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November 2004 Archives

Color Printer serial numbers

Did you know that pages you print with a color printer have tiny yellow dots which encode your printer's serial number in them, to help the Secret Service track down counterfeiters? Xerox invented the system. They have great relationship with the government. I remember seeing in a documentary about Xerox cooperating with gov't to spy on the Soviet embassy: They installed a microfilm camera in the embassy's copier. Every time the repairman came, he'd swap out the film and put in a fresh roll! He'd have a big toolbox of goodies anyway, so no one was the wiser. :)

Cancer Comic

This is a really good 33-page online comic about, well, I'll let the author describe it:

"My mother was diagnosed with incurable lung cancer. I made a comic strip about it."

Mom's Cancer

It had me misty-eyed at points. :P

Tokyo Sewers

Here are some really cool photos of a Tokyo sewer project. I swear some of these look like they're computer generated, but others look like they couldn't be. They just look really cool, in any case.

About that shooting an unarmed injured soldier thing

So you've probably heard the story of how an embedded reporter caught footage of a Marine shooting an unarmed injured resistance soldier. The original NBC story was actually reasonably fair, pointing out that the Marine had himself been shot in the face the day before, and, more importantly, that there have been cases of booby-trapped injured soldiers who killed an American and injured several others in that very area.

Of course, a lot of people all over the world just saw the footage. Even here, there are lots of people complaining about it. Personally, I felt like it was an unfortunate but understandable accident, given the circumstances, especially in light of the booby-trapping. I mean, it's one thing to saying you're going to maintain the moral high-ground, but it's another to do that when it's an issue of kill or be killed.

So it turns out that the reporter who shot the footage has a blog, one which I first heard about a while back. I remember somethign about him working for CNN, and CNN telling him to stop blogging for contractual reasons, etc. He recently wrote this open letter the squad he was with. I really like what he says in his letter. He really thought the situation through. He knew full well how the footage would be perceived around the world, but he also felt that the Marine in question should have followed protocol and searched the man for weapons instead of shooting him. He tried his best to report the mitigating circumstances. I really like this guy, based on this letter. It really seems like he tried his best to do the right thing. It's a good read.

One thing I'd like to note, too, is how he actually showed the footage to the commanding officer first, and he got full cooperation from the Marines. If you're using this incident to condemn the military, that's at least something to consider. They're trying.

The Physics of Cranes

A hilarious lesson in the physics of cranes. I just hope no one got hurt.

Video Gamer's Charity Auction

Penny Arcade is a video-game-oriented comic strip. Most strips have direct references to recent developments in gaming that require you to read their news post to understand, even.... And yet, even though I didn't play the vast majority of the games they mentioned, I found myself reading it anyway, and it's since become my primary source of news about the gaming industry.

Last year, the authors of the strip decided that video gamers get a bad rap for being violent and sociopathic, so they started a fundraiser called Child's Play to get people to donate toys and video games to Seattle Children's Hospital. They raised over $250,000!

This year they've expanded to five children's hospitals, so you can, for instance, go to the Amazon link for Children's Hospital Oakland, and order something to be delivered straight there. Some items go directly to kids, while others, like games and videos, get placed into a check-out system at the hospital.

One amusing thing is that the comic strip has a lot of swearing and adult humor, so they quickly started hosting the charity site on its own domain. :) For instance, they're having an auction dinner this year, and you can see the announcement by scrolling down to the "You are cordially invited." post on this page.

Up for auction? Tours of Bungie and the creators of Dungeons and Dragons, as well as lifetime subscriptions to Half-Life and other online games. I dunno, something about a dressed-up charity auction ($100 per guest) of, by, and for video gamers really amuses me. I guess gamers have realliy grown up. :)

I mean, just look at today's strip, from the same day the charity auction was announced. It's all about fun with gratuitous violence. (And in typical Penny Arcade form, you have to read the news post to really know what it's about.) This is the future of America, people! :)

Grey Video

So you may have already heard of the Grey Album, a mashup of Jay-Z's Black Album and the Beatles' White Album by DJ Danger Mouse.

Now there's a Grey Video by "Ramon & Pedro" of the song "Encore" from the Grey Album. It's kinda cute, playing with file footage of the Beatles, etc.

About November 2004

This page contains all entries posted to the klog in November 2004. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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