Human-Animal Hybrids

Human-Animal Hybrid T-Shirt

“A hopeful society has institutions of science and medicine that do not cut ethical corners, and that recognize the matchless value of every life. Tonight I ask you to pass legislation to prohibit the most egregious abuses of medical research — human cloning in all its forms — creating or implanting embryos for experiments, creating human-animal hybrids and buying, selling, or patenting human embryos.”
– President George W. Bush, from the 2006 State of The Union

That funny phrase got a lot of attention, including new T-Shirts on CafePress:

StarForce DRM – Another Evil Company(TM)

BoingBoing’s Cory Doctorow is being threatened by StarForce because he posted an article claiming that StarForce DRM is malware. Given that it does damage your CD/DVD drive, I’d say that is a fair call. It’s getting lots of underground net press coverage, and hopefully the story will jump to the mainstream quickly.

This particular DRM story affects me personally, because I’ve always wanted to get Splinter Cell 3: Chaos Theory, but now must refuse, since it and most new UbiSoft titles contain StarForce DRM. Which I refuse to infect my computer with. So, I wrote a letter to the Ubi Corporate press contact. I encourage everyone else who plays games by Ubi or other related manufacturers to send similar emails.

Dear Sir,

It is well known that many Ubi games, including Splinter Cell 3: Chaos Theory, are equipped with potentially malicious copy protection software by StarForce. I own the first two Splinter Cell titles, and I fully support copy protection, but I refuse to purchase or install Splinter Cell 3 or any other Ubi game with StarForce protection. My broad estimation is that you are losing customers because of poor choice in DRM software.

Much like Sony has endured months of bad mainstream press due to its DRM rootkit, StarForce and affiliated game manufacturers will likely receive the same attention. I thought you might like to know, since I’m a fan of Ubi games, and would like to continue purchasing Ubi games.


Tucson, AZ, USA

Gmail is now Google Mail!

Gmail is now Google Mail!
You heard it here first, folks!

Also: Who thinks it was law-suit related?

UPDATE: I guess it was for temporary testing, because as of 10:51am the next morning, it is back to Gmail. I knew I should’ve taken pictures.

Consolidate Your Email Accounts

Do you have too many email addresses? You know, one for work, one for home, one for spam, one for that not-profit you’re involved with? I have a solution: GMail! I’ve finally consolidated all my email addresses into a single GMail account. I receive mail from each of the accounts, and I can send email out using any of the accounts. As the email arrives to my Gmail Inbox, it is tagged appropriately and, if need be, canned to the Spam folder. NOTE: This is also a method for using Gmail as a spam filter for another email account.

Here’s how:

1. Gmail doesn’t check other POP accounts, so you’ll need to at least have forwarding capabilities on each of your email accounts. Thankfully, I do. Configure each email account (home, work, etc.) to forward all emails to your Gmail address. Optionally, you can choose to save copies of each message in the original inbox, for backup purposes.

2. In Gmail, Configure labels as desired, for more organization (for me, that would be Pantano, Priority, Refuge Center, Southgate). Configure filters to automatically label incoming messages appropriately. COOL NOTE: The filter will also affect outgoing mail.

3. In Gmail, add external accounts. Gmail will send a verification link to each address you wish to “send from”. Once that is completed, whenever you compose a message, you can decide what account to send it from (for example, pcain@so ut hgate or phil@ca ins cap e – spaces added for spambot protection).

4. Here’s the real fun part. Enable POP access in Gmail for all messages after the current time. Now go setup your blackberry or mobile phone to check your Gmail account. You’ll need to create a filter (Blackberry Webclient can do it) to filter out all mail that’s from you and not to you (which means, all your sent mail).

Currently, I receive email from personal accounts (cainscape, and my main gmail), my spam gmail (philipacamaniac), my work accounts (southgate, pantano) and my refuge center account. It all goes to my Blackberry. Yay!

Google Calendar, part 2

Well, as it seems, Google still hasn’t activated, so it looks like we’ll be waiting forever.

But while you wait, check out HipCal, an awesome AJAX-driven calendar with some great features. While it isn’t integrated with GMail, it’ll do for now.

In other news, Google Video is now offering MacGyver episodes, along with 5 other classic CBS shows (only a few episodes per), and 3 primetime CBS shows. Now, if only I could pull a MacGyver-style move and watch these videos without breaking into my piggy bank.

Google Calendar

I just realized that I’m not keeping a consistent calendar. I need to. But, there isn’t any offering that meets my (and most of the Web 2.0 generation’s) needs yet.

  • I can’t use Outlook Calendar. It’s too clunky, and only portable when you’re part of a corporation with Exchange, which I’m not anymore.
  • I can’t use Kontact (or the latest Linux desktop offering), for the same reason.
  • I need an online calendar. One that’s fast and “Ajax-y” (adverb for AJAX).
  • I have a Yahoo Calendar. I haven’t used it in 3 years because the interface is not intuitive enough for me to keep coming back. And, I don’t like having to use my Yahoo account for anything but spam signups.

I KNOW! I need a Google Calendar. One that integrates RSS feeds, has Gmail “groupware” hooks (collaborate meetings via Gmail), and has a nice interface. I know Google can do it, and I’m firmly believing that the only reason we haven’t seen it yet is because the Googlers have turned down every calendar mockup in hopes of launching the best and greatest online calendar service the world has seen. A Google Calendar launch would be as noteworthy as the original Gmail launch. Much more useful than any other service they have churned out of the labs (other than Google Local/Maps).

Where is it? These “wise” prophets expected it a month ago: Google Calendar Expected Tomorrow

That was obviously wrong, but is live, so there’s hope.

Firefox Multiple-Tab Homepages

Here’s a neat trick that your trusty Firefox can perform:

1. Open up all the sites you read every morning/afternoon/evening. I decided on Gmail (which collects all my mail accounts) and Bloglines (which collects all my RSS feeds). Open each site in a separate tab.

2. Now in the Options (Preferences in Linux) dialogue, click the “Use Current Pages” under the “Home Page” section.

Now all those sites will open every time you start Firefox. Useful if you only open your browser once in the morning and then leave it open all day. Otherwise, if you constantly open and close Firefox, this trick may not be for you.

Google Blogsearch

Holy crap awesome!

It is crazy easy to find others’ blog posts, let alone my own posts. I think the technology that went into it included robots sniffing for WordPress and friends. Maybe blogs aren’t that overblown, after all?

I for one welcome our new (well, not that new) Google overlords.

I Hate Gmail

Stupid Gmail.
I hate Gmail.
Stop threading messages. Since when should an email client make sense?
Stop labeling messages and start putting them in folders. Since when should anything be organized?
Stop giving me so much storage. Since when do online services offer something valuable?

They keep adding more storage faster than I can keep track of.
Stupid, smart Gmail.