Thursday, May 31, 2007


French animator Nick Hilligoss tells the story of Adam and Eve in L’animateur. With a twist. Click to see it in Daily Motion.

(Via Neatorama)

FSX: Relief for the Blurries

Spotlope, an excellent Flight Simulator scenery designer, blogs about a nice tweak for FS9 and FSX to reduce or even almost eliminate the scourge of the blurries. Note that this trick only works on nVidia cards.

Recently, Gary Summons noted that adding the line “MipBias=6″ to your fsx.cfg file would stop the sim from reverting to lower mips for ground textures in the near distance. I tried it, and it’s true. However, the other problem that then resulted on my system was an unacceptable shimmering in the textures. I found it more distracting than the original blurring, and backed out the change. The forum thread I read last night mentioned a companion tweak that makes MipBias viable: in addition to adding that line to your fsx.cfg, alter your video card settings to set “Negative LOD Bias” to clamp, instead of allow. The two fixes, in combination, made a dramatic difference in the sharpness of my FSX world without any noticable performance impact.
See more details on his blog.

Switching to FeedBurner

I am trying to get some more stats on my readership. If you read this through a news aggregator (blog reader), and you want to help, all you have to do is change the feed subscription to FeedBurner:

The blog stays the same as before, in, but running through FeedBurner for stats. If you have your own blog, you should give FeedBurner a try (it's free).


Ella Fitzgerald sings "A House Is Not a Home"

Ella Fitzgerald sings "A House Is Not a Home", Montreux (1969)

Photo of the Day

Mom was fishing at the pier. She was in her own little world.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Welcoming a new Photography Blogger!

A photographer friend of mine, John DeSanto has started a blog about what else? Photography! Visit him at The Photo Guru!

John is an experienced photojournalist working for the Times Herald-Record.

Welcome to the blogosphere!

Photo of the Day

Big boy's toy

Monday, May 28, 2007

The decline of science education

What can you say about the state of education and the future of this country when there is the opening today of the Creation Museum Fantasyland, a new $27 million monstrosity of misinformation in Kentucky, paid for by Answers in Genesis and their donors.

Do we now wonder why China, India, Korea, Japan and Europe are up in science research and education and we are not? Want to bet where the Nobel Prize in the sciences will come from in the near future? Hint: not from the USA.

The LA Times had this to say about it:

[B]efore the first visitor risks succumbing to the museum’s animatronic balderdash — dinosaurs and humans actually coexisted! the Grand Canyon was carved by the great flood described in Genesis! — we’d like to clear up a few things: “The Flintstones” is a cartoon, not a documentary. Fred and Wilma? Those woolly mammoth vacuum cleaners? All make-believe.

Science is under assault, and that calls for bold truths. Here’s another: The Earth is round.

The museum, a 60,000-square-foot menace to 21st century scientific advancement, is the handiwork of Answers in Genesis, a leader in the “young Earth” movement. Young Earthers believe the world is about 6,000 years old, as opposed to the 4.5 billion years estimated by the world’s credible scientific community. This would be risible if anti-evolution forces were confined to a lunatic fringe, but they are not. Witness the recent revelation that three of the Republican candidates for president do not believe in evolution. Three men seeking to lead the last superpower on Earth reject the scientific consensus on cosmology, thermonuclear dynamics, geology and biology, believing instead that Bamm-Bamm and Dino played together.
The blogosphere is full of comments about this, mostly negative. The National Center for Science Education has collection of reactions to creation museum hoax. The Rally for Reason site is organizing a protest today, Monday May 28th outside the gates.

I shudder to think of the uninformed masses that bring their children, yet incapable of critically assessing the material presented, and believing that the Flintstones depicted real life at the time.

Photo of the Day

Beach view from 30th Street - Miami Beach yesterday.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

At least some students in Massachusetts know what's going on

Andrew Card, ex-White House Chief of Staff for President Bush received an honorary degree from University of Massachusetts, Amherst May 25.

I commented before how the students have not risen up in protest over the war in Iraq. This time they did. They booed when Mr. Card's degree was announced [YouTube]. It is funny that the University's Press Release did not care to mention the incident.

(Via Cynical-C)

Photo of the Day

Lifeguard house at 74th Street - Miami Beach

The flag is supposed to be dark green but it looks black due to the shade from the harsh sunlight.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Bill Maher on the French

Google buys FeedBurner for $100 million

Google continues with their acquisitions: purchase of FeedBurner for $100 million is confirmed.

Feedburner is in the closing stages of being acquired by Google for around $100 million. The deal is all cash and mostly upfront, according to our source, although the founders will be locked in for a couple of years.
Congratulations to the guys at FeedBurner for the great job they have been doing and the payoff they get and deserve.

Photo of the Day

Building detail - Lincoln Rd. - Miami Beach

Friday, May 25, 2007

Iraq Funding Bill: Our letters to Congress

I sent today the following email to our Congress Representative plus our State's two Senators with a copy to Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader H. Reid.

This is the text of one of the emails, verbatim. The other ones are the same except for the proper name changes.

Dear Senator Nelson,

We are extremely upset upon your vote today giving in to the President's threat of another veto, and continue funding this unjust war. We thought when we voted for you, that We, the People of America, were sending a message to change course and end the war. Yet you and most of the Democratic Senators and Representatives, except a courageous and honest few, were duped by the Administration's propaganda machine which somehow changed the "fund the war" vote to "fund the troops". It was never about funding or supporting the troops! We all want to do that! It was, and is, about getting us out of there!

Unfortunately you do not seem to have understood the message we sent last November.

Senator, you lost our respect, and our vote today.
According to the calls I heard today, to the different radio talk-shows I listen to, we are not alone in this. The majority of America voted for change. The majority wwere betrayed today.

Olbermann - Special Comment on Dems’ Iraq ‘Compromise’

He likens them to Neville Chamberlain. I think it is an appropriate comparison, given their unspeakable vote today on Iraq War Funding.

When did the country, and especially our elected officials, fall for the Administration's change of "funding the war" to "funding the troops"? It is never in doubt that we all support the troops. The message sent last November, we hoped loud and clear, was that we wanted to get our troops home. Evidently it was not clear enough. Except for a courageous and honest few, most fell for the Administration's fear mongering tactics.

My wife and I are very upset about this betrayal of the majority's trust. We have written our Senators and Congress Representative to show our displeasure, which is the subject of the next post.

Working with monkeys

I am not fond of commercials, but sometimes you find something well made, and funny.

Three commercials: working with monkeys

Al Gore's desk: a man after my heart

Al Gore's desk. Look at those monitors! (and yes, his is a little more cluttered than mine).

(Thanks Ed)

Artists and labels seek royalties from radio

Quote of the day:

"The creation of music is suffering because of declining sales," said
RIAA Chief Executive Mitch Bainwol. "We clearly have a more difficult time
tolerating gaps in revenues that should be there."
I'm speechless.

Funding bill passes.

They voted to give the President a blank check, approving $95 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with no strings attached. To make it more palatable for the undecided, they filled it with pork. What do Katrina victims and additional supplemental appropriations for agricultural and other emergency assistance have to do with Iraq?

The House voted 280-142. I'm ashamed of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and my senators Bill Nelson and Mel Martinez voting yes, knowing this gives the President everything he wanted to keep going on in this war.

The Senate voted 80-14 with 6 non-votes. For the record, presidential candidates Obama, Clinton, and Dodd voted No. Ex-Senator John Edwards was against it too:

"Washington failed America today when Congress surrendered to the president's demand for another blank check that prolongs the war in Iraq. It is time for this war to end.

"Congress should immediately use its funding power to cap troop levels in Iraq at 100,000, stop the ongoing surge, and force an immediate drawdown of 40-50,000 troops, followed by a complete withdrawal in about a year.

"The American people's call for a new course in Iraq was not answered today, but Congress still has the power to end this war. Our security and democracy alike demand it."

Note that this $95 billion is only until the end of the fiscal year in September 2007. Then they will have to vote again for another $100 billion or so and the money goes pouring out ad-nauseam. So much for fiscal responsibility. So much for moral values.

Everything bigger than 200 miles

This very cool image shows you all the objects in the solar system bigger than 200 miles in diameter. It includes planets, asteroids, TNOs, moons, and one star. Even Sedna is there!

(Via Phil Plait)

Photo of the Day

Crowned Night Heron - same individual as in this other picture.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Four Senators with balls

That is the title of Bob Geiger's piece that says what I wanted to convey in my previous entry.

If I asked you to quickly name what four United States Senators are sticking to their guns and will vote against the ludicrous "compromise" Iraq supplemental bill -- you know, the one where George W. Bush gets everything he wants -- what would be your first few guesses?

If you said Russ Feingold (D-WI), Chris Dodd (D-CT) and John Kerry (D-MA) you would, of course, be right. And if you think about who was one of the fastest to sign on with the Feingold-Reid legislation to withdraw our troops from Iraq in less than a year, you probably would have also guessed Independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

These are just a few of the Senators and Congresspeople that have the guts to say it like it is. We have to start planning an exit at some point. Bush wants to continue this mess until at least the end of 2008. By then he will be out of office and then it will be somebody else's mess to deal with. Isn't that nice. Then, I'm sure he bets that the next President will have to pull out and hopes that history will remember him (or her) as the one that had to withdraw.

This is nothing new. Rep. Murtha had proposed a plan to move to neighboring areas almost two years ago. What's Bush's plan? More of the same?

Go to to check on them

Garrett tells us about, a site where you can see what you favorite congressperson (or congresscritter if you prefer) has done and how they have voted.

This way I can easily check on any of them, including my representative, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz [D, FL-20]

It will also make it easier to see who's giving in to the current administration and chickened out, voting for funding the war with no end in sight. We voted last November to fix many things, including trying to make something out of the current mess in Iraq that this administration got us into. We have to set some kind of exit strategy. It cannot be open-ended ad-infinitum.

We don 't need and nobody wants another Vietnam. Besides the money wasted, there is the more important issue of the human cost. American soldiers and Iraqi civilians. We are breaking our Army. At some point it will be unsustainable. Then they will be forced to institute a draft. Then you will see (finally) the kids in the Universities rise up like they did during Vietnam. They have been strangely silent as a generation that obviously does not care much beyond their dreams of money in their future professional careers and their iPods, and other material things they have now. Don't they read the paper every once in a while? Wait till it touches them directly, then we'll see what happens.

Do I feel better after saying that? No. I will when something is finally done about this mess. I have not seen it yet from this Congress. They don't have the votes to override a veto, so they are discussing what to do as this is being written. We'll see if they amend the bill to do what the administration wants or do they fight. Let's attach some strings. The ones the voters requested in November, shall we?

News of the weird:Man with 700 snakes arrested at airport

CNN reports:

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) -- Customs officers at Cairo's airport have detained a man bound for Saudi Arabia who was trying to smuggle 700 live snakes on a plane, airport authorities said.
Are these people crazy, or what? Did they see the movie?

Photo of the Day

Crowned Night Heron - found him this past weekend in Miami Beach

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

How nerdy are you?

I took the nerd test and got the following result:

I am nerdier than 59% of all people. Are you a nerd? Click here to find out!

Overall, you scored as follows:

39% scored higher (more nerdy),
2% scored the same, and
59% scored lower (less nerdy).

What does this mean? Your nerdiness is:

Somewhat nerdy. I mean face it, you are nerdier than about half the test takers.

It's a little dated but fun.

Photo of the Day

Avalon Hotel - SoBe

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Photo of the Day

Eden Roc Hotel on Collins Ave., closed for renovations

Monday, May 21, 2007

Photo of the Day

Example of South Beach newer architecture

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Are they for real? Blog for Brownback denounces Heliocentrism.

The sad story of our country's politics, and school system, than can produce these idiots. A blogger for Brownback's election campaign equates heliocentrism with atheism.

[W]e should always bear in mind that the Earth does not move. If it moved, we would feel it moving. That’s called empiricism, the experience of the senses. Don’t take my word for it, or the evidence of your own senses, Copernicans. There’s also the Word of the Lord[.]
What kind of lunatics are his followers? Wasn't it enough that he denounced evolution in the Republican Debate?

(Via PZ Myers)

Photo of the Day

Indian Creek Hotel - Indian Creek @ 27th St. - Miami Beach

Saturday, May 19, 2007

I Wish to Report a Burglary - Monty Python

Click on the screen or click here for YouTube

Photo of the Day

Majestic - Ocean Drive - Miami Beach

Friday, May 18, 2007

Photo of the Day

Abbey Hotel - 21st and Liberty - Miami Beach

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Christof on Secure error handling

Christof Wollenhaupt [MVP] shows us in "Secure error handling", how careful we have to be as developers in securing our applications and data.

Recently I reviewed a Visual FoxPro application for security issues. This application was using a popular file encryption DLL to transparently encrypt all tables... Yet, it was very easy to decrypt all files, because this particular application wasn't protecting the start up process properly.
Let his lesson sink in.

[Typo fixed]

To avoid traffic he kite surfs to work

From the Daily Mail:

Sailing past traffic jams is every commuter’s dream but David Grimes does that almost every day - literally.

The 37-year-old IT manager puts on a wetsuit each morning and kitesurfs to his office in Brighton.
Well done Mr. Grimes!

Thanks Nick!

Photo of the Day

Still trying my hand at street photography, and enjoying it.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Hitchens slams Falwell’s life

From CNN, via Crooks and Liars.

HITCHENS: The empty life of this ugly little charlatan proves only one thing: that you can get away with the most extraordinary offenses to morality and to truth in this country if you will just get yourself called Reverend.

Who would, even at your network, have invited on such a little toad to tell us that the attacks of September the 11th were the result of our sinfulness and were God's punishment if they hadn't got some kind of clerical qualification?

People like that should be out in the street, shouting and hollering with a cardboard sign and selling pencils from a cup.

At least somebody has the guts to explain what a vile and evil fraud Falwell was.
I'm glad to see he skipped the rapture, was found on the floor of his office, while the rest of us go to hell...

Flight Simulator X SP1 released!

After months of work, the Microsoft Aces Team has released Flight Simulator X (SP1) which you can get here.

For detail on what's new check out Phil Taylor's blog.

Photo of the Day

Gone swimming

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A tribute to Jerry Falwell

As a tribute to Jerry Falwell who died today, I offer Roy Zimmerman's "Jerry Falwell's God"

Performed at the Skeptics Society Conference -- Cal Tech, 2006

Miami tops 'road rage' list

CNN: Miami tops 'road rage' list

For the second consecutive year, rude Miami drivers have earned the city the title of worst road rage in a survey released today. Miami motorists said they saw other drivers slam on their brakes, run red lights and talk on cell phones, according to AutoVantage, a Connecticut-based automobile membership club offering travel services and roadside assistance. Other cities near the top of the rude drivers list were New York, Boston, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

Not only it gives Miami a great image but it is also true. There are way too many drivers running red lights. I see at least one a day in my commute. There are plenty of immigrants and foreign tourists that apparently never bothered to read the rules of the road. Plenty of retirees driving slow on the left. Plenty of women talking on the phone while driving and making a turn without looking, cutting you off without a second thought.

Realizing you are going to miss your highway exit and cutting across three lanes to turn at the last minute? Yep. That happens often. And don't get me started on the smokers that think the street is their private garbage bin and throw their cigarettes out the window without even thinking.

Photo of the Day

China Grill building - Washington & 5th - Miami Beach

Monday, May 14, 2007

Amazon acquires

It was announced today has purchased

“ is by far the most authoritative source anywhere for straight talk about new digital cameras,” said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of “We at have been their fans for a long time, and we extend a big welcome to the team.”

This is a great move for Phil Askey, the creator of the site. DPreview was started as a hobby and in short time became the place to check for reviews on cameras and equipment. He and his team did an excellent job and I hope they became rich in the process.

What this means for the site in the future, is something we'll soon find out. I hope they put the infusion of cash and resources to a good cause. Not that I can see what can be improved in an already excellent site.

What can be done with the VW Beetle

A nice set of photos of weird and whacko mods on VW Beetles:

What can be done with the VW Beetle - Part I
What can be done with the VW Beetle - Part II

Photo of the Day

Juvenile Brown Pelican at Haulover Cut pier this weekend.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

What if the Beatles were Irish?

A very funny video (YouTube): "What if the Beatles were Irish?" by Roy Zimmerman

How the software industry changed

My old friend Gonzo (a.k.a. John) wrote a very good post ("Welcome to Jiffy Tech") on how the computer and software industry changed since we started in this business 25 or so years ago.

He talks about how as the industry has progressed and became more complicated, salaries got lower and lower.

I remember having a conversation with a friend of mine over beers back in the mid-80's. He was trying to understand exactly what it was I did and why it paid so well. I thought for a moment and replied that we were the "priests in the temples in the Dark Ages". We were elite because we knew how to read in an illiterate world. But one day, as technology spread, we'd be the new auto mechanics.
He was right then, and now. Even though the complexity of systems has increased many times, and the debugging and fixing problems has become more and more complicated, the salaries for a good coder and a good troubleshooter have gone down to maybe a fifth of what they were 15 years ago (in real terms). Oh, longing for the old days.

Photo of the Day

Motorcycle detail

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Recent movies I've seen

I rent and watch good movies as often as I can.

The latest I've seen:

The Queen by Stephen Frears A good movie with an excellent performance by Helen Mirren (Oscar winner for her role in this movie).

The Asphalt Jungle by John Huston A classic Film Noir that somehow I had never seen until now. With an excellent cast, featuring James Whitmore and a very young and unknown Marilyn Monroe in a small role. It earned an Oscar nomination for Sam Jaffe, the excellent actor of many movies including his great performance as Gunga Din and also as Professor Barnhardt in The Day The Earth Stood Still, one of my favorite movies. Asphalt Jungle has also a good performance by Jean Hagen, the vacuous obnoxious blond in Singing in the Rain. The B&W photography is first class.

Flags of Our Fathers by Clint Eastwood Somehow I did not like this movie. It is certainly a good story, but I found the narrative tedious and the movie much too long. He could've cut a good ten minutes and kept it within two hours long. Now I have to see his next movie, the story told of Iwo Jima from the other side in Letters from Iwo Jima, which I heard was better than the first one.

Photo of the Day

Courts building. Tacoma, WA

Friday, May 11, 2007

Photo of the Day

Chasing after a speeder = Bay Harbor Islands waterways, FL

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Photo of the Day

I'm trying my hand at street photography. I find it to be the toughest photo assignment I could take as it is hard to break my inner shyness, but is very rewarding when it comes out okay.

Bringing home the groceries - Bay Harbor Islands, FL

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Photo of the Day

Casa Casuarina (Gianni Versace's house) - Ocean Drive

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Photo of the Day

Ocean Drive - SoBe

Monday, May 07, 2007

Photo of the Day

The Colony Hotel - Ocean Drive - SoBe

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Photo of the Day

Jerry's Deli - South Beach - Art Deco district

Saturday, May 05, 2007

If you are stupid, raise your hand.

If you are stupid, raise your hand.

This is what the Republican Party has to offer? Welcome to the 18th Century.

To paraphrase Mark Twain, "Tis best to keep one's hand down and appear stupid, than to raise it and remove all doubt."

(Via J-Walk)

Photo of the Day

A 2005 view of Miami's downtown skyline. Much construction is going on now to significantly change the landscape.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Photo of the Day

View from Key Biscayne - Miami, FL

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Photo of the Day

Miami, FL

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Photo of the Day

Buildings on Brickell Ave., Miami, FL

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Last two movies I've watched

I am somewhat of a movie buff. I unfortunately find most American movies made lately can be classified as crap, to put it nicely.

I rent movies from Netflix so I have something to watch every week. I have been on a quest to watch the classics that I don't remember or that I have missed since I started going to the movies in my youth.

This past week I had the pleasure to watch these two:

  • Island in the Sky
  • Witness for the Prosecution
Island in the Sky is a John Wayne movie that he made and produced in 1953 where he plays a C-47 cargo pilot in WWII that has to survive, with his crew, from a forced landing on a frozen lake in the middle of nowhere in Canada in winter. Excellent movie with a great cast, including Andy Devine, one of my favorite funny actors.

Witness for the Prosecution is one of the best movies I've ever seen. I loved it and it quickly climbed to be in my top-ten list. With a good plot, based on a book by Agatha Christie, it keeps you interested to see the conclusion. If you read the link provided and you have not seen it, avoid the "spoiler" section. And as they say in the closing credits, do not tell your friends how it ends. Wonderful acting by Charles Laughton and Marlene Dietrich, with a great and funny interaction between Laughton and his real-life wife Elsa Lanchester (which I found out later was famous for having played the "Bride of Frankestein").

The Atheist Delusion

God is real. Richard Dawkins and his book is not.

Mission Accomplished - 4 Years Later

Mission Accomplished - 4 Years Later

On the 4th anniversary of this PR joke on the world, after over 3340 Americans and countless Iraqis have died, King George vetoes war-funding bill with withdrawal timetable. This is only his second veto in over 6 years. The US Congress gave him everything he asked in funding this war. He has the gall to veto it insisting that "setting a timeline for withdrawal is setting a date for failure". OK. Mr. President, what's your plan for victory? Continuing the war indefinitely? Or just dumping it on the next president's lap?

"You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time." -- Abraham Lincoln

Ohio judge frees man after Bible quiz

Quoting a Bible passage is apparently a "get out of jail free" card in some parts of Ohio. Don't we have laws against crime? Don't we have a separation between church and state? Would a person of get out of jail by reciting the Koran? Would an atheist/agnostic get off so easy?

CINCINNATI - A man arrested on Wednesday for allegedly trying to use a stolen credit card at a drugstore got a break from a judge after passing a sort of Bible quiz.

When Eric Hine appeared in court this morning, his attorney described him as a church-goer, hoping the judge would set a low bond.

Hamilton County Municipal Court Judge John Burlew was skeptical and asked Hine to recite the 23rd Psalm.

He did: all six verses. Some in the courtroom applauded.

Burlew was satisfied and released Hine on a $10,0000 appearance bond, meaning he'll have to pay that amount if he doesn't show up for his next court date.

The moral of this is that stealing a credit card is not a problem if you can quote from the book of mythology that the judge likes. The guy should be in jail for stealing. The judge should be thrown out of the job.

Philadelphia Shuts Down Psychics

They never saw it coming: Philadelphia Shuts Down Psychics Under Little-Known Law Against Fortune Telling.

They never saw it coming. City inspectors shut down more than a dozen psychics, astrologers and tarot-card readers after learning about a decades-old state law that bans fortune telling for profit.

Inspectors did not make arrests or issue fines, "but they will if these people try to return to work," said Dominic E. Verdi, deputy commissioner of the city Department of Licenses and Inspections.

Verdi said the law, on the books for more than 30 years, makes fortunetelling "for gain or lucre" a third-degree misdemeanor.

Way to go Philly! It's about time that somebody protects the fools from parting with their money by these cons and scam artists.

(Via J-Walk)

SouthWest Fox 2007 speakers & session schedule announced

The speakers and sessions for the upcoming Southwest Fox 2007 conference (October 18-21, 2007 in Mesa Arizona) have been announced today.

Rick Schummer and Doug Hennig have published info in their respective blogs and Rick's company, White Light Computing has graciously donated a $300 scholarship to one lucky attendee to be applied to attending next year's conference. Way to go Rick!

This looks like it will be an awesome conference! Who says the Fox is dead?

NASA releases New Horizons Jupiter photos

Europa rising over Jupiter

The New Horizons space probe passed within 1.4 million miles of Jupiter last February. NASA released the first photos of the series today.

Breaking news from Haiti (ONN)

Breaking news from Haiti - from ONN

Something is happening in Haiti.

(Thanks Juan!)

Duke Ellington - Caravan (1952)

(Via Cynical-C)

Photo of the Day