Monetizing the horde

I have way more toys than I should. And children need toys. And I need money. So Craigslist is now my intergarage and I am having a sale in it.

Here are links to figments of my prolonged childhood now for sale.


Selling my life's possessions

I've begun compiling goods and such that I don't use enough to warrant keeping. The plan is to sell them on eBay to folks that will use them lots and enjoy the heck out of them. So far, my store will feature:

1. a digital camera — Olympus C-730 Ultra Zoom with:
• 3.2 Megapixels with 10x optical zoom and 3x digital zoom = 30x total zoom!
• 16 MB xD and 128 MB Smartmedia memory cards
• a tripod, a TV out cable, and
• a nifty case with 1,000 pockets called "The Cube" made by RoadWired.

2. a white Nintendo DS Lite with:
• a charger, a microfiber screen cleaning cloth
• 5 DS games - Final Fantasy III, Meteos, Advance Wars: Dual Strike, Super Mario 64 DS, and Brain Age
• two extra styluses
• a hard carrying case for the games
• a neoprene case for the DS
• screen protectors applied on day of purchase

3. a Sony Playstation Portable (PSP) with:
• 6 PSP games and 1 movie - Lumines, Me & My Katamari, Midnight Club 3: Dub Edition, Final Fantasy, Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories, Gitaroo Man Lives!, and Snatch
• in-earphones with music player remote control
• screen protector applied on day of purchase, plus an extra, new screen protector
• a nifty PSP-branded carrying case with a foam cutout nest for the PSP and spaces for the rest of this stuff.
• and for extra portability, a neoprene sleeve and a wrist lanyard.

4. an Apple iBook G3 (the iceBook in the parlance of our times)
• 600 MHz, 384 MB SDRAM, USB 1.1, Firewire 1394, 80 GB HDD, DVD/CD-RW Combo Drive
• 12.1" LCD, battery was recently replaced, Airport, Ethernet
• Mac OS 10.4.11 (the latest Tiger update), iWork '08, iLife '08, etc.
• RCA output cable, standard charger with extension
• soft carrying case made by incase (one of their first)

5. a Nintendo Gamecube
• four Nintendo-brand controllers (3 corded and 1 wireless Wavebird)
• 19 games, all awesome
• GameBoy console converter attachment
• GameBoy Advance controller converter cable
• 10 GameBoy games, the classics

6. a Sony Ericsson W580i Walkman phone with earbud/headset, USB cable, 3 home chargers, 1 car charger, and one AA-battery/home charger
7. a Motorola i860 Nextel mobile phone with chargers and USB cable
8. a Garmin GPSmap 76
9. gads of other obsolete and nearly-retro life debris

More shameless peddling to come…


So you wanna make a ringtone…

For a Sony Ericsson phone, a ringtone music file must have a bitrate of 112 kbps or less, and the file itself cannot be more than 30 seconds long. Within iTunes, any mp3 can be converted into a ringtone in 10 easy steps.

1. Find and listen to the song you want blaring out of your phone when your loathsome friends bother you.
2. Identify the portion (30 seconds or less) that would make the best ringer, and write down the timestamps of the beginning and end of it.
3. 'Get Info' on the song, whether through the contextual menu (right-click on it), or by hitting command-i while the song's highlighted.
4. Click on the 'Options' tab in the Info window and enter the timestamps into the start and stop boxes located therein. Hit 'OK'.
5. Doubleclick on the chosen song to see if only that portion plays and if it's the right portion. Hone the timestamps to tenths of seconds to get the ringtone to start and stop exactly where you want. e.g. 3:43.8 is the format for 8 tenths of second after 3:43.
6. Open iTunes Preferences, either under the iTunes menu or by hitting command-, and then check your 'Importing' preferences. They may be in different places (usually under the General or Advanced tabs) depending on what version of iTunes you have.
Set it to — Import using: MP3 Encoder — Setting: Custom (112 kbps).
7. Go back to the song you have chosen and time constrained. Highlight it and go to the Advanced menu above. Click on 'Convert Selection to MP3'. If it doesn't say MP3, check your import preferences again.
8. Once the song is finished converting, you should have a mini-retarded version of your originally chosen song sitting right above or below it. Give it a listen to make sure it turned out.
9. Put the lil' guy on your phone and choose it as your ringer.
10. Then wait for said loathsome friends to destroy your solace.

That's how I would do it. Here's to not having to pay exorbitant fees for lower-quality snippets of songs that only annoy you in a matter of weeks anyhow.


Kevin Haas hits a brown note

Kevin and I went to grade and high school together. This shit has me rolling… "So you're not a poop expert… We're gonna have to find someone else."


Lasting sustainable value?

From Fred Wilson's blog, "A VC":
I am all for trying to protect the small inventor, but solo inventor who does not commercialize his/her technology does not bring nearly as much economic value (and jobs) to our society as the entrepreneur who actually takes the risk, starts the company, hires people, commercializes the technology, raises the necessary capital, and builds lasting sustainable value.

Do venture capitalists expect that creating lasting sustainable value is an option or a possibility? I thought it was about a decent rate of return. Of course the problem with even beginning to discuss this matter is the word "value." Few people would define it similarly, much less agree on a definition, and even if the general concept were settled in some imaginary homogenous parallel universe's society, few people share the same set of values or even any of the same individual values. Except for one: persistence, if that is a value.

I want to persist. You probably do too, unless you are seriously contemplating suicide while you read this commentary (don't do it). We exemplify our shared valuation of persistence in many different ways. Some of us chase tail like a one-eyed retarded dog, driven to pass down genes by yanking down jeans. Some of us religiously avoid risk of bodily harm, choosing to imagine life in a bubble of downy safety. Some of us exercise obsessively, honing our physicality to a razor's edge of fitness. Some of us eat compulsively, storing up energy as tremendous blobs of immobile survival. Some of us fight race, gender, or class wars, seeing threats to our persistence in those different from us, or defending against those we threaten through our persistence. And some of us seek to build a corporate legacy, "lasting sustainable value," or at least amass a fortune in this corporeal plane. How do you persist? Why do you?

I persist because I live and vice versa. While that may seem like a nonpoint, I can find no other explanation for my persistence value. It's an automatic response to existence as far as I can tell. Beyond that, I observe many people who attest to having "something to live for" or what I would interpret as an alternate reason for persistence (besides existence). Rubbish! Actually, strike that, I would like know what others imagine to be the reason behind their desire to persist. Or as usual, have I generalized this commentary to an atmospheric altitude incapable of sustaining discussion or interest?

Oh to be hopelessly myopic!


Lame Semantics

Social or societal? What the diff…err…ents?

No opinion here. Just wondering why we have two words where one could lie, sleeping in the OED comfortably.

Also come see benny lava poop on my knee? nipple nipple. Your pundit got armor. Taught me about Tamil, soramimi, etc. Wikipedia is a good kind of brain virus.


Morality and the Vote

An old friend, and staunch Roman Catholic, recently included me in a thread discussing whether it is a mortal sin to vote for Barack Obama due to his stance on the abortion platform. Several of my ancient church youth group (KYRIOS/KAIROS) acquaintances and associates weighed in with different approaches ranging from strict adherence to the holy word of the USCCB to a relatively well-informed perspective on the current state of human dealings around the world. Before I reveal my meager attempt to address this question, I ask you: on what should a vote be based? On beliefs, on values, on politics, on money, on fear of going to Hell, on love of fetuses? With that in mind, here's what I think:

I should preface my entry in this discourse with a polite disclaimer: my opinion is not based on Church doctrine, dogma, or the like, but merely on a wholehearted belief that life is of the highest value. However I do not limit this belief to the value of American lives, nor even to HUMAN life, but rather to all living entities.

The inconceivably tragic condition of many other parts of the world weigh on my mind much more heavily than any domestic issues, moral, ethical or political. I immediately hurdle and ignore any implications my vote may have on my eternal soul, thinking only of the severe consequences my wrongful vote will have on millions of other poor, suffering souls around the planet that never had a chance or a voice as I have and as I do. More than that, I also recognize the heinous transgression our species has committed upon the planet that has fostered our life and survival. These considerations far outweigh any selfish desire for moral approbation that may trigger me to worry about (globally comparatively) rich old people who would have died without any help, or fetuses that would have been born to mothers who were willing and wanting to murder that child before they ever met it. Pardon my candor, but the greater horrors I choose not to mention would far supersede these.

I lived in a blind warm nest of isolation and ignorance for the formative years of my life. No longer can I ignore the injustice of my undeserved privilege. My votes will be cast (and always have been cast) to balance the equation, for the candidates who, to the greatest extent, share my respect for life, my valuation of true universal justice. It's quite honestly the least I can do to repay my Creator for placing me, in the grand perspective, in the very lap of luxury.

The beauty of this whole voting thing is that my opinion only counts as much as anyone else's. Consequently I am forced to evaluate everyone's opinions on equal ground because they all have the same weight.

That said, vote for whoever you want. This country's on its way down the tubes, mainly due to the crumbling integrity of values, due to selfishness, due to isolated, ignorant perspectives. It gives me hope to read all of your entries above, hope that some Americans do try to become informed on the true state of the world (which is quite obviously impossible but a valiant pursuit all the same). For only with real and complete information about the consequences of our actions, our votes, and our governments' actions, can we begin to evaluate the wrongness or rightness of something as minuscule as our vote for President. If you want to trust the Church to channel the infallible will of God in Three Persons into a political opinion, that is your choice. But it is a choice the effects of which the whole planet and all the beings on it will feel. I can only hope that I will not be counted with the goats that I condemn by my vote as an American citizen, because let's face it, people will die either way, it's really just a choice of who. The only way to truly be pro-life is not to vote at all.

Please understand that I am not making any personal attacks with my opinion, nor do I hope to change anyone's mind — that is something one must do for oneself. Nor am I qualified to evaluate anyone's decisions or votes. I doubt that any presidential candidate in the history of our country has been satisfactory by my standards. Have a lovely day, a wonderful week, and a fantastic fall. But please don't bother stopping to pass judgment until you've learned all there is to know.

Phew! Good things that's out of the way. Did I piss anyone off? Tell me about it. Did I get anyone nodding? Lemme hear it. Tell everybody with some delicious backtalk (link below).


Inedible Crevice Tincture

Just wanted to get that out. Google reveals no mention of this phrase. It is sacred, terrasitic, and ignominious at best. Revel and marvel at it, but do not, I repeat, do not put it in your mouth. The Spyda made it, and he will destroy it, if shove ensues push.

On a lighter note, read some of Gonzales v. Carhart before you eat or sleep. I spent 4 hours today reading Supreme Court opinions on abortion (by assignment mind you). It was light and fluffy like a pillow full of thumbtacks. My soul hurts, and I will give it a beer and a bed now.


Random knowledge record #2

At the behest of the best, I will now bequeath a befuddling technique for your bedazzlement. Beware, it is not interesting, entertaining or useful. Well, maybe useful, if you find yourself in a Centigrade zone.

Converting Fahrenheit to Celsius (and vice versa) is not a mathematically taxing enterprise. Stop someone on the street with this task and you'll likely get a jumble of "Well ya multiply by nine-fifths or five-ninths or sumptin and den ya add thirty-two, no wait, ya subtract 32s ands thens yas multiplies by — oh hell, I don't know kid, get a thummomeda, will ya?" That only works if you speak the language, and even then not very well.

When I was in Beijing last summer, the thermometers told me the temp in °C, which is not incredibly helpful if you don't have a reasonable amount of empirical experience to relate temperatures in Celsius with how the weather feels. So I spent the better part of a class called World Trade and World Intellectual Property Law: Institutions & Policy, taught by Bill Hennessey, figuring out a quicker way to convert these unintuitive °C to my white bread apple pie °F.

In a certain set of standard atmospheric or environmental conditions, pure water freezes when the temperature reads 32°F or 0°C. The Celsius scale is based on this temperature at which liquid water changes to a solid phase. So we know that Fahrenheit relates to Celsius in that way. How else do they coincide?

Well, with a dual read thermometer, or a few quick calculations, you can come up with a few benchmark temperatures in each scale which will aid in the task of on-the-fly mental conversion. Turns out, every change of 10 degrees in Celsius marks a change of 18°F (hence the five-ninths and nine-fifths jibber-jabber). So:
10°C = 50°F.
20°C = 68°F
30°C = 86°F
40°C = 104°F
-10°C = 14°F
-20°C = -4°F
-30°C = -22°F

I've only ever had a feverish temperature up to 104, and rarely did the Rockford winters get much lower than 22 below, ignoring wind chill. I hope you'll forgive me if my benchmarks stop there; you can extrapolate further if you find yourself in Death Valley with nothing but Centigrade.

By a quick deduction, these benchmarks will get you within 9°F of your temperature, and you can either guesstimate from there, or for an exact temperature, remember that 1°C is 1.8°F, and 2°C is 3.6°F.

Test run: (yawn) Fracking alarm! What time is it? What's the weather like? 36 degrees?!?! But it's summer… Oh, right, Celsius. So 40 is 104, so 35 is 95, and 36 is 95+1.8 = 96.8°F. Simple.

If I was you, I wouldn't care. But the bequest has been beheathed. Now, a manatee.

© State of Florida 1999-2008

How about that Hadron Collider? Let's all keep our fingers crossed for a day or two.
MSNBC's take.
The blinking zeros here (down the page a little) supposedly indicate that the world ended and we missed it.


LHC fo life!

In honor of the first full circuit to be completed on Wednesday at the CERN Large Hadron Collider, I redirect your distracted state to this amazing piece of craft: