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Showing posts from January, 2006

'Goobuntu' from Google

Google seems to be working on a Linux version: Goobuntu...
Man, these are intersting times! :) There already were rumors about a Google OS and a Google PC, so you do the math on this on. ;) o:)

Warner's gives P2P movie download

Not only Universal but also Warner's is offering paid movie downloads over P2P networks! Movies will be accessible as soon as DVDs are released in a country. In March, people in Germany, Switzerland and Austria will be able to get movies from In2Movies.
Meanwhile, Google is talking to Napster...

Salary Calculator and Related Tools

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One of the things I'm always curious about is how jobs in Europe compare to the same or similar jobs in the US. Salary is one but titles is another. The US titles are something I simply can't imagine, I can't think of them coz they're so inflated. :) Funny too.
Anyway, browsing around I came across a Salary Calculator and Related Tools. Interesting! As a top "Web Systems Director" I can make a wopping average of $150,000! DAMN! And live in a great skiing and snowboarding area!
/me runs off to grab snowboard and gloves...

Sounds Of Sunday

Yesterday, I went with Astrid to Sounds On Sunday, at Happy Dayzz in Culemborg... wow! Man, did I need that! W00t! I was supposed to take pictures for PartyFlock - I still need to shoot my second test set to see if I'm good enough for regular shoots - but they failed to contact the organization and get permission. I went anyway.
I love the location! Culemborg is a bit away, but 45 min. are fine by me. SOS is always very relaxed, good crowd, good DJs. We had Melvin Warning, Erik E, Benjamin Bates and Artento Divini. It started at 3pm and we got there at 7pm... However, it's great to have a nice party at the end of the weekend! You get in early, you finish early and no pains on Monday. :) We *must* go here next month with more people!!!

Slowest Windows XP system ever

Guys from Winhistory in Germany decided to question Microsoft's minimal requirements for Windows XP: a 233 MHz processor with 64 MB of RAM. They decided with an educated guess that it could be *lower*! So they tested and tried to get the absolute minimum system requirements for a Windows XP system: XP Minimal-Requirement-Test. :D
A 486 won't do, because Windows requires Pentium instructions. So where do you get an antique Pentium chip and a motherboard? Finding the necessary motherboards and chipsets proved to be the most challenging of their tests. Getting all the right settings for jumpers, bus speeds and clock frequencies was also hard. :) But you'll be amazed to find their results...

Google Zeitgeist

Google published another Zeitgeist for 2005... MySpace is the biggest gainer of 2005. It's a friends network tool like Orkut and Friendster, but it is especially popular among artists so it has a lot of unique content. There are also national guides for popular searches by country and so on. Hours of interesting tidbit fun!

Oxytocin : the hormone of love

Just so you know! Oxytocin : the hormone of love. Why do I share this seemingly useless bit of random knowledge? Well, Stuart Brody, a psychologist at the University of Paisley, UK, compared the impact of different sexual activities on blood pressure when a person later experiences acute stress (like exams, tests, public speaking, etc.) Turns out, sex releases oxytocin in the body and that may help you feel good and relaxed and lower your blood pressure. :) "Oh honey! I think I have a presentation tomorrow..." ;)

Google Code: Web Authoring Statistics

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Google has done a study into the popularity of (web) authoring techniques. In December 2005 they did an analysis of a sample of slightly over a billion documents, extracting information about popular class names, elements, attributes, and related metadata. For example, looking at what HTML ids and classes are most common, and at how many sites validate. Interesting!

Joss Whedon's Firefly Season 2?

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Appearantly, someone is trying to gather momentum to start up production of another season of Firefly afterall. The site was slashdotted already and they are conducting an anonymous survey of people who'd like firefly back on screens. Be it TV, movie or PC...

Disney Buys Pixar

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Yesterday it was just a rumor, last night it was speculation at a party, today it is true: Disney Buys Pixar! about $7 billion (€4.6 billion) in shares, Disney is taking over the one thing that can keep generating them money. Face it: all the Disney pictures recently are sheit. Narnia was OK, but nothing like today's blockbuster movies. It was a nice attempt, but my guess is CGI movies are here to stay and will get better and better. That's the good news.
Sadly, I think Disney will inhibit Pixar's momentum, the employee's motivation *not* to be working for a behemoth but a cool, rebel underdog and severly limit the innovation and creative ideas that Pixar has exhibited over the last 10+ years. We'll see...

The Scanner Photography Project

Sheer genius! Why didn't I think of this?
This guy has been taking apart old flatbed scanners and building his own digital cameras with them: The Scanner Photography Project. The results are intriguing photos well over 100 Mpx big with exposure times like 80 ago: 180 seconds or so, depending on resolution.
[update: fixed link]

Quickoffice Secures $11.5 Million in Private Funding

Company my friend Jelte works for Secures $11.5 Million in Private Funding and Expands Internationally. That means, he'll move to a new office: TheStrand! My god! What a nice place! Wow!
Jelte, quit gloating and get to work for god's sake! ;) LOL

Beautiful Lingerie

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I was just browsing my own site, checking my "Likes" section and smilingly noticing the lingerie brands listed there. ;) I checked them out, was stunned by the La Perla site (flash, but otherwise gorgeous), Aubade (*sigh* what can I say?). On the Aubade website I noticed the wallpapers, but even better: the downloadable Aubade calendar for 2006! Coool! Now I just have to ask Petra to make some nice prints for meus! ;)
Oh stop it, it almost Spring again! Gimme a break!

Firefly - The Complete Series

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Sjoerdski mentioned he'd DLed the SerenityDVD, when he came over on New Year's Eve. Of course, we didn't have time to watch it then. I didn't really grab the concept of what he told me then, SciFi and all. Now I suddenly read on Slashdot about Firefly and how people, fans of John Whedon, are trying to get the studios to make another season. It strange how random tidits just suddenly click into place... makes you wonder if there really is a grand plan after all! ;)

Outsource your IT... homework!

A reporter of the WSJ investigated a small trend to outsource your IT homework, i.e. programming assignments. LOL :D
Although very real, it is only a continuation of a trend by students to use the Internet in ways adults never foresaw. Communities that exchange book reports was only the start. Term papers on various subjects. Essays for English Writing. And so on. Computer Programming is only the next inline. Which leads in turn to anti-plagiarism methods reasearch by adults. Cool! B) Check out sites like TurnItIn or Ithenticate.

Ender's Game

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I don't what happened, but suddenly it seems like everyone around me is reading SciFi books! :) A co-worker at Philips recommended I read Amazon.com: Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. I go to Amazon and see there is a whole serie of this! Pffew, much reading to be done! :D I'm adding these to me Wishlist (hint)... Now that I mention it, I suddenly realized I have an account at amazon.com *as well as* amazon.co.uk... doh! :frusty:
/me kicks himself in the butt

OpenPGP in Thunderbird

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I've recently installed Mozilla Thunderbird 1.5 and I like it very much! It imported all my accounts *(6!), mail folders and address book without a hitch. I really like that you can now detach attachments from mails and set a default folder where to save attachments. I also really like the addition of OpenPGP to Email.
PGP is a system based on trust that adds digital signatures to your Email and/or encrypt Emails. Everyone can generated their own public and private keys and distribute them among your friends. Your friends need your public key to be able to decrypt any encrypted messages to send, and can use it to verify that messages are really from you. Keys can be 2048 bytes, making them very secure and you can set the hash algorithm too, increasing the reliability of the system. A weak point with PGP but also a strength is that normally public keys must be exchanged in real-life, in person. That's the only way you can be sure, the key really belongs to a person. This way, yo…

Linksys NSLU2 Network Storage Link for USB 2.0 Disks

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While on topic, here at Philips where I'm currently working, they're using a Linksys NSLU2 Network Storage Link to attach two USB hard disks to a network and act as a cheap NAS (Network Attached Storage). If you only have a small PC case, or yours is already full, there is no easy way to add a file server to your home network without getting a new PC or modding an old one you have laying around. Here, NAS can be handy. There is also an avid Linux users' community around this device. Because it has UPnP built-in, it's very easy to add it to your network. Alternatively, you can add an open source UPnp server to your Linux box and get access to it within Linux as well.

How to make a cheap backup solution for home use

There is a lot of buzz around the same problem I ran into a few months ago: how do you create a cheap, easy to use, big backup solution for home use? We all have tons of mp3s, digital photos, papers, letters, Email and so on. Hard disks are cheap but combining 4 in the average PC case and configuring it, is still a bit dodgy - to say the least. Problem is mainly that there are too many solutions. Too many choices is just as hard as none.
I found a very similar discussion on this topic on Slashdot. It contains several very, *very* good ideas, suggestions, set-ups and links. It talks sizes, brands, drivers, disks and everything!
Please read this post, this thread and this discussion about how to set-up a cheap backup solution for home use using whatever you have or by buying some extra stuff.
For RAID controller reviews, check Tom's Hardware Guide here and here.

It's Alive!

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The first satellite of Europe's own satellite navigation (GPS) system, Galileo, is online! The satellite was launched on December 28th, last year, and all systems are up. The engineers are testing the signal to make sure it complies with all ITU standards and regulations.
Even though we already have a GPS system, its owner - the US - reserves the right to limit accuracy at any time, or disable it for security reasons. So the EC wanted its own system. €3.4 billion later the system will come. Fortunately, countries outside the EC have already agreed to use it too, so I guess cost can be shared and/or license fees charged. Galileo's accuracy is said to be 10x greater than that of the current GPS. So that means accurate to 1 cm instead of 10 cm, or 10 cm instead of 1 m... Oh well, good enough for me!
BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | First Galileo signals received

Red Mars (Mars Trilogy) by Kim Stanley Robinson

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After reading my raving stories about Ben Bova's Mars book, my co-worker Albert told me about the Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson. So I ordered those too. At first I wanted to by them cheap and used from Amazon, but checking showed me that new, they only cost 1 euro more... Oh well. So I got them new.

D'sound in Kölner StadtGarten

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Woohoo! My favorite band, D'Sound from Norway, has a new album: check "My Today" on CDON.COM.
And their site tells me they'll come to Germany for a concert in Cologne (Köln) on April 26th! In the Kölner StadtGarten! w00t!
"Oh honey...? Whatjar doing end of April...?" :)

University of Michigan creates first Quantum Microchip

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Slashdot says University of Michigan creates first Quantum Microchip! w00t! I don't care about the details. This is as big as Watson et al from IBM creating the first transistor back in 1947!

Bieslog

And while I'm at it, you may want to also check out the interview Tweakers.net had with Wim de Bie, who maintains a high-quality weblog daily... Good stuff! Excellent content!

Van Kooten en De Bie | Ons kijkt Ons

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This is for Dutch people only! And even then, probably only for Dutch people who're 30 years or older... :)
VPRO has put the 1.5 hour video compilation of van Kooten en de Bie online: Van Kooten en De Bie | Ons kijkt Ons. All the best video's throughout their high-days online, one after the other. Brilliant! Must see! Windows and RealMedia formats... go go go!

Why Dutch make fun of Belgians

Saw it on bash.org: Quote #201579. The reason why the Dutch make fun of Belgians, because we claim they're stupid... I rest my case! :D Brilliant! 'nuff said!

<by> Is there anyway I can tell the world I'm an idiot?
<Seven7> Of course, just type your name, where you live and your confession
<by> Kk
<by> I am Mark Duval of Belgium, and I am an idiot
<by> ?
<by> Now what?
<Seven7> Don't worry. It's done!

World's smallest ATX power supply

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In the days where we want a PC everywhere, it's good to know some people take this very seriously. After being amazed what people have done with mini-ITX PCs, it is no longer a (big) shock to see that world's smallest 12V ATX power supply that can nonetheless deliver 120W is the picoPSU-120. You can't run nVidia or ATi graphics cards in these systems and it won't make a nice multi-purpose desktop PC. However, this little PSU (power supply unit) will work nicely in low-sound HTPC systems together with other low-power parts.

Katherine Heigl

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I was zapping through the 5 channels I have in Luijksgestel the other day, and it's funny to see what you'll watch given very limited choices... :) I ended up watching an episode of Grey's Anatomy with Katherine Heigl. While I had already concluded that the girl was a babe without knowing who she was, finding out it was thé Heigl I used to have in a screensaver and in the TV serie Roswell, I was convinced! While the show seems a Friend&ER clone/rip-off, Heigl deserves a second chance! ;)

Installing Windows Updates without local admin rights

I recently reinstalled my sister's PC and configured a user account for her *without* local admin rights. This is a very good defense against viruses and worms, because when her account gets comprised, her PC stays relatively safe. The viruses can't get to system files nor services.
However, installing software becomes slightly trickier because you have to right-click on software and use Windows' built-in function "Run As" to install software with local admin rights and give the pasword. This is only a minor issues since I had installed practically all the software she needed and she'd only run into this on occasion.
A bit harder was her question how to install Microsoft's critical updates automatically without logging in as administrator? Well, turns out that is easy enough! You need to configure the automatic updates once, as administrator, to download *and install* automatically. If you then log out, log back in as regular user, you'll get all critic…

Microsoft patches more vulnerabilities

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On it's regular patch Tuesday, Microsoft patched 2 more vulnerabilities, in addition to the WMF bug already patched earlier. One patches a bug with embedded fonts and the other a bug in certain Outlook and Exchange versions.
The WMF bugchase has led to other, less critical, bugs being found. Microsoft's working on these as we speak.

Photos New Year's Eve 2005

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I finally managed to get the New Year's Eve photos online. Thanks to Sjoerd and Petra for the oliebollen appelflappen! Anto for the delicious quiches. Rob for the fireworks. And everyone else for a great evening!

The QA Matrix - W3C QA

The QA Matrix - W3C QA
Matrix for testing w3c compliancy of the various w3c standards and recommendations

IBM expert warns of short life span for burned CDs

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Kurt Gerecke, a physicist and storage expert at IBM Deutschland, said in an interview on InfoWorld: "Unlike pressed original CDs, burned CDs have a relatively short life span of between two to five years, depending on the quality of the CD."
This danger has been presented several times before, I believe. Especially rewritable mediums are less stable. This goes for both CD and DVD disks. The good old tape backup is still the best archive solution (or optical WORMs), but a good tape backup setup will set you back quite a bit. A quality system using DLT or LTO tapes costs €2000-4000! That's one tape. For a robot auto-loader, that switches between 6 tapes for a complete archiving solution with little or manual tasks you can expect to pay €5000+ (incl tapes). However, it's that or re-image your CDs/DVDs every other year.

XFN for relationships

The title sounds like a medication for your (struggeling?) relationships. It's not. But it may help in some way nonetheless. :)
XFN 1.1 is a tool for web people, webmasters, bloggers, journalists, etc., to assign some value to hyperlinks (URLs) that indicate what the relationship of that link is to the author. It is mostly used in blogrolls, i.e. a list of blogs you read or are affiliated with or that you simply repsect or admire.
You can use XFN to indicate links are other websites by you, by friends, relatives, family, children, siblings, co-workers and so on and so forth. Since I'm using WordPress for my family website, I ran into XFN (it's built-in into the WP's link management module)...

Philips @ CES 2006

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Kinda disappointed... worked on our demo for weeks and it's not even included in the Press Releases of Philips @ CES 2006... :( Boohoo!
Well, at least they announced that Philips and Samsung worked on the development of a new Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) standard, CEA-2014 (Web4CE). Of course, I can't read that page... grrr... go figure...
/me feels the whole world is agaist me ;)

Tsushima Masaki's Crystal Tokyo

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Man oh man oh man oh man!
I tuned into di.fm Vocal Trance channel just after lunch and was treated to a *very* nice trance mix. Thinking nothing special of it I just continued working. But more and more I got into it... finally bouning off my chair :bounce: I had to check who it was and checked di.fm's playlist: Tsushima Masaki. I heard this mix 2 years ago at the same spot. Back then I still lived in the center of The Hague and was about to move to Scheveningen. I had been searching for this mix sooo long. Now I found it! And I know who's it is. :respect: W00t!

FijiKiwi - Bas and Maaike's travel blog

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Bas and Maaike, going on a 3 month travel trip throught the Pacific have opened a travel blog: FijiKiwi. Can't wait to see pics... :)

Optical Mouse cam

What does the world look like to an optical mouse? That was the question Jeroen at the University Twente asked himself on a dreary day. He built the Optical Mouse cam. So cool! :respect: B) (y)

Nokia 770 Alive and Well

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Thankfully, slashdot reports that the Nokia 770 Alive and Well. It seems flying of the shelves... My friend Herokiller already has one and he showed me very cool things! It's just like a Linux laptop, only smaller! He reads his mail over WiFi, uses GAIM, makes SSH sessions to his server, subscribes to ICS Calendars and even has some games! Very cool indeed! And it's also a GPRS phone and does SMS! What more could you want? Uhm more RAM?!
Now there is also an open source development platform Maemo.

Saga of Seven Suns

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I finished Ben Bova's "Return to Mars" on Friday in the train. Thankfully, for the way back, I ran into part 3 of "The Saga of the Seven Suns" by Kevin J. Anderson. I had found them, (part 3 *and* 4!), already in the book store in the US before Xmas, but even though the system said they were in stock they were no where to be found.
Anyway, the saga is an amazing epic like other epic's: Dune, Foundation, RingWorld, etc. It introduces a whole new universe, has tons of characters, races and lots of cool technology. But, as with much SciFi and contrary to popular belief: it's not about the technology! :)
Book 3, Horizon Storms, so far, is brilliant again. I just hate that you have to wait so long for a new part to be written. ;) You've lots many of the intricate details and twists of the previous books and you have to get into the epic all over again trying to keep straight who did what and why. LOL Oh well, I guess it's harder to think all of it up …

Sauna de Heuvelrug

Today, Petra and I went to sauna de Heuvelrug in Veenendaal. Our friends Marianne and Aad treated us to a free entrance because they have loyalty things and annual permits to this sauna. But besides being free, the sauna is a very nice one! The set-up is well thought out and spacious. It wasn't too busy and the food was good too. All in all a very nice sauna to go to and if want to have a day out in "the country" ;), plan a day at sauna de Heuelrug! Recommended!

BEN BOVA, A life in and with the Stars!

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Back in the US, I bought for $80 worth of new Sci-Fi books. I always read them in English in the first place, so I end up going to the American Book Center (ABC) in The Hague. There they have the originals but at a cost about 30-50% higher than in the US and in Euro. So it was worth it easily.
I have recently been taking the train to Eindhoven again :yawn: and that gives me a solid 4 hours of reading *every day*! Needless to say that I've read quite a it. :) I finished Larry Niven's Ringworld (again) before/during mas break. But I also bought some new books. Ben Bova triggered me for some reason and I must say: he's brilliant! Finished the first book, Mars, in under a week and am almost through "Return to Mars" now. They are great! Very cool both technically and psycologically. It's so neat that it is almost possible and the story is very real. Highly recommended. Now if only they'd had new paperbacks of the Saga of the Seven Suns... :(

Microsoft patches WMF vulnarability

A few days earlier than initially announced, Microsoft releases Security Bulletin MS06-001 that will fix the security hole caused by the WMF bug. The bug enabled a hacker to send you a WMF picture with a worm pay-load. Viewing the image would install the worm and start loggig your keypresses in an attempt to capture passwords, creditcard numbers and internet backing information...

Mobile Applications on your USB drive

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More and more applications can be installed on USB drives and the software will know to store it's files not on the PC's harddisk (in your profile) but on the USB drive itself. That way, you can have your own settings available no matter where you sit down to work.
For instance, install Firefox on a U3 USB drive (U3 is a technology add-on for USB drives) and you'll have your RSS feeds, bookmarks and favorite interface always with you, whether you are at work, at home or at a friend. Same thing with Thunderbird. Install it on a 2-4 GB U3 USB drive and you can have all your Email always with you. All your accounts, signatures, attachments and so on. Now OpenOffice has also been made compatible, and Winamp, Skype, Maxthon (IE-based browser) and the ThinkFree Office productivity suite... cool!

Trance Energy 2006

Trance Energy 2006 looks to be another action packed party! They've created 3 areas with DJs and there are some big names: Armin, Marcel Woods, Remy, Sander Kleinenberg, Johan Gielen (of course!) and more. The difficult part will be to decide when to go where and know you'll be missing something when you leave... :)
Sadly, not many people are going. Martin and Sjoerd will be skiing in Morgins and others seem not to want to go because the crowd is kinda young. Oh well, I don't care about their age, as long as the people are party people. That's what matters.

Skype for Windows 2.0

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After a few bètas, Skype (now part of Ebay) has released version 2.0 for Windows. Skype (Skaaip) allows you to talk to other users over internet, giving you almost the same quality as over normal phone lines. Perfect for grand-parents and their grand-children, loved ones temporarily living abroad or long lost old friends living in other countries (hint). :)
Version 2.0 also let's you see each other if you have a webcam, much like what was already possible with IM client by Yahoo (Y!) and Microsoft (MSN).

WordPress 2.0

Freshmeat informed my that WordPress 2.0 has been released. WordPress is the successor to b2/cafelog and very designer-friendly blog tool. It very pretty and has several features I have come to love: categories, good commenting, plugins.
I still use Pivot for my work blog (currently undergoing redesign and upgrade after a virus infected all my content :puke:) and Blogger for my personal blog (which you're reading), my other work blog and my alumni blog. As I'm upgrading Pivot, I started thinking of converting everything to Pivot. It's very powerful and easily capable of supporting >1 blog from one interface. I could write an entry once and select in which blogs it should be published. That would be great. However, upto now, I didn't know WordPress was also open source and free... But Pivot doesn't need MySQL as it only uses text files. This makes it very open and accessible (as the hackers have proven ;). But WordPress is also a CMS at the same time. Pivot only h…

Businesses Urged To Use Unofficial Windows Patch Against MSN worm

Slashdot reports that ZDnet is urging Businesses To Use Unofficial Windows Patch. An old WFM vulnerability is leaving millions of MSN users open to severe danger through MSN and Email. The exploit can send you an image containing malicious code which will contact the hacker's server to download and install a worm... Even Firefox users are at risk, unless you have v1.5. That version warns when WFM images are loaded. Cool (y)

Explosion on Moon

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BBC reports that a NASA team sees explosion on Moon, probably caused by a meteor hit."The blast was equal in energy to about 70kg of TNT and was seen near the edge of Mare Imbrium (the Sea of Rains). One of the astronomers who observed the impact estimates that it gouged a crater 3m wide and 0.4m deep."
NASA plans on returning to the Moon by 2020. Interestingly, a scientist was testing his new setup for monitoring the Moon for just these events, when one happend... What are the odds...?

Underworld: Evolution

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Cool! They're making a sequel to Underworld... an exciting vampire action-thriller. :) I loved part I, with Kate Beckinsale :drool: (L) It was slightly dark (vampires, duuh) but in the proper environment (pitch dark room, no lights, stereo at 10, wine/chips) it was excellent! Wonder if they'll actually bring a new story or kinda remilk the current one... Hope not.

One digicam, two lenses: Kodak EasyShare V570

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The problem with compact digicams is their size. There just isn't a whole lotta room to put things into. The lens is the biggest room eater. So what do you do when you want to equip a compact digicam with ultrawide lens? Consumers won't accept fixed lenses anymore. They're used to getting it all: zoom and wide angle...
So Kodak gave the the EasyShare V570 two lenses: one zoom and one wide angle. And instead of swapping lenses in front of the CCD, they simply put in two CCDs! Expensive? Bulky? Nope! The cost and size of 5Mpx CCDs has dramatically dropped over time. I'm curious to see what our friends at DPReview will make of this baby... :)

First three words of the bible

On a lighter note... get your daily dose of funny quotes from IRC land. And seeing as you can't use MSN anymore, I'd switch to IRC too, if I were you! :)
Another very funny quote from IRC about some guys that were playing Trivia Pursuit: QDB: Quote #591986

Unofficial fix for the Microsoft WMF vulnerability

If you are a regular MSN user and can't live without it, you are at a *high* risc of getting infected with a worm.
The issue is a feature that was added to Windows in the 80s. MS does not have a fix for is yet, so if you can't live without MSN chat, won't try other multi-platform such as Trillian or the open source GAIM, then please use a fix created by the SANS - Internet Storm Center - Cooperative Cyber Threat Monitor And Alert System.

Happy New Year!

Just wanted to wish everyone I know a very happy, healthy and fun new year. There's enough shit in everyone's life sooner or later. It only seems to be getting harder as you get older, yet so many things also seem trivial at the same time. Why, if everything is getting more trivial, does it also seem to get harder then?
I dunno... but I just wish you a lot of fun with friends for 2006! Make the best of it each and every day... why wait? For what? Better times...?! :D Then just do it now!!! :hug: