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Fair-weather fan (2) Tue, Jan 31, 2006
I admit it:  I'm a fair-weather fan.  I usually only like a sports team when they're doing well.  As soon as they stop doing well, I have no problem abandoning them.  I feel ok doing this because my team has never been a great team.  I wasn't a fan of the Dallas Cowboys or Atlanta Braves or New York Yankees or New England Patriots.  I was always a fan of the loser team.  The last place team.  The Philadelphia Phillies.  The Philadelphia Eagles.  Etc., etc. 

So when the Eagles made it to the Super Bowl last year, I was proud to be an Eagles fan.  People respected me because I liked a good team (as if I had something to do with it).  But this year, when they stunk, I was the first person to criticize them and acknowledge that they wouldn't make it anywhere.  Why believe a lie?  Why hope for a certain player to come back and be the savior of the team?  Why should I root for a loser?  It's like throwing your money out the window or digging a whole to the center of the earth:  It's pointless; it's a waste of time and effort. 

But at least I don't claim to be a lifelong fan as soon as my team is doing well.  Well, actually, that's kind of what I did.  But not exactly.  I think it's interesting that right around championship games like the Super Bowl and the World Series, a bunch of fans will suddenly pop up out of nowhere and claim they've been fans for life.  Like the Seattle Seahawks.  No one ever liked the Seattle Seahawks.  They were that team from out west that always sucked.  But all of a sudden, they're in the Super Bowl and a bunch of people like them.  Or the New England Patriots before them.  No one liked the Patriots until superman Tom Brady stepped in and won a few Super Bowls.  Until you've been a fan during your team's down years, you're not a real fan. 

I'm not a real fan.  But at least I admit it. #sports

Comments RSS feed Tue, Jan 31, 2006
According to Mike's request, I provided a comments RSS feed by changing a few things around.  This shows that, like a "category" page and a "search" page, you can't have a "comments" page.  Another WordPress 2.0 problem. #technology

AOL keywords Tue, Jan 31, 2006
I'm not a big fan of AOL.  I've written about this before.  One of the major reasons why I don't like AOL is because of their attempt to make their very own internet by using "keywords".  If you're like me and you've never used AOL, you hear the term "AOL keyword" and sit there with upturned palms and a furrowed brow.  The rest of the universe doesn't use keywords.  They use search engines and URLs.  Why did AOL have to make its own version of the internet to suit its Kool-Aid drinking drones? 

And what's even more annoying is that reputable companies feed into this stupid ploy because they know that there are like a billion AOL users out there.  So in commercials, I always hear, "Visit our website at [...] or AOL keyword [...]"  It turns out that you have to pay to register a keyword.  I wonder who gets that money?  My guess is it's AOL.  Great job, AOL.  Make the world more complicated and reap profits from doing it. #technology

Annoying cell phone users (3) Mon, Jan 30, 2006
Finally, an answer to annoying cell phone users:  The Society for HandHeld Hushing.  You can download a PDF of a bunch of little business card-sized pieces of paper telling people things like, "Inside voices please" and "Just so you know:  Everyone around you is being forced to listen to yer conversation."  Brilliant.  (via Boing Boing) #technology

Air guitar Mon, Jan 30, 2006
Helsinki University of Technology's Air Guitar Project enables any idiot with two hands to be a rockstar.  This is how it works:  "You pull on a pair of orange gloves, press the start pedal, and rock on. Take a playing pose as if you were holding an imaginary guitar - left hand on the guitar's neck, and right hand near your hip."  Like any air guitar idiot, you just move your hands around as if you knew how to play the guitar.  And the good thing is that "You can't play any 'wrong' chords here - they have been pre-selected for you, but it doesn't seem limiting at all. After all, it may only be 4 chords, but that's exactly how many you need to play Smoke on the Water."  As their site says, "Playing air guitar is like playing rock guitar, only without an actual instrument, or musical skills...All you need is a pair of orange gloves and a rock'n'roll attitude."  Well said.  (via News of the Weird) #entertainment

Mathematical photography Mon, Jan 30, 2006
This website is a collection of mathematical photography, which is basically just framed pictures of equations.  You have to be a special kind of person to like this stuff.  (via Boing Boing) #math

Year 2038 problem Mon, Jan 30, 2006
Similar to the Y2K problem, the Year 2038 problem will affect computers and computer systems that have something to do with a Unix-like operating system.  Unix "time" began on January 1, 1970 (called the Unix Epoch) and is represented by a 32-bit signed (±) integer.  The latest time this integer can represent (determined by the largest number that can be represented by 32 bits) is January 19, 2038, at which point time will stop and the universe will melt.  Actually, it'll probably have about the same impact as the Y2K problem, except that we have over 30 years to prepare for it.  The problem can be relatively easily solved by using a 64-bit integer to represent time, which will give us about 290 billion years to prepare for its demise.  The problem with that is that there are quite a few 32-bit systems out there right now, and there aren't very many 64-bit ones.  I'm sure things will all work out when the time comes. #technology

Source viewer Sun, Jan 29, 2006
I upgraded my source viewing script.  The original one was an adaptation of a script from Corz.  The new one incorporates some information from SitePoint and Huddled Masses by including line numbers and a download link.  The mouseover highlighting was my little trick. #technology

Cut-up credit card Sat, Jan 28, 2006
What do you do with old credit cards?  You cut them up into little pieces and throw them out.  But is that good enough? 

I performed a little experiment to try to figure it out.  I took an American Express gift card (picture 1) and cut it up into a bunch (41 to be exact) of little pieces (picture 2) and tried to put it back together again (picture 3).  Actually, I did more than just try; I succeeded.  What I found was pretty interesting: 

1.  The whole process took about 30 minutes.  It was started and completed during my lunch break. 
2.  Random sizes and shapes of pieces didn't make it any harder.  Actually, it might've made it easier because certain pieces could only fit in certain spots. 
3.  The design on the credit card made it easier.  I tried this one time in the past with an Old Navy credit card, which is full of colors and designs.  The patterns of the lines and shapes made it easier to match up with similar pieces. 

Conclusion:  If a person can complete a puzzle, they can reassemble a cut-up credit card.  I'm not sure if this is useful in any way.  I'm assuming it would be possible to just read the name and numbers off the card and use it to buy things online.  It obviously couldn't be taped back together and used at a store. 

I'm not sure what the solution would be to prevent this problem.  I would say to cut it up into smaller pieces, but I think that would just turn it into a slightly more complicated, though completely possible, puzzle.  Another way to fool a would-be cut-up credit card thief would be to put the cut-up pieces in several different trash cans or several different trash collecting cycles.  This would complicate the process of collecting all the little pieces, though it would still be possible to do.  The only really fool-proof solution is to burn the old credit card, turning it into a pile of melted plastic. 


Timekeeping (1) Sat, Jan 28, 2006
On December 31, 2005, a leap second was added to the Coordinated Universal Time (atomic time) so that it would be in sync with Greenwich Mean Time (astronomical time). 

This article talks about how certain scientists are proposing to get rid of the leap second because it could cause some major computer problems down the road.  The reason the leap second needs to be added in the first place is because astronomical time is based on the movements of the Earth, and the Earth isn't perfect:  Its days and years vary in length.  Atomic time is based on the vibrations of the Cesium-133 atom, which doesn't change.  So in order to keep the two methods of timekeeping in sync, the International Telecommunication Union decided that UTC couldn't differ from GMT by more than 9 tenths of a second.  So every once in a while, a leap second is added so that everything stays in sync. 

(via Boing Boing) #technology

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