Interesting comparison of defense budgets across countries. US is first, of course, in total spending, but when you look at per capita and GDP-weighted numbers, the results are really interesting and surprising.
The new app is called Registrize and it incorporates a barcode scanner and lets you create an inventory of your major purchases. By inputting costs, you can use it to track spending and you can also use it to file home inventories with your homeowners or renters insurance. If there are available rebates, it will let you know, which is cool, but more importantly, it alerts you if anything you buy is ever recalled or part of a class-action lawsuit. This is really great for parents because you get a notice if a toy or crib or whatever has been recalled or is in the news.
Yeah, so I wrote that part from the future, since this app doesn’t exist, but should.
If you are working on a top-secret next generation device, are a maniacally leak-free secretive organization, and want to allow your employees to field test it, it seems kind of reasonable that you might:
(1) Require said employees to use a goddamned Passcode so some douchenugget can’t steal the phone from their cut off jeans shorts and play around with it and shit.
(2) Require said employees to have some sort of wallpaper home screen that can be seen while the phone is locked that tells whoever it is to flip the phone over.
(2) Print a fucking return address on the bottom of the sunmbitch, along with language that says, “Dear fuckface who don’t own this shit. Give it the fuck back. Here’s our FedEx code. Use it. If you do anything other than return it to us within 48 hours of finding it, we will sue the fucking marrow out of your bones.”
If that were the case, I might sympathize with them a bit more.
I don’t give a shit how good it is at stopping counterfitters, that is ONE FUCKING UGLY PIECE OF MONEY.
Yeah, fancy-ass bell in the inkwell, I see you. I also get why all the bells and whistles are necessary. But if we wanted to make fairy-ass European rainbow money, we should go all the way. Laser cats fucking John Edwards in the face. Etc. This mostly-green but with a splash of orange crud is basically like having a drunk unicorn barf on your wedding dress.
Look at this classic design:
Now look at that giant Helvetica 100. Look at it. Jesus.
Good thing it is highly likely that I WILL NEVER NEED ONE.
So search in Windows 7 is great, yeah? It is. It’s fast. It’s good. It’s embedded rather well into Windows Explorer. I like it.
Just now, I was looking for a reference. I searched the directory I knew it was in. Didn’t show up. Huh. So I do some testing. Turns out that while I can search within Word documents, etc, I can only search the titles of PDFs. What?
So I poke around. To figure out what search is doing I have to type “search” into the Windows 7 start menu search box. And then click on something to configure searching. And then go to advanced tab. And then go to file types. And then scroll through a million file extensions to find pdf. And the online help I found say to change it from “index titles only” to “index titles and content.” OK. Except the latter is already checked. Huh.
But where it lists the filter description for pdf, it says “registered IFilter is not found.”
So I searches the internets to figure out what to do! Turns out that it has something to do with the fact that my machine is 64-bit. I’m running 32-bit Acrobat & Reader, so maybe those things would ordinarily install the indexing filter, I don’t know. In any case, I have to go find and install some search filter, and so after some Googling, I find an Adobe BLOG POST from 2008 that indicates Adobe has released a 64-bit filter. This seems right, but the page doesn’t list Windows 7 because it predates it. But this is THE ONLY PAGE on the Adobe website to address this problem, except the download page which also does not list Windows 7.
Hrm. This might work, but I’m still a little hesitant to just install some crap and hope for the best.
So I do some more poking around. Turns out there’s this enterprise software company, Foxit, who make a bunch of PDF creation/reading/searching software and they mention their IFilter and Windows 7. They give away the desktop version of their 64-bit Windows 7 compliant PDF IFilter for free. Cool. Some more poking, this is legit, so OK, I download and install.
And OK, it’s installed. I do a test search. Nothing. Dammit.
Go back to search configuration. Ah. Start indexing all over again. Um, OK. Go. Do it.
Go back to search for term. Nothing. OK, try again, let the window hang open for a minute…. and…. there it is. Finally.
Why in the HELL does Windows not have their own IFilter for PDFs? Who DOESN’T have the need to search the content of PDFs? And when I was installing Adobe Acrobat, why did it not notice I was running on x64 and install the correct IFilter? There’s really no excuse for this. Really. We are all adults here.
So, to recap: in order to find a PDF I knew was there, I had to do a Google search just to figure out how to tweak my Windows 7 search parameters, tweak advanced settings, do a bunch more Google searches, connect the dots to the fact that I have a 64-bit machine (doesn’t take a brain genius, but still), find the only information from Adobe to be a two year old blog entry, identify, download, and install third party software, tweak my advanced search settings again, and re-index my entire computer. TO FIND ONE FILE.
My point: quite simply:
YOU WILL NEVER HAVE TO GO THROUGH THIS BULLSHIT ON AN IPAD.
The plight of Pakistan’s schools as the plight of the nation:
The university’s plight encapsulates Pakistan’s predicament: an intolerant, aggressive minority terrorizes a more open-minded, peaceful majority, while an opportunistic political class dithers, benefiting from alliances with the aggressors.
The current map is informative, but what I found most interesting was how the map shows geographic entrenchment over time. It’s pretty much the same everywhere at first (2000): gay marriage is illegal in every state except Vermont, while Massachusetts has legalized domestic partnerships, and only Alaska has a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Over time, particularly in 2004 and 2005, you see a bunch of states go hard right. Now, 24 states have constitutional bans, 11 of which also ban, at the constitutional level, other legal rights for gay couples. On the plus side, 13 states now have some sort of legal status for gay couples. (DC isn’t included on the map).
Obsessive Post About Documentaries About Obsessives
AFOL: A Blocumentary - Wow, I’ve only watched the first ten minutes, but it’s pretty great. It’s about “Adult Fans of LEGO” in the Pacific Northwest and their insanely huge collections of pieces. Entire rooms dedicated to LEGO-making. Mostly dudes.
I love documentaries about people that have these kinds of manias, where they follow some hobby or passion to the extreme end of the line.
In honor of Record Store Day, I want to recommend The Archive, a fantastic 7 minute doc about Paul Mawhinney of Pittsburgh, who ran this awesome store called Record-Rama and maintains the largest record collection in the world (valued at $50 million, he is willing to sell it for $3 million).
There’s also the fantastic full-length 2 hour documentary Vinyl, which I highly recommend. When I start to think about how much music I own, I watch the opening four minute piece above and feel very very normal.
Of course, now I can’t stop. Moving from music to movies, one of my favorites is Cinemania, about five film freaks in NYC.
Chris Smith’s Home Movie is also terrific. This segment is about a guy who has turned his house into this 60s DIY electronic paradise. Other segments include a woman who lives in a tree house in Hawaii, a missile silo house in Kansas, some other people who’s house is full of cat tunnels and walkways, and this goofy guy who lives on a houseboat. The people are strange, but they’re filmed with love.
I came across the super-low-rent 90s documentary In Love With Toys a while ago on YouTube. It’s pretty goofy but fun, and a kicker is that it’s recorded off an old VHS tape, so the quality is horrid.
I’m a sucker for both Word Wars (competetive Scrabble) and Wordplay (competetive crosswords). The forthcoming Puzzle sounds pretty great, too.
I haven’t seen The Rock-afire Explosion, about people obsessed with rebuilding this animatronic animal band that used to populate some pizza chain, but it looks totally awesome.
There seem to be a ton of fanboy docs that, for whatever reason, hold little appeal to me, partly because I think they tend to be either too self-glorifying (made for other obsessives) or too mocking (made too easily for laughs). These include Trekkies (Star Trek), Ringers: Lord of the Fans (LOTR), Monster Camp (LARPing), Darkon (LARPing), Second Skin (MMO gaming), FRAG (professional gamers), and others. Joss Whedon and Morgan Spurlock recently announced they’re making a documentary about comicon superfans. No thanks.
I will admit, though, that I just added We Are Wizards, about Harry Potter themed rock bands, to my instant Netflix queue (full YouTube version of documentary is here.
There are a few documentaries about comic books, but all the ones I’m aware of (Comic Book Confidential, Comic Book Heroes Unmasked, Crumb, etc) are more about comics history or the artists. I’m kind of surprised there isn’t a documentary about extreme comic collectors - it seems so ripe for the taking.
It’s not really a documentary about collectors or other such obsessives, but I will close with some clips from what has got to be the nerdiest, geekiest nonfiction film of all time: BBS The Documentary:
(OK, I can’t close yet, because I just found out that the maker of BBS is hard at work on Get Lamp, about text adventure games and the people who loved them. It really doesn’t get much nerdier than that!)
"Transparency Data is a central source for all federal and state campaign contributions made in the last twenty years. Here you can begin your search, find the information you need and then download records of what a candidate has received, what an individual has given, and how much companies and their employees have given. “
“I think this boils down to the problem of nationalism, and where we find our heroes. It isn’t like Southerners are devoid of people who were courageous in all aspects. There’s the great Virginian patriot Robert Thomas, who goes from slave-master in waiting, to leading black troops in brilliant military campaigns in Tennessee, and in his last days defends the rights of freedman. There’s Elizabeth Van Lew, who emancipated all her slaves before the War, and used them as part of a Union spy network in Richmond, the Confederate capitol.”—Ta-Nehisi Coates, on the whole honoring-the-Confederacy thing. A brilliant piece of writing. Read it all.