archive for September, 2004

Virgin Galactic

Ever wanted to be an astronaut? Virgin Galactic might be able to make your dreams come true. It looks like they’ve just bought into Scaled Composites’ SpaceShipOne. SpaceShipOne just flew its first qualifying flight for the X-Prize which appears to have been a success. If SpaceShipOne can successfully complete another scheduled flight, it will take its place in history as the first privately funded space vehicle and be awarded the ten million dollar prize.

We can expect to see more prize flights like this in the future: first to orbit the Earth, first to dock with an orbiting station, first to the moon, etc… Anyone want to stay at a hotel in orbit or on the moon? Every room is guaranteed a great view.

StreamRipper and RadioShark

StreamRipper is a cool little program and Winamp plugin that will record the songs your listening to over internet radio. It can even automatically label them, and fill out their ID3 tags.

RadioShark is like a TiVo for radio. It lets you record radio broadcasts for later playback, schedule shows to be recorded, and pause live radio. This could be huge for the talk and sports radio markets. I imagine that people will love the ability to record shows, and play them back on their iPods.

Latest Feed

I finally implemented a feature I should have had a long time ago, a “latest” RSS feed. This new RSS file, latest_rss.xml will only contain the latest 10 posts, so if you want to read my blog in an RSS reader, it will be a lot easier.

Edit: The feed is now available at

Disneyland in the Fall

I love Disneyland in the fall. Jesse and I went yesterday, and had a lot of fun. It was in the high 60s both when we got there and when we left, so it’s not too cold to wear shorts all day (it did warm up of course). It got crowded in the middle of the day, but for the most part it was relatively uncongested.

There were several of our favorite rides closed (Tiki Room, Haunted Mansion, Space Mountain, Matterhorn Bobsleds), so that was disappointing. On the other hand, it’s really good to see the Tiki Room getting some much needed attention (Haunted Mansion is closed for the holiday redecoration, Space Mountain is getting a major rebuild, and it looked like they were doing quite a bit of work in and on the Matterhorn). We still hand plenty of time, and ended up riding Splash Mountain (normally we avoid it because of huge lines), Pirates of the Carabean twice, Big Thunder Mountain twice, Jungle Cruise (which for some odd reason had a long line in the middle of the day), and the Disneyland Railroad. We also watched the Snow White show, saw Sky Captain, ate at the Rainforest Cafe, and the Blue Bayou.

While we were there, we also took some time to walk around the grounds of the Disneyland Hotel. I’ve never been there before and was pleasantly surprised. It reminded me a lot of the classic Disney style, and felt very relaxing. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to stay there for my birthday. I guess it’s all booked through December. Maybe we can take a weekend in Spring to stay.

Copyright Violation != Stealing

The music and movie industries are waging a propaganda war. They are trying to convince the American public, the legislature, and the courts that copyright violation is stealing, and that people who violate their copyrights are thieves. This simply isn’t true.

To steal, you have to take the property of another. Let’s say you photocopy a book at the library. What property are you taking? Of course, if you walk out of the library without checking out the book, you’re stealing from the library. None. You’re not even taking “intellectual property.” To do that you would have to convince the government that you own the copyrights to the book. That’s the only way you would actually be taking something that someone else owned. Copying isn’t the same thing as stealing.

There are lots of other violations of property rights that aren’t theft. Trespassing for example. Let’s say you take a shortcut though someone’s yard on your way to school. Nobody would say that that constitutes theft unless you took a souvenir with you. If 7-up came out with a new cola drink called Coke-Up, they would be in violation of Coca-Cola‘s trademark.

Next time you see one of those advertisements before a movie trying to convince you that downloading movies is stealing, keep the above in mind. Don’t be conned my the MPAA or the RIAA.


Maybe I’m just slow, but it turns out Google has a blog of its own. It’s a pretty good read so far – maybe even something I’d want to add to my regular reading list. Then again, it doesn’t look like they post very frequently. Oh well.

Mars Rovers – Still Going

A couple days ago Mars moved out from behind the sun. With this, NASA was able to re-establish communications with the twin rovers – Spirit and Opportunity. It appears that both of the rovers made it through the communications blackout just fine. NASA has just renewed the mission for another six months. These rovers have done an amazing amount of research so far. I wonder long long they’ll keep going.

Firefox and Tunderbird

Well, it has been a week since I started my switch away from the Mozilla Suite to Firefox and Thunderbird. I just made the transition complete by uninstalling Mozilla. If you’re still using Internet Explorer, do yourself a favor… download Firefox, install it and use it as your default browser for one week. You won’t want to ever go back.

One of the great things about Firefox are the extensions that you can find and install. One of these days I’m going to put together a list of the best extensions and search plugins, but not today.

The Fountainhead: Finished

Well, I finished reading The Fountainhead a few days ago. I really like how it was written, and that it is still relevant and accessible after all of these years. I think Ayn Rand had some good ideas and ideals. Atlas Shrugged is supposed to illustrate a more mature version of her philosophy. I’m looking forward to reading it too, but I think I need a bit of a break first.

Mozilla Thunderbird

I’ve finished migrating my home and work computers from the Mozilla Suite to Firefox+Thunderbird . So far, so good. There are a few features in each that are slightly different and mostly better. One thing that I’m having trouble with is filters in Thunderbird. By using the new Global Inbox feature, the filters seem to be broken. Oh well, I’m sure it’ll be fixed before 1.0.

UPDATE: Looks like I was mistaken. I guess the filters are working. Cool!

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