ddhr.org | 2006 | 02 (50) about | archives | comments | rss

Rotating electrical outlets Tue, Feb 28, 2006
360 Electrical is a company that makes duplex electrical outlets where each receptacle rotates 360 degrees.  So plugs that normally take up both spots now only need one.  I'm not sure this would solve the problem entirely, but I think it's a cool idea.  (via Digg) #technology

Free FM Tue, Feb 28, 2006
This thing called Free FM that I keep hearing about on the radio is part of a huge "thing" created by Infinity Broadcasting (radio division of CBS) that's basically a dig at paid services like XM and Sirius.  They say the "free" word is supposed to indicate freedom of personality and expression.  But actually it's a reminder that regular radio is still free, as opposed to those evil paid services (which I'll probably try eventually).  Radio station 92.3 K-ROCK (WXRK) adopted the new format on January 3, 2006 and it changed its call letters to WFNY-FM.  I realized this wasn't just a local thing when I heard several other Free FMs on the way to and from Virginia. 

A lot of radio stations also keep talking about "HD Digital", which is the next best thing since the invention of water.  Basically, it has something to do with upgrading the signal to improve sound quality.  It also means that stations can have several different "multicasts", which is like splitting a single channel into several different ones:  104.3 becomes 104.3-1 and 104.3-2.  But the bottom line in all this is that it's another way for traditional radio to compete with satellite radio, which I think is basically impossible.  As soon as my car comes pre-installed with a satellite radio receiver, I'll fork over that $13 a month.  I'll willing to pay for good things.  Sometimes. #entertainment

Hey boss (1) Tue, Feb 28, 2006
I love when people call me boss.  Especially since I'm no one's boss.  It usually happens at gas stations and fast food restaurants.  "Hey boss, what can I get ya?"  "You got it, boss."  I love it.  It makes me feel so important even when I'm totally not.  It's like getting good service. #psychology

Kittatinny roundup part 3 (4) Fri, Feb 24, 2006
It's been a while since I stalked looked for Kittatinny people on the internet, so here's my latest collection, all of which are from stupid ugly annoying Myspace:  Chris Casciano, Jesse Roe, Mike Fuoco, Britt Gordon-McKeon, Jill Valentine, Jamie Oliva, Vinnie Macaluso, Maria Santonastaso, Rob Steingall, Autumn Struble, Kara Nelson, Katie Abruzzo, Jenna Lippert, and Darius Haff.

Previous Kittatinny roundups are here and here. #sociology

Progress bar (1) Fri, Feb 24, 2006
The progress bar is a great invention in computerland.  It performs the mighty feat of telling how much of a task is completed in terms of a percentage.  This is great because if a task is 35% complete and it's been working for a minute, you know that you have a while longer to wait, so you can go do something else while your dumb-dumb slow computer completes a simple little task. 

To the creator of the progress bar, I ask these questions: 

1.  What's the point of a progress bar making it all the way to the end and then starting over from the beginning?  It's like it's saying, "Hey I'm done.  Oh wait, just kidding.  Ok I'm done again.  Nope, not really.  I'm really done now.  Or am I?" 

2.  Why does stuff keep happening even after the progress bar is filled up?  This seems to be a bit illogical.  Shouldn't it only say it's 100% complete when it's actually complete?  Towards the end of the process, shouldn't it say it's 99% complete until it's actually complete? 

I guess some questions just can't be answered. #technology

The record (3) Fri, Feb 24, 2006
When I was a 3rd-grade student at McKeown Elementary School, they used to teach us multiplication and division the right way:  Memorization of tables.  I don't remember exactly how they taught it (like was it the same thing every day or did we count M&Ms some days?), but I remember learning a certain number at a time.  For example, we'd focus on the number 7 by listing the product of 7 and every number up to 10.  7x1=7, 7x2=14, 7x3=21 ... 7x10=70.  Then we'd go to the next number and do the same thing.  I think we did every number from 1 to 10; 11 and up get complicated. 

The part that I disagreed with was the testing method.  They used this thing called "the record", which was literally a vinyl record with a person saying, "5 times 6 ...  3 times 8 ...  7 times 2 ..." while the students feverishly filled in the answers on their sheet.  There were several variations of the record:  One variation focused on certain numbers, depending on how many multiplication tables you had learned.  The other variation was in the speed at which the person spoke.  Some records used a 5 second pause.  Others used a 3 second pause.  Still others used an even shorter pause.  Obviously, the shorter the pause, the harder the test. 

The reason I disagree with the record as a testing method is because of the trauma is caused in the lives of the students.  The record was continuous:  Once it started, it didn't stop until the end.  If you missed one, you had to forget about it and move on.  Sure that sounds easy for a "grown-up" like me, but it's not the same with 8-year-olds.  There's this weird thing that happens when people feel overwhelmed.  It's called a "meltdown".  There was a meltdown during every one of these tests.  Halfway through the test, a kid would burst into tears because they lost their place or couldn't keep up.  But the teacher never stopped the record.  Like I said, once it started, it didn't stop until the end.  So some poor kid would sit there sobbing because there was no way to figure out what number the record was on.  It didn't say, "Number 3:  5 times 6 ... Number 4:  3 times 8 ..."  And since it was just multiplication or division, there was no partial credit.  There was no "almost" or "close".  It was right or wrong.  There's nothing like telling a kid they failed because they're too slow at multiplication.  Ah, the joy of being a teacher. 

The record needs to be experienced to be fully understood.  My explanation of it can't possibly do it justice.  Talk to any McKeown School student from the 80s-90s, and they'll know what I'm talking about.  With utter fear in their voice, they'll say, "Oh yes ... I remember the record ..." #math

Ladies Against Feminism (3) Thu, Feb 23, 2006
Ladies Against Feminism is a site full of women-authored articles that go against feminism.  It's written from a very conservative Christian perspective, which is a nice change from the norm.  It's also cool that this site probably offends people.  I sort of like when people are offended. #religion

Windows XP zip (5) Thu, Feb 23, 2006
I'm amazed that people who use Windows XP still use products like WinZip, 7-Zip, and other file compression utilities.  Windows XP comes pre-installed with the capability to zip files from the right-click menu.  Just right-click on the file, click on Send To, and click on Compressed (zipped) Folder.  That's it.  Get rid of WinZip and those other stupid programs that cost money. 

The one thing Windows still lacks is the ability to open RAR, TAR, and GZ files.  That's where something like WinRAR comes in. #technology

Hoverboard Wed, Feb 22, 2006
This guy made his own hoverboard (a hovercraft slightly larger than a skateboard) and told everyone else how to do it themselves.  Awesome.  (via Boing Boing) #technology

Dog Powered Scooter Wed, Feb 22, 2006
The Dog Powered Scooter is exactly what it says:  a scooter powered by a dog.  It's like the urban version of the Iditarod.  Finally, a use for those large, smelly animals.  Now if I can just figure out how to hook it up to my cats...  (via Cynical-C) #technology

← olderpage 1 of 5