How To Refute “Cut & Run”

Warning: I voted for Kerry. I think Bush is bad. Duh.

Here’s my new fave way to answer accusations of “cut & run”: Stop stalking Iraq… you can’t make him love you.

Think about it… the “stay the course” crowd is trying to change Iraq, just like that girlfriend back in college tried to change you. You know, that girlfriend. The one that wouldn’t stop calling? The one who showed up at 3am and woke up all your housemates? The one who said, “I’ll make you love me!”

It didn’t work for her, and it won’t work for us. Iraq likes us, but only as a friend. We’re stalking Iraq, and it’s just not gonna work out.

Three $30 R/C Planes

What’s the latest mindless diversion in my life? Astro-physics? Faith healing? Virtual geocaching? Nope… it’s low-end, two-channel radio control model airplanes.

I won’t go into the pitfalls of “R/C-anything” in this space; it’s a well-known fact that you can spend your trust fund and lose your shirt just on your first visit to the hobby store. But if you know me, you know I’m far too cheap to fall into that group of people and going the budget route is right up my alley. Well, I’ve been up and down that alley and now I’m going to share what I’ve found with you.

Here are the contenders in our very brief, $30 R/C shoot-out:

  • FlyZone VooDoo
  • Yellow Bee (available at Harbor Freight)
  • Air Hogs Aero Ace Biplane

FlyZone VooDoo

The VooDoo looks pretty good on paper (or on website, if you prefer), but don’t be fooled. When you see the video on the FlyZone website it looks like steal at only $22 (plus $8 shipping), but it’s cheap construction makes it a parts plane after only a few crashes. I am looking forward to transplanting the guts to a sturdier airframe. 

Yellow Bee

My Yellow Bee was on sale at Harbor Freight for only $29 (down from the usual $39) and it comes with a lot of good reviews (considering the price). I have yet to really get it into the air without tearing the wing (1st flight) or losing a propeller (2nd flight). If the 3rd flight isn’t “the charm” it’ll be a parts plane, too.

Air Hogs Aero Ace Biplane

For $29, the Aero Ace Biplane is the most fun you can have in the air… it’s a well-documented fact. Available at almost every Target, Wal-Mart, and Toys R Us in the USA, the Aero Ace has qualities that these other two planes (plus every other Ready To Fly plane under a hundred bucks) can’t match. If you need evidence just visit the many forum posts devoted to the Church Of AA.

In conclusion: buy an Areo Ace. You’ll thank me.

Max and Spencer Like Devo, Pt. 2

A quick follow-up to an earlier post on Devo and the dreaded DEV2.0

A few weeks after I dissed and dished on DEV2.0, Max and Spencer’s uncle John bought the kids that damn CD/DVD and I’d have to say that it’s… not that bad. Really, the videos are kinda clever and entertaining and the karaoke versions of the songs do provide endless hours of enjoyment for the young ‘uns. So, really… don’t fear the DEV2.0.

Also of note: I don’t know if there’s a legal or moral statute against taking a six year old boy to a big-time, big-money arena rock show, but I’ve got tickets for the August 19th Devo/Psychedelic Furs concert at the Reliant Arena with mine and Spencer’s name written all over them (Max is only three… he’s going to need to deal with staying home). Hopefully I’ll be able to play the “I’m a cool dad ‘cuz I took you to a rock concert when you were only six” card for years and years to come.

The Greatest Windows App Of All Time

I spend a lot of time SSH’ed into a lot of different linux servers, and like most admin/developer types, I like to keep those sessions open all at the same time. There’s always been a large, gaping hole in my freeware software arsenal when it comes to this area; there just isn’t a decent free telnet/ssh client with a tabbed interface that can keep all those sessions manageable! I have found the next best thing, however: WinTabber is an app that allows you to insert other apps into it’s own tabbed interface! Tabbed IE (without downloading one of those add-on shells)? Done. Tabbed Acrobat? Done! Tabbed Putty? Thank the Lord, DONE!

If these guys had a “donate to this project” link, I’d prolly give ’em everything in my PayPal account.

Those Apple Ads

First off, I enjoy all three of the major computer OS flavors, so don’t leave a comment saying that I don’t know what I’m talking about.

It’s pretty amusing how the “I’m A Mac, I’m A PC” ads from Apple have backfired, and I am very surprised where some of the negative comments are originating. Mark Frauenfelder at BoingBoing (usually a pro-Mac venue) posted that he agrees with the pro-Windows crowd that the ads are mean-spirited and people will choose to associate themselves with the uptight PC guy (the really very funny John Hodgman) instead of the laid-back Mac guy (the not-quite-as-funny Justin Long).

The thing that all the haterz don’t get is that Apple isn’t suggesting that you’re to align yourself with either of these two characters; PC and Mac aren’t there to represent the user base of each OS, they’re personifications of the computers and the software on those computers.

It’s easy to understand how the general public could get confused with the anthropomorphization of a computer, and even easier to understand how they couldn’t swallow and digest the decades-long battle between Apple and Microsoft, but the collective whining of tech-savvy bloggers going on about the alleged smugness of the OSX crowd makes me just shake my head.

Smugly, I might add.

D-E-V-O… Max and Spencer Like Devo

I have a bumper sticker that says, “My Kids Know All The Words To ‘Freedom Of Choice'”.

Not really, but I should… ‘cuz they do! There’s not a song on the first six Devo releases (Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!, Duty Now for the Future, Freedom of Choice, DEV-O Live, New Traditionalists, Oh, No! It’s Devo) that my kids don’t know and love. Well, not true… Max always want me to skip over “Gates Of Steel” for some reason.

Anyways… there seems to be a minor stink brewing about the latest project from the house of Devo: DEV2.0 is basically some of the Devo’s best-known songs re-recorded by the original band and sung by kids… it’s a Devo-sanctioned Kidz Bop, complete with video and all the trimmings. The stink that I refer to is due to the fact that they changed some of the lyrics to make the whole package less politically and socially aware than the original songs tended to be. For example, the lyric from “Beautiful World” has been changed from “It’s a beautiful world, For you, It’s not for me” to “It’s a beautiful world, For you, I Guess Me, Too”. Scandalous! Some people think this is bad, some people think this is good… I think I’d need to let my kids see it before I make a decision (it’s all about the kids, you know).

One thing is for sure… if they start asking to watch the DEV2.0 DVD more than the DEVO Live 1980 DVD, I may need to buy some better earplugs. The other “stink” associated with the DEV2.0 project is that the singing is horrid and the imagery is unforgivably Disney. Scratch what I said a second ago… I’ve already made my decision.

My iPod Has A Sense Of Humor

My lovely and talented wife Stacie gifted me with a sexy black 30gb iPod Video for Christmas this year, and it’s just about as cool as sliced bread. However, there are a few things worth noting:

  • While in shuffle mode, and if multiple versions of the song are present, it likes to play the same song twice in a row. Just today I heard the live version of The Godfather’s “Birth School Work Death” immediately followed by the studio version, and the live version of The Godfathers doing “Blitzkrieg Bop” followed by the Ramones studio version.
  • When the Apple support site says the iPod Video will play files encoded up to 160kbps, that’s what they mean. Half of my iTunes library is encoded above that level, and I experience skipping (not horrible skipping… just at the start of the song) and much shorter battery life when I listen to those songs.
  • Not having Firewire available really bites.

Bloglet Vs. BillGrady.com

To the fifty-odd folks that “subscribe” to this blog, I’d like to say “I’m sorry”. You’ve been getting too many errant emails originating from this page, and I want you to know that (I think) it won’t happen again. I’ve replaced the Bloglet subscription service with a WordPress-specific subscription plug-in, and that will afford me greater control over what gets sent to you, the billgrady.com faithful.

As always, thank you for your continued support.