Feb
24
2006

Pugs in Hats

pug-hat.jpgEver get the feeling the interweb’s primary renewable resource is schadenfreude? If you’re not convinced, I give you the Flickr Pugs in Hats Pool. I promise, looking at these pug pics won’t make you feel as dirty as those cats in hats from Japan did!

(Via Screenhead, muchas gracias!)

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Feb
20
2006

Review: Belkin Wireless G Plus Router

Short version for ADD readers: the Belkin Wireless G Plus Router rocks!

belkin-router.jpgWireless connectivity has become one of those essentials I can’t do without. Nothing’s better than sitting on the couch with a laptop and no wires. Although with the battery down to a nub in my G3 iBook, a power cord is pretty essential these days. Nevertheless, I don’t care to compound that indignity with a cat5 cable in the other side. I’d been running a D-Link DI-514 802.11b wireless router, but it seemed to be growing progressively more crochety in its old age, and had gotten to the point where renewing its DHCP config every 10-15 minutes was essential to staying online. I had a history with D-Link going back to 1998 and my first home network, built on a D-Link kit with 2 NICs and a 10MbT hub used to share a dial-up connection. That network was rock solid, and led me to choose D-Link when I first switched over to wi-fi. Got a good three years out of my first D-Link wireless router, and when it died a sudden death I was still happy enough with them to purchase the DI-514. Unfortunately, this unit was a pain to configure in a mixed PC/Mac environment, and required attention far too frequently. When it finally gave up the ghost, my elation at not having to nurse this monster along any further almost outweighed my unhappiness with the replacement expense. Until I looked at my options…

I needed something available locally, as I’m too cheap to blow the money I’d save ordering from Amazon on overnight shipping. Given the preponderance of Macs on my network, Apple’s AirPort Extreme was a logical choice, but I balked at paying $200 for a unit with only one LAN port. Linksys was somewhat appealing, but they’ve done away with the Linux firmware patching on almost all of their wireless routers, and the model that does still support Linux didn’t seem to be available locally. I’d had a Netgear wirless unit before, and returned it within 24 hours as unfit for human consumption. SMC sounded somewhat promising, but I wasn’t sold on them either. Fortunately, a friend heard about my plight and suggested a Belkin Pre-N Router. Since our current iBooks max out at 802.11g and lack pcmcia slots, Pre-N wasn’t especially compelling. But Belkin is pretty Mac-friendly stuff in general, and seemed like a pretty good way to go. $60 dollars later at the local Circuit City, I was the proud new owner of a Belkin Wireless G Plus Router.

The Belkin unit comes with the standard wall wart power supply, a CD, and a manual. Reading the fine print on the box confirms the unit as using the same Broadcom chipset found in Apple’s AirPort devices. Although the CD includes a quick start wizard, I decided to go the manual configuration route as a testament to my oversized computer geek manhood. I released the DHCP address from my old D-Link one last time, spit in the dirt, and replace it with the Belkin, following the manual setup instructions. Once I bring it up, it presents me with a very easy to navigate web interface, and syncs right in with the cable modem. By default, it uses a subnet of 192.168.2.0/24 instead of the standard 192.168.0.0/24. Since the old D-Link never did DHCP very well, I changed all the systems on the network from static IPs to DHCP, and they all came right up on the new IP range. The whole conversion and installation process only took 10-15 minutes. I’ve had it up and running for a couple of weeks now with no problems whatsoever. As with any hardware that runs around the clock, there’s a potential for problems down the road. But for ease of setup and initial reliability, the Belkin is easily the best wireless unit I’ve ever had. And that’s from a man without Amazon referral links to shill!

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Feb
19
2006

Vinyl Sharity

Around the World with Les BaxterAlthough there’s been plenty of good new music released in the past year or so, some of us still love the old stuff too. When the world moved from records to CDs in the 1980s, quite a few excellent albums were left behind. Consequently, the “invisible ear” of music appreciation has moved in to fill the void for the vinyl-challenged among us.

Planet Xtabay serves up some of the finest Exotica available anywhere. If you’re searching for out of print Les Baxter records, bongo music compilations, or even just exploring Exotica in general, Planet Xtabay is worth a look. Don’t miss their links to other vinyl sharity sites!

Chris Goes Rock is run by a Swede with an insanely deep collection of late 60′s – early 70′s acid rock. One stop shopping for pre-Motorhead Lemmy, Electric Prunes bootlegs, and obscure Atomic Rooster albums.

I've fallen and I can't get up!Mexicovers proprietor Sr. Mexican’t serves up some special south of the border vinyl, and he’s also got a wonderful collection of Mexican album covers. And if you practice an “English First” policy when browsing bad cover art, Zonicweb’s Museum of Bad Album Covers should provide plenty of amusement in a less cross-cultural setting.

By now you’ve probably killed enough time looking at covers to get another free download from rapidshare! More excellent collections can be found at Soundsational, Rato Records, and PCL LinkDump. If you know of others that rock, swing, or otherwise are worth a look, please post them in the comments!

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Feb
19
2006

Achewood

achewood.gifWebcomics can be a mixed bag. Some of them are vastly superior to what you’d find in the pages of your local newspaper, others are like an R-rated Garfield. One that I enjoy consistently is Achewood. The strip has a great combination of ongoing storylines and odd characters, and geekery. Use the dropdown menu to jump to the start of a story arc, or just take it from the beginning.

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Feb
10
2006

Webcams from the Winter Games in Torino

Torino Webcams: “”

Given the international climate now, just about anything could show up on these cams.

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Feb
07
2006

The Blog | Danielle Crittenden: The Secret Presidential IMs: Bush & Clinton Swap Chick Problems | The Huffington Post

The Blog | Danielle Crittenden: The Secret Presidential IMs: Bush & Clinton Swap Chick Problems | The Huffington Post

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Feb
05
2006

Hot wax and cool blues

joe_black_patti.gifSaw a fine documentary on IFC the other morning called Desperate Man Blues. The film is about Joe Bussard, a record collector from Maryland with a basement full of 78s, comprising what may be the finest collection of prewar country and blues anywhere. The film was largely shot in Bussard’s basement (where John Fahey cut his first records for Bussard’s Fonotone label), with him spinning records and telling stories. And dancing.

Bussard’s not a fan of the new stuff though, as he told the Washington City Paper in a 1998 interview:

The very term “folk music” rankles him: The music he worships was made by professionals‹backwoods or no‹and released on commercial records that were revolutionary in their day. He dismisses Dylan as “shit,” but then again he despises all forms of rock ‘n’ roll, which to him is no more than the cuss-word verb of its original meaning, a blues double-entendre for fucking. He similarly rejects all country music made after ’53, saying it was finished when Hank Williams croaked in the back of that Cadillac in West Virginia. As for jazz, well, that died out around ’33, murdered in cold blood by the Depression and the arrival of the big bands. When told about the so-called swing revival, he nearly chokes on his cigar, incredulous that anyone would bother resurrecting the brassy dreck of the Dorseys and their ilk.

If you’re into the old time music, you can order custom mix tapes from Joe’s collection, and he’s put out a compilation of his favorites. He also does a weekly radio show that’s available online (if you have the dreaded RealPlayer).

If you come across Desperate Man Blues, it’s definitely worth an hour of your time.

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Jan
31
2006

The Secret Presidential IMs: Now if only we could get Jon Stewart to host… | The Huffington Post

The Blog | Danielle Crittenden: The Secret Presidential IMs: Now if only we could get Jon Stewart to host… | The Huffington Post: “”

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Jan
27
2006

Stephen Colbert Interview

The Onion’s AV Club has an interview with Stephen Colbert, host of The Colbert Report and the man who coined the American Dialect Society’s 2005 Word of the Year: truthiness.

colbert1.jpg“There are no televisions behind me, like the way [NBC Nightly News anchor] Brian Williams has, or even [Daily Show host] Jon [Stewart]. At certain angles, there are monitors behind Jon that have the world going on, which implies that that’s where the news is, and that’s where the information is, and the person in front of it is the conduit through which this information is given to you. But on my set, I said, ‘I don’t want anything behind me, because I am the sun. It all comes from me. I’m not channeling anything. I am the source.’”

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Jan
26
2006

No smoking at the Waffle House?!?

wafflehouse.jpgBloomberg reports that four Winston-Salem, NC Waffle Houses are turning non-smoking next week. Going smoke free in the heart of tobacco country is a bold move for any restaurant, and for Waffle House to try this sounds like a suicidal move. Next time I’m in North Carolina, I’ll be going to IHOP instead.

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