May 31, 2004

Frontpage is BAD (edit)

(Ed note: Yeah I threw the wrong url into that link, have another go)

I was chatting with my pal Gent yesterday and he tried to show me his website. "Tried" was the word because none of the url's he gave me were valid or even well formed. I eventually found the blasted thing with the help of Google, and I have to say: it is a shining example of how not to use Front Page.

Posted by jesse at 02:37 PM | Comments (11)

May 30, 2004

Memorial Day Weekend

I went to the Grandparent's house in Powell Butte for Memorial Day and so everyone could celebrate my, my grandfather's, and my uncles birthday (which are consecutive). Most of my relatives from Portland came to visit, such as my mom Joy'e, stepdad John, both uncles Danny and David, sister Echo, and her children James "Jimmy/Bubbah" Scott and Allie-anne. I don't get to see them too often so it was good :)
I was climbing over one of the rock piles that I spent 90% of my childhood on with my son Christian and Jimmy, when my foot slipped between a couple of rocks and I fell in a sideways direction. Sprained Ankle. Wouldn't have been a problem back when I weighed 50 or 100 lbs, but 250 lbs is enough to damage an ankle against a rock :) Now I'm ina splint.
Today we went out to Sawyer Park and got to feed the Chipmunks. We had some left-over peanuts in the trunk getting old and stale so we broke them out as a peace offering. With just a little bit of coaxing and patience, we had chipmunks everywhere begging for goodies. :) They will gently put their paw on your finger to steady themselves while they get a good grip on the peanut shell with their tiny tooths. Darla had a single-peanut and one chipmunk figured the end of her finger must be the other part of the peanut and she got nibbled :) Again they were gentle and polite, so the nibble did not hurt but it was a suprise.
They will take the peanut shells, sit up on a rock somwhere and nibble away at the shell until they get at the peanuts inside, and hide the peanuts inside their cheeks. Apparently they can stow at least a dozen objects that way, so they just come back begging for more with big poofy cheeks :)

Posted by jesse at 04:55 PM | Comments (0)

May 28, 2004

The Day After Tomorrow

As we went into the theater to watch The Day After Tomorrow, my mother-in-law tried to convince me that the whole thing was based on a book written by her loony radio hero Art Bell. Thankfully I was able to blow her off and enjoy the entire movie before she brought it up again, pointing at the end-credits:
Based up the book "The Coming Global Superstorm"
by Art Bell and Whitley Striber

So I guess I'll look forward to next year's big summer blockbuster:
"The day the earth stood liberal"
based on "The way things out to be" by Rush Limbaugh :P

Posted by jesse at 10:04 PM | Comments (0)

May 26, 2004

Blog Style Sheets

So my pal Jake pointed me to to hunt around for some style sheets that could make my blog look less out-of-the-box. My line was that I'm too busy to hack these things myself, and lazy, and lack the artistic ability, and there had to be a glut of good ideas online right?
Well that site is nice and all but it does appear to have a total of 7 styles on display apart from the MovableType defaults. Jake and Dane and everyone else I know with MT have rad looking style sheets, and I found it difficult to believe that either of those chaps found time in their hectic lives to lovingly hand craft style sheets, so I just wanta know where they shop :)

In the meantime, I've decided to dispell the first 2 of the 3 objections I made to hacking my own styles by doing so. Now my blog looks like Metastar, which is also in some dire need of interior decorating :]

Posted by jesse at 11:53 PM | Comments (7)

May 25, 2004

Old Nintendo tunez

Apparently, in some of the popular emulators for the super nintendo it is possible to record the game music in a fairly small, midi-like format, and then play it back in the emulator. Or, if you don't have an emu there is a plugin for Winamp, as well as complete playlists for almost every SNES game. You all should check it out :)

Posted by jesse at 02:25 PM | Comments (0)

Adware and Spyware

I've been a firm believer in Ad-aware, but now it looks like my mother in law has been hit by some search-tool related malware, similar to CWS, that puts porn links in her favorites and changes the homepage and Ad Aware apparently can't see the thing. I've advised her to stay offline until I can hunt down the latest, greatest solution.

I'm still not entirely clear how companies can disseminate spy/ad/malware like this and not be prosecuted for it. If Ad Aware can classify and eliminate it then it should not be hard to track down where it comes from and deal with it at the source. I do not personally understand what the distinction is between *ware and a virus or a trojan. Many variant like CWS are actually called "trojans" in news stories, yet their authors are known people and they are even openly gunning at other browsers without any fear of legal recourse, save for some brave new bits of legislation that look as though they may prove as effective as the war on spam. Some people are claiming that porn ferreted onto their machines by spyware have gotten them fired, divorced, or even arrested. Even if that last link is just a convenient alibi, there's no excuse for it even being a possibility.

The Utah lawsuit appears to approach the issue from the angle of "unfair affiliate profits". The spyware in question waits for a browser to go to and then displays popup ads. argues this is wrong because they don't receive a commission on the ads. This is simply insane: I have yet to see a murder case hinge upon the killer's ability to squeeze the victim's family out of market share.

The thing that burns me the most is that when I started doing google searches to research the problem for this post, I didn't see a single dissertation as to the legal ramifications of malware. The only search results I get from Google on this subject are web pages for spyware cleanering "solutions". I love the false hope here that if you install this probably-free peice of software, it will "plug up" that hole that's letting all the spyware in. Or else that if you get into the routine of using Ad Aware, Spyhunter, and Kaboom every week that you'll be set for life. What we are discussing are legal computer viruses. It will take these sleaseballs all of 12 hours to sidestep whatever back-lines defenses you indulge in.

There are also quite a few myths perpetuated that people use to remain in a state of denial about this whole travesty:

Myth #1: "You have to agree to install the software and click 'ok'"
This isn't true: most *ware gets installed through browser hijacking nowadays. Even if that were true, it's like saying that vacuum cleaner salesmen have the right to kick you out of your house once you've invited them in. And/or steal your bank data, and/or litter your house in porn (forget the mailbox) and they have no legal obligation to leave your home; you have to outwit them out with the help of some service that may or may not be free.

Myth #2: "You can't get porn malware unless you are a porn-browsing perve to begin with"
Well, my mother in law doesn't browse porn. She does remember what website she visited when her troubles started however, and it was some faux search page. The same url was in a dozen places in her registry by then. What got added to the favorites and the desktop however were porn websites and dialers.

Myth #3: "You'll be safe if you just remain security concious"
I won't even go into the issue that the very act of securing your machine can introduce vulnerabilities. The fact of the matter is that we are not all sysadmins. If you happen to be a competent sysadmin, you are probably the only one in your family. Everyone else in your family will want you to clean their computers every tuesday from that which they cannot defend themselves: and let me tell you, this crap is much easier to prevent than to clean up after.
If you are a sysadmin, you have to compete with the powers of outsourcing. You simply cannot afford to either clean up after your friends and relatives, or act as their personal administrator and keep them from tripping over themselves. They also can't afford to pay you or anyone else to do this for them.
I go back to the home-owners analogy. A door lock and deadbolt will not prevent a determined attacker from getting into your home. It will slow them down, and ideally a law-fearing society will keep you safe. Remember: once there is a national disaster in your area, get a weapon, you're door locks are meaningless.
The same is true here. Since there appear to be no legal ramifications to this form of hacking and hijacking, every computer user must suddenly become a hardened security expert to remain in control of their property. That is as much of a political/legal failure as it would be to ignore prosecuting for trespass or breaking and entry. Neither your house nor your computer should have to be a fortress.

So what I would like to know is: When will breaking into somebody else's computer system be considered a criminal offense?

Posted by jesse at 12:07 AM | Comments (2)

May 23, 2004


This re-affirms my faith in the ability to make art on a budget.

Feedback was shot in 2002 on 35mm film for $35,000. In other words, it cost less than the Blair Witch Project and was shot on high quality film instead of with a camcorder. It was cheaper than Cube or Pi. The next least expensive film I have ever seen was the 2003 Thompson/Powell Family Reuniun.

It is about some low-life hoodlums with checkered morals who miraculously obtain a device which allows you to make a telephone call up to 6 hours into the past. It is grimy, brutal, and entirely human. The plot ticks forward in a well-oiled fashion, the actors do a beautiful job portraying characters who aren't beautiful, and the cinematography is simply divine.

This is the trailer.

They have one copy at Hollywood Video, which may be checked out at any given time. If I can obtain a copy for less than $22 (amazon) I'll probably lend it to you. :)

Posted by jesse at 04:36 AM | Comments (0)

May 22, 2004

Square One Television

Does anyone remember a kids show on PBS called Square 1? It was a skit-based show like Saturday Night Live but it's focus was on teaching math. Also, about half of every episode was devoted to a series called Mathnet, (yes, a math show based on Dragnet :) wherein every hour long Mathnet episode elapsed during a week of square one programming (which was scheduled every weekday).
I loved the show, and found the micro-series approach highly effective. Both shows were absolutely saturated with camp and corny jokes, but I could tolerate that easily.
Season one of Square one was the best, with the best, most original and most prolific skits and writing. After that many seasons were saturated with bad game shows and had fewer original skits; especially fewer one-shot skits. They did come up with some really good episodic skits late in the game however such as "Nobody's Inn", which was such a good parody of the britcom "Faulty Towers" as to be nearly interchangeable :)
I also remember the names of all of the actors in the show, for real, off the top of my head. And as far as imdb or I can discern, none of them have had a career since the show aired. So, yes, they should bring back the show, as one more step in BRINGING BACK THE EIGHTIES! w000t

Posted by jesse at 10:31 AM | Comments (3)

May 21, 2004


You know, I think I've frightened everybody away by not posting for like a week :)
Happy T to Jake!
My birthday is tomorrow and I'm getting together with yon webformix fellers for Mongolian Barbecue and a matinee showing of Shrek II.

Posted by jesse at 12:17 PM | Comments (0)

May 20, 2004

Movable Type

Oh yeah, and I've read about the Movable Type licensing fiasco. I'm not concerned with what they legally "can" do (it's their software, they can blah blah blah), but their hubris offends me. I would immediately change engines if I weren't lazy and/or busy, but as is as soon as I have need to change or upgrade (like when they decide that I'll have to pay them for the copy I'm running now) I've given some thought to rolling my own like Jon.

If so, one cool idea I've thought up (no I haven't researched to see if it's been done) is to make an RSS feed of every reply to every comment by each username that posts comments. Thus a person can easily subscribe to an RSS of all of the comments in reply to their comments. That would be tight :)

If I get comment spammers that could increase the garbage but if I get them, I'd probably whip together a simple setup where you have to acquire a login username and password, but skip the email step and just have a bot-filter. You know, like yahoo's "type the word you see in this farked image" but probably orders of magnitude simpler, like text-based. Since it's custom nobody will write a script to defeat it, even if it would take half an hour, and I'd be able to easily delete the username and ban the IP of any crackheads so it would be a big hassle for them to create accounts by hand. It would be like a car door lock, or zip encryption, or WEP :) And I wouldn't bother until the spammers came knocking.

Posted by jesse at 05:45 PM | Comments (1)

Dry Spell

Yes I haven't blogged in awhile :)
I've been poking around for access to a digital camera. I mentioned to Dane that the perfect digicam for me would be a miniaturized digital kodak fun cam. Small as possible, 2 megapixel (maybe 1.5? better than phone cams though) a meg of built in memory, maybe half a meg.. whatever is enough for a dozen or 2 jpegs. a small plug for a usb cable. No zoom, no photographic niceties, basic/braindead exposure/focus, no ports plugs or extendies, a small glass window to look through and a small led display. It should be as simple, cheap, and small as possible. I want the camera to be with me (fit discreetly in my pocket), have the photographic abilities of the cheapest cameras extent, and cost under $50. Oh and of course the USB driver software should be simple and non-gay. Perhaps just open the device like a drive to the machine and let XP handle the rest with it's whizzy-wizards. This I would purchase, and I believe many other people would to :) We all have computers, don't need to invest in a camera/printer combo that can work around that. None of us photograph for a living, we just want to post the miscellany of our lives to a blog. Kodak fun cams fill a roll and I want the small digital cheap counterpart :)

Posted by jesse at 05:33 PM | Comments (1)

May 15, 2004

Favorite TV show

During the 1980's, my favorite TV show was MacGuyver. I've gotten to see a few episodes of it run on TV land recently, and it still rules :)
What is your favorite 80's TV show?

Posted by jesse at 12:36 PM | Comments (8)

May 14, 2004


Did you know that the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment system was released to the public in 1985? I never saw ads on TV for it until roughly '88.
One way or another, the predominant gaming console in America during the '80s was definately the Atari.
Now I've got an Emulator for it, along with roughly all of the games.

So what gaes were good? Honest, I wanna know where to begin :)

I've been playing a lot of Adventure. I couldn't find my way through the mazes as a kid and the Dragons gave me nightmares.

Chris Merydith says he liked Pitfall II, espescially the "rad music". I can't get into it for some reason though. Maybe it's just too hard ;)

So what game should I try next?

Posted by jesse at 02:31 AM | Comments (2)

May 12, 2004

Bend Blogger Meetup a Success

It must have been, about 88% of us met up :)
There was Me, Barney, Roger, Simone, Dane, Kerry, Jon, Shannon and of course Jake. There was also lots of noise so I couldn't here all of what was going on, but there was a lot about couches and about egging things. And about not egging couches, of course.

Simone, and Roger, and I think maybe Kerry got some pictures of us lot, so they'll be circulating them and I'll be scratching my head trying to figure out how to upload them onto here. :)

Posted by jesse at 11:03 PM | Comments (3)

Bend Blogger Meetup to.. is there an echo in here? (echo?)

Huryay, I'm off to BDC to meet with the others of this town who blog.
Luckily this afternoon, through sheer coincidence, I learned that the Bend Brewing Company is not to be confused with the Deschutes Brewery. I could have been in a real pickle otherwise.

Barney may stop by, if he has time. It's too bad TheOwl says he can't make it. That would have been cool. I'll have to get that man a blog one of these days. :)

Posted by jesse at 07:28 PM | Comments (0)

Random fun food faqts

I don't like berries. Any berries. For real, I don't even like grapes :)

Posted by jesse at 12:20 PM | Comments (2)

TI vs C64

In the 1980's, did you own a personal computer? If so, what kind was it?

Some of us had IBM's. I only know this because I saw my uncle's receipt for an 8088 with 2 360k floppies and no HD in 1984 for $4,000.

Many of the rest of my friends had Commedore 64's. I didn't know much about them, and still to this day I don't :)

I had a TI/99-4a "home computer". It was a 333Khz (!!) model with a vaguely EGA display (256x192x16 color). Like the Atari, Apple ][e and C64, you could not set each pixel to a color individually, so graphic designers for games had to be pretty creative. :)
I programmed in TI-Basic. I wrote my first Basic app when I was 4. It counted by twos indefinately (hail Goto, lol). By the time I was 6 I had made a crude computer game: "Find the Adverb". Sure it always showed you the same three words in the same order, but the title alone cemented my mantle as übergeek permenente :)

TI games were rad. I had Car Wars, Tombstone City, Parsec, A-Maze-ing, Munch-man, etc etc etc. Some of them, like Parsec, worked well with a speech synthesizer module you could add to the console so that the games could output semi-canned speech.. which is of course impressive for that hardware.

Some interesting drawbacks were that to get a simple disk-drive costed hundreds of dollars, so I never had one. You could even get an audio tape drive to store saved games or basic programs, but I never had a working one of those either. So instead, if I wrote a program I left the unit on until I wasn't interested in the app anymore. During the nine years that I owned it, I'd estimate it was powered on for cumulatively 6 years. When it finally failed, we openned it up and most of the circuitboards looked like bacon.

So what kind of computers did you have in the 80's, and what experiences did you have with them? :)

Posted by jesse at 02:01 AM | Comments (9)

May 11, 2004

Obligitory Rubik Reference

Yes, yes, I know. I never expected to get away for long maintaining a blog about the 1980's without eventually having to talk about the Rubik's Cube. It's a little bit reminiscent of Godwin's Law, so I'm defusing the possibility early :)

Ok, so I can cube, I own several, and can solve one in roughly 3 minutes. I'm a Coffee Acheiver :) But, for those of us übergeek cube enthusiasts who want a greater challenge, there are many options available. Larger cubes, Siamese cubes, Fused cubes, but it took people and computers a long time before they began exploring adding dimentions instead of size.

This brings us to Magic Cube 4d. This is a fascinating — and so far, to me, largely insoluble — puzzle inspired by the Rubik's Cube. It uses innovative techniques to simulate a 4ourth dimentional "hypercube" which follows the same puzzle-tennets as the original. The Windows version of the app is 3^4 only, but the Xwindows verion (I've played both ;) can be altered anywhere from 2^4 to, I think, 6^4.

The makers of the Magic Cube hold contests to see who can solve it with the fewest moves. I think the current record is 495. They will also list the names of anyone who can solve the cube whatsoever. So far only 25 people are on that list, so reserve a low number while they are still available! ;)

Finally, if you would like to try out the cube but can't stand their selection of colors (It's a legal issue), contact me and I'll email you the "color file" that they could not exactly bundle with the software. :)

Posted by jesse at 12:47 PM | Comments (0)

FLIP OUT! (flip out..)

So does anyone remember a pocket travel game from the 1980's called Flipsiders? They were dubiously marketed but insanely cool pocket/magnetic board games with breathtakingly rad board art (aparently done with mad skill in probably Adobe Photoshop V negative 1.5, circa 1987).

Each game looked vaguely like an audio cassette (though normally more wildly colored). They were the same size, just a fraction of an inch thicker. Where the tape wheels were, there was a dual-spinner in place of dice. In the top was a small compartment holding 4 colored magnetic game peices. Out of the bottom, with a simple flick of the wrist, would cascade a 3-pane magnetic board that was simple to fold back up into the cartrage.

I owned at least ten of these gems as a kid, but I think my grandparents sold or gave them away while I was at college, along with a few 18-ounce bars of platinum and the Hope Diamond. I was a bit dissapointed :)

The games were hella fun, the form factor was hella portable. I could really fit all 10 of them in a small pouch in my backpack. They were durable as hell too.. like any cell phone or PDA I've ever owned, they'd been through more physical maltreatment than the three stooges.. over the course of several years.. and every mechanism on every game held up like a jeep. The only drawback was the magnetic peices, which could be easily lost... but that could have been solved by having a bag of extras at home to replenish the stock. They only varied in color, and came in like 6 colors across all the games.

I've been running the Yahoo Group for a few months now, and with the help of fewer cohorts than even ye who read *this* blog, we got a reply back from an Anjar representative (in the group no less!) earlier today, offering info and even intimating that the games may be re-released soon. w00t!

So lemme know if you've ever heard of these things, and/or what you thought of them? And/or where can I buy some? *ball*

Posted by jesse at 12:30 AM | Comments (0)

May 09, 2004

Pocket PC

So I gots a new battery for my HP Jornada 540 Pocket PC. It's been out of commish for a few years now, and I'm glad to have it functioning again!

The coolest thing about a Pocket PC (aside from tunez if you have enough storage space) is eBooks. You have yourself a backlit library in your pocket whenever you've got a few extra minutes on your hands.

Solatare/card-games for any touch-screen system is also an interesting experience, since you are litterally "moving" these little digital cards from place to place. It's so dead simple, even my grandfather enjoys it. :)

Now it's got me wondering; how simple would it be to wifi enable an old PocketPC like this? I've seen some CompactFlash Wifi cards, but I can't find any reviews for them online: maybe they are cheesy to use and/or set up *shrug*

A GPS attachment would also be nutritional.

So what do you all do with one of the few cultural advancements since the eighties? :)

Posted by jesse at 09:38 PM | Comments (2)


I've been invited to OrBlogs so we'll see if they list me.
I modified the Lat/long meta tag they recommend for you to be more.. accurate.. using this mapquest tool.
Jake and Jon have been kind enough to review my blog and offer some suggestions for good or for awesome. They say step one is to introduce some connnntennnnt so I'll try to write in here like once a day :)

Thank you everyone for your support!

- - Jesse

Posted by jesse at 02:51 PM | Comments (2)

One small step for Blogdom..

Several dozen frenzied keystrokes for blogger :)

Hello Woild, and welcome to my blog.
I have attempted starting 2 blogs in the past, but I promise not to abandon this one and leave it crying in the gutter like a lost kitten :)

So this blog is called "Bring back the 80's". I called it that because after a survey of my feelings towards cultural things in general, To try and figure out what I felt the most strongly about, I came to the conclusion that — aside from better hair and technological/geeky advancements — nothing culturally important has happened since 1989.

So let the blogging commence. :) Blog afficianado's will notice that I'm using the most basic, defaultiest movable type template available. This is because I scarcely know what I am doing folks :) Any comments/suggestions would be appreciated.

Also, since I don't know if there is a place where I've already entered this or not, my email address is [ ].

- - Jesse Thompson
proud übergeek

Posted by jesse at 02:15 AM | Comments (0)