Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Beat this, Germ Terminator!

Via Gizmodo.com

HA! So the Discovery Channel can beat the Germ Terminator any day with its 20 dollar toothbrush UV/Ozone germ killer. Small, compact, no idea how durable it is. I'll say that there are still some unmatched features of the GT such as dependability (heating elements don't break like UV lamp bulbs can) and absolute sterilization, but hey, it's 20 dollars.

Unfortunately, because 20 dollars and the need for future replacements still prices me out of absolute oral health, I won't be getting this device.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Germ Terminator

Germ Terminate America ::: Germ Terminator GT100 I am a big sucker for infomercials. After having seen the one selling the Germ Terminator, I completely believe that not only are there millions of bacteria and viruses on out toothbrushes, but every time I brush my teeth, I'm injecting them into my blood stream. Why is this bad? Well, it's like rubbing your broken wound around with E. coli laden fecal matter. That's right. Whenever you flush your toilet, E. coli bacteria can be projected into the air and contaminate anything within 6 feet. Granted, most of the bacteria and germs are from your own family members, why would you want to expose yourself to germs unnecessarily?

Hence, the Germ Terminator. FDA cleared to steam sterilize your toothbrushes leaving 0 traces of germs, accurate up to around 6-7 significant digits.

They say that many diseases are linked to oral health and that you're needlessly burdening your immune system, citing all these doctors and studies about how oral health is linked to this and that.

So, how much does the best investment you can make for your health cost ya? 180 dollars for three. If I had money I'd buy it. In the meantime, I think I'll just use listerine to clean my toothbrush. Then use it to rinse my mouth.

Now, mind you, their arguments are in many ways very sound. This coming from someone who if in possession of 180 dollars would surely buy these ingenious devices. Seriously, though, they are not without merit.

Other infomercials I fell for, but had too little money to follow through on: The Hoover air purifier, the SkunciScünci Steam cleaner, the Ronco knife collection, 25 pieces for 3 easy payments of 13.33, and more...

Went for a jog today

I'm trying to be healthy... Being in the hospital watching a bunch of heart monitors + hearing about everyone working out at the gym has taken its toll on me. I woke up, and decided to go for a jog despite the rain. It felt good for the first half of my ~10 minutes, but the second half wasn't so easy. Blogging about Fahrenheit 9/11 has been a nightmare, because I keep changing my mind. Not to say that I didn't have fun adding the css box with teh links to the trailer and theater-finder form. Having only seen the trailer, I'm bent on seeing this movie if it's the only one I see this summer. Then, I read a couple of articles that say it isn't "just the facts".

Now, I'm thinking over the arguments my most respected anti-Moore source gives, and decide that they aren't so much facts refuting facts, but facts attacking certain points that aren't particularly the strongest of Moore attemmpts (with various degrees of success) to cast light on hidden truths. For example, Moore says that attacking Iraq was wrong tries to show that Iraq wasn't a threat to the US. This isn't true and was easily refuted. Moore doesn't exactly lie in his movie, but you also can't take his movie at face value. Was UN action so ineffective? No. We destroyed most of his weapons stockpiles that way. Should we have interrupted the inspections process, depose Saddam, then conclude that there are no stockpiles of signigicance left in Iraq, undermanned and without support of the UN? That's not as easy to refute.

Hitchens gives Moore grief for contradictions. Ex: Moore says it was wrong to invade Iraq. He then says that we attacked with too few soldiers. Contradiction? No. The second statement doesn't exclude the first. Part of the reason we were undermanned was because we went with little international aid. Secondly, it's possible to protest the war and care about the safety of our soldiers.

Fahrenheit 9/11

Click to see the trailer
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I wasn't originally going to post about this movie, but after seeing how hard Move America Forward (fake grass roots action front for the GOP, thanks Alan for the link) is trying to get theaters not to show it, I figured it was important to increase its visibility even in a miniscule way.

Now I know that Michael Moore may not be everyone's favorite person, but what's important are the facts. If this movie documents only the truth, what is there to fear? (edit: we'll have to see about that) Bringing events surrounding the September 11th terrorist attacks up to public scrutiny does not constitute an attack on American and foreign soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan and surely isn't anti-American. Since when was an administration perfect? Since when is questioning an administration unpatriotic? The only thing people who haven't actually seen the movie can say to prevent it from being shown is that the movie is one sided. Well, since when is censoring ideas from the public American?

Click on the links above see the trailer. To see how many theaters in your state have refused to show a film that threatens the White House, fill in your state abbreviation and click theaters. A theater I usually go to is missing from the list. The movie opens Friday, June 25, 2004.

UPDATE: So I'm disappointed to say that Fahrenheit 9/11 isn't the grand slam of the anti-Bush cause, if you believe Christopher Hitchens whose article I linked to above in the edit. He apparently watched the movie. I, who haven't seen the movie like most other peope, largely reacted to the kneejerk shouts of anti-Americanism. But, when someone who argues rationally against Moore's movie, I'm sad to say that this is not the case against Bush condensed into a movie and might even detract from it. Any I even double blogged this :(

UPDATE 2: Now, Hitchens isn't altogether objective in his article "Unfairenheit 9/11" either, but he largely says that Moore does not pass up an opportunity to ridicule Bush, even if bashing Bush on one point forces him to in some way contradict a previous point. I don't know what to say.... this is going to be a problematic movie and I really wish Moore could've had some help making it.

Friday, June 18, 2004

Why you might end up using webmail after all

ISPs Blocking Port 25 To Curb Spam Hurts The Honest Guy

I've been using Outlook 2002 ever since I've started using a Pocket PC PDA to synchronize my address book, schedule and other stuff. By that time, I'd already upgraded to broadband and was weaning myself off AOL's webmail and strictly using Outlook to access my POP3 email account from my then beloved ISP. Capacity was never a concern since I stored everything on my own computer. Recently, I've been getting lots of SPAM, sometimes around 40 each day. After going to college and getting a university hosted email account, I've found that it's a lot more convenient using that address because most people I associate with are from my school. However, you don't get to use a school account forever.

Now I'll admit that when Gmail was first announced on April Fools Day, I knew they had broken the generous 10 MB limit my ISP provided as well as the 50 MB barrier my school provided. I knew they raised the bar on usability and changed the way we think about email. They made organization seems so convenient, and search a breeze. But I didn't care. I wanted it because it was Google.

With that said, some say (and this comes from the CNET article linked from the article above) that most spam comes from zombie computers infected with easily avoided viruses and their brethren scum. At all times of the day, zombie computers will be doing the bidding of their spamming necromancers, all without the knowledge of their hosts. ISPs know that this costs them lots of money and the easiest solution would be to close the default port for sending mail and open another that virus writers won't be able to easily discern. While some providers such as Bell South finally resorted to closing port 25, others have stopped short, manually closing ports only for the seriously afflicted. The solution sounds easy, but Comcast, with well over 5 million high speed internet subscribers, says it will simply cost too much to explain to all of the affected customers.

After all this, what happens if the virus writers figure out how to scan for the port used for SMTP mail sending and adapt accordingly? What about people who think that avoiding viruses for a year is worth spending $30 or downloading free antivirus software?

WEBMAIL SAVES THE DAY

Webmail, or even better, free webmail with all the ads and spam (yes, even if you don't give away your email address) and limited storage and accessibility (you need to be online to read mail), helps you avoid this mess. You might still get the viruses, unless you use a service like Yahoo (premium), but other people don't. Now, I've done several scans on my computer and still get mail bounced back saying I was sending illegal attachments and what not from both my accounts. If you're often away from home, you'll also find yourself resorting to using your ISP provided webmail in all its limited glory. If you change ISPs, you'll find your access to your ISP provided email will be restricted. I haven't got this all figured out, but, it looks like webmail may be the right choice for a lot of people who use broadband, but who aren't lucky enough to host their own email.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

"Three crises, and the need for American leadership"

Harvard Gazette: Kofi Annan urges multilateralism

Let's not get into how I came upon this article, but Kofi Annan's speech at Harvard's commencement exercises reminds us, along with how great our country is, about the true nature of multilateralism:

"It is in the interest of every country to have international rules and to abide by them," Annan said. "And such a system can only work if, in devising and applying the rules, the legitimate interests and points of view of different countries are accommodated, and decisions are reached collectively. That is the essence of multilateralism, and the founding principle of the United Nations. All great American leaders have understood this."

His three crises:

  1. Collective security.
    1. Terrorism- In trying to bridge the gap between the 2 sides of the Iraq debate, he's appointed a distinguised panel to submit a report on when pre-emptive action might be necessary and how it should be undertaken.
    2. Genocide- The need for a collective will to act with strength and urgency to prevent another Rwanda in present day Sudan: "In the Darfur region in western Sudan, for example, thousands of villages have been burnt and more than a million people forced from their homes. In all, about 1.3 million people need immediate assistance."
  2. Global solidarity
    1. Strengthening weakened fundamental committments to improving drinking water, education, infant and maternal mortality and AIDs
    2. He alluded to Afghanistan's miserable conditions contributing to its harboring of terrorists
  3. Prejudice and intolerance
    1. Christian, Jewish, Muslim relations (of note: "And we must not allow Christians in the Muslim world to be treated as if their religion somehow made them a fifth column of western imperialism. It is in times of fear and anger, even more than in times of peace and tranquillity, that you need universal human rights, and a spirit of mutual respect."
    2. This includes you Ann Coulter! Some of her favorite airline marketing slogans: "'The Friendly Skies – Unless You're an Arab"
      "You Are Now Free to Move About the Cabin – Not So Fast, Mohammed!'"

He also suggests that the US should, as it has in the past 50 years, lead by wielding moral authority, not merely brute force. Anyone who has forgotten the spirit of the UN should definitely read this article or the speech in full, here.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Chinese posting 試驗

如果大家能看得到這些字就好了!

Fonts.com - Type Trading Cards

Fonts.com - Download Mac and Windows Fonts: Fontent

For those interested in typography, each month, fonts.com is releasing a pair of font trading cards meant to be printed on Avery #5389 postcards. They are very nice, with a famous quote in the featured font on the front. On the back, they have "spotting" guides, detailing each font's quirks and defining characteristics, an etymology including its typographer, family info, and font facts. A 100 pack of the precut postcards you can print the cards on costs around $20.

Since April, these following fonts have been featured:

  • Bembo
  • Gill Sans
  • ITC Berkeley Old Style
  • ITC Conduit
  • Cachet
  • Joanna

"this is a test of Audioblogger"

this is an audio post - click to play

CSS From the Ground Up - 1

CSS From the Ground Up - 1

This is a great site to start learning how to code for the web! I already know basic html and php, but apparently, you can do a whole lot, presentationally, with CSS, or cascading style sheets.

I'm motivated to start learning how to make a better Blogger template.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Shopping list

Hey, I've decided to remind myself of my committment to be a good consumer and record what I intend to do with my money after I get a job.
  1. Order a copy of Office 2003: Student/Teacher Edition
  2. Buy a quieter power supply for my computer
  3. Buy a Powerbook (added after watching Steve Jobs 2004 WWDC keynote)
  4. Any suggestions?

First post

Now, I [know] no one can really read this entry yet, but it commemorates my first blogger post. Thanks, Li for giving me an idea of what blogger is and Chris Chen for getting me to start one!