A Random Pattern

Archive for April, 2007

5 year olds tell the funniest jokes

Thursday, April 26th, 2007

Tessa learns another joke today at school.  She decides to share it when she gets home.  We aren’t used to expecting jokes to come rolling out of our little girl yet though, so it takes Sara a few minutes to understand what Tessa is trying to say.

Tessa: How does a cat shop?

Mom: I don’t know, how?

Tessa: with a cat-alogue!

Mom laughs, and Tessa is pleased with her “success”.  So, a few minutes later . . .

Tessa: How does a cow shop?  A cow-talogue!

How does a duck shop?  A duck-talogue!

How does a pig shop?  A pig-talogue!

How does ….

Tessa proceeds to run through every animal she can think of.  Talk about “milking” a joke!  ;)

Viral Marketing: Billboards gone … nowhere?

Thursday, April 19th, 2007

Strange billboards and  another attempt at good-ol viral marketing: Why do I care?  Because when you enter into the murky world of viral marketing, guerilla marketing, you need to realize one thing: You lose control of the message.  It will become whatever it will become, but it is not under your control any longer.  I’m not suggesting it’s a bad thing to do, but you better know you’re playing with fire when you do it, and it’s a good idea to be as prepared as you can.

When bloggers talk about Transparency, they aren’t just spilling ink.  Things have changed, so don’t go into this with your eyes anything less than wide wide open.

Back on the Billboard topic:



Follow the link if you want to know (sort of) what it means.  Otherwise, feel free to speculate here about The Algorithm.  I’d suggest that the algorithms not only need more work, but that they aren’t the only answer.  :D

Simple. Elegant. Beautiful.

Wednesday, April 18th, 2007


Sort of helps put things in perspective.  Things like the Earth, the Sun, the Solar System . . .

The OS wars? They are a mess.

Wednesday, April 11th, 2007

Windows is dead? Apple is a phenomenon. Linux is still fighting off its anti-user attitude problems.

Marriage the institution

Tuesday, April 10th, 2007

Quick link to a viewpoint you don’t see or read much of in today’s main news outlets.  It is no less valid for that, as we all know.

That’s all for now, feel free to comment with your thoughts (agreeing or dissenting).  If there’s interest we’ll have a proper discussion of it.  :)

Family Force 5

Monday, April 9th, 2007

This is a followup to my earlier post about the Toby Mac / Portable Sounds concert. Unfortunately it is not as much about Toby Mac as it is about one of the opening acts, Family Force 5.

If you don’t want to hear loud music, didn’t know that “crunk” was a word, or don’t want to hear about mullets and the dirty south, then don’t follow this link to the band’s website. Otherwise go enjoy, and rock on.

There was lots of other good music at the concert – let’s be clear on that. It was fun, and when I got to help someone sponsor a World Vision child that was perhaps the most exciting moment of the night (and the whole reason Sara and I got to attend for free). Of course Toby Mac put on an awesome show, let there be no doubt about that. I’ll probably write more later and put up some pictures on that, but it was definitely fun.

The most amazing part of the concert, though, came early on. While we were getting set up at the volunteer station, some of the kids kept raving about something called “Family Force 5“. “Sounds like Gaither Vocal Band or something” I thought to myself. But these kids were nuts over the act, so Sara and I figured we’d try to catch the show and see what the big deal was.

Sure enough, when FF5 blasted onto the stage, it quickly became clear we were in for a treat. At first I couldn’t tell if the music was any good (it was too loud and distorted, and we were in the back of the seating area) – but it did not matter. The group had the most insanely amazing amount of energy I have ever seen on stage. They were loud, fast, and fun. Pretty soon they broke into a chorus with a great hook, and I decided I had a new favorite band. The sound is different than anything I’ve heard in a while – part Grits, part Kutless, part country and part deep funk. They had a guy up on stage doing nothing but dancing (and helping move things around when necessary) as far as we could tell.

One of the funnest songs was when the lead singer broke out these HUGE silver fist / gloves that he wore over his hands. These things were bigger than his head, and they added a whole new level of energy to the song. In the short set FF5 did, I became convinced that this group is headed straight for the top of the charts – perhaps their only problem is that Christian radio doesn’t play “hard” music barely ever, but in this age of increasing radio-irrelevance the internet could do all that FF5 need to shoot their popularity through the roof.

I’ll try to get a picture or two of those gloves up soon, but in the meantime go check out the FF5 website.  It is a treat in itself, and quite fun.  Make sure to look for the rocket ships.  :P

Instant Messaging’s big break?

Saturday, April 7th, 2007

First, news about Gaim
Those of you who use the Gaim client can breath a sigh of relief: The announcement.

A little background: Gaim is a multi-protocol instant-messenger client. That means that you can use one client, and log into AIM, Yahoo Instant Messenger, MSN Instant Messenger, Jabber, and even IRC servers. It’s a very nice workaround until the day when those networks get over themselves and federate just like email eventually did. But that’s a discussion for another day.

Today we learn the reason that Gaim Pidgin has been stuck in “Beta” for so long. Ultimately, it comes as no surprise that the misguided, mis-managed, and ill-behaved (dare I say – evil) company AOL is behind the long delays. Fortunately, an agreement has finally been worked out, and the excellent developers behind my favorite IM tool can continue the work they really are interested in – making an excellent IM client across all the different IM networks (technically, I believe they are mainly interested in the back-end, not the actual client).

This is breaking news, as far as I can tell, and many things are still being decided and setup. For now, it seems the best thing to do might be to sit back and wait just a little longer. The announcement indicates we’ll have a final release of Pidgin 2.0 soon, and that nothing is changing in that regard. So hang in there, and give a cheer of support for the Pidgin team!

What this might mean for all Instant Messaging Users
I will probably write more on the topic later, but I have a vague suspicion that this is the first step in a potentially big year for Instant Messaging. AOL and Google had agreed to make their clients (AIM and GTalk, respectively) interoperate. This is long overdue, and I hope the agreement with the Pidgin / Finch / libpurple developers is a sign that we’re going to see more interoperability or even federation.

To understand why that is a big deal, let me explain. I actually have my own IM server (Dreamhost allows you to set up a Jabber server when you host a website with them). This means that I don’t have to ask AOL or Yahoo or Microsoft or even Google for permission to IM. I can create my own name on my own server, if I want. It is similar to email, in that you might well have a corporate, business, or school email address instead of having to have “@aol.com” or “@hotmail.com”.

I can also talk with someone on a different domain (or server). That means, once again, that I don’t need some big company’s permission to add a friend. As an example, lets say you and I want to start IMing. I ask what your IM name is, and you tell me it is “prettycoolguy@aim.com”. I frown and respond that I’m at “dontbotherme@yahoo.com”, and ask if you have an MSN or Yahoo account. Pretty soon, we’ve both got 4 different IM clients running on our computers to keep up with our different friends – that’s dumb, inefficient, and frustrating for us customers.

Of course, AOL and the others have a vested interest in keeping things this way, because they want to “lock-in” their users to their own network, and “force” a user to evangelize to his friends (just get a AOL account, then we can chat!). This is insulting and really, abusive to us, the customers of these networks.

Google took first steps out of this morass about two years ago with Google Talk, which works with Jabber (the leading technology that allows federation or running your own server). Let’s hope we see more momentum on that front – and in the meantime, ask me for an IM address or use Google Talk or Pidgin instead of the “lock-in” company clients.

We don’t need to be babysat and insulted anymore. It’s time for the major IM networks to grow up.

Note: There are technical inaccuracies in the above descriptions, but for a large portion of my audience this serves to provide a good “picture” of what is going on. Please feel free to comment with anything you want to clarify. I have many more thoughts on this subject, but will save them for another day. :P

Edit: Not sure how I missed this article from the end of 2006, but it promises big things for GTalk from Google. Also, I’m wondering if we’ll see the integration of the libjingle library from Google into Pidgin – it would certainly make sense if they decided to work on that “in secret” due to the ongoing negotiations. This would be huge, in giving libpurple and Pidgin Voice capabilities! Update 2: looking through developer.pidgin.im, it appears that the libjingle aspect is being moved forward by a different project named Farsight – I like the name.

Good to know I’m not the only one . . .

Friday, April 6th, 2007

If you ever thing you’re a little bit strange, remember there’s someone else out there just as weird.

I could philosophize about how this indicates a mind suited for math, or how our excellence at pattern recognition can explain why some of us feel this type of compulsion – but I won’t.  :P  Enjoy the comic!

Will I finally see (one of the members of) DC Talk?

Friday, April 6th, 2007

Sara and I are volunteering this afternoon / evening for World Vision. We’ll be supporting the Portable Sounds Tour at Six Flags. This means we get in free, and get to (hopefully!) see Toby Mac perform.

At least twice before we’ve had tickets to go see him or Tait, and they have not showed / concert has been cancelled. This has been at least a 6 year wait, and Toby Mac has only gotten better with time (though his latest release strikes me as ‘tamer’ than his last two solo outings). I can’t wait!

We are hopefully watching him as you read this. Go check out his MySpace page, and get a little listen to at least “No Ordinary Love”.

I should note that World Vision is a good organization, and we support several kids through them. This is a chance for you to get in touch with and develop a relationship with (very!) poor children in some very poor areas of our world.

Footnote: Sara has actually seen some of DC Talk in concert, and we both caught Michael Tait in Hero: The Rock Opera after missing him at a Third Day concert a few years earlier. I haven’t heard anything about K-Max coming over our way, though, and it’s doubtful we’ll be travelling to California anytime soon to see him. :(

Disappointing news for Macolytes

Sunday, April 1st, 2007

I wrote up a post on MDA, so I won’t repeat it here.  The gist of it is that I couldn’t think of a better day to let everyone know what was going on with Whistler.  It’s a bit disappointing, but it had to be done.

In other news, Tessa and I played pogs this morning!  I was going through YAB (yet another box) and found some of my old pogs.  Tessa and I had a great time – anyone else pulled out their pogs recently?  :P