nasty crystal meth habit and you’re 18 years old, are you really “young”? To the government you’re one year shy of being able to buy alcohol, but your body’s organs probably feel twenty years older than that. Age really is just a number, in terms of how you feel. Now when age comes into question in a stituation such as pedophelia, then definitely age counts. Shoot the sick bastards! But for how you view yourself, age shouldn’t get you down.

I see no need for him to be depressed about thirty. He’s lived a good life thus far and he’s healthy. Why the need to fret over turning 30?

PS: He’s right in the ode to his family, though. They’re good people. Well, Dadoo might be a little touch ‘n’ go, somewhat ;)

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animaniacs or flintstones?

July 10, 2006 under Dena, Life

Happy anniversary, happy anniversary, happy anniversary, HAAAPPY ANNIVERSAAARY!
Happy happy happy happy happy anniversary…

Today is Dena and moi’s 2nd Anniversary!

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i would've been a great ninja

July 5, 2006 under Life

I think I missed my calling. I would’ve been a great ninja, had I applied myself early in life.

For reasons unbeknownst to me, I move with the wind. I don’t do it on purpose; it just happens. When I walk, I make no sound, or hardly any sound at the very least. When I was young, I would sneak up on my mom while she was knitting or watching TV and scare the hell out of her. I was undetectable. Many times over the course of any given month, I will scare Dena. I’m sure that the neighbours conjure images of domestic violence in their minds, as her screams are fairly loud. I don’t do it on purpose. Again, I move without generating a noise and when I finally do produce sound by saying something, she freaks…loudly. After which, I’m usually reprimanded by her for being too quiet and the token “I need to put a bell around your neck” phrase is the next thing out of her mouth. Dena is not my only victim. I regularly do this at work too. Some might view this as a useless or annoying affliction, but this would be a great boon to a ninja who must be skilled in the art of stealth. Ninjas rely on stealth and surprise, something that I have in spades.

Coupled with my uncanny ability to move quietly, I also have physical attributes that would lend themselves well to the ninja life. I’m not especially tall and have an ectomorphic frame (with no fragility). As such I could easily wedge myself into narrow areas and my minimal weight would allow me to perch on rooftops without worry of falling through.

The problem is that I should’ve been preparing when I was a young scamp. My dad wanted me to be a hockey player. However, I didn’t grow as tall as was hoped nor was I able to increase body mass. The shorter pro hockey players tend to compensate for their lack of height by being wide…stocky. Although I tried with extra weight training and special diets, I was and still am unable to gain weight (this bodes well for ninjas, though). My mom wanted me to become a pharmacist. After three semesters of pre-pharmacy, I concluded that I didn’t want to become a pharmacist. No offence to pharmacists or friends/family of pharmacists, but that line of work seemed extremely boring to me – it was something I couldn’t see myself making a career of. So I became a software developer or whatever the hell we’re calling ourselves nowadays. I wonder if I can merge my skills to become some sort of computer ninja. Maybe CSIS or Interpol have a need for positions such as this.

Either way, I could’ve been a great ninja ;)

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my chick and her birds

July 2, 2006 under Golf, Sports

Here’s another weekly golf update. Yesterday morning at Beaverdale, Dena got not one, but two birdies. The first one was especially nice to watch as she knocked in her 100-yard aproach with her 7 iron on the second hole. She finished the round with an 84 and I shot an 81. For both of us, it was our best round of the year thus far.

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happy canada/chico day!

July 1, 2006 under Canada, Life

139th and dirty-30! :)

Canadian flag and Kris Cecconi in a big chair.

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comments: 1 »