So I think I have found a solution to a long time irritant in my life…. sticky glue residue guck left over from price tags and other things stuck to products. People much smarter than I have told me that Goo Gone works really well and I have tried to find the stuff on several occasions but failed miserably each attempt. So with a particularly nasty product label attached to a large thermos I recently purchased, I decided to do a Google search on “goo gone active ingredient”.

It looks like citrus oil is the main ingredient in Goo Gone. The soon to be banned incandescent light bulb in my head went off. Buzz Away, an all natural mosquito repellent that I use, contains citronella oil and eucalyptus oil. It is expensive, but I have some kicking around so I gave it a go and it worked really well.

When I read about Buzz Away being as good as Deet based mosquito repellent products, I went on a wide search for the stuff. Turns out that most health food stores carry it. The problem with Deet based products, for me, is that they dissolve plastic. When I’m on a dive vacation and I’m in the water 4 or 5 times a day, constantly applying Deet based repellent is a pain and I my fingers stick to camera equipment and other plastic stuff. Buzz Away is a great solution if you don’t mind the price and the pungent, but not unpleasant, citrus oil smell.

So there ya go… Buzz Away is a double use product. Keeps mosquitoes away and removes price tag guk. “Buzz Away” and “Guck Away”.

Kaleidescape beats Hollywood like a rented mule.

Kaleidescape Inc. is pleased to announce that today, after a seven-day trial, Judge Leslie C. Nichols of the Santa Clara Superior Court ruled that Kaleidescape is in full compliance with the DVD Copy Control Association’s license to the Content Scramble System, the method used to encrypt video and audio data on DVDs.

Congrats to all those involved!!! You have made us proud :-)

Etched Over Green

March 30, 2007


Slap That Guy

March 30, 2007

Funny flash video/application. Use “the hand” to slap that guy around.

Hat tip: V

[I]n a paper to be published in an upcoming issue of Physical Review Letters, MIT researchers report that they have visualized for the first time a convoluted tangle underlying turbulence. This work may ultimately help engineers design better planes, cars, submarines and engines.

Read the press release here.

Coming Storm

March 29, 2007


Gazillionfold Movie Tails

March 29, 2007

Tom Slee has posted The Long Tail 12 – The Infinite Screen in his ongoing scrutiny of Chris Anderson’s book “The Long Tail”. Anderson claims the internet will increase the number of movies available a “gazillionfold”. Tom challenges Anderson on the data.

I dunno… gazillionfold sounds like solid data to me :-)

Saturn’s Hexagon

March 28, 2007

A bizarre six-sided feature encircling the north pole of Saturn near 78 degrees north latitude has been spied by the visual and infrared mapping spectrometer on NASA’s Cassini spacecraft.


March 28, 2007

Who is it for?

Nerds – Being nerds ourselves, we know that having a geiger counter is just cool! Particularly when you show your friends all the radioactive items around the house.


March 28, 2007


iTunes is the only way to sync your iPod with your music/audio/video. Because of the audio bookmarking feature (remembers and syncs where you left off in a podcast) the iTunes/iPod combination worked really well for me. Using iTunes to download and watch video podcasts was not a happy experience and I gave up on it some time ago (I just manually save videos now using an RSS reader).

This may be blasphemy for some. I think iTunes does some very unintuitive things. I subscribe to the school of thought that says good user interface design means that the behavior is what a user naturally expects. Some of iTunes’ unexpected behavior might be due to differences in Windows and Mac, for instance, when you have selected a list of items, CTRL-CLICK does not de-select a single item.

The way iTunes treats (maybe treated, I haven’t attempted this in a while) video playlists is just good ol’ unintuitive. So here is the scenario. I am about to prepare breakfast/lunch/dinner in my kitchen. I have this PC sitting on a kitchen desk that runs iTunes and it has downloaded a bunch of audio and video podcasts. I decide to watch a few video podcasts. I copy the ones I want to watch into a playlist and click play. Since I’m watching from a distance I want it to play fullscreen so I set the option to always play videos fullscreen. So what happens when video number 1 in the playlist completes? Well I expect video number 2 in the playlist to begin and go full screen. What actually happens is that the second video does start but it is not “selected” so it does not automatically go full screen. Each time a video starts I have to walk over to the PC and click on the little window that displays the new video in order to select it as the current video. When I am chopping onions I do not always want to use my mouse… call me crazy, so I have given up. My kitchen is a video free zone due to iTunes and my too-lazy-to-find-a-new-solution attitude.

Will this be a problem with Apple TV? I doubt it. I don’t use playlists when watching videos in the living room. Others probably don’t either. I’m a captive audience and do not have issues using the remote when on the couch (no onions).

Orange Flower

March 27, 2007


I started reading the book Cyberselfish by Paulina Borksook last night. Tom Slee describes this book as “…a few years old now (but a good read nonetheless)”. The book was published in 2000. The premise of the book is that techno geeks are mostly libertarian which Borksook finds disturbing.

…for beneath them I sensed nastiness, narcissism, and lack of human warmth, qualities that surely don’t need to be hard-wired into the fields of computing and communications.

Borksook begins the section named “Varieties of Religious Experience” with this.

Much as there are two forms of the plague – bubonic (less contagious and not necessarily lethal) and pneumonic (violently infectious and almost always fatal), technolibertarianism manifests in two forms: political and phillosophical.

So that is the general tone of the book; biting humor used to emphasize a very negative generalization of a group of people. The style can be best described as Anne Coulter for lefties.

Is there any truth to her claims? I don’t think so. Borsook rails against a caricature of libertarianism. She says that “on any test that could be designed to test ‘how libertarian are you?'” that techno geeks “would score high high high”. I doubt it. I don’t think many techno geeks support the economic freedoms at the heart of libertarianism. Take The Worlds Smallest Political Test to find out where you stand.