Joho the BlogDecember 2006 - Page 3 of 9 - Joho the Blog

December 23, 2006

Olympia Dukakis refuses mandatory DUI arrest

With yesterday’s arrest of director Gus Van Sant for driving while under the influence, Olympia Dukakis becomes the last Hollywood personage not to be charged with the crime. The Academy Award winner’s spokesperson last night said that Dukakis has no intention of getting arrested for drunk driving because she has “always been a non-conformist.” Dukakis is also rumored to have a peptic ulcer that prevents her from drinking heavily. “She just doesn’t want to support the neighborhood,” sniped Mel Gibson, whose DUI arrests have had him contribute more than 35,000 hours of community service. “Ever since the Academy Award—for Moonfrickingstruck, for Christ’s sake—she’s suddenly too big to pick up trash alongside the highway.”

Dukakis last appeared in a supporting role in The Librarian: Return to King Solomon’s Mines, a made-for-tv movie, directed by Star Trek‘s Jonathan Frakes, who was arrested for DUI in 1997, 1999, 2000, twice in 2002, and—in a bid to salvage his career—continuously since 2004. [Tags: ]

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December 22, 2006

It’s not cheating if the game’s not fun

I’m sure I’ll get past the level I’m on in Ghost Recon 3: Advanced Warfighter (PC). If I put in enough time, I will not only rescue the VIP, but I’ll hold off those bad, bad terrorists or whatever they are until the chopper comes to pick up me and my brave boys. But, you know what? I’m tired of replaying this same segment of the level. Run across the square. Position my squad. Shoot the two baddies who approach from the side. Then pick off the ones on the right. Wait for the armored vehicle. Wait for the tank and the radio instruction that I can call in an air strike. Carry the VIP to the chopper. Wait for the next wave. Shoot the guys behind the monument. Wait to be suddenly felled by a bullet or shell from somewhere. Reload from the previous save point. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Let me try explaining this to the game designers. You see, fellas (and I’m guessing you’re mainly guys), I know you think this particular segment is fun. You probably used phrases like “It kicks ass” and “This is so fricking cool!” But some of us are 56 years old and happen not to enjoy getting 90% through the segment only to have to start again. Oh, sure, if I play it another ten times, I’ll figure out where the fatal shot is coming from. But now I dread playing your game because I know I’ll have to go through the same fricking cool segment again. Your game has become a chore.

But you’re convinced I’m having a good time, because not only are we all as good at the game as you are, we all enjoy it for exactly the same reasons.

Stop being dicks. Let us save the game wherever we want, and let us know the codes so we can get past the parts of your game we’re not enjoying.
Thank you. [Tags: ]


The effect of blogs on coverage of China

Rebecca MacKinnon has posted the fascinating results of her survey of foreign correspondents who cover China, asking how blogs affect their coverage of China. 90% follow blogs. Most find blogs more useful than CNN and BBC when it comes to writing their stories. And generally they refuse to generalize about whether blogs are more or less reliable than official PRC media. [Tags: ]

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December 21, 2006

PLos ONE – Peer reviewed, but full-throttle

Public Library of Science has gone beta with PLos ONE, a peer-reviewed journal that publishes everything that passes the review, not just what it considers to be important. So, if it’s good science about a nit, it’ll find a home at PLoS ONE.

And at that home, readers can discuss and annotate the articles. They can also read them and reuse for free since they’re all published under a Creative Commons Attribution License. It does, however, cost a scientist (or her institution) $1,250 to be published by PLoS ONE. This is, alas, an improvement over what traditional journals charge scientists. PLoS ONE will waive the fee for authors who don’t have the funds.

Fees aside, if you were designing a society, wouldn’t you want scientific research to be handled this way? If it’s good science, make it available! (And if it’s not clear if it’s good science, make it available anyway, but that’s not PLoS ONE’s niche in the knowledge economy.)

(Note on the beta: The site could use tagging. And more feeds.) [Tags: ]


Dabble’s meta contest

Every day in December, Dabble announces a theme and asks users to create playlists of videos that best exemplify it. Dabble users vote on them. At the end, there will be a winner of all winners who will get $500. Today’s theme is “Useless Blonde Celebrities,” although I assume videos about useless blond celebrities are also acceptable.

Some themes I’d like to see added to the contest:

Other uses of Mentos

Ways to squander a college education

The fun is in the background
Proof that there is or is not a God

Great unintentional air guitar performances

Worst. New dance steps. Ever.
No, it’s not pornography, you sick bastard [Tags: ]


Wired on Global Voices

Quinn Norton has a good overview of Global Voices, including its recent Delhi confab, at [Tags: ]

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Resetting and rebooting a Vonage Motorola modem

After several years of trouble-free use, my Vonage modem stopped working a couple of days ago. The green light wouldn’t stop blinking. After searching the Net for answers, I finally screwed up my courage and called Vonage phone support, about which I had heard horror stories. Well, this isn’t one of them. They answered quickly and put me in touch with the right person within a minute. The support person walked me through the steps—a little too slowly—and now I know how to reset my Vonage Motorola VT1005V modem. Let me save you the phone call:

Connect your PC to the Vonage modem by plugging a cable into your PC’s ethernet port and plugging the other end into the PC port on the modem.

Browse to This will bring up the Motorola admin screen. Click the “restore factory defaults” button. Just to be sure, then click the “reboot” button.

Now unplug the power to the modem and wait ten seconds. Plug it back in. The modem’s green power light will blink for a minute or two. Once it’s on steady, you should be back in business. (If not, check to make sure you have a telephone plugged into the modem. In fact, that’s the first thing you should have done.) [Tags: ]


Subservient Search Engine

MsDewey entertains as it searches. The fetching young woman who talks to you—commenting on your search query or trying to entice you into searching—has a fetching, simpering quality just short of flirtatious. She reacts appropriately to a surprisingly wide set of terms – it’s like an application that’s all Easter eggs. Because the actress is, well, hot it should be a big hit with the adolescent boys. But how many times do I want to hear her patter before I’ll go elsewhere for faster results presented more conveniently, … a site that doesn’t actually rap on my screen if I haven’t searched for thirty seconds?

The Digg comment stream has a list of terms that Ms. Dewey reacts to in entertaining ways. (Yeah, it was posted at Digg two months ago. So, I’m not keeping up. Thanks to Bill K for the link.) [Tags: ]


Polar Rose recognizes your face

Polar Rose is doing what it can to identify people in photos on the Web. Unlike the previous generation of face recognition software, it turns a photo’s 2D array of dots into what it hopes is an accurate 3D rendering of the face depicted. This gets past the problem of not recognizing yor Aunt Sally’s profile because it only knows what she looks from the front, and maybe of confusing your Aunt Sally with Adolph Hitler because the sun is above her, casting a shadow across her upper lip.

Polar Rose —currently in beta—is going to be available as a browser plug in and it’s opening up its API’s, trying to to increase the Web’s IQ when it comes to the stuff that doesn’t form into letters. And because Nikolaj Nyholm is involved, I’m confident that they’ll get the privacy and ethical issues right. [Tags: ]

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December 19, 2006

Say WHAT’s annihilated??

Heroes of Annihilated Empires logo

Shouldn’t someone tell them that this logo reads “Herpes of Annihilated Empires”? [Tags:]


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