Travis's lame ol' blog

yay, Travis finally changed his blog!

- Tuesday, January 10, 2006

New Turbo Subaru Hybrid (the B5-TPH) at the Detroit Auto Show

Hybrids.Autoblog.com has an extensive write-up including pictures and a press release from the 2006 Detroit Auto Show. The gas half of the engine produces 256 hp and 253 ft-lbs of torque, and while the turbo is spooling up the electric motor kicks in an additional instant 111 ft-lbs. Plus they're using some crazy "Miller cycle" which will allegedly increase the gas engine's efficiency by 30%. It sounds like it's going to shorten engine life, but I'm no engineer. Somehow it manages to get 40mpg. So you get an ugly AWD wagon that has over 250hp, 250+110 ft-lbs(!), AND gets 40mpg(!!!). Now let's see if they can do it for less than $30K USD. I love the BS graph below with no numbers.

BS graph

- Monday, January 09, 2006

Google's Pack Comes with Evil

Even though I risk what little page rank my poor server has, I thought I'd spread the word anyway. I usually love Google and their products, however the new Google Pack might be a step in the wrong direction. Here's a list of the evil that is included, ordered by disputable evil-ness:

Google Desktop
this is a marginally evil one. Depending on your hardware, it could slow down your computer significantly (for example, a slower computer with a small C drive and a large D drive filled with lots of indexable stuff, the metadata generated by the index will fill up the rest of the C drive). It has also had some security issues in the past, but who hasn't?
Mozilla Firefox with Google Toolbar
I love my Firefox, but I can no longer seem to turn off my Google Toolbar :-(
Norton AntiVirus 2005 Special Edition
This one is just a 6-month trial. There are at least 2 non-evil apps: AntiVir Personal Edition and AVG Free Edition
Adobe Reader 7
I hate PDFs. (I'm not the only one) A less-evil approach would be to include some non-Adobe/open source/freeware PDF reader (like Foxit and/or PDFCreator), but the only non-evil approach would be to not include anything and leave PDFs the F alone.
Real Player
C'mon, Real Player? What a POS! The only non-evil option for this one IMHO is the K-Lite Mega Codec Pack

Ah well, there are many other apps included that make it worth a download (Google Earth, Trillian, et al). Also, if anyone wants to try out MSN's new beta Messenger let me know, I have one invite remaining.

Update: it looks like I'm not the only one here either.

- Friday, December 23, 2005

Free Mario and Zelda for the PC

Zelda Classic has the original NES Zelda quest, plus there are tons of user created quests. I've been playing Zelda's Quest for Link, it's pretty amazing. I can't believe the amount of time and detail that went into these.

Mario Forever is one of the best alternate quests for Mario that I've ever seen. My only complaint with it is that the physics are just slightly different than the NES versions of Mario 1 & 3, but hey it's free.

Also, since we're talking about sidescrollers, the best genre of games IMO, there is a sidescroller version of Halo (Halo Zero). It is kinda like an advanced version of Contra. It's pretty cool.

More free games for the PC

- Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Curious Artifacts

From Digg: a bunch of bizarro objects. Strange coincedences or evidence of prehistoric intelligence?

- Monday, December 05, 2005

The future of annoying ads

Here's a little overview of the new <canvas /> element in Firefox 1.5. You can do some cool things with it, but I'm guessing that it'll mainly result in lots of more annoying — and harder to block — ads.
-moz- | tech

- Monday, November 21, 2005

slacker round-up

I've been busy at work and at home so I haven't had much of a chance to write about anything interesting, so here's a 2 minute round up of everything that I had flagged in my RSS reader for the past few months...

2005-11-21
THG's TwitchGuru: The Suicide Girls Tell Us What Gets Them Going
"OK open mic. What do you want game developers to know when they make the next blockbuster game?

Al Suicide : MAKE. A F******G. SIDESCROLLER."
Gizmodo: Apple's monopolistic flash memory practices
2005-11-15
Gizmodo: TiVo's Video-On-Demand debut: Red Trousers
2005-11-11
Lifehacker: Help2Go: linux live CD for hard-core windows repairs
2005-11-08
Lifehacker: Firefox extension: Download Embedded content
2005-11-04
Lifehacker: finding lost stuff
2005-10-20
Hybrids.Autoblog: Subaru's Turbo Hybrid Wagon concept: B5-TPH (AWD of course)
2005-10-19
Treehugger: Honda's sweet fuel-cell concept: FCX
2005-10-02
CodingHorror: BootSkin: Change Windows XP's boot screen
2005-09-30
Scott Hanselman: Boo [.Net]: C# + Python + Ruby + CLR = interesting language

...that's all for now. Should be enough to keep busy until I find something cool enough to write about (and have the time to write about it).

KS | tech | vehicles

- Tuesday, November 15, 2005

YTMND: WIL

Remember You're the man now dog? Remember the SNL skit A Night at the Roxbury? and the site that let you make your own YTMND? They are kinda funny combined. Then there's: What is NES Love. Then: What is Tiger. Not geeky enough? How about: What is TNG, A Night at the Roddenberry? Still not enough? The grand finale: Picard IS the Empire, A Night at the Hothberry.

EDIT: I've been going through all the other YTMND's, this one brought tears to my eyes: 3 second pop tarts.

KS | wtf

- Tuesday, October 18, 2005

:-)

I was Was Invented">reading this transcript on research.microsoft.com about the origin of the e-smiley: :-) (_on_the_Internet">from Digg). The last two messages seriously made me laugh out loud...

03-Oct-82 21:47    Wilson Harvey at CMU-IUS     For anyone interested ...
I have a picture of ET holding a chainsaw in .press file format.  The file
exists in /usr/wah/public/etchainsaw.press on the IUS.
=
03-Oct-82 23:43    Guy Jacobson at CMU-780G     Holding a chainsaw??    :-)
Does anyone have a picture of R2D2 holding a seed auger in TeX format?
Or how about a rendering of Yoda with a lathe for use with nroff?
Any pointers to digitized images of short, cute aliens holding power
tools would be greatly appreciated.
=

Well I thought it was funny.

KS | tech | wtf

- Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Environmentalism, Bush-style

This article on Wired just kicked my blood pressure up a notch:

[...] The table shows that on average SUVs receive a higher tax incentive than the most fuel-efficient cars on the market.

People who buy the 33-mpg Toyota Highlander Hybrid, for example, get a $2,600 write-off -- nearly twice the $1,450 tax credit for the 57-mpg Honda Insight. On average, the four most fuel-efficient hybrids, averaging 53.5 mpg, receive a smaller incentive ($2,100) than the five SUVs ($2,310) that get 32.8 mpg. [...]

- Thursday, October 06, 2005

GM+Subaru partnership dies; Toyota+Subaru partnership born;

I had high hopes about the Subaru/GM partnership. I was hoping to see an AWD Hywire, or maybe a hydrogen-powered WRX. At least I was hoping for cheaper Subaru parts (which I haven't seen). Instead all it resulted in was a crappy looking Saabaru. Ah well, I guess some things weren't meant to last.

Now Toyota is buying the stake in Fuji Heavy Industries (Subaru's parent company). So I'll get my hopes up for an AWD Prius or maybe a hybrid Outback. I'm guessing the Subaru US plants will stay open and keep making cars since it has to save all kinds of money in shipping them over here, but who knows.