Monday, January 26, 2009

Newsflash

Downloading pirated software from a BitTorrent feed is likely to infect your system with a trojan. Even if you have a Mac. Don't do it.

Keep using your Mac for your pirated music, movies, tv, and porn, though. Media piracy is safer on a Mac. Believe it or not, though, the only thing I do that even vaguely breaks the rules is I take my legitimately purchased DVDs and rip them to .MP4 files so I can put them on my AppleTV. I don't share them, and I don't rip discs I don't own. I pay for my music, use TiVo for my TV, and, well, I've been on the Internet long enough that porn just isn't all that big a deal. So my advice to you in sentence one of this paragraph? I don't even follow it.

My main point in telling you all this is that I've never had one of my systems infected by any form of malware. PC or Mac. Ever. It's easy to do. Just use an ad-blocker on your browser (I prefer AdBlock Plus on Firefox, cross-platform - or SafariBlock on Mac), keep anti-virus software current on a PC (AVG, Trend, and Kapersky are all ones I like), and don't believe anything you get via e-mail. Then resist the temptation to click on links that offer you forbidden temptations, say "no" when something you didn't explicitly load asks you for a password (the biggest reason Macs are usually safer) and bang - you're all set and safe.

That way you don't have to pay me (or worse, Geek Squad!) to come and fix it for you. Yay!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

About frakkin' time

We now officially have a non-suckass President.  It's been 8 years since we had one of those.  Boo-yah!

That, and David lost his first tooth this past Saturday.  That's got more immediate impact upon my life, but having Obama as President'll help too.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Apple TV, Day 2

So my holiday gift from Jane was an Apple TV (well, actually it was a gift card to buy the Apple TV because she thought an Apple TV was an actual TV set and figured she couldn't carry it). I set it up yesterday, immediately hacked it to add Boxee, and then I embarked on a project.

The project: take my DVD collection and put as much of it as I can on the Apple TV (I got the 160GB version). Handbrake has done a quick job of it (though the newer version isn't working right on my iMac, so I'm using the 0.92 version on my MacBook Pro for now). I've ripped four movies so far (Stop Making Sense, Monty Python & the Holy Grail, Real Genius, and Apollo 13), and will do more over the weekend. I've loaded more movies on this than I have on my DVD jukebox!

I haven't done any movie rentals yet, though. Coming soon. At some point I may try and hack a bigger drive into it, too. Nice device.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Perfect storm...

The economy's diving into the crapper, the peak energy prices from last year, and the collapse of the auto industry have combined to give motorsports a big kick in the teeth in 2009. F1 isn't coming to North America at all this year (their only trip to the Western Hemisphere is the Sao Paulo race in October), NASCAR's truck series had to get a discount sponsor (Camping World) after Sears pulled out, Indycar is still feeling aftereffects of the Champ Car merger, and in Sprint Cup at least 3 of last year's teams have closed shop entirely (the 01, 15, and 40). Besides that, in the world of Cup we've also seen several teams merge to survive, dropping teams in the process.

- DEI merged with Ganassi, switching Ganassi to Chevy from Dodge in the process

- As of today, Petty has merged with Gillett Evernham, going from a 5-6 car team to 4 cars (only the #43 of Petty will make the move)

- Bill Davis Racing was sold and may not run in 2009

- Furniture Row Racing will only run part-time with 1 car (they had been 1 full-time, 1 part-time)

- The former Wood Brothers #47 is now an affiliate team of Michael Waltrip Racing. GOod for them, because without that Waltrip goes from 3 cars down to 2 (the #00 team was shut down, though the number is being moved to the former #44 team)

- The #4 team is gone (Morgan-McClure)

- The Wood Brothers have kept the #21, but now it'll be a part-time car

- Several races (most notably the Watkins Glen race) have lost sponsorship

Basically, in 2007 there were as many as 8 cars being turned away each Sunday. Last year, there were a couple of cars most weeks that didn't qualify, but the cast varied. In 2009, there will be a few races where NASCAR will be lucky to get a full field of 43.

In other motorsports, Honda is closing their F1 team, and both Subaru and Suzuki pulled out of World Rally Championships.

New Hampshire Motor Speedway sends us a Christmas card every year, by the way. Just thought I should mention it.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Idle thoughts going into this new year

In March, my company will have made it to 5 years in business. I'm not sure if I expected to make it there, but that's sobering. When I worked at the insurance company, I only was there a few months past 5 years before getting laid off (in the last downturn), and I was at the company before that a hair less than six years. So this is historically about my shelf life, except this time I should make it the whole way through my career. Which is both sobering and cool at the same time.

Wow.

On a much lighter note, my son will turn seven this spring. And I was thinking tonight about things I grew up with as a child that are utterly alien to him now. And all the things he has that I never even imagined. For instance:

- He will never know what the Central Artery was like.
- When we went to Florida back in November, he asked why we were stopping at the tollbooth. We never have to do that. Ever.
- He's never seen a cassette tape. And he doesn't remember what a videocassette was, either.
- There hasn't been a film camera in this house used regularly (including my poor neglected Nikon 6006) since about 2000. Virtually all his friends have digital.
- Though he has some CDs, he's not used to using them. He uses iTunes.
- TV in David's world can always be paused. He even knows how to operate the TiVo.
- I had my first computer (an Apple IIc with a monochrome monitor) when I was 18. He's had a Mac since he was 2.
- Videoconferencing. He can talk to my parents or his cousins on the Mac anytime he wants to. Even though they are all in different states.
- He thinks everyone keeps their phone in their pocket. The first time he saw a payphone it was confusing for him.
- Rotary-dial phones. WTF?
- He thinks most cars have DVD players or nav systems built-in.
- When I was a kid? Walkmans were a big deal. I got my first one as a teenager. For him - iPods are cool, but he wants one that plays movies.
- He takes the Internet for granted. Everywhere.
- And he's never seen a vinyl record.
- I believe I was a teenager when we got a microwave oven. He know how to operate ours.
- Doesn't every kid carry a game console in their pocket, along with their cell phone?
- What's a floppy disk?

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