Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Saturday, May 23, 2009
I'm Glad They're On Our Side
Sometimes I'm shocked and awed by our military equipment. Once, I had goosebumps from an A-10 flyover. This sort of thing gives me goosebumps, too:

Of course, it doesn't get 40 miles per gallon, so the Obama administration wouldn't dare field it, but just look at it.

Friday, May 22, 2009
Book Report: Dave Barry's Only Travel Guide You'll Ever Need by Dave Barry (1992, 1999)
Now, Dave Barry is a humorist. He oozes absurdity so much he has to wear special clothing to keep from leaving a mess on furniture. Scott Adams can't touch Dave Barry in the sustained funny department.

Smurphy T. Murphy loaned me a copy of Dave Barry's history book in our shared Honors Western Civ class, and I read through it, not but not fast enough to avoid leaving a food stain when I returned it. That was 1989. This book came out in 1992, only three years later, and it's taken me this long to read it.

It's funny, but it's also tragic in a way, because we know how Dave's marriage to Beth will end, so the jokes about her divorcing him might have been funny then, but now they're very sad.

A historical artifact and a funny book. Worth reading.

Books mentioned in this review:

More Grisly Mallings
Lileks reflects on and links to this article about the decay of suburban malls.

Were I more of a thinker and less of a linker, I'd offer coherent thoughts about it. But a man has got to know his limitations.

Thursday, May 21, 2009
Why Not Go For The European Six Right Away?
Congress wants to make paid vacation mandatory:
    Rep. Alan Grayson was standing in the middle of Disney World when it hit him: What Americans really need is a week of paid vacation.

    So on Thursday, the Florida Democrat will introduce the Paid Vacation Act — legislation that would be the first to make paid vacation time a requirement under federal law.
Also, each citizen must make one trip to Disney World each decade.

Hey, Congress, you know what would bring down unemployment? Limiting maximum full time weekly hours to 32. That should reduce unemployment 20%!

Also, how about mandatory French training? Think of the educational jobs that would create.

(Link via Say Anything via Ace of Spades HQ.)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009
How Do You Know Your Loved One Loves You?
She rips your copy of Tin Tin's Astral Taxi to MP3s for you.

No, that's really an album.

And she's trying very hard to get Marian Segal With Silver Jade's Fly on Strangewings ripped.

It is love or indulgence.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009
An Idea Whose Time Hasn't Yet Come, And Probably Never Will
Behold the mighty Fugoo:
    Soon that "networked home" (once the stuff of animation and science fiction) could become a reality: This summer a group of personal computer veterans will start selling Fugoo, a brick-size box that will plug into specially outfitted home appliances and connect them to the Internet -- and one another -- via broadband wireless systems.
You know, that sort of thing has been available for several years--if not a decade--through the Smart Home catalog.

How does the latest and the greatest work?

    Here's how it works: Each Fugoo box is loaded with a Via Technologies processor and the Microsoft (MSFT, Fortune 500) operating system. It retails for $99. When a box is installed, appliances that have been outfitted especially for Fugoo are then able to talk to one another over a Wi-Fi network. The appliances can also retrieve information from the Internet, so your alarm clock could also tell you the weather, for example, or provide a traffic report. Once appliances are connected to the Internet, you can do all sorts of cool things: use a smartphone to remotely program the coffeemaker to have a fresh pot waiting for you when you get home from work, say.
The devil, you say! An alarm clock that can provide weather and traffic reports! Probably even specifically tailored to your local region through a complex proprietary algorithm. Wow! That's so much more advanced than the $10 alarm radio I got as a Christmas present 20 years ago and continue to use today. And a coffee machine that automatically makes coffee. Wild!

The problem, though:
    Before that can happen, though, Fugoo will need to cajole appliance makers and software developers alike to produce products that work with the Fugoo box, in much the same way Intel had to persuade the computer industry to embed Wi-Fi chips in laptops.

    The company hopes that in the future, device manufacturers will simply build Fugoo capability into their products the same way that, say, your car might have a docking station for your iPod.
Do cars have iPod docks? I've seen the alternative input jacks, but not proprietary things like iPod docks.

Every couple of years, some company chases this pipe dream and gets some press coverage. But, really, do you want to hook your home appliances up to the Internet and its attendant hackers? I do not, and I don't see any value in using a smart phone to check if my laundry is done.

Dead Mall Walking
For Gimlet, here is

We recently walked one of them and talked about the decline of malls. Given the nature of the Internet, of course there's a site dedicated to that very thing.

To say Noggle, one first must be able to say the "Nah."