Saturday, March 18, 2006

Death and Taxes

Very cool pictogram, chock full of data, about where your tax dollars go:

click for larger graphic 


The original graphic is truly ginormous 

Deviant Art

Posted at 06:31 PM in Art & Design, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Ferrari F430GT

Mmmmm, 430 GT . . .


The Left Lane News notes:

The latest in a long line of client orientated Ferrari racing cars has arrived this month in the form of the 4.0-litre V8 aluminium chassis F430GT. This exciting new machine, developed as usual by Ferrari in conjunction with fabled Italian tuner Michelotti, is set to take the racetrack fight to the Porsche runners in the international FIA GT2 categories around the globe, turning the tables on the German brand which has dominated proceedings in recent years.

The new F430GT is based on the hugely-successful road-going F430 berlinetta. However the swage of cutting-edge driver aids have been swept away along with the road version's opulent interior. Thus the aluminium chassis, which incorporates the use of carbon fibre, nomex and kevlar materials, combine to see the new racer weight in at just 1,100kg. Major wind-tunnel work was carried out in the development of the F430 Coupé and this work has been taken a stage further in the development of the F430GT. Likewise the close focus on chassis rigidity that has seen the new F430 Coupé being much stiffer than the outgoing 360 Modena, has been translated to the F430GT and will be one of its major steps forward from the 360GTC, the final evolution of the 360-based racing lineage.

Looks like Jet exhaust helps the giddy up!


Here are the specs:

The 3.998-litre 90-degree V8-engine in the F430GT is based around the F430 Coupé lightweight aluminium block and cylinder heads, flat-plane crankshaft, extremely compact dimensions -- thanks partly to integrating the engine bearings into the sump, and major use of F1 derived technology, especially in the cylinder heads, this is an all-new engine that shares no components at all with the outgoing 360 Modena's powerplant.


Ferrari unveils F430GT race car
Left Lane News

Ferrari F430GT will race in American Le Mans Series
Stuart Waterman 
Autoblog Feb 3rd 2006 11:00AM

Posted at 04:09 PM in Automobiles | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

AllPeers: Firefox based Private File Sharing

Programmers in Prague say "Suck This" to RIAA/MPAA:

"Unleash your online experience and add multimedia sharing
capabilitities to your favorite browser.                                   

Share private photos worry-free. No passwords to remember, no public access.         

Share your videos without uploading - save on hosting costs while saving time.

No cumbersome interface. No sharing restriction. Private and secure. No spyware, no adware, no annoying advertisements.

Do you like free software? Do you like Firefox? Do you like sharing?

We do! That's why we built AllPeer"


click for AllPeers

Here's the 411 from the FAQ:

AllPeers is a free extension which combines the strength of Firefox and the efficiency of BitTorrent to transform your favorite browser into a media sharing powerhouse.

Regain control! You decide which media files you want to share with whom and to maximise your privacy, communications are encrypted.

Forget about complicated setup or obscure user interfaces. If you know how to use Firefox you know how to use AllPeers.


via Rocketboom

Posted at 03:56 PM in Film, Music, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Tassimo_1Interesting pod machine from Tassimo, a division of  Kraft Foods (at left).

The WSJ noted the following 1 year ago:

"Tassimo represents Kraft's answer to a pressing problems confronting one of the world's big coffee sellers -- how to win back American coffee drinkers. Kraft sells more coffee than any other company in the world, and for years, Kraft's Maxwell House brand, along with rival Folgers from P&G, defined America's coffee preferences. But sales of those products, like those of many other iconic packaged foods, are being pinched from below, by low-priced private-label brands, and from above by expensive specialty products sold at chains like Starbucks Corp.

Tassimo is one of several products that food giants, teaming up with appliance makers, are offering to upgrade consumers' at-home coffee experience. Machines from P&G and Nestlé, as well as Flavia from Mars Inc. and Senseo from Sara Lee Corp., all brew one cup at a time, not a whole pot -- in the manner of an espresso maker. The machines range in price from about $50, in the case of P&G's Mr. Coffee Home Café machine, which uses refills that resemble tea bags called "pods," to more than $2,000 for some of Nestlé's top-of-the-line Nespresso machines."

In the era of Starbucks, these machines have a very specific appeal:

The coffee machines' appeal, according to their promoters, is that they aren't messy and they customize every cup -- decaf or caf, weak or strong -- for each person in the household.

Compared with ground coffee, the coffee-machine refills are pricey. After Kraft and P&G raised coffee prices this week, a 13-oz. can of Kraft's Maxwell House costs $3.19 and makes from 80 to 90 cups of coffee, or roughly four cents a cup. A bag of 16 Tassimo single-serve T-discs sells for anywhere from $4.99 to $9.99, or 30 cents to 60 cents a cup.

Of course, even those prices pale next to a tall latte at Starbucks, which can top three bucks, depending on the market. And that is where Mr. Deromedi sees room to grow. "Yes, more people are consuming coffee away from home, but why are they doing this?" he asks. "Because they want better quality, and it's up to us to deliver that."

Indeed, as much as the new machines compete with each other, their biggest rival in the U.S. remains coffee chains such as Starbucks, whose world-wide sales in its latest fiscal year grew 30% to $5.3 billion. Compare ground coffee's lackluster sales: The U.S. market is flat at about $5 billion, almost exactly where it was in the year 2000, according to Euromonitor, a Chicago market-research firm. Meanwhile, supermarket sales of whole-bean coffee and brands like Starbucks, which Kraft distributes to grocery stores, and P&G's upscale Millstone product, are still percolating.

Will New Machines Perk Up Coffee Sales?
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, March 16, 2005; Page B1,,SB111094239948780852,00.html

See also:
Your Coffee Sucks!

Posted at 08:35 AM in Food and Drink | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


From an eBay auction, a poster reproduction:


Posted at 09:01 AM in Art & Design, Automobiles | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Monday, March 13, 2006

Natalie Portman Gangsta Rap

Very Amusing

click for video


(but why the nastygrams?)

Posted at 08:40 AM in Television | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Elephant in the Room


Tom Toles via Yahoo!

Posted at 12:44 PM in Humor, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Silicon Alley

Interesting piece on Silicon Alley in the Sunday NYT:

"Though few new-media entrepreneurs would say it loudly for fear of jinxing themselves, Silicon Alley is buzzing again. In recent months a number of Manhattan new-media companies have been involved in heady high-dollar deals that carried a faint but alluring whiff of the good old days. Start-ups are once again popping up like mushrooms in Manhattan, and last May the New York Software Industry Association opened a technology incubator at its headquarters at 55 Broad Street. It now houses 14 new companies...

"Everything is cranking up," said Nicholas Butterworth, a member of the original Silicon Alley generation of the mid-90's who is himself starting a new technology company. "There is definitely something in the air. It's not exactly the same as it was the first time around, but it's got some of that same spirit."

The surest sign of renewed life in Silicon Alley — a broad term for New York's digital media scene, most of it located in lower Manhattan — has been the deals. Last week the women's portal iVillage, a survivor of the first boom and bust, was sold to NBC Universal for $600 million. Last fall AOL bought Weblogs Inc., a publisher of blogs including the popular technology site Engadget, for $25 million."



graphic courtesy NYT, via Googlemaps



"Not so long ago Silicon Alley was all but obliterated. Dozens of companies went out of business during the burst of the technology bubble, and the economic slow-down following the 9/11 attacks took still more. Employment in information technology in New York City plummeted to around 35,000 at the end of 2005 from around 50,000 in 2000, according to the New York State Labor Department.

Along the way any semblance of a digital community in New York dissolved as well. Launch parties gave way to pink slip-parties and then to no parties at all. The Silicon Alley Reporter, a trade publication, folded, and the New York New Media Association, a focal point for the tech community during the boom, quietly closed its doors in 2003. Nerds went underground.

A number of factors have contributed to the rebound, investors and online executives said. Start-up costs and overhead for running a consumer-oriented Internet company have plummeted, as hardware prices have fallen and packaged or open-source software has taken the place of the programming departments that once had to build sites from scratch.

New forms of targeted advertising from companies like Yahoo and Google have allowed small companies to sell adds online without sales staffs. And large established companies with hefty marketing budgets have been spending more on online advertising.

But perhaps the biggest change on the Alley has been the shift from a culture of profligacy to one of financial discipline. While first-generation Web entrepreneurs once boasted of mountains of venture capital, massages for staff and Aeron office chairs for all, the current crop of Alley executives can't let a conversation go by without pointing out how utterly miserly they are."

Alive and Well in Silicon Alley
NYT, March 12, 2006

Posted at 07:52 AM in Current Affairs, Web/Tech, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Jon Stewart Asks Larry King if He's Insane

From CNN Live:

KING: Then what is left for you, Jon?

STEWART: What is left for me?

KING: If you're tired of both groups?

STEWART: Hosting a basic cable show. That is what is left for me, sitting every day and getting to rub my eyes and make stupid faces on videotape. That is all that is left for me. That is the catharsis that I live for.

KING: So, in a sense you're happy over this.


KING: This gives you fodder.

STEWART: Yes, I prefer not the fodder. I'm not -- we're not the guys at the craps table betting against the line. I would -- we'd make fun of something else. If public life, if government suddenly became inspiring and moved towards people's better nature and began to solve problems in a rational way rather than just a way that involved political dividends, we would be the happiest people in the world to turn our attention to idiots like, you know, media people, no offense.

KING: So, you don't want it to be bad?

STEWART: Did you really just ask me if I want it to be bad?

KING: Yes because you...

STEWART: What are you -- I have kids what do you think? Yes, I don't want them to have any kind of a -- I want things to corrode to the point where we're all living in huts.

KING: Not all living in huts but generally comics political comics like things to go a little wrong, don't have to be the end of the world.

STEWART: Like things to go a little wrong like birdshot to the face of a guy that will survive.

KING: That's right.

STEWART: Not like things to go wrong until it's like Mad Max, every man for himself, let's all ride around with machineguns on, which seems to be the way that it's...

KING: You don't want Medicare to fail?

STEWART: Are you insane?


STEWART: You're literally asking me if I would prefer -- yes, Larry, what I'm saying to you as a comedian I want old people to suffer, old and poor people to suffer. That is -- that is -- what we want is -- what seems absurd to me is the length that Washington just seems out of touch with the desires of Americans to be spoken to as though they are adults.

I mean when you listen to Bush's speeches, and I'm leaving the Democrats out because I honestly don't feel that they make an impact. They have 49 percent of the vote and three percent of the power. At a certain point you go "Guys, pick up your game."

But Bush, you know the other day when he had the speech about us being addicted to oil, he says those things as though, you know, he just thought of it and we're disagreeing with him, like everybody's been saying that. Jimmy Carter said it I think in 1978.

And he comes out, "What people don't realize is we're addicted to foreign oil" and he's saying it like you're going "Get out of here." We're addicted. You don't get it people. You know he was the guy on the stump a few years ago making fun of hybrid cars because it wasn't manly.

KING: Our guest is Jon...

CNN Transcript here
Video here: Crooks & Liars

Posted at 11:25 AM in Humor, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Free Music: SXSW


Austin's South By Southwest festival is one of the music industry's biggest events for discovering up-and-coming bands. Anyone with access to the Internet can preview more than 900 of the acts that music executives will be swarming to see.

Here's how to find the free tracks:  Go to SXSW and click "SXSW Bands" and then "Get Going." Click any band's name with a cassette icon next to it, then choose either "Download" or "Stream."

The WSJ observes:

"It's a sign of how dramatically the process of discovering new music has changed -- both for the industry and for casual fans -- in the digital age. While music scouts once relied on word-of-mouth, regional radio play and excursions to dingy clubs, they're increasingly looking to podcasts, music blogs and social networking sites like MySpace to hear new bands and measure their audiences. Online buzz has helped launch the careers of acts like Fall Out Boy, a pop-punk band nominated for a Grammy this year.

The Internet is "where music gets discovered and buzz builds," says Ed Vetri, president of Wind-up Records, an independent label distributed by Sony/BMG Entertainment. Mr. Vetri says his staff started combing through the MP3s on South by Southwest's site as soon as they were posted, on Feb. 16. The team narrowed the pool of bands the label is interested in to about 25, of which it might sign two or three."

Free Music: Rock
WSJ, March 4, 2006; Page P2

Posted at 08:49 AM in Music | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack