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December 29, 2004

U.S. officials in Thailand demand payment for passport pictures from victim

CNN.com - American diver underwater during catastrophe - Dec 28, 2004

From cnn.com:
"Faye Wachs said she was impressed by the efforts of the Thai government and the International Committee for the Red Cross, but "she was appalled at the treatment they got" from the U.S. government, her mother said.

At the airport in Bangkok, other governments had set up booths to greet nationals who had been affected and to help repatriate them, she said.

That was not the case with the U.S. government, Wachs told her mother. It took the couple three hours, she said, to find the officials from the American consulate, who were in the VIP lounge.

Because they had lost all their possessions, including their documentation, they had to have new passports issued.

But the U.S. officials demanded payment to take the passport pictures, Helen Wachs said.

The couple had managed to hold on to their ATM card, so they paid for the photos and helped other Americans who did not have any money get their pictures taken and buy food, Helen Wachs said."

Posted by beamz at 9:21 AM | Comments (0)

December 28, 2004

Tsunami pictures

I spoke to my dad today about how things are in the wake of the tsunami that hit asia. He said that there were bodies being uncovered everywhere and the small beach front resorts had a lot of destruction. Thailand wasn't impacted as hard because the coastal regions are more populated by the tourism industry and not natives. Oddly enough, my younger brother was supposed to Phuket with his girlfriend and her family but they all decided not to. They would've been right in the middle of it all.

Tsunami pictures here via vowe dot net :: Phuket Tsunami Pictures

Posted by beamz at 12:42 PM | Comments (0)

December 27, 2004

Python for Nokia Series 60 phones

PythonForSeries60 - Matt Croydon::Postwiki

Python has just been released for the Nokia series 60 phones. I got a Nokia 6620 a couple of months ago and this opens the doors for many people to write apps easily for the phone.

So far the Nokia 6620 has been OK but I have not been taking advantage of all the features. Another downside is that it currently doesn't sync with iSync in Mac OS X. However this should be fixed when Tiger is released.

Posted by beamz at 11:47 PM | Comments (0)

December 26, 2004

A good holiday

The holiday was a good one. Much time spent with the wife and her family but we're happily relaxing back at home. It wasn't as crowded as last year so it was more mellow.

The gifts I received:
1. Sennheiser 280 Pro headphones - Absolutely amazing sound quality and comfort. I asked for these because I wanted closed headphones to use sometimes instead of my Sennheiser 495's (older version of the Sennheiser 497). Both are amazing values right now.
2. Tumi Laptop Messenger bag - I wanted to go back to a messenger-styled bag instead of my mountainsmith backpack.
3. THX 1138 (The George Lucas Director's Cut Two-Disc Special Edition) - A great sci-fi 1984-esque film. A more comprehensive write up to come.
4. Some nice jeans, a shirt and a sweater.
5. Thai Food cooking book by David Thompson & Earl Carter - This book is so complete that it should get thoroughly used.
6. IOGear Bluetooth mini mouse - This hasn't arrived yet but.
7. Nifty 150 psi air compressor.


The gifts I gave:
1. A 1/3rd carat ruby ring.
2. Harmony 680 Remote - This remote is absolutely amazing. It's programmed via a web interface provided by Logitech (who purchased Harmony). It asks you simple questions about what you have. You press activity buttons (i.e. watch Tivo or DVD) and everything is done for you.
3. Tumi brown medium bucket bag.
4. 20Q by Radica - Addictive toy that plays 20 questions with you. "To play, think of something...anything...then answer a series of 20 questions. Your friends will watch in amazement as 20Q tries to guess what you're thinking." I swear this thing uses a microphone to cheat.

I'm going to try to fit in some quality reading time so I can finish up a couple of books. We'll see how that goes, it usually doesn't. That's all for now, happy holidays to everyone.

Posted by beamz at 11:20 PM | Comments (0)

December 21, 2004

Underwear Go Inside the Pants

ugip.jpg

I heard this song by Lazyboy on XM radio a few days ago. I found the video via google on krockradio.com. Take a look, it puts some things into perspective about our culture and country.

Excerpt:
Masterminds are another word that comes up all the time.
You keep hearing about these terrorists masterminds that get killed in the middle east.
Terrorists masterminds.
Mastermind is sort of a lofty way to describe what these guys do, don’t you think?
They’re not masterminds.
“OK, you take bomb, right? And you put in your backpack. And you get on bus and you blow yourself up. Alright?”
“Why do I have to blow myself up? Why can’t I just…”
“Who’s the fucking mastermind here? Me or you?”

Americans, let’s face it: We’ve been a spoiled country for a long time.
Do you know what the number one health risk in America is?
Obesity. They say we’re in the middle of an obesity epidemic.
An epidemic like it is polio. Like we’ll be telling our grand kids about it one day.
The Great Obesity Epidemic of 2004.
“How’d you get through it grandpa?”
“Oh, it was horrible Johnny, there was cheesecake and pork chops everywhere.”

Nobody knows why were getting fatter? Look at our lifestyle.
I’ll sit at a drive thru.
I’ll sit there behind fifteen other cars instead of getting up to make the eight foot walk to the totally empty counter.
Everything is mega meal, super sized. Want biggie fries, super sized, want to go large.
You want to have thirty burgers for a nickel you fat mother fucker. There’s room in the back. Take it!
Want a 55 gallon drum of Coke with that? It’s only three more cents.

Posted by beamz at 9:38 PM | Comments (1)

December 14, 2004

Giving away content for free

Joi Ito's Web: Google adding major libraries to database

Joi blogs about how Google is working with major libraries to digitize all of their content so it can be searchable on the web. This is a very interesting development which raises the question of what value is provided by newspapers who force users to pay for content from their archives. I'm sure newspapers and others who charge for archived news content are going to be chomping at the bit since most libraries carry archives of newspapers for free. Digitizing a library's content will be no small feat but what will most likely end up happening is that those fee-based archives will slowly lose revenue year after year.

Posted by beamz at 9:42 AM | Comments (0)

December 13, 2004

Making money on software (twice).

MacMerc.com: Review >> Delicious Library by Delicious Monster

Rick at Mac Merc has done a write up on the new Delicious Library software from Delicious Monster. In it he reveals that their software which is used to catalog all of your media including books, games and dvds has links to purchase more items like those you catalogged from Amazon.com. The software itself costs $40 but by people purchasing things on Amazon through their Amazon Affiliate links they make a commission on that sale. Rick says, "Besides, if it really bothers you, when you get to the Amazon website after clicking the link, just remove the affiliate ID from the URL and buy it that way...but don't be a twit, support these guys and help make it possible for future versions of Delicious Library have new features as awesome as the ones it this initial release."

I disagree in part because they are making additional revenue off the end user. Perhaps the user doesn't pay the commission through their transaction but Amazon prices items according to their return on all items. So if their profits drop because of affiliate pricing they'll naturally increase the price even if it's ever so subtle. I'm sure the Amazon revenue won't account for much of Delicious Monster's profits but if the car dealer were getting a cut everytime I filled up the tank, it would irritate me at the very least.

Update:
I sent Rick a mail with my thoughts earlier and he said he had the same conversation with the folks at Delicious Monster. In a nutshell, their stance is that they originally planned to charge more than $40 but realized few people would pay that much so they're using the Amazon money to supplement the $40. Rick followed up by saying that it didn't cost the customer a penny more for their Amazon transaction which is mostly true but realistically we all know a retailer is going to adjust their costs based on overhead and expenses to meet their targets.

Posted by beamz at 10:32 AM | Comments (0)