Friday, July 11, 2008

Everything We Need To Know We Can Learn From Batman

I'm loving this post by MTV: link here

He's the world's best crime fighter, a detective of unparalleled skill. But riddle us this: What in the world can you learn from a big, bad Bat?

As it turns out, just about everything you need to know. In honor of the Caped Crusader's return to theaters with "The Dark Knight," we present the 20 things you can learn from history's greatest comic character.

1. It ain't over till the fat lady sings.

Batman has won more fights at the last minute than we can count. The singing, the lady — it's a good metaphor. But we actually mean this one literally. Leave an opera before the fat lady sings, and you know what is over? Your life as anything other than an orphan, that's what. Learn to appreciate a little culture every once in a while — it just might save your parents' lives.

2. Never trust a man who smiles all the time.

He is either trying to sell you something or trying to kill you.

3. There are two faces to every friend ... and enemy.

Heroes, villains, origins and more! We've got daily exclusives from the Batcave now through July 18.

Good and evil, friend and foe, life and death — there are two sides to every action, two aspects to every personality. Believe in original sin, but also in original virtue. And remember, most of all, that everybody has the capacity for both.

4. Some days, you just can't get rid of a bomb.

A group of nuns, a flock of ducks, even a marching band — on a pier for crying out loud! Some days it's as if the whole world is conspiring against you. Keep trying: The solution to your problem may be right around the next corner.

5. Anatomically correct isn't always actually correct.

The fewer articles of clothing you have with built-in nipples, the better.

6. Always announce your presence.

"I am Batman." "I am Batman." "I am Batman." Let the world know your name ... and tremble.

7. Don't make promises you can't keep.

Batman's graveside vow? "I will rid the city of the evil that took your lives." Way to make sure you never have a day off, dummy. If you live to be a million, it's a promise you could never keep, a thought that becomes an action, an action that becomes an obsession, an obsession that becomes a lifetime, a lifetime that becomes a Sisyphusian endeavor. Next time, aim a little lower.

8. Learn to trust.

But don't just give it away for free. Be somebody's father, be somebody's son. Learn to trust at least two people with your life. Bonus points if these people actually depend on your survival for their livelihoods like, say, a butler and a ward. That said ...

9. Be self-reliant.

Your ward, your surrogate son, your — excuse us as we strain credulity — Boy Wonder you keep going on and on about? Dude's got a habit of disappearing when the stakes are highest, sometimes for decades at a time (and when he does show up, he's Chris O'Donnell). And those girls you keep romancing? Let's just say it's probably best that you don't get too attached.

10. When the Bat's away, the Cat will play.

Turn your back for one second, and the whole city suddenly needs your help ... again! The price of safety is nothing short of constant vigilance.

11. Always have a good alibi.

Strange bruises, a nonexistent social life — these things raise the question: What does Bruce Wayne do with his free time? So always have a good excuse. Note: Playboy Playmates or a boat filled with Russian ballerinas will not work for everybody.

12. Be smarter than your opponent.

Everybody's got a weakness, even the seemingly unbeatable Man of Steel. Learn your opponents', and you can be the most feared man on the planet. Also, always carry kryptonite.

13. Make your own luck.

Head's, I win. Tails, you lose. Life can sure seem like a 50/50 proposition every now and then. Don't like what you got when you flipped a coin? Flip it again.

14. Remember: The joke's on you.

That guy with the cackle, the makeup, the cockeyed walk and sideways glance? He wouldn't have to point out life's absurdities so much if you would just crack a smile every once in a while. You're a man in a Batsuit! Even a psychotic, homicidal, nihilistic, anarchistic clown has it right every once in a while: Life is an absurd joke that will knock you dead. Why so serious?

15. Be prepared ... for anything.

You never know when you're going to be dangling from a helicopter as a shark bites your leg. Do you really want to be the one to tell the Dark Knight that you left the Anti-Shark Batspray at home? A utility belt: Learn it, live it, love it.

16. Look to the skies.

Someone, somewhere might be trying to signal you. Be on the lookout for his signs.

17. Embrace your fear.

Monsters are real, evil exists and, at every turn, there really are creepy little nasties ready to go bump in the night. At its best, life is still a terrifying journey. It's OK to be scared. Face your fears and project them outward. You'll be surprised at how many things are frightened by us right back.

18. Forgive, but don't forget.

We're all products of our environment. What leads one to seek vengeance leads another to seek destruction. The villains we face in life really aren't that different from us after all, give or take a lucky break here or a tragedy there. Have pity. Let them live. Don't become what you seek to end. But, by the same token, never forget who they are — and what they've done to you.

19. The greatest enemy you face is yourself.

Stare into the abyss long enough, and the abyss stares right back. The Joker? The Penguin? Two-Face? Catwoman? The horrors of the outside world can never hurt you as much as you can hurt yourself; a pain that can lead to self-destruction if you let it. Cultivate an inner-strength.

20. The night is darkest before the dawn.

The universe can be pretty brutal — a collection of accidents in a very busy place. But out of the greatest tragedies can come the greatest beauties. Without the night, there'd be no sunrise. Without bad things, there'd be no reason for hope. Without death, there can be no rebirth. Seek to bring the dawn.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Brother HL-2170W

I decided to get this printer after a great review on Crave CNet.

I purchased this printer from NewEgg for under $100 shipped (price changes since last visited).

The shipping was supper fast. The whole package weights under 5 lbs.

Wireless set up was very tricky. As other reviewers’ have commented setting up the wireless configuration can be time consuming. The instructions that came with the printer were not that great. The whole set up took me 2 hours to finally get it working. (note: If you have a wireless detection device—view wireless network > click on “Set up”). However, once you have the printer wireless configuration set all you need to do is load the drivers to the other printer. My wife has a Mac, which was easier to set up.

Here are my steps:
Steps to reinstall printer (w/ apple router)
1. Remove all old driver (Brother has an uninstall app)
2. Restart the printer to default settings
a. Turn off printer
b. Hold blue button and turn on printer
c. Wait for all lights to turn on, then let go
d. Press blue button 8x
e. Printer should make boot up noise
3. Reset the printer network card to default settings
a. Turn off printer
b. Hold blue button and turn on printer
c. Wait for all lights to turn on, then let go
d. Press blue button 7x
e. Printer should make boot up noise
f. hold on blue button for 15 sec till printer paper prints. Validate that the printer is active (first node).
4. Switch your IP connect to “SETUP”
5. Put install disc in (Wireless set up)
a. Choose wireless set up
b. Find Brother Printer
c. Find your SSID (your home internet name)
d. Select WPA and PSK NOTE: This is for the apple router only
e. System should now printer confirm print out. Look for
i. link OK, 11 Mbps (shows that it’s connected to your SSID)
6. Install driver
a. Your install should find the printer. If not, then restart and start from beginning
b. NOTE: Used Apple Bonjour to find printer for one PC

Once set-up, the printer works like a charm. Fast and efficient. The printer is small enough to fit on my bookshelf, a plus for my small office.

Overall, I really like this printer. Wireless set-up is a pain (mostly in part of user error) but manageable. Great for small offices! The price was a great deal for a laser printer.

Rating: 4 out of 5. (1 pt off because of printer set up and cost of toner).

Note: I did lose connection to the printer once.. but that was due to my crappy home Wifi Network (not a fault of the printer).

For Mac instructions:

Thursday, May 29, 2008


I also do some reviews on Yelp. My user name is eric l.

Yelp is a great site for anyone to find reviews. I highly recommend it.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

eye trick

Pretty cool eye trick:
Seeing more than your eye does
Most people (even many who work on the brain) assume that what you see is pretty much what your eye sees and reports to your brain. In fact, your brain adds very substantially to the report it gets from your eye, so that a lot of what you see is actually "made up" by the brain.
Some special features of the anatomy of the eyeball make it possible to demonstrate this to yourself. The front of the eye acts like a camera lens, differently directing light rays from each point in space so as to create on the back of the eye a picture of the world. The picture falls on a sheet of photoreceptors (red in the diagram), specialized brain cells (neurons) which are excited by light.

The sheet of photoreceptors is much like a sheet of film at the back of a camera. But it has a hole in it. At one location, called the optic nerve head, processes of neurons collect together and pass as a bundle through the photoreceptor sheet to form the optic nerve (the thick black line extending up and to the left in the diagram), which carries information from the eye to the rest of the brain. At this location, there are no photoreceptors, and hence the brain gets no information from the eye about this particular part of the picture of the world. Because of this, you should have a "blind spot" (actually two, one for each eye), a place pretty much in the middle of what you can see where you can't see.


Look around. Do you see a blind spot anywhere? Maybe the blind spot for one eye is at a different place than the blind spot for the other (this is actually true), so you don't notice it because each eye sees what the other doesn't. Close one eye and look around again. Now do you see a blind spot? Hmm. Maybe its just a little TINY blind spot, so small that you (and your brain) just ignore it. Nope, its actually a pretty BIG blind spot, as you'll see if you look at the diagram below and follow the instructions.

Close your left eye and stare at the cross mark in the diagram with your right eye. Off to the right you should be able to see the spot. Don't LOOK at it; just notice that it is there off to the right (if its not, move farther away from the computer screen; you should be able to see the dot if you're a couple of feet away). Now slowly move toward the computer screen. Keep looking at the cross mark while you move. At a particular distance (probably a foot or so), the spot will disappear (it will reappear again if you move even closer). The spot disappears because it falls on the optic nerve head, the hole in the photoreceptor sheet.

So, as you can see, you have a pretty big blind spot, at least as big as the spot in the diagram. What's particularly interesting though is that you don't SEE it. When the spot disappears you still don't SEE a hole. What you see instead is a continuous white field (remember not to LOOK at it; if you do you'll see the spot instead). What you see is something the brain is making up, since the eye isn't actually telling the brain anything at all about that particular part of the picture.


Alright, you say, that's kind of neat, but maybe the brain isn't "making it up." It just knows to put white where the blind spot is. Let's try another situation and see what happens.

Seeing more than your eye does

more in the link.... --->


It's a pretty cool iPhone app. The only down side is that one would need a wifi connection. I tested using regular Edge but that did not work out well. It's too slow to connect.. however, my location could have been in a bad spot.

Schmap is a good idea to use prior to a trip for plannning purposes. Or.. if you sitting in the hotel post check-in. The map UI is user friendly. I would rate this tool 3.75 out of 5

Zombies are real!!!!!!

great read! from wire:

How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse
By David Hambling April 03, 2008 | 10:02:00 AMCategories: Ammo and Munitions, Bizarro
You've found out how to take down 500-foot monsters, and learned the secret to terminating Terminators. Now it's time for the ultimate challenge. How you should arm yourself to survive a zombie apocalypse?

Step one, Know Your Zombies.

The idea of the zombie derives from Voodoo lore. Voodoo (or voudou or vodun) is a much maligned and misunderstood religion; the popular idea of it in the United States and Europe is about as close to the reality as Satanism is to the Catholic church. Anyone using voodoo for evil (a bokor) is the equivalent of the guys who carry out ceremonies in deserted churches with pentagrams and goat's blood.

In any case, zombies do not feature in the original West African voodoo; the idea of a person drained of their soul and forced to obey a master only appeared in the Americas. These we could class as Natural Zombies. If you believe anthropologist Wade Davis, these are created by poisoning the victim with 'zombie powder' which includes puffer fish venom (tetrodotoxin). Supposedly this causes a death-like coma and brain damage which turns the victim into a pliable slaves. These zombies are harmless; you don’t need to shoot them, but watch out for the bokor who controls them.

Then there are Supernatural Zombies, corpses possessed by spirits or demonic powers. If they are animated by angelic spirits (as in the Rime of The Ancient Mariner), then they are here to help. If they are animated by something demonic (as in The Evil Dead), then firearms may be of limited use as they are beyond the laws of nature. Consult your priest, Rabbi, guru or shaman for further advice. Unless you're one of the ultra-cool gangsters in the terrific zombie/yakuza flick Versus, that is -- in which case, gunning down zombies is all in a day's work.

However, mostly you're likely to encounter the type of Alien Zombie favored by Geroge Romero. These are reanimated by an extra-terrestrial force; this is an infectious form of zombiedom that seems to be spread via biting. They are oblivious to most injuries but can reliably be taken out by destroying their brain.

When battling this type of zombie, you are basically trying to stay alive and get to a place of safety, as there are likely to be far too many for you to defeat them.

One tempting option is to go out there with a flamethrower. Zombies may have a natural aversion to fire, you should be able to ignite several of them with one burst, and it looks spectacular – there's a video of a demonstration here. However, if you check the specifications it has some serious drawbacks. The U.S. Army's M2-2 flamethrower weighed about seventy pounds, and is effective out to around fifty yards, but the big limitation is ammunition:

a fuel tank holding 18 liters of gasoline, enough for approximately five bursts of two seconds each.

So you're probably better off with a conventional firearm. At least this is one area where we are spared the interminable debate of 9mm v .45 handguns and 5.56mm v 7.62mm. Unlike living humans, stopping power counts for nothing as far as zombies go; it's all about shot placement. (And reliability – take at least one back-up gun in case you get a jam or run out of ammo at a bad time.) Anything larger than a .22 will do the job, so long as you're capable of putting a round squarely though the head. And this is very much harder than you think.

In a firing range, anyone can reliably hit a man-size target. In real combat, you will probably miss most of the time. This is borne out by an analysis of armed encounters involving police officers:

The police officer's potential for hitting his adversary during armed confrontation has increased over the years and stands at slightly over 25% of the rounds fired. An assailant's skill was 11% in 1979...

In 1992 the overall police hit potential was 17%. Where distances could be determined, the hit percentages at distances under 15 yards were:

Less than 3 yards ..... 28%
3 yards to 7 yards .... 11%
7 yards to 15 yards . 4.2%

It has been assumed that if a man can hit a target at 50 yards he can certainly do the same at three feet. That assumption is not borne out by the reports.

An attempt was made to relate an officer's ability to strike a target in a combat situation to his range qualification scores. After making over 200 such comparisons, no firm conclusion was reached.

The situation is much worse with zombies. The target – the brain – is very much smaller than with humans, and if you are a trained marksman you will reflexively aim at the body. Police officers are professionals who spend long hours training for close-quarter encounters; you probably don't. And while the adrenaline factor may be high when you're facing an armed suspect, a horde of shambling undead takes the terror to a different level.

You are liable to waste a lot of ammunition, so bring plenty. Some favor extended magazines, like the 90-round clip for AR-15/M-16 rifles or 33-round magazines for your Glock handgun. These are fine, so long as they are reliable and you have the discipline not to just keep firing until you run out.

Human factors are probably much more important than hardware. Stay cool, and keep moving. Bring a friend or three, so long as you can count on them not to scream, panic or cause friendly-fire incidents. Zombies are liable to come from all directions at the same time; you don’t get bonus points for killing more of them, so just do what you have to in order to get to safety. And watch out for the ones that are just playing dead. (Actually, they really are dead...but you know what I mean.)

Some sort of protective gear might be handy -– but can you afford to be slowed down? Do you carry something like a sword or a chainsaw for very close encounters, or are you dead by then anyway? Can you dazzle zombies with a flashlight? Any additional suggestions for zombie-fighting are, of course, welcome.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Apple's Customer Service Review (iPhone)

So last night, while getting out of the car, I dropped my iPhone face first on the sidewalk. To no surprise, the screen shattered, creating spiderweb like lines. The iPhone was still functional but was unsafe. I could feel the raised tempered (sp?) glass as I scroll my finger along the screen, a very dangerous thing to do. It was late and I was already having a bad night.. so I went to sleep, hoping that it was a dream. WAIT nightmare!

The next day, during my lunch break, I took a nice long walk to the San Francisco downtown Apple store. As always, I was greeted with a nice gentleman at the front. I showed him my shattered phone. He informed me that it will cost $250 to get it fixed. Warranty does not cover ware and tear. Apparently, Apple's warranty doesn't account for dumb asses. Anyways... I was will to pay for my fix but I need to reserve a session with someone from the Genius Bar (Apple has the greatest marketing team EVER). However, their system was down and I couldn't not make a reservation. Plus I was running late getting back to work from my lunch break. I would have to make the appointment from my work PC.

Getting back to work, I tried on numerous accounts to book an appointment through Apple's reservation system. I guess their system was down or something because I kept getting "server down" error messages. This was around 1:30 to 2:00 PM PST. I gave up and decided to try and make the reservation from home.

Got back home around 3:25 ish and logged into the Apple's reservation system again. This time I was able to make my reservation (4:00 pm pst), but the system was slow. I guessing something is happening with Apple's backend system that's causing the ruckus.

I arrived at the Apple store in the Stonetown Mall at 3:45 just as instructed by the Apple reservation system. I guess they were kind of busy because I was not helped until 4:15 - 4:20 ish. Yup.. the wait was long. After finally getting a Apple Genius to help me, he informed me that it will only cost $200 to replace my 4gb iPhone. Sweet... I guess having a 4gb iPhone has it's advantages. The whole process of switch out my phone took less than 5 mins, entering my info into their system and switch out the sim card was all it took. The Apple Genius was very professional and helpful. He understood my issue and took care of me hastily. He let me activate my iPhone using one of their showroom Mac.

Overall, I would say Apple's customer service is good. I give them an B+. The wait was long. No one asked if I need help. But.. when I got help, it was pretty peasant.

BTW: Now I have a case of my iPhone. I like the slim-ist of it. Plus it's smooth and white!

Now i'm pondering if I should get a screen protector. I'm considering this:
invisibleshield. What anyone has any comments on this product?