CorvettePower.COM
31Oct/030

FIRESTORM 2003

Leave it to the news to give it a name like FIRESTORM 2003... drum roll please...


Everyone I know is OK, and it looks like the fires have spared my immediate circle of friends. There are a couple people I know in Scripps Ranch that I have not been able to contact to see how they are doing. The fire went right down their street, so I don't know if they got hit by the fire.


Lorinda and Jocie both had homes where the fire was in their yard! The houses survived, and both families are back in their houses.


The smoke is pretty bad still, and I think all of us are going to take some time before we are breathing right. I'm off to help Lorinda move her family back into their house, and try and get some semblence of normalcy started. Please email me if you have useful links like FEMA or other support information. Most of her neighbors lost their houses, and will need aid. 🙁


Oh... I know several people have asked about my old home in Scripps Ranch, the fire went right up Semillion and Avenita Magnifica... You turn onto Semillion to get to my house off of Pomerado.. Instead of turning right to goto my house, you turn left to get to Avenita Magnifica. The fire stayed on the left hand (south) side of Semillion and did not cross and head towards the houses in my old neighborhood. I know Jaime's parents are back in their house, and I have yet to chat with Jim and Carla to see how they are doing. An update later.


Some pictures to distract you

Drawing of the effected areas - As of 10/28/2003


NASA picture from space

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30Oct/030

Tell No Tales Pirate Party

Due to the fire, and my servers still being down (they are hosted in a still active area of town). I will have pictures up wednesday or thursday.


Pictures are UP!

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28Oct/030

Windows iTunes – When Hell Freezes Over

iTunes for windows is now available from the Apple.com site. Besides being a great MP3 player, and ripper, it does sync well with the Apple iPod. This player also allows you to legally purchase MP3's of your favorite artists for $.99 at a single click.


Surprisingly I also found that other people in my building showed up in my list of available music. I could 'listen' to their music as well as my own. Interesting concept.

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24Oct/030

New Digital Camera

I have finally decided to replace the ole' S110 with a new Digital Camera. I take enough pictures that its time to get one with better resolution.


Here is the link to the manufactures, click any one and get a list of
available cameras, in each camera description is a link to a full review
and within each review is a link to sample photos with that
camera.

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/specs.asp

Here are a couple of suggestions based on the requirements you
mentioned...

Canon S400 - Very small (3.4 x 2.2 x 1.1 in) 4mp, camera, very
compact
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canons400/

Olympus C5050 - small (4.5 x 2.7 x 3.2 in) 5mp, very good camera,
fast
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/olympusc5050z/

Nikon Coolpix 5700 - medium (4.3 x 3 x 4 in) 5mp, very good camera, best
zoom
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikoncp5700/

Anyway, there are some ideas.  If you like zoom the Nikon is best,
if you like fast as in taking pictures quickly one after the other
without waiting, the Olympus is best; and if you want the absolute
smallest feature rich camera the canon is best.

In any event, you can poke around on the dpreview.com web site and find
out what you need to about the various cameras available.  Hope it
helps.

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24Oct/030

There’s a Sucker Born in Every Medial Prefrontal Cortex

There's a Sucker Born in Every Medial Prefrontal
Cortex

size=-1>By CLIVE THOMPSON
alt="" src="http://graphics7.nytimes.com/images/misc/spacer.gif"
width=1>
Published: October
26, 2003



W<br src="http://graphics7.nytimes.com/images/dropcap/w.gif" width=46 align=left
border=0>
hen he isn't pondering the inner workings of the mind, Read
Montague, a 43-year-old neuroscientist at Baylor College of Medicine, has been
known to contemplate the other mysteries of life: for instance, the Pepsi
Challenge. In the series of TV commercials from the 70's and 80's that pitted
Coke against Pepsi in a blind taste test, Pepsi was usually the winner. So why,
Montague asked himself not long ago, did Coke appeal so strongly to so many
people if it didn't taste any better?



Over several months this past summer, Montague set to work looking for a
scientifically convincing answer. He assembled a group of test subjects and,
while monitoring their brain activity with an M.R.I. machine, recreated the
Pepsi Challenge. His results confirmed those of the TV campaign: Pepsi tended to
produce a stronger response than Coke in the brain's ventral putamen, a region
thought to process feelings of reward. (Monkeys, for instance, exhibit activity
in the ventral putamen when they receive food for completing a task.) Indeed, in
people who preferred Pepsi, the ventral putamen was five times as active when
drinking Pepsi than that of Coke fans when drinking Coke.


In the real world, of course, taste is not everything. So Montague tried to
gauge the appeal of Coke's image, its ''brand influence,'' by repeating the
experiment with a small variation: this time, he announced which of the sample
tastes were Coke. The outcome was remarkable: almost all the subjects said they
preferred Coke. What's more, the brain activity of the subjects was now
different. There was also activity in the medial prefrontal cortex, an area of
the brain that scientists say governs high-level cognitive powers. Apparently,
the subjects were meditating in a more sophisticated way on the taste of Coke,
allowing memories and other impressions of the drink -- in a word, its brand --
to shape their preference.


Pepsi, crucially, couldn't achieve the same effect. When Montague reversed
the situation, announcing which tastes were of Pepsi, far fewer of the subjects
said they preferred Pepsi. Montague was impressed: he had demonstrated, with a
fair degree of neuroscientific precision, the special power of Coke's brand to
override our taste buds.


Measuring brand influence might seem like an unusual activity for a
neuroscientist, but Montague is just one of a growing breed of researchers who
are applying the methods of the neurology lab to the questions of the
advertising world. Some of these researchers, like Montague, are purely academic
in focus, studying the consumer mind out of intellectual curiosity, with no
corporate support. Increasingly, though, there are others -- like several of the
researchers at the Mind of the Market Laboratory at Harvard Business School --
who work as full-fledged ''neuromarketers,'' conducting brain research with the
help of corporate financing and sharing their results with their sponsors. This
summer, when it opened its doors for business, the BrightHouse Institute for
Thought Sciences in Atlanta became the first neuromarketing firm to boast a
Fortune 500 consumer-products company as a client. (The client's identity is
currently a secret.) The institute will scan the brains of a representative
sample of its client's prospective customers, assess their reactions to the
company's products and advertising and tweak the corporate image accordingly.


Not long ago, M.R.I. machines were used solely for medical purposes, like
diagnosing strokes or discovering tumors. But neuroscience has reached a sort of
cocky adolescence; it has become routine to read about researchers tackling
every subject under the sun, placing test subjects in M.R.I. machines and
analyzing their brain activity as they do everything from making moral choices
to praying to appreciating beauty. Paul C. Lauterbur, a chemist who shared this
year's Nobel Prize in medicine for his contribution in the early 70's to the
invention of the M.R.I. machine, notes how novel the uses of his invention have
become. ''Things are getting a lot more subtle than we'd ever thought,'' he
says. It seems only natural that the commercial world has finally caught on.
''You don't have to be a genius to say, 'My God, if you combine making the can
red with making it less sweet, you can measure this in a scanner and see the
result,''' Montague says. ''If I were Pepsi, I'd go in there and I'd start
scanning people.''



The neuroscience wing at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta is the
epicenter of the neuromarketing world. Like most medical wards, it is filled
with an air of quiet, antiseptic tension. On a recent visit, in the hallway
outside an M.R.I. room, a patient milled around in a light blue paper gown. A
doctor on a bench flipped through a clipboard and talked in soothing tones to a
man in glasses, a young woman anxiously clutching his arm.


It was not a place where you would expect to encounter slick marketing
research. And when Justine Meaux, a research scientist for the BrightHouse
Institute, came out to greet me, she did seem strangely out of place. Clicking
along in strappy sandals, with a tight sleeveless top and purple toenail polish,
she looked more like a chic TV producer than a neuroscientist, which she is. Her
specialty, as she explained, is ''the neural dynamics of the perception and
production of rhythmic sensorimotor patterns'' -- though these days she spends
her professional life thinking about shopping. ''I'm really getting into reading
all this business stuff now, learning about campaigns, branding,'' she said,
leading me down the hallway to the M.R.I. chamber that the Institute uses. Three
years ago, after earning her Ph.D., she decided she wanted to apply brain
scanning to everyday problems and was intrigued by marketing as a ''practical
application of psychology,'' as she put it. She told me that she admired the
'' value="Intel Corporation" />Intel Inside'' advertising campaign, with its
TV spots showing dancing men in body suits. ''Intel actually branded the inside
of a computer,'' she marveled. ''They took the most abstract thing you can
imagine and figured out a way to make people identify with it.''


When we reached the M.R.I. control room, Clint Kilts, the scientific director
of the BrightHouse Institute, was fiddling away at a computer keyboard. A
professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory,
Kilts began working with Meaux in 2001. Meaux had learned that Kilts and a group
of marketers were founding the BrightHouse Institute, and she joined their team,
becoming perhaps the world's first full-time neuromarketer. Kilts is confident
that there will soon be room for other full-time careers in neuromarketing.
''You will actually see this being part of the decision-making process, up and
down the company,'' he predicted. ''You are going to see more large companies
that will have neuroscience divisions.''


The BrightHouse Institute's techniques are based, in part, on an experiment
that Kilts conducted earlier this year. He gathered a group of test subjects and
asked them to look at a series of commercial products, rating how strongly they
liked or disliked them. Then, while scanning their brains in an M.R.I. machine,
he showed them pictures of the products again. When Kilts looked at the images
of their brains, he was struck by one particular result: whenever a subject saw
a product he had identified as one he truly loved -- something that might prompt
him to say, ''That's just so me!'' -- his brain would show increased activity in
the medial prefrontal cortex.


Kilts was excited, for he knew that this region of the brain is commonly
associated with our sense of self. Patients with damage in this area of the
brain, for instance, often undergo drastic changes in personality; in one famous
case, a mild-mannered 19th-century railworker named Phineas Gage abruptly became
belligerent after an accident that destroyed his medial prefrontal cortex. More
recently, M.R.I. studies have found increased activity in this region when
people are asked if adjectives like ''trustworthy'' or ''courageous'' apply to
them. When the medial prefrontal cortex fires, your brain seems to be engaging,
in some manner, with what sort of person you are. If it fires when you see a
particular product, Kilts argues, it's most likely to be because the product
clicks with your self-image.


This result provided the BrightHouse Institute with an elegant tool for
testing marketing campaigns and brands. An immediate, intuitive bond between
consumer and product is one that every company dreams of making. ''If you like
Chevy trucks, it's because that has become the larger gestalt of who you
self-attribute as,'' Kilts said, using psychology-speak. ''You're a Chevy guy.''
With the help of neuromarketers, he claims, companies can now know with
certainty whether their products are making that special connection.


To demonstrate their technique, Kilts and Meaux offered to stick my head in
the M.R.I. machine. They laid me down headfirst in the coffinlike cylinder and
scurried out to the observation room. ''Here's what I want you to do,'' Meaux
said, her voice crackling over an intercom. ''I'm going to show you a bunch of
images of products and activities -- and I want you to picture yourself using
them. Don't think about whether you like them or not. Just put yourself in the
scene.''


I peered up into a mirror positioned over my head, and she began flashing
pictures. There were images of a Hummer, a mountain bike, a can of Pepsi. Then a
Lincoln Navigator, Martha Stewart, a game of basketball and dozens more
snapshots of everyday consumption. I imagined piloting the Hummer off-road,
playing a game of pickup basketball, swigging the Pepsi. (I was less sure what
to do with Martha Stewart.)


After about 15 minutes, Kilts pulled me out, and I joined him at a bank of
computers. ''Look here,'' he said, pointing to a screen that showed an image of
a brain in cross sections. He pointed to a bright yellow spot on the right side,
in the somatosensory cortex, an area that shows activity when you emulate
sensory experience -- as when I imagined what it would be like to drive a
Hummer. If a marketer finds that his product is producing a response in this
region of the brain, he can conclude that he has not made the immediate,
instinctive sell: even if a consumer has a positive attitude toward the product,
if he has to mentally ''try it out,'' he isn't instantly identifying with it.


Kilts stabbed his finger at another glowing yellow dot near the top of the
brain. It was the magic spot -- the medial prefrontal cortex. If that area is
firing, a consumer isn't deliberating, he said: he's itching to buy. ''At that
point, it's intuitive. You say: 'I'm going to do it. I want it.' ''


The
consuming public has long had an uneasy feeling about scientists who dabble in
marketing. In 1957, Vance Packard wrote ''The Hidden Persuaders,'' a book about
marketing that featured harsh criticism of ''psychology professors turned
merchandisers.'' Marketers, Packard worried, were using the resources of the
social sciences to understand consumers' irrational and emotional urges -- the
better to trick them into increased product consumption. In rabble-rousing
prose, Packard warned about subliminal advertising and cited a famous (though,
it turned out, bogus) study about a movie theater that inserted into a film
several split-second frames urging patrons to drink Coke.


In truth, marketers only wish they had that much control. If anything,
corporations tend to look slightly askance at their admen, because there's not
much convincing evidence that advertising works as well as promised. John
Wanamaker, a department-store magnate in the late 19th century, famously quipped
that half the money he spent on advertising was wasted, but that he didn't know
which half. In their quest for a more respectable methodology -- or perhaps more
important, the appearance of one -- admen have plundered one scientific
technique after another. Demographic studies have profiled customers by
analyzing their age, race or neighborhood; telephone surveys have queried
semi-randomly selected strangers to see how the public at large viewed a
company's product.


Advertising's main tool, of course, has been the focus group, a classic
technique of social science. Marketers in the United States spent more than $1
billion last year on focus groups, the results of which guided about $120
billion in advertising. But focus groups are plagued by a basic flaw of human
psychology: people often do not know their own minds. Joey Reiman is the C.E.O.
of BrightHouse, an Atlanta marketing firm, and a founding partner in the
BrightHouse Institute; over years of producing marketing concepts for companies
like value="Coca-Cola Company" />Coca-Cola and Red Lobster, he has come to the
conclusion that focus groups are ultimately less about gathering hard data and
more about pretending to have concrete justifications for a hugely expensive ad
campaign. ''The sad fact is, people tell you what you want to hear, not what
they really think,'' he says. ''Sometimes there's a focus-group bully, a
loudmouth who's so insistent about his opinion that it influences everyone else.
This is not a science; it's a circus.''


In contrast, M.R.I. scanning offers the promise of concrete facts -- an
unbiased glimpse at a consumer's mind in action. To an M.R.I. machine, you
cannot misrepresent your responses. Your medial prefrontal cortex will start
firing when you see something you adore, even if you claim not to like it.
''Let's say I show you Playboy,'' Kilts says, ''and you go, 'Oh, no, no, no!'
Really? We could tell you actually like it.''


Other neuromarketers have demonstrated that we react to products in ways that
we may not be entirely conscious of. This year, for instance, scientists working
with value="DaimlerChrysler AG" />DaimlerChrysler scanned the brains of a
number of men as they looked at pictures of cars and rated them for
attractiveness. The scientists found that the most popular vehicles -- the idsrc="other-OTC" value="PSEPF"> />Porsche- and Ferrari-style sports cars -- triggered activity in a
section of the brain called the fusiform face area, which governs facial
recognition. ''They were reminded of faces when they looked at the cars,'' says
Henrik Walter, a psychiatrist at the University of Ulm in Germany who ran the
study. ''The lights of the cars look a little like eyes.''


Neuromarketing may also be able to suss out the distinction between
advertisements that people merely like and those that are actually effective --
a difference that can be hard to detect from a focus group. A neuromarketing
study in Australia, for instance, demonstrated that supershort, MTV-style jump
cuts -- indeed, any scenes shorter than two seconds -- aren't as likely to enter
the long-term memory of viewers, however bracing or aesthetically pleasing they
may be.


Still, many scientists are skeptical of neuromarketing. The brain, critics
point out, is still mostly an enigma; just because we can see neurons firing
doesn't mean we always know what the mind is doing. For all their admirable
successes, neuroscientists do not yet have an agreed-upon map of the brain. ''I
keep joking that I could do this idsrc="NYSE" value="Gucci Group NV" />Gucci shoes study, where I'd show
people shoes I think are beautiful, and see whether women like them,'' says
Elizabeth Phelps, a professor of psychology at New York University. ''And I'll
see activity in the brain. I definitely will. But it's not like I've found 'the
shoe center of the brain.''' James Twitchell, a professor of advertising at the
University of Florida, wonders whether neuromarketing isn't just the next stage
of scientific pretense on the part of the advertising industry. ''Remember, you
have to ask the client for millions, millions of dollars,'' he says. ''So you
have to say: 'Trust me. We have data. We've done these neurotests. Go with us,
we know what we're doing.''' Twitchell recently attended an advertising
conference where a marketer discussed neuromarketing. The entire room sat in awe
as the speaker suggested that neuroscience will finally crack open the mind of
the shopper. ''A lot of it is just garbage,'' he says, ''but the garbage is so
powerful.''


In response to his critics, Kilts plans to publish the BrightHouse research
in an accredited academic journal. He insisted to me that his primary allegiance
is to science; BrightHouse's techniques are ''business done in the science
method,'' he said, ''not science done in the business method.'' And as he sat at
his computer, calling up a 3-D picture of a brain, it was hard not to be struck,
at the very least, by the seriousness of his passion. There, on the screen, was
the medial prefrontal cortex, juggling our conscious thinking. There was the
amygdala, governing our fears, buried deep in the brain. These are sights that
he said still inspire in him feelings of wonder. ''When you sit down and you're
watching -- for the first time in the history of mankind -- how we process
complex primary emotions like anger, it's amazing,'' he said. ''You're like,
there, look at that: that's anger, that's pleasure. When you see that roll off
the workstation, you never look back.'' You just keep going, it seems, until you
hit Madison Avenue.




Clive Thompson writes frequently about science and technology. His most
recent article for the magazine was about the future of kitchen
tools.



Original Article on nytimes.com

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22Oct/030

Finding a place to rent in San Diego

I have been looking for a place to rent in San Diego. Currently I am downtown, but want to find something in either Downtown, Hillcrest, Mission Valley, or La Jolla.


Finding appartments seems to be easier than the TownHomes I'm currently looking for. But I will keep looking. There are several sites with a subset of the places available, but the search engines are less then exact. I keep wanting to find one that will let me search for townhomes with attached garages. We'll see.




San Diego Reader


Good source of places to rent. The navigation by area can be slow, so a search with the area you want with addition of "garage" or "pets" is a better way to find stuff on this site. Or condo hillcrest returns Condos in Hillcrest... imagine that. 🙂





Places in La Jolla



  • Cambridge
  • The Woodlands
  • Villa La Jolla
  • Villa Mallora La Jolla



Robinson street, Filed under: Uncategorized No Comments
20Oct/030

VoIP Phone Appliances

WiFi VoIP Phone SIP compatible

You can register your SIP phone with Free World Dialup

The guy that made Lindows, also started - SIPPhone.com


Jeff's Blog about WiFi SIP Phones



The concept of making free phone calls utilizing the bandwidth of the internet that I am already paying for is a big goal of mine.


At the present moment the technology to accomplish this is very GEEKY, and requires alot of configuration and 'playing with' inorder to make it work. It is far from to a point that I can have a device I can give my Mom and make calls with her.


Some companies are starting to develop these phones but they are focused towards businesses not consumers.


Google Search


NetVision Phone - Sky Wire (AU)


Spectrum24 - Symbol


Symbol - NetVision

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16Oct/030

Why a broken heart hurts so much

** Why a broken heart hurts so much **


A rejected lovers broken heart may cause as much distress in a pain center of the brain as an actual physical injury, according to new research.


msnbc.com article


CALIFORNIA RESEARCHERS have found a physiological basis for social pain by monitoring the brains of people who thought they had been maliciously excluded from a computer game by other players.

Naomi I. Eisenberger, a scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles and the first author of the study to be published Friday in the journal Science, said the study suggests that the need for social inclusiveness is a deep-seated part of what it means to be human.

“These findings show how deeply rooted our need is for social connection,” said Eisenberger. “There’s something about exclusion from others that is perceived as being as harmful to our survival as something that can physically hurt us, and our body automatically knows this.”


Eisenberger and her co-authors created a computer game in which test subjects were led to believe they were playing ball with two other players. At some point, the other players seemed to exclude the test subject from the game — making it appear the test subject had been suddenly rejected and blocked from playing with the group.

The shock and distress of this rejection registered in the same part of the brain, called the anterior cingulate cortex, that also responds to physical pain, Eisenberger said.

“The ACC is the same part of the brain that has been found to be associated with the unpleasantness of physical pain, the part of pain that really bothers us,” Eisenberger said.

Eisenberger said the study suggests that social exclusion of any sort —— divorce, not being invited to a party, being turned down for a date —— would cause distress in the ACC.

“You can imagine that this part of the brain is active any time we are separated from our close companions,” she said. “It would definitely be active when we experience a loss,” such as a death or the end of a love affair.

In a commentary in Science, Jaak Panksepp of the department of psychology at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, said earlier studies have shown that the anterior cingulate cortex is linked to physical pain.

He said the new study by Eisenberger and her co-authors demonstrates that the ACC is also activated by the distress of social exclusion.

“Throughout history poets have written about the pain of a broken heart,” Panksepp said in his commentary. “It seems that such poetic insights into the human condition are now supported by neurophysiological findings.”

The tendency to feel rejection as an acute pain may have developed in humans as a defensive mechanism for the species, said Eisenberger.


“Because we have such a long time as infants and need to be taken care of, it is really important that we stay close to the social group. If we don’t we’re not going to survive,” said Eisenberger. “The hypothesis is that the social attachment system that makes sure we don’t stray too far from the group piggybacked onto the pain system to help our species survive.”

This suggests that the need to be accepted as part of a social group is as important to humans as avoiding other types of pain, she said.

Just as an infant may learn to avoid fire by first being burned, humans may learn to stick together because rejection causes distress in the pain center of the brain, said Eisenberger.

“If it hurts to be separated from other people, then it will prevent us from straying too far from the social group,” she said.

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15Oct/030

Hacking your TiVo

Good story on /. about a Hacking TiVo book.


Buy on Amazon.com





href="http://books.slashdot.org/search.pl?topic=192"> size=2>
href="http://books.slashdot.org/search.pl?topic=188">
Posted
by timothy on Wednesday October
15, @12:30PM

Jason
Scott
writes "TiVo: You love it or you haven't met it. For those who have
it (or are thinking of getting one), a new book is out about all the different
ways to modify, increase capacity, or even program TiVos. Whether you want to
just add a little capacity to your TiVo's drives or turn it into a full-blown
home entertainment center hooked into your home LAN, href="mailto:DONOTjlkhackingSPAMtivo@MRKEEGANkeegan.orgOKAY">Jeff Keegan has
written a massive and all-encompassing book on this rewarding art."
Read on
for the rest of Jason's review.
























Hacking
TiVo: The Expansion, Enhancement and Development Starter Kit

author Jeff Keegan
pages 500
publisher Wiley Publishing,
Inc.
rating 10
reviewer Jason Scott
ISBN 0764543369
summary Everything from admining how cool
TiVos are to turning them into your home entertainment server. Exhaustive,
elaborate, and funny.


As a relatively early convert to the TiVo way of life, I always found it hard
to describe to people who didn't have one why their lives could be changed by
it. If I was lucky, I could get friends to visit and with a few short minutes of
demonstration, I'd sold another one. If they were farther away, I just hoped
they would stop by some day and I'd have another convert. Why was I so intent on
this? Because if you watch TV, or even if you don't watch as much as you used
to, TiVo can change your life completely. It frees you from the tyranny of
watching shows when you're told to watch them, and then goes on to turn your
entire television experience from one bombarded with ads and missing all the
"good stuff" on scattered random channels, to a true symbiotic relationship
where you sit down in front of the tube and every single moment is one filled
with shows you want to watch about stuff you're interested in.

A lot of Slashdot readers know what I'm talking about, because they have a
TiVo or other PVR in their home right now. So when I tell you that this book
will take your TiVo to the next level, I hope you get as excited as I was after
reading the dozens of tricks, programs, and hacks this book lists.

The opening chapter describes, in succinct but energetic fashion, why every
person with a TV should have a TiVo. Keegan's description may fall towards the
evangelical side of things, but he goes out of his way to explain why his
feelings are so strong. In fact, this book has an interesting side-effect:
converting those who don't own a TiVo. Just a quick browse through the first few
chapters will have someone who's heard of TiVo but never used one chomping at
the bit to get down to the store. To the TiVo army, this is a powerful munition
indeed.

From there, it's a powerful spiral into chapter after chapter of
modifications, starting with back doors in the code and moving into opening the
TiVo's case (explained with lots of clear pictures), adding storage, and even
working with the TiVo's OS (a variation of Linux) to turn it into a
web-accessible site or to improve performance.

One inspiring chapter describes the author's experience at a baseball game,
having his father go to get refreshments and missing some great plays, and the
author pulling out his Palm Pilot with cellular modem to tell his TiVo over the
web to record the game's highlights on the news. With that tantalizing trick
presented, Keegan goes into the whole involved deal, everything from modifying
the TiVo to creating the external server to feed the TiVo information.

As I said, the tricks come fast and furious: TiVo as a way to browse photo
galleries. TiVo pulling down the current weather and presenting the radar maps.
TiVo printing Caller ID information on the screen when someone calls. By the
time you're done with the book, you'll be wondering what there is that you
can't do with it. And that, to me, is the sign of a truly great
instructional book.

A warning: If you want a neutral voice in the author, this isn't the book for
you. Keegan's enthusiasm drips from many pages, written in the tone of the guy
down the street with the new toy who simply has take you to the den and
show you how cool it is, describing in greater and greater detail all the cool
stuff he's discovered tinkering with it. The author's wife, newborn daughter,
mother and father make appearances all throughout the book, including a
particularly touching description of having his father design an assembly
language program to manipulate an LED display. No, really, it's touching. I did
a search for Jeff and information on him and I found a photo of him in href="http://cache.cow.net/keegan.jpg">this costume. Honestly, I'm
speechless. The man has achieved what we call "full commitment."

By about halfway through the book it stops being an instruction manual and
begins being a full-on reference book, giving you explicit instructions on
programming in Tcl, mucking about in Linux, and generally being a hard-core
warranty violator. One appendix is dedicated to being a Tcl reference list while
another hits you up for some basic Linux training (to be able to work
comfortably in the OS).

Keegan has also been kind enough to include a CD-ROM with pretty much all the
programs and utilities needed to accomplish what's in his book. It's a telling
personal trait that he apologizes for putting it all on a CD instead of enabling
readers to go out and search for the programs themselves.

To say I learned things in this book is an amazing understatement. Just to
know that some of these things are even possible with my TiVo guarantee
how I'll be spending the next few hundred dollars, buying larger drives, getting
a cache card, and wiring the machine for ethernet. And Yes, it tells you how to
get the shows off of your TiVo onto your computer's hard drive.

When I ordered this book from Amazon, I found out it was an href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0764543369">Amazon
exclusive, so that's the only place to get it right now. On the other hand,
I was able to get my copy in a very short time, so I'm fine with that ... but I
hope that you can get it in other places in the future. Regardless, it was worth
the money I paid for it, especially since Amazon had 30 percent off in some
effort to push to product. Great for me; I'm glad this book came into my
collection and I think any TiVo owner (or hopeful TiVo owner) will agree.

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15Oct/030

Blocking unwanted calls to your home

This is information on blocking unwanted calls from your house.


DoNotCall.gov - Register your home phone with the this list to stop unwanted calls.


No Call List re-approved - NYTimes (free signup required)


Do Not Call List - NYTimes (free signup required)

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Sig of the Week

Butters go buy World of Warcraft, install it on your computer, and join the online sensation before we all murder you.

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