March 30, 2004

What iSync Needs

Apple's iSync is great, but when using it with my Sony T610 I think it is missing some features:

To transfer pictures to phones that support pictures. Apple's address book lets me add pictures to people, it should sync this to the phone as well. One of the best features of pictures on phones is seeing a picture of the person who is calling you, rather than having to read the name.

iSync also needs a way indicate only some entries should be stored on phones.. like a checkbox in iTunes for the iPod.

A way to just sync personal cotacts. (e.g. I don't want all my business contacts in my phone when I'm on vacation)

Posted by rusty at 09:48 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 29, 2004

Massachusetts flip flops on same sex marriages

Massachusetts flip flops on same sex marriages: ``Lawmakers in the Democrat-controlled legislature took up the issue to override a November ruling by the SJC that the government's refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples is discriminatory. The proposal includes a provision for ``civil unions,'' affording gays rights similar to those of marriage. Governor Mitt Romney, a Republican, said he will ask the SJC to stay its ruling until the process is completed.``

Posted by rusty at 06:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 28, 2004

No warrant needed

5th Circuit gives police new power in searches: "This decision is the latest rollback of safeguards to protect the people from being at the mercy of a police state," said Joe Cook, executive director of the ACLU of Louisiana. "Allowing law enforcement to search homes without probable cause or any warrant makes a dramatic and dangerous departure from one of our most fundamental American freedoms."

Probably cause is becoming any cause.

Posted by rusty at 12:03 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 21, 2004

Know your denominations

A Georgia woman who tried to use a fake $1 million bill to buy $1,675 worth of merchandise at Wal-Mart was arrested. This is kind of the opposite of the guy who got "mall security" called on him for using a two dollar bill at a Taco Bell.

Posted by rusty at 12:57 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 19, 2004

They used to joke about this...

They used to joke about this: that you could bottle tap water and sell it for a high markup and people would be stupid enough to buy it.

But the Brits see through Coke's non-spring, non-mineral bottled watter Dasani: all you have to do is ``take Thames Water from the tap in your factory in Sidcup, Kent; put it through a purification process, call it "pure" and give it a mark-up from 0.03p to 95p per half litre; in the process, add a batch of calcium chloride, containing bromide, for "taste profile"; then pump ozone through it, oxidising the bromide - which is not a problem - into bromate - which is. Finally, dispatch to the shops bottles of water containing up to twice the legal limit for bromate (10 micrograms per litre).

Posted by rusty at 11:51 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Your chances of dying due to...

From the National Safety Council: What are the Odds of Dying? Statistics 2000

A few notes: you have a 1 in 77 chance of dying in a transportation related accident. A 1 in 70 chance of dying through a non-transportation accident (e.g. slipping, falling, etc). A 1 in 122 chance of dying through intentional self-harm (self poisoning, hanging, shooting yourself). A 1 on 331 change of being shot wih a firearm. And a 1 in 1,060 change of dying in a fire (or through exposure to smoke and fumes and flames caused by the fire).

There are some more death statistics, such as 114 people die each day from car accidents, and that you have a 0.00003% chance of being seriously injured or killed in a commercial aviation accident.

In fact, 20,000 people die from the flu or complications from the flu every year.

Posted by rusty at 01:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tanning Beds

CBS News | Tammy Faye Has Lung Cancer: On CNN's Larry King Live she said "The other day I was laying in a tanning bed and I was crying out to God, I hate what I'm going through, I hate this, I hate this, I'm so scared."

While I feel extremely bad for anyone with cancer, I'm curious why she was "laying in a tanning bed" while she was thinking about all this.

Posted by rusty at 12:59 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 17, 2004

Flying from ONT (Ontario, CA)

I've noticed that TSA seems more like the SS at the smaller airports. Today, I flew out of Ontario and you can't even get out of the ticketing area without having to show your Photo ID and boarding pass.

As soon as we got to the security checkpoint, an eager middle aged man was barking instructions to us. Remove shoes. Take off coats and purses. Put all your belongings in this gray tray. Watching the stripped down people carry the institutional gray trays gave me a flashback to a WW2 movie, where the Jews were being hoarded into the camps.

I am surprised at how little protest is given to the strip down instructions. I mean, we are being forced to go through a limited strip search to board a plane! Empty your pockets. Remove some of your clothing. Conform. All in the name of safety.

This time, since they only "recommend" and don't require you remove your shoes, and mine had lots of laces, this time I didn't. They sat me down in a chair, and wiped a swap on my shoes. They then took that to the machine that checks for traces of bad things, whatever they are. They then let me go on my way. It was actually faster than taking off and putting back on my shoes!

Air travel is really frightening. No wonder so many people are driving now and not flying. With all the hassles, and how early you have to arrive at the airport, and the potential delays, etc...

For example, when we flew down to Ontario: we left San Francisco at noon, got on BART to Oakland; then had to catch the AirBart bus to the Airport. Check in. Go through security. Our flight was slightly delayed. We got to Ontario, took the tram to the rental car place.

By the time we got our car, five and a half hours had passed. It would have taken about six hours to drive, maybe less.

Posted by rusty at 11:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 16, 2004

Use a telephoto, go to jail

Man with video camera shuts freeway / Long lens aimed at I-80 rattles commuters ``Law officers arrested Rickey Roy Badgley, 51, almost two hours later after a standoff, only to discover he seems to have been targeting motorists with a video camera fitted with a high-powered lens, not a rifle fitted with a high-powered scope. They released him late Tuesday afternoon.``

This is a great example of what happens when people get paranoid. You see what you want to see. You don't see what's there.

``Tuesday's bizarre incident -- which was reported just after 8 a.m. and closed the freeway in both directions from roughly 8:45 to 10:15 a.m. -- comes as Bay Area drivers remain on edge after a Feb. 23 spree of shootings along a 10-mile stretch of Interstate 580 near Castro Valley.``

Posted by rusty at 08:35 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Same Sex Marriage and Age

Same sex marriage opinions cleanly divided along age: ``an essential feature of the gay-marriage debate: the most salient divisions are not religious, political, or "cultural" but generational. To talk to younger people is to realize that for most of them, including many young conservatives, such notions as the idea that homosexuality is shameful, that it is a voluntary and/or contagious "life-style choice," or that it is some sort of threat to something or other (public order, the family, civilization, God) are simply bizarre curios from the past, like the belief that masturbation causes blindness.``

Posted by rusty at 10:39 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 12, 2004

How to save satellite radio

Despite tons of marketing promotion, Satellite Radio is not really taking off. The cost ($10-12 a month) and the limited programming are largely a reason for this.

Here's how to save Satellite Radio:

Have a free tier, a middle tier ($30/year) and a premium tier ($10-12 a month). Free tier is all ad supported. Middle tier includes a few commercial free channels in the NPR / College radio model: PSAs, promos for other channels,, hourly blocks of programming sponsored by tags. But no commercials.

Get a few biggie hosts, starting with Howard Stern. Let them say whatever they want. Stop bleeping words in songs. Let the rappers host shows and talk however they want to talk. Do to radio what HBO did to TV: remove the content restrictions and come up with some excellent programming.

XM and Sirius: stop competing with each other and start complementing each other. We need more niche formats. We need music programmers with their ears to the street. Programmers who are passionate about the music they're programming. This does not mean hiring superstar club DJs to run your dance channels.

Find some cool nationally syndicated radio programs and turn them into channels. Musical Starstreams. Hearts of Space. House of Blues.

Get some spoken word / radio play / talking book channels. At least 3. Between each book chapter, do a promo for the book and tell the people what they're listening to.... sometimes you forget to look at the display.

We have an opportunity to make Sat Radio the new "FM". As the FCC adds more content restrictions to broadcast radio and more corporate media consolidation occurs, AM and FM programming will end up as the lowest common denominator and the people that matter will tune out. Who cares if religion takes over the AM and FM airwaves, anyone who really likes radio and music will turn to sat radio.

If satellite radio is going to survive and thrive, then it can't copy existing broadcast programming.

Why don't these folks get it?

Posted by rusty at 04:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 06, 2004

Westin South Coast Plaza review

A few scattered notes on the Westin South Coast Plaza hotel:

The Del Rey Gourmet Smoked Almonds in the minibar were horribly bad. Instead of artificial smoke flavor, they had artificial burned flavor!!!

I really hated the PIR occupancy detector on the air conditioner. It means when I took a long hot bath, the AC went off because I wasn't in the room. And the AC goes completely off when you are not in the room, and appears to go off when you sleep! I kept waking up all hot and moving around and then hearing the AC come on. Lame.

And why the minibar can't have real 7up and has to have Sprite is beyond me. And too much cheap beer in cans and not enough liquor!

I won't even talk about the high priced ($12.99) pay per view with really bad quality.

The ice bucket holds about 2 full glasses of ice. That's all. Next time I bring my own bucket. Oh, wait, I won't be coming back.

I can't believe that they didn't restock my minibar. There was one bottle of bourbon yesterday, today there is NONE!

Yes, the bedding is really nice and the bathroom towels are nice but not oversized.

After midnight, the "Servico Expresso" is like "Servico Slow" and I had to call back 3 times before I got an answer (and let it ring 10 times each time).

My Turkey Sandwich which was supposed to have pico de gallo, provolone and avacado instead had wilted lettuce, a squishy tomato onion and pickles and non-descript yellow cheese. I think they took the condiment plate from the hamburger and made it for the turkey sandwich instead. I'm too hungry and tired to send it back.

Posted by rusty at 08:47 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 04, 2004

Bush Exploitation

New York Daily News: Furor over Bush's 9/11 ad ``The Bush reelection campaign yesterday unveiled its first three campaign commercials showcasing Ground Zero images, angering some 9/11 families who accused President Bush of exploiting the tragedy for political advantage.``

Of course, some say Bush helped create the tragedy in the first place.

Posted by rusty at 04:10 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 03, 2004

Same sex marriage spreading

Gay marriage rites start today in Portland: Oregon's most populous county, will issue marriage licenses to gay couples today, joining San Francisco in sanctioning same-sex marriages.

Meanwhile, New York's attorney general joined the rapidly spreading national debate over gay marriage Wednesday, saying current law prohibits same-sex weddings sanctioned by two mayors.

Posted by rusty at 10:06 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack