… brains …

Archive for February, 2005


Monday, February 28th, 2005

…the power of Cheese!

Tigers will do anything for a tuna fish sandwich

Sunday, February 27th, 2005

No offense, Gary and Berke. But it’s all right here.

Apes Gone Wild!

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2005

So, if you teach Apes to communicate, what exactly do they ask for? Lewd acts, apparently.

Daring Llama Rescue

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2005

I can’t believe it! I beat Adam in posting a llama related news story!

Flatulent Footwear

Thursday, February 17th, 2005

A footwear company is suing a supplier over supplying inferior glycerin, which resulted in air bubbles in the insoles, leading to farting shoes.

Now, really, I can’t believe they didn’t make lemons into lemonade with this. If you can’t sell farting shoes, you should fire your entire marketing department.

Wednesday, February 16th, 2005

Note to self.... never eat imperial chowder again.....

Seriously… what needs to be said?

ISPs Blocking SIP Ports

Monday, February 14th, 2005

So, here’s an interesting news article about ISPs — apparently mostly rural ILECs — blocking port 5060 so as to disrupt VoIP traffic. Vonage has filed a complaint with the FCC, which is investigating.

Hellz yeah I roll 20’s

Saturday, February 12th, 2005

Sorry I just have to counter the dice bag with my own pic from tonight’s D20 Starwars game.

Critical strike!


Friday, February 11th, 2005

Vonage? Probably Not.

Friday, February 11th, 2005

So, since I finally have a respectable broadband pipe to my house, I was planning on getting Vonage’s service set up. Using the cell phone is kind of a pain for long calls (even under good circumstances, you get voice quality problems from time to time), and I can’t really tie up our home phone line too much when I work from home.

I know that there are a lot of similar services out there (AT&T’s Callvantage, Packet 8, Broadvoice, Lingo, etc.) but Vonage had my mindshare. They were the first real player in the field. They were Jeff Pulver’s company. They were the ones doing VoIP before VoIP was cool.

So, I poked around, figured out that I could get a phone adapter for free from Circuit City, pick it up from the store for instant satisfaction, and have the whole thing up and running in under an hour. 500 minutes anywhere in the U.S. or Canada for $15 a month sounded like a pretty good deal to me.

So, I went to the Vonage site and started figuring out how much my actual costs would be. There’s a $30 service activation fee, which seems a bit high, and is more than a little disappointing, but I can understand that they might have to charge to add a user to the system, since they don’t have any “you must stay a customer for x months” clause like, for example, cellphone carriers do.

Then, I started reading the contract terms.

…[T]he Service and Device are provided to you as a residential user, for your personal, residential, non-business and non-professional use. This means that you are not using them for any commercial or governmental activities, profit-making or non-profit, including but not limited to home office, business, sales, tele-commuting…

Hrmph. That kind of rules out what I want to use it for. On the other hand, there’s little chance that they’d bother figuring out — or even have a good way of figuring out — whether I’m complying with this provision.

So, I keep reading.

Customer will be charged a disconnect fee of $39.99 ($49.99 CAD) per voice line upon termination of Service for any reason or for convenience by Customer. The disconnect fee becomes due and payable immediately upon termination and will billed directly to Customer’s credit card.

Whoa! What? $40 to cancel the service? On top of a $30 activation fee? You want to charge me $70 in adminstrative fees? Consider me already cancelled. Vonage isn’t getting a penny out of me. And the goodwill is gone.

Anyone have any suggestions for VoIP providers who don’t hate their customers?

The best email sig I’ve seen to date.

Friday, February 11th, 2005

PS, someday some punk ass kid in a vest and crazy old white haired man
driving a delorian is gonna approach you about this email. When they
do, you blow their heads off- they want to ruin you.

I am a well organized militia of one

Thursday, February 10th, 2005

So I decided that I would make my first post about the coming zombie invasion and show you my new zombie prep gear for when the attack happens. I’m thinking this will help me get out the door with enough ammo to get to the national guard armory that’s up the street from me. 56 rounds should be enough I think. Not to mention the 210 rounds of .223 for my M4 and the 14 of .45 for my P220. What do you guys think? Should I double the capacity in case I get cut off from the main side road I’m planning on taking or is that overkill?

Pancho Villa style baby.

Amazingly enough this almost looks like my new hair cut…….. well not so much but who cares.

Polycom Desk Phones

Thursday, February 10th, 2005

Anyone who has done any work in a professional environment is no doubt familiar with Polycom’s conference stars; they really define the standard for conference room phones.

When I was looking for a decent phone to use at home for hands-free conferencing purposes, I tripped across Polycom’s SoundPoint Pro SE-225. It’s been almost two years, and I have to say that I’m still quite pleased with the sound quality of this phone. Positives include:

  • The full duplex microphone sounds really good to the remote party; most of the time, people don’t know they are on a speakerphone.
  • The buttons have a nice feel to them.
  • It has a rear microphone that you can turn on and off for “full room” conferences. (at least, for rooms approaching 10′ x 10′).
  • Switching among handset, speakerphone, and headset is very easy.
  • It has two lines (the second one on mine will shortly be a Vonage line).

Downsides are primarily around data handling; for example:

  • Speed dial interface is rather kludgy
  • No way to bulk-load speed dial numbers
  • No way to recall caller-id information; implemented correctly, this would go a long way towards being able to add numbers to the speed dial list.

All told, I think it’s been a good investment. I paid $250 for mine back when I got it — and would happily do so again — but nowadays you can get them new for under $200 on ebay.

VoIP Security Alliance?

Monday, February 7th, 2005

This is the first I’ve heard of VOIPSA. Am I just behind the curve?

Sure, it was just announced today, according to the VOIPSA website, but shouldn’t there have been some buzz around this?

I’ll note that the technical advisory board is huge, and that I recognize only two names (Henning Schulzrinne and Ofir Arkin) out of 23. Surprising omissions include Jon Peterson and Jari Arko.

Spam From Beyond the Grave

Monday, February 7th, 2005

Dear: Sir/Madam,

I am Peter EZE. I am working in Audit Department of the Central Bank of Nigeria , while auditing the account of the Federal Government, I discovered that there is contract awarded to one oil firm which the Government is yet to foot the bill….

Easy-E? The front man for NWA? But he died in 1995! Okay, now I’m beginning to suspect that this whole e-mail might be bogus.

Woo hoo! Qt GPLed on Windows!

Monday, February 7th, 2005

At long last, Trolltech has decided to release a GPLed version of their Qt toolkit for Windows. I love Qt, and have often cursed under my breath at the inability to put together a GPLed product with a decent GUI that could target Unix-like and Windows systems equally.

Yes, this was reported on Slashdot, but I just had to put in my two cents here…

This could be useful

Monday, February 7th, 2005

Have zombies taken over your company? Are the elder gods making off with your coworkers? Dear Winifred may be able to help.

Don’t Mess with SciFi Writers

Sunday, February 6th, 2005

Normally, I try to avoid posting links I think everyone has already seen (i.e. already on Slashdot), but this one is too good to let go by. An allegedly mainstream press publicly states that Science Fiction and Fantasy genres have a lower quality bar than main stream fiction.

Literary mayhem ensues.

Nickel Mystery Solved

Saturday, February 5th, 2005

A while back, Ben mentioned (not on here; in person) a curious case in Florida in which 3.6 million dollars worth of nickels were stolen. (As an aside, US Nickels weight 5.0 grams each, according to the U.S. Mint, so this comes to almost 400 tons of coins). The obvious question is: what on earth is someone going to do with 400 tons of coins? It’s kind of difficult — and obvious — to walk into a bank and announce, “I’d like to make a deposit. It’s in that U-haul in the parking lot that has 4 flat tires.”

Apparently, the theives hadn’t thought that far ahead, and had to fall back on a temporary plan while they figured out how to best use their ill gotten loot. So they cleverly buried it on their property and planted marijuana plants nearby so as to not attract any police attention.

Edit: Ben correctly points out that it’s 3.6 million nickles — or a mere $180,000 — weighing in at just under 20 tons.

This Has Got To Be Good

Saturday, February 5th, 2005

Jim Henson Productions, Neil Gaiman, and Dave McKean are teaming up to make a movie by the name of Mirrormask. The synopsys:

MirrorMask is the story of Helena, a fifteen-year-old girl working for her family circus, who wishes — quite ironically — that she could run away from the circus and join real life. But such is not to be the case, as she finds herself on a strange journey into the Dark Lands, a fantastic landsape filled with giants, Monkeybirds, and dangerous sphinxes. Helena searches for the Mirrormask, an object of enormous power that is her only hope of escaping the Dark Lands, waking the Queen of Light and returning home.

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