Friday, August 30, 2013

Sorry, wrong number

So, this past Saturday morning, I had my day interrupted by a text. Wrong number, as it turns out. And that always brings up how best to handle those. I should just respond and let the person know they have a wrong number.

I should. But I don't always.

I felt like screwing around Saturday:

I know my response probably wasn't a good idea. But, maybe there was a way to have some fun that would have been better.

So, ideas? What should my response have been?

Thursday, August 29, 2013


You know what's up with the ex-girlfriend of Kim Jong-un? Nothing. She's dead.

According to reports, Hyon Song-wol was executed a little over a week ago.

That's the difference between the United States and North Korea. Their dictator's ex-girlfriend? Shot by a firing squad. Ours'? Never existed.

And that's what makes America great. It used to be that someone without a real job and with imaginary friends would be wandering the streets pushing a shopping cart. Today, that same person can sit in the Oval Office.

For some reason, though, I'm not comforted by that.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Fast food for slow people

AP Photo/Burger King
Have you seen the latest from Burger King? They call it the French Fry Burger.

It's a burger... with french fries on it. Really.

Now, I understand that Burger King is in a war with McDonald's, trying to get you to put your dollars in their hands. They do this, of course, offering something of value to you. (I have to explain that, in case there are any Obama voters reading this, since they have no idea of how business works. If they did, they wouldn't be Obama voters.)

Anyway, they're putting the French Fry Burger on their Value Menu, pricing it at $1 so you'll spend your money there.

Only, you gotta wonder who comes up with these ideas. Take a four-year-old to Burger King, buy him a small burger meal, and there's a chance he'll lift up the bun and put some french fries on the burger.

So, in their latest salvo in the Burger Wars, Burger King is breaking out a strategy that a four-year-old would come up with.

I'm thinking that the wrong restaurant chain has a clown as a mascot.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

As different as Black and White

So, the Secretary of State says that a country in the Middle East has weapons of mass destruction. Sound familiar? It should. It's happened before.

Remember how much the left criticized the claim a decade ago? But not so much this time. What's the difference?

Well, here's 2003:

And here's 2013:

The difference? Well, it's certainly not that one's true and one's not. I don't doubt that Syria has and has used WMDs. And, the fact is, there were WMDs in Iraq, though some of the sources weren't completely reliable. But, about the Democrats believing one but not the other? Since both are Obama supporters, it's not politics. So, what could it be? Maybe that one's Black and one's White?

Why is the Democrats believing the White guy, but didn't believe the Black guy? What do the Democrats have against Blacks?

Looks like the party that founded the KKK has a hard time letting go of old habits.

Monday, August 26, 2013


Remember the scene in Ghostbusters where the team tries to tell the mayor that a disaster of Biblical proportions was coming? Bill Murray's character offered his take on it:

...human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together ... mass hysteria!
Well, it's close. In Detroit, at least.

You're probably heard about reports of packs of dogs running around, possibly as many as 50,000.

But, it's turned out that cats may be a problem, too. The Detroit Free Press reports that in at least one neighborhood, at least one large cat is stalking the area [notice: link contains auto-start video]. (Tip: Paul Mitchell)
A leader with the neighborhood association where the cat is roaming said several residents have contacted him after seeing the big feline.

“I’m really concerned,” said Vondell Boyer, 55, vice president of the Greenbrier Council. Boyer and other residents said they’re worried that if the cat runs out of rabbits, squirrels and other small critters to eat, it will target small kids.

(Tom) McPhee, (executive director of the World Animal Awareness Society, based in Ann Arbor) who is helping conduct a study of stray dogs in Detroit, said there are about 10-20 stray cats in the city for every stray dog.
See what 51 years of Democrats running things gets you? A disaster of Biblical proportions.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Conventional Wisdom

Dr. Tom Coburn, the Senator from Oklahoma who's also a doctor, has called for a Constitutional Convention. He told a town hall meeting in Muskogee, Oklahoma, that he recently became convinced that it was a good idea.
“I used to have a great fear of constitutional conventions,” Coburn said according to the Tulsa World. “I have a great fear now of not having one.”
That could be a great idea, except for one thing: the last Constitutional Convention had George Washington, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin, and the like. One today would have ...

Well, maybe that's the trick. We need the right people. Who would you like to see at a Constitutional Convention? Someone from your state? Or is the whole proposal a bad idea?

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Oreo Scandal

Fox News reports that Double Stuf Oreos don't have double the Stuf inside.

I'm shocked. I'm stunned. I'm in denial. And, I'm kinda hungry for an Oreo.

We used to make double stuff Oreos when I was a child. Note that I said "double stuff" and not "Double Stuf." There's a reason for that. We'd take the Oreo cookies apart -- a little gentle-yet-firm twist -- and, if we did it right, one side had all the stuff on it, while the other side was mostly clean cooke. Then, we'd do it again with another Oreo cookie. We then had two halves with stuff on them, and two plain chocolate cookies. We'd take the two halves that had all the stuff on them and put them together to get double stuff Oreos.

Now, if the separation went wrong, you couldn't use that Oreo. You had to eat it. I mean, they're Oreos. They can't go to waste (although, these days, they do go to waist ... and hips ... and belly). Eating a regular Oreo was punishment for not getting it right. Which isn't a bad punishment, but it's not the reward of eating an Oreo with double the stuff inside.

We tried this with Hydrox cookies, too, but I don't remember how well that went. We preferred Oreo to Hydrox, even though Oreo was a knock-off of Hydrox. Really. Betcha though it was the other way around, didn't you. Well, now you know better, and are smarter for it.

Anyway, about the double stuff ... stuff. In 1974, Nabisco finally caught up with the rest of us and introduced Double Stuf Oreo cookies. They left out an "f" in the name, in case you didn't notice. Was that a subtle hint that Double Stuf wasn't actually double the stuff?

Well, fast-forward to 2013 and a classroom in Queensbury, NY. Dan Anderson, a math teacher as Queensbury High, had his class perform experiments to see if there was really double the stuff inside the Double Stuf Oreos. They concluded that they contain 1.86 times the stuff, not double.

A spokeswoman for Oreo says "I can confirm for you that our recipe for the Oreo Double Stuf Cookie has double the Stuf, or creme filling, when compared with our base, or original Oreo cookie."

Who to believe?

The joy I felt in 1974 when Double Stuf was released is now called into question. Were we lied to?

Or, did the math class get it wrong?

Let's look at their methodology. They weighed 10 regular Oreos. They weighed 20 plain cookies from the Oreos. They weighed 10 Double Stuf Oreos.

They took the weight of the 10 Oreos, subtracted the weight of the 20 plain cookies, and got the weight of the stuff.

Then, they took the weight of the 10 Double Stuff Oreos, subtracted the weight of the 20 plain cookies, and got the weight of the stuff.

And that's how they determined the Double Stuf was actually the One-Point-Eight-Six Stuf.

But, is the experiment valid?

Ever took an Oreo apart? Hard to get all of the stuff off, isn't it. The flat side of an Oreo cooke isn't smooth. If it was, the stuff wouldn't stick. That's Science! The cookie is rough (slightly, but enough) so the creme filling will stick. If they don't get it all out, that makes the weight a little bit off, skewing the results slightly.

What about crumbs? Ever eat a whole bag of Oreos? Ever look in the bag after the last Oreo has been devoured? Know what you'll find? Crumbs. If the 10 Double Stuff Oreos had more cookie missing (more crumbs) than the 10 regular Oeos, that'll skew the results slightly.

Yeah, maybe I'm grasping at straws here, trying to keep one part of my childhood fantasy alive: that Oreos were good and wonderful things that would never lie to us.

There's only one way to get to the bottom of this. We're going to have to repeat the experiment. Many times, possibly. And, of course, eat the Oreos when we're done.

This isn't a job for Mythbusters. It's a job for you. Go forth and ... Science!

Or Math!

Or... Oreos!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


The only NFL team to win all their regular season and playoff games, the 1972 Miami Dolphins, were invited to the White House recently. Three members of the team didn't go, citing political differences.

Center Jim Langer, defensive tackle Manny Fernandez, and offensive lineman Bob Kuechenberg declined to make the trip, telling the Orlando Sentinel they didn't want to associate with Obama.
Bob Kuechenberg's first words were, "I want to be careful, because mom said if you have nothing good to say about someone, then don't say anything. I don't have anything good to say about someone."

..."We've got some real moral compass issues in Washington," Hall of Fame center Jim Langer said. "I don't want to be in a room with those people and pretend I'm having a good time. I can't do that. If that [angers] people, so be it."

"I'll just say my views are diametrically opposed to the President's," Manny Fernandez said. "Enough said. Let's leave it at that. I hope everyone enjoys the trip who goes."

..."I think it's great if [other players] want to have that function at the White House," Langer said. "I have other stuff to do."

He'll be fishing with his 4-year-old grandson, Max, instead of going to the White House.
Being a grumpy old fart also, I understand their feelings. Sure, it's the White House. But, it's Obama. I get it. But, listening to some news shows and reading online comments, most columnists seem to think they should go.

I think the reaction of the three that didn't go is perfect. Like their 1972 season.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Instagram says you can't use their name in your name. Or any part of their name in your name.

Which brings up the question: What the heck is Instagram?

I looked, and I think it's a place where you take pictures of coffee cups with a Polaroid Swinger and put them up for other people to see. I think there might be more to it than that, but I'd have had to looked at more coffee cups, and honestly, I just ... um ... no.

Anyway, since Polaroid coffee cups are the big thing now or something, Instagram is huge. And they came out with a policy that says you can't use "Gram" or "Insta" in your name.

Anybody ask Glenn Reynolds about this?

Okay, I know. Here I am defending Instapundit, the blender of puppies, the killer of hobos, worshiper of Satan, dancer of the Robot, commie spy. Oh, and he's a Law Professor. Like Obama. Except that Obama wasn't a Professor. And Glenn Reynolds really went to college.

Besides, "defending" may be too strong a word. I'm actually thinking that Instagram is stupid. At least their policy about saying they'll sic a whole team of lawyers on you if you use "Insta" in your name.

That and the whole coffee cup thing.

Still, I kinda feel like I'd like to see the two go at it. Glenn Reynolds would take Instagram to the cleaners. And, if that happened, Instagram might get all that coffee out.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Tech Toys: Chromecast (Part 3)

I've written about the Google Chromecast before. Actually, I've written about it a couple of times. My impression of it has gone from "Well, isn't that cute" to "This is a decent device."

If you already have an Internet streaming solution for your TV, it doesn't bring a lot to the table, but it brings some stuff.

If you have a Mac (mid-2011 or later) and an Apple TV, it brings nothing. But, if you have a Windows computer (most do), this helps you send content from your browser to your TV screen. For instance, sister-in-law and nephew really like Breaking Bad. They also recently dropped satellite service. The only way to watch the new season of Breaking Bad would be to buy it from Amazon or watch it on the computer. That means huddling around the computer (which is what they did) or running a cable from the computer to the TV.

Or, use a Google Chromecast device.

This isn't new; I covered a lot of this before. I also mentioned that it could replace my Xbox 360 (which I only use for ESPN3 content) ... and it has; I've already boxed up the Xbox.

So, what's new? Well, I did some research into how useful the Chromecast would be for watching TV. Say you don't have any streaming device: no Roku, no Apple TV, no Xbox 360 (with Live Gold account).

Say you're looking to drop cable or satellite, and wondered if the Google Chromecast is a streaming option. (Keep in mind, you have to use your smartphone, tablet, or computer to control it.)

Well, here's the answer: Maybe.

I looked at the top 10 shows for both broadcast and cable for the last week. I used Nielsen's latest ratings. The top 10 shows were:

  1. Under The Dome (CBS)
  2. America's Got Talent (Wed) (NBC)
  3. The Bachelorette (ABC)
  4. 60 Minutes (CBS)
  5. America's Got Talent (Tue) (NBC)
  6. The Bachelorette: After the Final Rose (ABC)
  7. NCIS (CBS)
  8. Unforgettable (CBS)
  9. The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
  10. Big Brother (CBS)
  1. Rizzoli & Isles (TNT)
  2. Breaking Bad (AMC)
  3. Major Crimes (TNT)
  4. Pawn Stars (HIST)
  5. Pawn Stars (HIST)
  6. NASCAR Sprint Cup (ESPN)
  7. WWE Raw (USA)
  8. Love & Hip Hop Atlanta (VH1)
  9. WWE Raw (USA)
  10. American Pickers (HIST)
How did Chromecast fare? Better on broadcast than cable. The only top 10 broadcast show that you couldn't stream was #1 Under The Dome. If you authenticated with a cable/satellite provider, you could watch it, but for a cable/satellite replacement, the Google Chromecast won't handle that show. Yes, if you have an Amazon Prime subscription, you can watch it on your computer, but you can't stream Amazon content to the Google Chromecast unless you have Silverlight disabled. You see, Amazon uses Silverlight by default, but if that's disabled, will fallback to Flash, which can be streamed via Chromecast. Most other stuff will stream to Chromecast.

For the cable shows, all of the TNT content require authentication with a provider. One of the History Channel shows -- American Pickers -- did, but one -- Pawn Stars -- didn't. The WWE wrestling show on USA is only available via Hulu Plus. Yes, you can stream Hulu Plus (as well as the free Hulu stuff) to Chromecast. So, this content a mixed bag. You don't need cable, but you need a different subscription service. Kinda like Under The Dome required.

The ESPN show is a live sports event, and I don't know if it was available live. Probably not, unless authenticated. Anything that airs on ESPN, ESPN2, or ESPNU will require authentication. ESPN3-only content works fine, as long as you remember to open the content in a tab and not a pop-up window. Live sports is one of the drawbacks to the Internet streaming TV setup; you don't get much live sports.

The rest of the top 10 cable shows all played from legal, free online content Websites. So, mixed bag using Google Chromecast as a cable/satellite replacement. As a supplement, it's great. Or, for me, as a supplement to Roku & Apple TV, it works fine.

Why do I focus so much on this kinda stuff? I like it. A lot. And, it's saving me some money. If you're looking at ways to save some money by eliminating or lowering a bill, TV is a way to do that. Xbox, Apple TV, Roku, and Chromecast are some ways I've tried. They all work to varying degrees. Nothing is a full cable replacement. But, for the money I'm saving monthly, what I lose is worth the trade-off.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Draft - Boycott Wendy's for its support of [something]

[Note to editors: URGENT! More research needed to determine which of the following is to be published. Is Wendy's considered a right-wing or a left-wing organization? Need response urgently. This post is scheduled for 10:00 AM, and I must have an answer prior. Thanks, Basil]

[If Wendy's is right-wing]

The new Wendy's logo is a disgrace. Have you noticed it? Here it is:

See it? It says "MOM" right there under her chin, on her collar.

Now you see it? Good. Only, bad. Here's why.

Wendy's usage of "Mom" is a clear slap as male, single-sex families. It's like gay couples don't have the right to raise children.

Here's why I'm taking this so personally. My nephew and his husband live near Boston, and are doing a wonderful job of raising their adopted son -- Wendy's ought to appreciate that much of their relationship, what with the Dave Thomas Foundation and all -- and I don't appreciate their approach of subtly criticizing their family.

My great-nephew is being raised by a loving couple, and the fact there's no "mom" in the family doesn't make it any less a family.

I call for a boycott of Wendy's. And I hope you'll join me.

[If Wendy's is left-wing]

The new Wendy's logo is a disgrace. Have you noticed it? Here it is:

See it? It says "MOM" right there under her chin, on her collar.

Now you see it? Good. Only, bad. Here's why.

The Wendy's logo is a young girl. And the clearly-visible "MOM" in the logo is a promotion of teen pregnancy. It's saying that it's okay for a young girl like Wendy (in the logo) to be a mom.

With teen pregnancy and single-parent families on the rise, we're raising another generation that is beginning life playing catch-up. And the sad truth is, many never do. Wendy's promotion of teen pregnancy through subtle advertising is helping contribute to this growing problem in this country.

Left-wing organizations like Wendy's need to avoid such political agenda and should focus on the food, not helping to promote the decline of the nation.

I call for a boycott of Wendy's. And I hope you'll join me.

[Note to editors: Again, please respond quickly with a determination of whether Wendy's is left-wing or right-wing. I'm angry about this whole logo thing, but I need to know why. Thanks. -- Basil]

Thursday, August 15, 2013


Harvey at IMAO noticed that the national debt hasn't changed for several months. He suggests that the Most Transparent Government Evah, run by the Smertest President Evah, has simply stopped doing math.

With all due respect, I suggest that Harvey is missing all the nuances of this Genius of Geniuses. It's not an abandonment of math. It's a whole new math. It's the magical math that is ObamaMath.

Here's how it works.

As Harvey noted, you take a total deficit of $16,699,396,000,000. Next, you increase that by $97,594,000,000. What is the new total deficit? I best you said $16,796,990,000,000. But, guess what? You'd be wrong. It's $16,699,396,000,000.

How is that possible? ObamaMath!

That's the same way you can have health insurance costs go up, but still be paying less. Sure, you bank account looks smaller, your take-home pay looks smaller. But that's because you don't apply ObamaMath.

A smaller bank balance is actually a raise in pay. And you can thank Obama for that. Well, Obama and his wonderful, magical ObamaMath.

Gas gone up to nearly twice what it was when Obama took office? Well, not really. It's actually less. That's because $1.869 ÷ 2 = $3.539. ObamaMath!

And, here's a secret that many people don't know: you too can use ObamaMath.

Walk into a grocery store, fill your shopping cart with food, give the clerk a dollar, and walk out. It'll be okay. Just explain it's ObamaMath.

Bank send you a credit card bill? Send them a corrected statement back, showing a $0 balance. Explain it's ObamaMath.

There is no end to what you can accomplish with ObamaMath.

Try it!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Glowing Killer Muslim Bunny Rabbits

A report out of Hawaii says that scientists in Turkey have made glowing bunny rabbits. No, really. Bunnies that glow in the dark.

Okay, maybe not in the dark, but under ultraviolet light.

You're probably thinking, "That's nuts." And you wouldn't be wrong, but it's worse than that.

I mean, didn't they ever see Night of the Lepus? Or heard about the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog? Scientists are taking a risk there.

Or are they?

The widdle bunnies were supposedly engineered in Turkey, a Muslim country. And using technology from Hawaii.

What other Muslim-Hawaiian connection might there be? Can you say Obama?

Is this part of some larger plan that Obama and the Moslems have hatched to destroy America? He's tried blowing up the economy for five years, and has done a marvelous job of bringing on financial collapse, but the U.S. just refused to fall. Perhaps the glowing Moslem killer bunny rabbits is the final piece of the plan.

So, be ever vigilant. If you see any glowing giant killer bunny rabbits wearing suicide bomber vests saying "Eh... (chomp chomp chomp) Allahu Akbar, Doc" sound the alarm.

I know this sounds like I'm suggesting that we profile glowing bunny rabbits. But better safe than sorry.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Our POTUS, Who Art In Washington...

[Source: YouTube]
Barack O--, Barack Obama, thank you for doing everything and all the kind stuff. Thank you for all the stuff that you helped us with. Thank you for taking the courage and responsibility for everything you have done for us. And God has gave you an special power. And you, and you are going to handle it gr--, just fine. You are good, Barack Obama. You are great and-- and when you get older you will be able to do great things. Love, Steven. Barack Obama!!"
What was it Linda Creed wrote? "I believe that the children are the future?"

We're screwed.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Wild Google Chase

I've written about the Google Chromecast, twice, and think it's a pretty good device. Apparently, a lot of other people do, too. Google sold out pretty quick, and Amazon has a 2-3 month wait on them.

And that gave me an idea: eBay.

Not to buy one. To sell one. Or several.

Only, I kinda think I want to have my own. And, I need more than one in order to sell one. So, how to sell something I don't have? That's easy to answer: get one. Or several.

But, they're sold out right?

Well... maybe.

I noticed that when I went to Best Buy and looked it up, the local store in Columbus showed "unavailable" as did the next nearest store, in Auburn. Actually, it's in Opelika, but they think it's cooler to say Auburn. War Damn Eagle, I suppose.

Anyway, I expanded the search, and what do you know. The store in Montgomery, 84 miles away, is the only store that doesn't show "unavailable." But, it's "in-store only." You can't buy it online, you have to go to the store.

So, I hopped in the car and drove my happy ass over to Montgomery. The thing is, I was there just a few days earlier. I had gone to a baseball game in Montgomery the previous weekend, but didn't think to check the Best Buy there. I thought about it on the way back, and drove the extra couple of miles taking the route through Auburn so I could stop by the Best Buy there. And, as mentioned, Best Buy in Auburn/Opelika was out.

So, this past week, I went to the Best Buy in Montgomery, walked in, and said I wanted a Chromecast.

"Oh, we're sold out of those."

"Your Website says you have them." I showed him. "I drove over from Columbus for one."

"Um, you should've called first."

"As much as y'all sell technology, y'all ought to be able to use it to keep your Website up to date. The other stores say they're out."

"Um, let me check stock to make sure."

He checks.

"We're out of stock."


I left, went to McDonald's, and had a Big Mac, trying to figure out if I wanted to let anyone know what I had done.

So, now you know what I done. Only, did I drive 84 miles for nothing, or 84 miles for a Big Mac? Unless McDonald's wants to give me Big Macs for life, I'm not sure that one's any better than the other.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Tech Toys: Chromecast (Part 2)

Recently, I mentioned getting a Google Chromecast and said that I might not keep it. Not that it's not a good device, but that it doesn't bring a lot to the table.

I'm rethinking that. So, I'm gonna tell you why, but also mentioned another set of issues that, if you're thinking about one, you might want to keep in mind.

First, why I'm thinking about keeping it: ESPN3.

Sure, it also allows the viewing of Hulu standard/free content on your TV -- remember, this device allows you to extend a browser tab to your TV screen in addition to your computer screen -- but I really don't like the idea of using a computer to watch TV.

Two years ago, I bought an Xbox just for the purpose of watching ESPN3. No Xbox video games, just for watching ESPN3. Only, that means a yearly subscription to Xbox Live Gold, which is $60/year (yes, they are on sale from time to time). And, renewal is coming up within a month.

So, for a $35 one-time cost, I can replace my Xbox and its $60 yearly cost -- and not have to have wires/cables strung across the room for using the computer. So, Google Chromecast does bring that to the table. And I'm now thinking that's enough. The Xbox will be retired, and the Chromecast will take that slot.

Now, a warning.

I saw another person using Google Chromecast and experiencing some issues. They show they were streaming was not smooth. It was slightly stuttering. Looking at the stream through the computer, not streaming it to Chromecast, everything looked fine. But streaming introduced the jumpiness. Audio was fine, just the image.

I didn't have those issues, but I'm using a different computer. Mine's a 2.66 GHz Intel Core i7 with 8 GB of RAM. Even three years old, that's not a bad computer. I don't know the specs of my friend's computer, but it's a recent Windows 8 machine. I don't know the processor or the speed, and there wasn't time to do proper diagnostics beyond seeing that only half the RAM was in use when streaming from the browser to the Chromecast. CPU usage, though, was at around 50% when watching in the browser, but 99% when streaming to the Chromecast.

I've looked at the Chromecast Website and can't find recommended specs for a computer to stream to the device.I finally found the minimum system requirements: For Windows 7 or 8, a Core i3 or better is required for a good stream. So, here's a warning. While you don't need the top of the line computer to use it smoothly, a lower-end PC might not be able to do the job optimally. Yes, my friend's computer was able to stream, but the jumpiness of the image was noticeable.

If you're looking to get into streaming content to your TV, the Google Chromecast is a good option -- and at $35, it's cheap. Just be aware that some perfectly good computers may be otherwise underpowered for optimal use.

Thursday, August 8, 2013


What comes to mind when someone says "gulf?"

I remember Gulf Oil company sponsoring TV broadcasts of space shots in the 1960s. There's the Gulf of Mexico. Persian Gulf.

So, besides a defunct oil company, "gulf" generally means a place where the sea extends into the land. But, it can have another meaning: a deep chasm, or a gap.

On The Tonight Show With Jay Leno the other night, the president showed just how big of a dumbass he is:
If we don’t deepen our ports all along the Gulf — places like Charleston, South Carolina, or Savannah, Georgia, or Jacksonville, Florida — if we don’t do that, those ships are going to go someplace else. And we’ll lose jobs. Businesses won’t locate here.
I've been those cities. And, I've been to the Gulf coast. But never at the same time.

I'd like to think I don't have to tell you that Jacksonville, Savannah, and Charleston are not cities on the Gulf. But, nobody seemed to tell The Smertest President Evah that those cities are on the Atlantic Ocean.

So, what comes to mind when someone says "gulf?"

The right answer is: A deep chasm, or a gap. As in the deep chasm in the head of Obama, and the ones that voted for him.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The college ranking are out!

It's that time of year. The college rankings are out! And the number one team is ... The University of Iowa.

Wait. What?

You thought I was talking about college football, didn't you? Nope.

The Princeton Review's annual rankings of the top party schools is out, and the Iowa City school holds the top spot.

The top five?
  1. University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
  2. University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, Calif.
  3. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Ill.
  4. West Virginia University, Morgantown W. Va.
  5. Syracuse University, Syracuse, N.Y.
You can read the entire list here.

I noticed that the University of Georgia didn't make the top ten. They were ranked number one in 2010, but fell to number two in 2011, and to number five last year. They come in at number 11 this year.

The fact that UGA has dropped as a party school since my daughter left Athens is simply a coincidence.

I think.

I hope.

I don't want to talk about this any more.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Tech Toys: Chromecast

Got a new toy this week. It's the Google Chromecast thingy. I haven't spent the entire week evaluating it; I have another project going on that's taking up a lot of time, but I did manage to get a good test of the Chromecast.

Now, just as a reminder, I do the Internet TV thing. Though I do have an antenna, I don't have cable or satellite, and most of my TV viewing is via the Internet. Not on my computer. There are lots of people that do that. I think Frank J. does. I don't use a computer; I use other devices to get content to my TV. I use Roku, Apple TV, TiVo, Simple.TV, and Xbox 360. Do I need all that? No. Nobody needs all that. But I got it anyway. Mostly because I felt like it. Or, I wanted to try something out and kept it.

That's where I am on this new toy. It's called Google Chromecast and it's a slightly different take on things.

While the other devices primarily make connection with the streaming services (Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon, iTunes, and so on) the Chromecast doesn't. It allows your TV to receive a stream from one of your other devices, like a smartphone, a tablet, or a computer. And, I'm gonna tell you my thoughts about it.

It works.

Okay, maybe I need to say a little more about it. Well, it's a simple little device. You can click the image at the top and get an idea of how big it is. Or little.

It plugs into an HDMI port on your TV, and you can use your computer browser, or a smartphone or tablet to set it up. Now, you can't set it up using a Kindle Fire. At least, I couldn't. Most other Android-based tablets will work, though. You can use an iPhone or iPad. There's an app for it. Or, you can use your computer and the Chrome browser.

The box comes with simple instructions on how to set it up. You can simply plug it in, attach the power cord, and set your TV on the HDMI port and the instructions will appear on the screen. Do exactly what they say and you'll be just fine.

About that power cord. You can use the included wall wart power adapter, or if your TV has a USB port (not a service port, but one labeled "USB") that will power it. Be advised of one thing: on one TV I tried it on, the power saver feature turned the USB power off after a while, meaning I had to remove it and plug it back in. Using the wall wart solved that. Your TV may not do that, and using the USB port keeps things tidier.

The good: It works. Using the Netflix app on iPhone and Kindle Fire, or the Netflix Website using the Google Chrome browser, a "Play On" button appears that lets you send the output to the Chromecast. And, that means it plays on your TV, both picture and sound.

Right now, Netflix, YouTube, Google Play, and Google Chrome are the only apps that will send content, but that actually covers a lot. I was able to send Hulu content using the browser. Not just Hulu Plus content (which is all Roku, Apple TV, and other set-top boxes support), but also Hulu standard free stuff. The stuff you can't watch on set-top boxes. And, you can send a lot of stuff via the browser, so in that respect, it works pretty well.

Also, if I send an app from my tablet to Chromecast, say Netflix, I can still check email such. There may be something that will interfere, but so far, I haven't run into anything.

The bad? Well, it doesn't do true mirroring. For instance, using Apple TV and a Mac from the last two years, you can mirror your desktop on your TV. With Chromecast, you can send content from a browser tab, but that's about it. There is no full desktop mirroring with Chromecast.

The other thing is the fact that I have to have a separate device. That is, it's not that I can send stuff from my browser, my phone, or my tablet, but I have to; that's the only way I can get content to it. With Roku, Apple TV, or such, I don't have to break out my phone or tablet; those set-top boxes connect directly to the streaming source.

Oh, and not every streaming source works in the browser. Amazon Instant Video, for instance, doesn't work well
at allunless you have disabled Silverlight. Using the default Silverlight plugin, I can mirror the browser tab, but there's no sound, and full-screen simply does not work.
So, it's either not fully baked, or it's not fully supported.Using Flash, it streams fine.

Still, for the price ($35) it's a pretty good setup. It's a cheap way to start watching streaming content on your TV, without having to string wires across the room.

Will I keep it? Maybe. I don't know. I already had all the HDMI ports used with other stuff, and I had to unplug something to try this out. So, I'll either use another input for something, or I'll box the Chromecast back up and give it to one of the children. (Hey, kids, if you're reading this -- and you're not; it's not cool to get caught reading your parent's stuff -- the first one of you to ask for it gets it.)

Would I recommend you get one? Well, I won't recommend you don't. It does work well, and the price is nice.

It won't replace a Roku, or an Apple TV. But, it will supplement one. Or, it will work as an initial step into the world of Internet TV. As more apps come out, it may be good enough.

So, recommend? I won't give an enthusiastic yes, but I will give a yes.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Slinging things off the planet

©Hank Ketcham Enterprises
A couple of years ago, we talked about drug smugglers using catapults to fling marijuana into the U.S.

At the time, we suggested using catapults to throw stuff out of the U.S. Well, it turns out that a company in Virginia is wanting to do more than that. They want to use slingshots to throw stuff off the planet. No, I'm not making this up.

It's a Kickstarter project, called the Slingatron. Only, it calls itself a "railroad to space," but it uses more of a slingshot concept than a railroad concept.

I'm not talking your Dennis the Menace kinda slingshot. I'm talking your David kills Goliath slingshot. The kind that goes around and around then is released with a FTHHPPTT!

Will it work? I dunno. But, I'd like to see it throw something off the planet. Or someone.

Let's start with Barack Obama. Next, Joe Biden. Then, Obama's cabinet. Follow that up with the Democrats in Congress, and then the people that voted for them.

I'm thinking once we do that, we'll have worked out all the bugs, and the Republicans will get the idea that we don't mind tossing folks off the planet. Maybe they'll straighten up and act right.

And, if they don't, we'll still need to test it some more, just to make sure it's working.

But, that's just my suggestion. Who do you suggest we test this thing on? Who would you throw off the planet?