Friday, January 16, 2009

God Bless America!

Over the last 60 years, construction on the largest man-made structure in history was begun and now approaches completion while drawing only the smallest attention from mainstream media. This incredible structure stands astride an astounding area of 1.0577 x 1014 square feet! The actual height and capacity of this great building is not yet known because construction is not yet complete, but the marketing department insists that the breakthrough materials and methods used for construction of this massive monument will provide only the highest quality of life for all 305 million of its occupants.

Among the proudest innovations is a new “environmentally friendly” recycling technique which allows the girders used to support the lower, more foundational levels to be removed and “recycled” into the basic structural members of higher stories. Taking inspiration from the financial sector, this technique works on the principle of diverted load whereby the girders, pillars, and other needless structural elements of the building are encouraged to “delegate” so as to make better use of their precious time and energy. This clever maneuver allows for the “promotion” of certain elements which appear to be unnecessary to higher levels in the overall structure. Thus, a considerable percentage of construction materials used on the wide and once-sturdy base, can be relocated to a slightly smaller upper level; and the process repeats.

When asked about the emerging shape of his new creation, the chief architect—an American born failed-plumber, turned failed-financier, turned failed-politician, turned chief architect—suggested, “I prefer to think of the whole scheme as less of a pyramid and more of a dome.”

Regardless of the shape, the American’s “Dome” boasts other earth-shattering innovations as well. “I think I’m most proud of the new insulation system,” commented Zephyr Hindenburg, head of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. “We have achieved a system which completely shuts out all external fluctuation and influence. This allows us to heat the air inside and then recirculate that same hot air throughout the entire building without having to worry about the various climates outside these walls.”

Mr. Hindenburg refused to comment on the massive proportion of world energy used to accomplish this anti-climatic miracle, but did direct us to his mistress who is the head of the marketing department: “We have brilliantly invested the resources of only a small majority of the world into this single monumental structure,” said a busty Candy Honeywell, clad in a see-through tank-top and cutoff low-rise silk thong with half of the corporate logo microscopically emblazoned on the remaining fabric, “and because of that we have become not only the world’s leading outsourcing economy of construction labor, but also the chief technological innovators in dome-based construction schemes. Once this incredible building is complete, we won’t have to rely on the world for other input, oversight, or perspective—only natural resources. At the same time, we will have solved such inter-domal environmental problems as global warming with the massive cooling towers we’ve located in the Canadian wilderness. Together with the coal-burning power plants we’re building in the South American rain-forests, (internal) climate issues will be a thing of the past. What a brave new world we live in!”

But most experts around the world are concerned about the massively-myopic-lens-shaped structure because the foundation is already showing signs of major structural instability. The engineers responsible for the construction process were unavailable for comment on account of being too far above the ground overseeing construction of the upper levels to come down to earth and see for themselves. Nonetheless, we expect the first radio wave transmission regarding this issue to reach them in the next week and hope that a response will soon follow. In the mean time, the building is functioning beyond expectations in other ways—specifically in shutting out the outside influences of said world-wide experts. And despite the looming structural issues, the building’s owners—the Chinese scrap metal companies which have financed the construction—maintain a very optimistic outlook.

Until the construction reaches it’s final point, the inhabitants of the great monument remain blissfully settled inside its comfortable accommodations. Having never learned to speak a language except English, the single-language system has worked wonders in allowing this society to build its way into elevated national security; surely, a tribute to their lasting greatness!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


The iPhone 3G has been unlocked! All praise and honor due to the iPhone-dev-team!

That said, there is a cost to living on the technological frontier. You can't always do everything you want because not everything is available—or even known to be possible. So for us early adopters, we buy on faith.

Five months and five days ago, I stood in line for 7 1/2 hours to get a new iPhone 3G. My move to Spain was still planned then, and I knew the consequences. I can't take it abroad…as is. So I stepped out on a limb and bought the godPhone in hopes that faithful hackers would pwn it in time.

Six weeks and three days ago, I bought a plane ticket bound for Europe. The schedule is such that I'll land on The Continent on December 29th. As it stood when confirming my flight, I will be iPhone-less.

One week and five days ago, I cancelled my AT&T service, effective December 29th. I'm stepping into the great unknown world of a cell-phoneless existence. There was still only the veiled hope of a 3G unlock so I could use my iPhone when I get abroad. But my cell plan was cancelled on faith. (Without the fabled early termination fee, by the way. Just move out of AT&T's coverage area.)

But today dawns a new era of hope: 
A new star is seen in the eastern sky!
Unto us a hack is born.
Unto us a pwn is giving.
And the overnment will be hot upon his trail. 
His name shall be called Wonderful Communicator, Mighty iPod, Everlasting Battery (sic), Prince of Pwns. 
And you are to give him the name, yellowsn0w, because he will save people from their cell-provider.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Different Google Reader

Google recently added the ability to read scanned PDF documents. This is impressive because it's one thing to show a picture of text and another thing for a computer to understand what letters and words are represented there. As mentioned in this article, this provides a poor man's way to get high-end OCR (optical character recognition) done on a scanned PDF one has. So this is my test of the effectiveness of that technique on a document I would love to have in text-form.

I'll update this post if/when the Google bot gets here and indexes the PDF. Thanks Google!

11/28/2008  EDIT: It took a couple weeks, but Google came through with it's Optical Character Recognition flag waving high. Here's a copy of the Google Cache which OCRed this scan of Bluspels and Flalansferes (1939) by C. S. Lewis. But oddly, the OCR/Cache ends mysteriously at just a paragraph (in each column) into page 14. What happened to the rest? Is the Google bot in the process of recognizing this as I type? Time might tell…

Friday, October 10, 2008

Pavlov's Ringtone

How To Hate Music:

1.)  Get a phone with programable ringtones.
2.)  Set the beginning of your favorite song as the default ringtone.
3.)  Use this phone for work.
4.)  Work a lot. (Make sure your work includes people you don't like or want to talk to.)
5.)  Begin to hate getting phone calls.
6.)  Begin to hate the beginning of your favorite song.
7.)  Instinctively cringe X% of the time when shuffling through your favorite playlist.
8.)  Choose second favorite song and repeat from step 2.