Ms. Dewey

Ms. Dewey is a Microsoft promotion for their Live.com services.

Ms. Dewey is an obnoxious but funny front-end to the new Microsoft Search engine. She's made out of Flash and she's waiting to help you! (And make fun of you!)

Try asking for her about Microsoft. Try asking her for her phone number.

Also, if you do ask her for her phone number, look at the search results. There is a service Phone Number Spell which will tell you words that can be made from the touch-pad spelling of your phone number.

© 2006 Stephen Clarke-Willson - All Rights Reserved.



This notice from an overloaded web site is a funny mix of hamster-talk and senator-talk:

As you all know, our hamsters are always hard at work running on wheels to power your lightning fast search results. But you guys have not been kind to them. During peak periods at day time (~noon PST), our servers are having trouble dishing out the goods through the tubes of your beloved interweb. So we have to skim on seed/leecher stats right now so the servers doesn't go down in flames. Good job guys, our hamsters are not disappointed by the apparent popularity of their hard running.

We'll be doubling our squadron of hamsters to make sure the bits are flowing out the tubes smoothly. Hopefully by Monday tomorrow. In the meantime, please restrain your urge to press the F5 key during busy hours. And more complete seed/leechers stats will be returning when we got our hamster wheels back in running at optimal performance.


© 2006 Stephen Clarke-Willson - All Rights Reserved.


Top Ten Best Selling Albums Of All-Time

Top Ten Best Selling Albums Of All-Time

Here's a fun list - if it's true. The top 10 best selling albums of ALL FRICKIN' TIME. The soundtrack to "The Bodyguard" is one of them! What?

And Shania Twain is on there. Coo coo a choo.


Rethinking Redux

I was using Blogger for two different things: one, for remembering cool sites, and secondly, for commenting on technology issues.

I decided to delete all of the 'random site' posts, and just leave posts where I have something personal to say. My goal was to get the entire blog to fit on one page. Since Blogger limits the blog to one megabyte this has taken a lot of pruning. The site finally fits on one page. (The pictures don't count in the one megabyte because I serve them from Above the Garage.)

As it turns out, it is fairly difficult to prune a blog using Blogger. And it also turns out Blogger will only let you see the last 300 blog entries. (Thanks Jack for the tip on how to see more than 300 posts.)

I am continuing to prune. Then I will probaby open up a sibling blog about sleep problems, since that deserves it's own blog, and maybe a another sibling blog about politics! And Nano-Plasm, my novel, will be published one chapter every few days on a separate blog.

Also, I left Thomas' Airsoft Tips up at the top for a week... nobody sent him a dollar. Come on, someone send him a dollar! It will make his day (even though he'll only get about $.73). (Update: Thomas received two clicks from kind friends. Thanks Jack and Rhett!)

Update: 2006 10 06: I first posted this last February. Since then I tried out the multiple-blog thing and it failed miserably. Nobody visited the other blogs. Plus Google/Blogspot implemented some kind of crazy ass filtering technology (I use the term loosely) that was supposed to detect blogs that are created solely for the purpose of boosting link counts. So my idea of a sibling blog that just kept cool links failed because the blog was tagged by Blogger as some kind of evil link count increasing blog.

I also tried posting my novel one chapter at a time, but nobody showed up for that either. I'm currently looking at LuLu and going the publish-on-demand route. The sales price is not too much, until you add in the shipping fees... then a $9.50 book becomes $14.50, which is a bit steep for a paperback.

I ordered a book from LuLu as a test - it's called The Disneylands That Never Were and I enjoyed that quite a bit, even though it cost $15.00. LuLu also provides forums where people can chat about your book. I enjoyed this book a lot and I think it's a book that would never have seen the light of day without LuLu, so I think the POD thing has a great future, if your expectations (as an author) are reasonable.

And (for a fee I think) you can get your book distributed to Amazon.com and BN.com, which could really help with the shipping fee.

Of course, once you submit it for publishing, it's expensive to make changes, so if you want a person to have a good experience with your book, you need to edit the hell out of it.

So ultimately I just might post the PDF. I think my book is terrific airplane reading - just about perfect for a trip across country and back. That's actually what I had in mind when I started writing it about five years ago.

© 2006 Stephen Clarke-Willson - All Rights Reserved.

The new CW

It's cool to have a new network named after your initials.

The new CW is of course the merging of the old UPN and the old WB.

It's not called the UW because ... UPN never meant anything and CBS owned UPN and so it was better to use the first C from CBS.

The only thing I have watched on the new CW is the remastered Star Trek. This is not to be confused with extremely strange Star Trek 2.0 airing on G4, which is the old, unremastered Star Trek with all kinds of crap placed around the screen in a feeble attempt to be hip and interactive.

The new, remastered Star Trek, which is just called Star Trek, is pretty good looking. Besides remastering the audio and video, select special effects have been redone.

Some people objected that this would take away from the charm of the old series, but in fact, those old special effects were so bad by modern standards that they really took you out of the show. The new special effects - primarily planets and space ships - are not crazy ass modern - they are simply well executed digital versions of the old effects. The lighting is bit better but most importantly the motion of the ships is smooth, and so the new effects just blend better with action.

Sadly, things like the Horta still look like an elephant puked up a giant pizza, but it would be a major effort to rotoscope out the old crappy Horta and put in a new one. I suspect that will be done someday. You know how they could get it done cheap? Make it a school project. Effects are cheap enough to do that they could get film school kids to do it at video res and it would probably look great! The big problem with rotoscoping is that it is labor-intensive ... so get cheap labor!

I myself am a new CW - after suffering horrifically at the hands of my old sleep doctor, who subjected me to over a year of brutal sleep deprivation while he tried to 'cure' my sleep apnea with a deadly C-Crap machine, I am mostly recovered. I took the opportunity to rethink what I really like doing in life and to focus on those things and little else. It's been quite the voyage of self-discovery.


© 2006 Stephen Clarke-Willson - All Rights Reserved.

The MP3 Pillow

The MP3 Pillow » Coolest Gadgets

The MP3 Pillow has an iPod dock connector and apparently can hook directly up to your iPod. There is a speaker inside and the buttons actually work! How cool is that?

I remember having some kind of speaker pillow when I was a kid. It almost worked. It was actually a speaker that you stuck under your pillow.

In modern life, I've used really flat ear bud headphones from Radio Shack for listening to music (privately) while I fall asleep. That works 'pretty well'. (Also remember Willson's Law: Never buy anything with moving parts from Radio Shack. BTW, I'm thinking of extending Willson's Law to include Sony.)

GameDaily BIZ: SIG: Game Rankings Don't Matter

GameDaily BIZ: SIG: Game Rankings Don't Matter:
'After going through multiple scenarios, we believe a game rating, in most cases, is not a reliable tool for predicting game sales,' they said. 'There are isolated examples of strong correlation, but they are just that - isolated. We believe a naked game rating without context is largely useless. The more specific the comparison (controlling for as many variables as possible), the more likely a statistically significant correlation may exist. However, the more specific the sample, the less useful the hypothesis becomes.'

I always wondered about this. I suspect that with a little manipulation it is possible to show that game rankings do correlate to sales. Jason Hall went out on a limb and said he plans to tie Warner Bros. licensing fees to game review results.

But I've personally seen too many games with low ratings sell well and more often just the opposite - games that reviewers think are really cool and don't sell squat.