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things that just are

Monday, March 29, 2004

Number Range Search on Google

For example, querying Google for War 1900..1910 will return pages with the words War 1900, War 1901 and so on. Or, enter DVD player $250..350 to find DVD players within a certain price range. Or 5000..10000 kg truck.

Use the minus operator, as in year-1900..2000, to glue a word to the number. Sometimes, Google will tell you the query is too long to process (e..g if you stick several number ranges together).

Want to Google what happened on the birthdays of your life? E.g when you are born on May 26 1977, enter on-5-26-1977..2004 to get relevant results.

Friday, March 26, 2004

Cartoon by Mike Lester

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

We are all guilty...

Avoiding Cliches Isn't Rocket Science

LONDON (Reuters) - The fact of the matter is that at the end of the day there is nothing, like, value-added about using cliches 24/7 -- with all due respect it's not awesome, it's annoying.

The Plain English Campaign said Wednesday it had canvassed people in 70 countries to find the most irritating phrases of all.

"When readers or listeners come across these tired expressions, they start tuning out and completely miss the message -- assuming there is one" said John Lister of the Plain English Campaign.

People who busily "touch base" or talk about "ballpark figures" and "bottom lines" are not "singing from the same hymn sheet," they are quietly driving others to distraction.

"Using these terms in daily business is about as professional as wearing a novelty tie or having a wacky ringtone on your phone," Lister said in a statement.

A particular bugbear is the constant use of "like" as a form of punctuation.

Lister said that they had expected geographical variations, but the same phrases appeared to be universally annoying around the world.

"Gobbledegook jargon and cliches really are no respecter of international boundaries," he told Sky Television in a cliche-riddled interview.

Other named-and-shamed cliches include:
-- blue-sky thinking
-- it's not rocket science
-- crack troops
-- between a rock and a hard place
-- I hear what you're saying
-- touch base
-- bear with me
-- to be honest with you

Friday, March 19, 2004

Chillow Comfort Device If you like cold pillows, this is the gadget for you. (Although, I am not sure if it is really a gadget. Maybe more like a doodad.)

Monday, March 15, 2004

Some of the great technologies behind Google:


El Al Packs Some Heat for Unwitting Passenger

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - A passenger on Israel's El Al airlines got a complimentary gift on a flight home from Germany -- a pistol that security guards slipped into his suitcase, an Israeli newspaper said Sunday.

El Al personnel, the Haaretz daily reported, sometimes sneak fake guns into the bags of unwitting passengers to test if security staff can spot them. One replica went undetected and was found by the startled passenger when he unpacked at home.

Haaretz said he alerted the police and was told it was an inoperable weapon used by El Al security in training exercises.

A spokeswoman for El Al, an airline regarded as the world's most security-conscious, declined to confirm or deny the report.

"El Al uses different tactics to ensure the safety of its passengers," she said. "Beyond that, El Al does not respond to security issues. We won't detail our tactics."

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Number Portability??

Engadget: Perhaps blissfully unaware of the brave new world of cellphone number portability that we live in today, Chris Rock changed his number a few months ago and neglected to tell people about it. The woman who got his old number (when she got from Verizon, incidentally) immediately started getting tons of calls for people looking for Mr. Rock, including a few from celebs like Adam Sandler and Spike Lee. We’re glad she took the time to write up an account of what happened, but we’re incredibly disappointed she didn’t take the opportunity to spark some sort of massive celebrity feud. How often do you get a chance to do that?

To read her full account: http://www.laurasnyctales.com/current/chris-rock.html

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Moron of the Day

The Smoking Gun: "Meet Alice Regina Pike. The 35-year-old Georgia woman must think Wal-Mart cashiers are rather dumb, because she actually just tried to pass a $1 million bill at one of the retail chain's megastores.

Monday, March 08, 2004

One Thing German Welfare Won't Fund

Like those of some other Western European countries, the German government in recent years has set off storms of protest for trying to trim the cost of its social benefits in the face of rising budget deficits. But a court's refusal to back the demands of one 35-year-old welfare recipient is unlikely to generate much sympathy. A court in the town of Ansbach today rejected the unidentified man's claim that the government should pay for four brothel visits a month to ensure his "health and bodily well-being" while his wife is abroad. The man had sought about $3,050 a month to fund the brothel activities, along with eight pornographic videos and transport costs to and from a video store. He first sued the state after authorities refused to pay for his Thai wife to fly back to Germany, the Associated Press reported. In rejecting the claim, the court said social security benefits already cover "everyday requirements," but that the man could appeal, and at taxpayer expense.

From the WSJ.com Afternoon Report (3/5/04)

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Not quite from The Smoking Gun, but just as interesting:


I'd like to report an incident that occurred last night with another tenant in my building. I live at [ADDRESS]. This incident was with the tenants living directly below me.

I have been living in the apartment since July, 2003. Shortly after moving in, I was walking around my room and the tenants below banged on the ceiling. I didn't think anything of it; I figured that my shoes were too loud, so I removed them and forgot about it. They continued to bang on the ceiling (sounded like a broomstick) 2-3 times a month, but I chose to ignore it. I am VERY careful not to make too much noise:

1) I never play my stereo loudly
2) I always take my shoes off in my room
3) I purchased a carpet to deaden the sound of my feet
4) I TIPTOE around in the morning and evening

Late in 2003 (I don't remember the exact date), I was in my room watching TV and talking on the phone, and my roommate informed me that our neighbor (male) had knocked on our door and asked, angrily, if I was moving furniture around my room. My roommate told him "no" and asked if he wanted to speak to me. He declined and returned to his apartment. The banging continued consistently, at the same pace mentioned above, until last night. (I actually went down their apartment 2 weeks ago to confront them after they banged the previous night, but no one was home). I was putting my laundry away, (with my shoes off, slippers on, being very careful not too make any noise), and they banged on the ceiling again. I went downstairs and knocked on their door, and a female answered.

At this point, I was extremely angry (fuming is the appropriate word), and I began yelling at her. Here is a paraphrased version of my rant:

"Next time you bang on the ceiling, I will call the police. I don't know if you have ever lived in an apartment building with other people before or not, but it is customary to hear your neighbors movements through the walls and floors. I have been extremely careful about the level of noise I produce in my room; I NEVER wear my shoes in the apartment, and tiptoe around as much as possible. It is entirely unacceptable, as well as completely juvenile, to bang on the ceiling with a broomstick, which is probably causing damage to the ceiling plaster, and if you have an issue with the noise levels in my apartment, you should knock on my door and ask me about it. We do not live in a dormitory, and your behavior is entirely unacceptable as an adult, and certainly not a way to interact with your neighbors. I will be calling [MANAGEMENT COMPANY] tomorrow to report this incident, and I will contact the police next time I hear you bang on the floor; I will call it disturbing the peace. I am not interested in anything you have to say at this point, you have had 8 months to approach me about this. Good night."

While I understand they my words were severe, I believe that I have been very patient and very accommodating for the last 8 months, and I was patience had been tested.

Please feel free to contact me at [NUMBER] if you have any follow up questions.

and don't let the door hit you on the way out...

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Animals on the Underground: "Welcome to animals on the underground."

too much time...

Googled Fan Site

Byte Me online: Blog no more. Why a blogger has retired.