Thursday, January 31, 2008

The 935 lies of BushCo

We forget things so easily. I forget my BART ticket sometimes and have to buy one at the station.

Forgetting about why we went to war under *suspect* pretenses is a slightly larger issue. Do you remember why we went to war? It's all seen through spin-doctor induced haze...but I think I see something.

The Center for Public Integrity recently released a searchable database that details 935 'false public statements' perpetrated by the Bush administration: mainly seven individuals (George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Ari Fleischer, Paul Wolfowitz, Condi Rice, Dick Cheney, and Scott McClellan)
The massive database at the heart of this project juxtaposes what President Bush and these seven top officials were saying for public consumption against what was known, or should have been known, on a day-to-day basis. This fully searchable database includes the public statements, drawn from both primary sources (such as official transcripts) and secondary sources (chiefly major news organizations) over the two years beginning on September 11, 2001. It also interlaces relevant information from more than 25 government reports, books, articles, speeches, and interviews.
It's not that an administration hasn't lied before, however, when I think back to the furor over impeaching President Clinton because he lied about getting a blowjob (and his definition of sexual relations) and I compare it to the lies spouted by the current administration...well there's no comparison.
What's really illustrative to me is how the number of lies told really peaks just prior to the invasion of Iraq. It's like they knew they had to lay it on thick to get the support needed to mobilize when the rest of the world (please spare me the laughable justification of the 'Coalition of the Willing') favored other means of resolving the conflict.

We became so polarized by 9/11 and the administration used the tragedy to pounce on Iraq because it could 'legitimately' establish a prolonged presence in an Middle Eastern, oil-producing country: an act the Administration deemed necessary for America, regardless if the tactic smacked of the deprecated model of the military-industrial complex.

We'll be in Iraq for decades to come. This was the plan. 9/11 just helped make it easier to execute because we were raw with frustration, anger, and sadness. We let it happen.

So I'm supporting my troops, and not the government that tosses them upon a sacrificial pyre in the name of democracy. Let's not forget our mistakes of voting this chimp and his circus trainers into office when we're at the polls on Feb 5...ok...I didn't vote for this guy, but at least two people did.

Or, you can vote for Romney and let him build more Guantanamos.

3 columns of simple joyful handclapping

So I had been pestering Ross to take a look at my blog to see if he could assist in helping me add left sidebar column, then I realized...wait a minute...what if I consulted the internets?

So I did, and guess what, someone had already put up instructions on how to do it. I'm using a Blogger template called Washed Denim, and these simple steps describe how to create the right CSS definitions in order to add the column and resize the main wrapper accordingly. Well done! Thank you bizwhiz, Jen, and Kumar.

This is good, because now I don't have to buy Ross a bottle of single malt, small batch Scotch which he so snobbishly required in order to even right-click --> View Page Source.

What do you think? You like? You no like?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

007: Quantum of Solace

Sony Pictures accomplished one of the more successful reboots of a franchise with the recent 'Casino Royale'. It was the highest grossing James Bond film ever, and it took the character back to his roots, and shed the campy gadgets and *clever* one-liners (i.e. 'I thought Christmas only comes once a year'...ohhh Bond, you randy fellow).

Recently, the studio announced the new title, 'Quantum of Solace' (QoS), and released some *first look* footage.

'Casino Royale' was definitely different than its previous incarnations. Gone was the swagger and dumb eye candy. The characters were smart, deliberate, vulnerable, and introspective. The story required some mental activity from the audience. Let's face the close of the film, you 'get' that Bond is kicking arse, but there were a lot of loose ends, which isn't a bad thing...leaves some room for interpretation. While there's some resolution, it wasn't the typical Hollywood style ending where Michael Bay blows hella shit up. It was refreshing stuff.

QoS picks up right after the end of the previous film and delves further into the criminal organization responsible for Vesper's betrayal.

SPOILER: Cheney has a cameo for the head of the evil organization.
Side note: want to see another good Daniel Craig film? Check out 'Layer Cake': one of the best crime dramas in years.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Nobody wants a free turdblossom

He was called the architect.He outed Plame. He was responsible for launching the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth campaign against John Kerry. He manipulated the Christian Coalition to get Dubya into office. He had a crappy childhood and put all of his energy into aggressive and clandestine campaign operations that successfully launched or supported numerous GOP candidates. He also had killer neck waddle. He eventually stepped down from his role as the Grima Strategeryist.

Who is he?
Turdblossom...aka Karl 'Not Enough Hugs as a Kid' Rove. Check out the article on Vanity Fair. It's good. It's written by the guy who lived on the same street as him.

The man was instrumental in bringing the current world encompassing doom of Dubya. He did it dirty and sneaky and well, and he walked away without leaving a thumbprint on anything. One can only hope that his atomic powered battery wears down and Mitt Romney destroys the prototype blueprints. He can always get Huckabee to replace him...well not 'replace'...let's say, fill in.
But. The ol' Turdster couldn't get even get an audience during the commencement ceremony at a prestigious boarding school, Choate Rosemary Hall. The students didn't want him there. Ha.

Here's part of the editorial from the school:
Mr. Rove would be a very interesting speaker, and having him give a Special Program address could make sense. However, he is unfit to deliver our graduation address. The point of the graduation ceremonies is to celebrate the seniors and the unforgettable time they have spent at Choate and to bring the community together around the climactic moment on the school calendar. Instead, we will be deeply divided. A graduation speaker should inspire us. More importantly, he should represent the values of the school and serve as a role model for the graduates as they enter the adult world. Rove does neither of those two things.(emphasis mine)

Turdblossom: he might be able to fool his carefully segmented direct mail list consisting of (but not limited to) unemployed adults, religious zealots, ill-informed voters, and debt-laden graduates who somehow think that his army of neo-cons care about them, but he can't fool some critical high school students. I wonder if he's angry and bitter.

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Wii: what can't it do?

Nintendo should hire this guy right now.

What? The 3D imaging is nuts!

Tom Cruise will like this, as I'm sure this kind of technology would be perfect for his mothership. He could fly all the way to visit Xenu using only his fingertips, a al Minority Report.

And the English kids with McQualifications will most likely be serving Happy Meals to his kids.

Praise the Lord and beat your wife for birthing your gay son

So I might offend some of you, but you're going to have to deal with it. It's OK. You'll always have Christ and I know that you Christ because you care.

Not to mock the big JC, but do some Christians really believe that God hates gay people...or at least gay cowboys?

Well, I guess if you're in some 'Christian' circles they do given the protest of Heath Ledger's funeral by the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, KS. Apparently this 'house of the Lord' is protesting funeral of the actor because he played a gay cowboy in 'Brokeback Mountain'.

Their website has a sweet, yet chastising domain name. I wish they made hats because I don't know anyone who wouldn't want to wear one of these messages of eternal love: Isn't that cute?! I totally want to put a little smiley face emoticon here! Yay!

Ironically and coincidentally enough, FoxNews, a bastion for neo-con repressive sentiment and 'anti-liberal' views, has lots of juicy details. FoxNews: a place where Larry Craig, Mark Foley, Bob Allen, or Ted Haggard would feel comfortable talking about the 'dangers' of homosexuality...that after all of the...ahem...indiscretions. Ahem.

I digress.

I'm so glad that people like this exist, because they really help define the spectrum of religious zealotry. We have some people so caught up in hatred and self-righteous judgment that they don't seem to mind to exhibit hate group actions by protesting a funeral. Granted, this action may draw some more git-r-dun folks to Topeka, and their website will see some hits, but in the end what's really going to happen?

Heath Ledger will leave an impressive body of work behind, while a nasty, ignorant, and dare I say dangerously homogeneous, 'church' will bitterly wither away, choking on its own spite, for I'm sure more than a handful of that lovely house of the Lord have some parishioners that are finding their same-sex pray partner a little more interesting than constant messages of myopic hate.

Hate it up, haters. Let it burn you up so it frees up space for better people.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Best. End Credits. Song. Ever.

Waaaay better than the Griggs rap (Deep Hard) at the end of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.


Valve released The Orange Box last year to much enthusiasm...ok I was I excited. It was a bundled package of 5 games, one of which was a unique puzzle-shooter called Portal. The timeline looks to run parallel to the Half-Life universe. It takes place at the Aperture Science labs (a smaller competitor to the Black Mesa labs, which was the progenitor setting of the Half-Life series). In fact, later levels allow the player to look in abandoned conference rooms where slideshow presentations are still looping comparing Aperture grants to Black Mesa's. Pretty funny.

The game involves the player using brains to solve non-linear 'puzzles' by using a 'portal gun' which allows the player to manifest the equivalent of a wormhole (or tesseract, for all us Madeleine L'Engle fans) on a certain surface thus allowing the player to move through walls and other applicable surfaces.
The player is apparently held captive in Aperture Science by a bland computer, GLaDOS, who's later revealed to have a much larger (and sinister) role in the game. She's maniacal, twisted, conniving, and funny. If she wasn't trying to kill you, you'd want to hang out more.
"Good news. I figured out what that thing you just incinerated did. It was a morality core they installed after I flooded the enrichment center with a deadly neurotoxin to make me stop flooding the enrichment center with a deadly neurotoxin. So get comfortable, while I warm up the neurotoxin emitters."
I don't want to spoil it, but I will say that you kill your companion cube and the cake is a lie.

The end credits feature a song written by Jonathan Coulton. The song is called 'Still Alive', and is sung by Ellen McLain (check out her interview by IGN), who voices GLaDOS and other Half-Life 'overseer' type characters.

The latter part of the tune made me think of some folks who are 'doing science and still alive'...Benny, Brown, Dysard, and know who you are.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

New Ask feature: upload your own skin just released a new feature, which allows you to upload your own image to be the skin (or background) for the site's homepage. Here's one I uploaded...a photo I took on a small island off the coast of Belize.Check it out. Just click on the 'Skins' button to get started.

Spock reboots

J.J. Abrams is doing the franchise reboot for the next motion picture installment for Star Trek. I saw the trailer this past MLK Birthday when I saw Cloverfield, which was pretty good, save for the underlying plot involving a dude and a girl. C'mon,'s a creature film not a love story.

I know some people don't get 'it' with Star Trek. I got into it because my parents were into it. Other people I know who don't like it mentioned that their parents weren't into it. Maybe it's a generational thing, unless you're also prone to sf (sci-fi) tales, but there's something compelling about the Star Trek mythos.

Tons has been said about how Gene Roddenberry's vision of the future was a welcoming and refreshing optimistic view, as historically speaking I'd go so far to say that the sf genre leaned towards dystopic themes (think Philip K. Dick, Heinlein, Bradbury, Vonnegut). I think that's what makes this body of work so enduring. The audience wants to hope...dare I say...they have the 'audacity' to hope for a better future: one in which mistakes of the past are used as lessons and guidelines for building a brighter tomorrow.

Regardless, any TV show that spawns 11 movies, and generates enough inspiration to have an aircraft carrier and a Space Shuttle named after a fictional vehicle, is doing something right.
...digging the threads...ah...the 70s...I think they existed for the sole purpose to fuel Will Ferrell-driven movies.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Change your router password...and a brief word from Tom's sexy.

Not completely sure how it was implemented, but a drive-by pharming attack observed in Mexico illustrates the severity of introducing some modicum of security for your home network.

A group of individuals (assuming it was a group) executed the attack in a 2-initiative approach: changing the DNS settings on unsecured (i.e. no security or default security) residential routers and spamming individuals with an phished email which looks normal, but the tricky-dickies changed an image tag reference in the HTML to direct the user's browser to a fake bank's site.

The 'drive-by' aspect refers to the way in which the routers were hacked: this group probably roamed residential neighborhoods scanning for networks and used the manufacturer's default admin credentials to see which hadn't had their password changed. Those that hadn't had their default DNS settings reconfigured were susceptible. If a person accessing the internet via the affected router also received and participated in the phished email, they could potentially have given the group access to their login information to their bank.

Just think, in a residential neighborhood someone sat in a car, and using a laptop or some other capable handheld broadband device silently made the reconfigurations to various routers in a given area.

Granted, there are a lot of conditions that need to be met to make this attack work, but all the group would've needed was 2 or 3 well-heeled individuals to fall for the ploy. Recently, I was on the road and needed to check email, and wasn't near a hotspot (ok, I didn't want to go into a Starbucks or MacDonald's) so I used my laptop to scan for unsecured networks in the area, found one, connected, initiated my VPN connection, checked email, then got off the system, and drove away.

I wonder how long it'll take before this becomes a serious issue, and how local law enforcement will deal with it. Will they have a special task force ('Police Operations: Residential Networks' what an awesome acronym!)? What kind of statutes and laws will need to be put in place? Or, will the marketplace come up with solutions to deal with this new criminal activity? Or, will people spend a little extra effort and change their password on their routers?

All of this applies to everyone...except Tom Cruise...because he can make people do what he wants just by furrowing his little brows, flexing his featherweight high school pugilist build, and dropping mad Scientology energy on yo' ass. I'm OT-7, bitch! Clear as a muthafuckin' bell! Whoo-hooo!!

Here he is now pontificating on his thoughts on how to eradicate anal warts while also buttressing your home network:

Tom Cruise: a walking, talking space opera...David Bowie is jealous

Ground control to Major Tom...

We've seen this coming for some time.

First, he was an unstoppable blockbuster force.

Then, he was a mysterious, androgynous (closet?) enigma.

Then, he erupted into bizarre career-deathing activities with Matt Lauer.

Then...damage control consisted of getting him a gig to appease the Germans who absolutely hate his culty ass.

Finally, or rather I should say, and most recently, his 9+ minute manical, self-serving, cryptic soapboxing of the 'church' of Scientology streaks across the internets.

Doesn't anyone with a high school degree...oh wait...Tom doesn't have one...or at least a modicum of intelligence and rationale thought (oooo...sorry Tom, looking a couple kids short of a Brady Bunch on that one, too) know that it isn't a religion, and really just a manifestation of
  1. L. Ron Hubbard's failed sci-fi ramblings and
  2. proof that there's a sucker born every minute and with Tom heading the propaganda at least some sheep appear to be flocking to the wolf?
Scientology persists because folks running the show realized that a religious institution benefits from wonderful tax breaks. The 'church' remains venemously litigious to maintain that shield because without it, the honeymoon is over. A recent example is how it responded to Gawker posting the video.

Well, even with his own studio (the recently defunct United Artists, which he 'got' after Paramount dumped his crazy ass), and a would-be Bryan Singer-helmed Hitler-killer movie to woo the Germans he still manages to come across like the person we always knew he was. I'm going to go out on a limb here, but I think he suffers from the malady known as 'crazier than a shithouse rat', which I thought was always a funny saying because the mental image of a rodent kickin' it in the outhouse gnawing on corn dogs just conjures the chuckles out of me.

I don't think I'll ever be able to pay to watch another film of his ever again. Did you see the video that's been making the rounds?

WTF? Why does some of that nonsense he's spewing sound like D&D talk? Apparently, this video was culled from a longer, more agonizing 3 hour version that was blasted in the face of 'parishioners' just before Tom went on stage to accept a humanitarian award: the 'Freedom Medal of Valour'. Ahem.

Where was Tom when I was in that car accident and needed to use a phone? He never flew out of the sky and helped me change a tire.

To me, he's just so glib. Yer glib Tom! YER GLIB!

Friday, January 18, 2008

The good virus

I'm normally not one for viral marketing campaigns. They just seem like a waste of time to me.

But (there's always a 'but'), the one for the J.J. Abrams movie, 'Cloverfield', is pretty cool. It's releasing today.

IGN Movies has an done a fine job encapsulating the viral campaign components.

What's a viral campaign? Well, without 'ask'ing the internet, I'm going to give you my erudite (or lamebrained) definition. With the advent of embedded and prolific technology coupled with the explosion of social networking, the viral campaign is one that is a cheap and interactive way to increase brand awareness. I also like to think that they're a cousin of mememails and sibling to viral videos.

For example, a game studio is launching a huge Halo 2. They drop little packets of seemingly unrelated information (like some bizarrely named ''), and people go to that URL and find that its content is either deliberately obfuscate or shares some peripheral relationship with the title and provides additional background information.

Whatever the method, the delivery vector (a website, email notifications, or 'secure access' [those requiring a password obtained after completing some other task on another related website] sites) is designed to engage the consumer. An example of a successful iteration of a slightly older, but cult film of the early 2000s is the Flash site of Richard Kelly's 'Donnie Darko'.

Entertainment viral campaigns (those for movies and games) have been extremely successful in generating buzz. The hype for 'Snakes on a Plane' was primarily driven by its viral marketing and from the incorporation of suggestions from bloggers into the actual script. Of course, the movie was a disaster, but did showcase the awesome power of Samuel L 'Muthafuckin' Jackson, but I digress.

'Cloverfield' is shot in the Blair Witch style, which means that when we see it, the movie plays out like we're watching documentary content. Except this mockumetary is about a monster attack on NYC, and we see it through the eyes of some hip 20 somethings who could never afford to live in the places that they do in real life. In reality, they'd be sharing a couch in Brooklyn.

The movie's campaign is pretty cool because 1) it's not bizarrely obscure, and 2) because it fleshes out some back-story details. Kinda cool. It's like backstory that was left out of the movie, and I happen to like sci-fi/monster films.

You can actually infer quite a bit from the various viral components, although the film I find myself making in my head after checking out these viral vectors could be in polar opposite of the desires of production and creative team.

Regardless, the fact that there's deep-sea drilling, a mysterious substance that appears to infect/mutate people, satellite imaging, and an origin unknown skyscraper-sized creature running amok is good movie times for me!

If you're curious to see more on the viral aspects of the fime, consider this: according to the plot, there's a fictional Japanese company that does deep-sea drilling. One station is located in the Atlantic, relatively close to NY. A 'press release' on the company's website provides a phone number (+81-3-5403-6318) to call if you have more questions about the 'incident'. Hmm...want to call Japan?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The ship does not go down with its captain

Let's say I'm the head of a major institution, and as such, I'm ultimately responsible for the actions of my staff/supporters/minions (think Enron's Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling). Let's further hypothesize that I was being tried for destroying electronic fact...let me restate that...let's say there were rumblings of a suit being brought against me, so in anticipation of such action I went ahead and destroyed the files. Of course, I probably had some kind of 'legitimate' reason to excuse the destruction of these files - whoops! Sorry! I was just following industry best practices...what's that over there? LOOK OUT! Killer terrorists! Threat level omega-seven-polka-dot-bravo!

I'm getting ahead of myself...

You'd think I was reprehensible, correct? You'd think I was sneaky and conniving, right? You'd think that I thought I was above the law by doing such a thing. You'd think that I should be brought to justice and made accountable for my actions, even though I might not have personally put the papers into the shredders, right? After all, even though I might possess 'plausible deniability', the fact that I run the ship should make me responsible, or are we saying that the laws in the country don't apply to me. Yes, I think that's what we're saying.
At least that seems to be the reasoning behind the latest American freedom-'n-democracy ass-raping fiasco perpetrated by the White House. WTF!?
WASHINGTON -- The White House acknowledges recycling backup computer tapes of e-mail, a practice that may have wiped out many electronic messages from the early years of the Bush administration, including some pertaining to the CIA leak case.

The disclosure about recycled backup tapes came minutes before midnight Tuesday under a court-ordered deadline that forced the White House to reveal information it previously had refused to provide.

Before October 2003, the White House recycled its backup tapes "consistent with industry best practices," according to a sworn statement by a White House aide. The White House started preserving backup tapes in October 2003, which would have been shortly after the start of the probe into who outed CIA operative Valerie Plame in July of that year.

The backup tapes, which also contain electronic documents in addition to e-mail, are the last line of defense for saving electronic records.
Mr. Fratto, the White House spokesman, said that "there is no basis to say that the White House has destroyed any evidence or engaged in any misconduct."
No basis...hmm...I'm reasoning those words were used because it hasn't been proven that anything was 'destroyed', at least in the linguistically accurate perception of the word. I imagine it was just serendipitous that the 'recycling' of the tapes occurred just before a court-order demanding said 'recycled' tapes be turned over.

You know what? I am sick to death of this administration. It's not that it's Republican. There are plenty of great Republicans out there. I heart Republicans. I'm sick of this administration's stomping on the vestiges of our integrity. I'm tired of blowing taxpayer dollars on issues that don't benefit the nation, when we're in the middle of a mortgage collapse and financial institutions are recording record losses (from over a 100 year period) and when our educational system is stuck in the 1950s and when we can't seem to produce enough effective domestic college graduates. I'm sick of the lies and false-truths and truthery and strategery and the fact that the President of the effing United States of America sounds like a g-d idiot when he opens that effing hole in his face. STFU Dubya.
While the bar for Presidential approval has been lowered tremendously, and we're on the brink of electing a new President, and although I'm optimistic about the future, I think we need to expect more from our elected officials, and insist on running a government that's less focused on infiltrating and more cognizant about stabilizing and scaling global socio-economic growth. Just a thought. Just throwing it out there, cuz, y'know...things are pretty crappy right now. Never hurts to dream, right? Obama anyone? The whole 'audacity of hope' notion is very appealing compared to the scary faith infused dogmas of Huck or baseball Mitt. It's like the GOP reasoned with all the instability in the Middle East, which this administration helped fuel (btw), the U.S. needs to further polarize itself and become more militaristic and ethno/faith-centric, so they unleash Huckabee and Romney.

[ending soapbox transmission now]

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The road to a movie theater near you

Just found out that Cormac McCarthy's recent book, The Road, is being made into a movie. Viggo Mortensen is cast as the father, and Charlize Theron as the mother.

A little background on the book: there's an apocalyptic event that occurs and just about everyone is dead or dying. Ash and dust cover the land. Trees are dead. There's no animal life. It's a bleak landscape peppered with damning (or desperate) actions perpetrated by random survivors. Thrown against this setting is a father and a son on a trek to get to the coast. The mom is revisited in flashbacks.

The book gained considerable notoriety after winning the Pulitzer and getting the sales-boosting 'Oprah Book Club' stamp of approval.

McCarthy has been having a steady interest in his books having led them to being optioned to films: 'All The Pretty Horses', 'No Country for Old Men', 'Blood Meridian', and now 'The Road'.

However, after having read No Country for Old Men, Blood Meridian, and The Road, I can say that the latter is a great departure from his brooding and intense western-themed tales. The Road was a brisk read for me, that is, I found it to be sparse in areas where McCarthy previously would devote pages of detail. It's a sharp and raw experience: one that illustrates how heart-breakingly fragile love is, yet underscoring how it's as necessary as air to maintain our humanity.

I only hope the movie does it justice. The saving grace for me is that Will Smith and his son aren't being cast a la 'Pursuit of Happyness Pt. 2: The Aftermath'. Don't get me wrong, but Will just hasn't really stood out for me since 'Six Degrees of Separation'. He plays the same guy in all his films: 'MIB 1 & 2', 'I, Robot', 'I am Legend', 'Bad Boys 1 & 2', 'Independence Day'...but I digress.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Casual vs. Hardcore

PC IGN put out this interesting piece on findings from the gameplay characteristics of casual & hardcore enthusiasts.

Of course the study was conducted by the Casual Games Association (CGA), so it found that everyone is a casual gamer and only less than 15% of the total population (every person on Earth, not just the U.S. mind you) is considered a hardcore gamer. thing is that the CGA is looking to support growth in the casual gamer market, given that they are the Casual Games Association. It's kinda like the NRA doing a PSA on the benefits of handguns. It's not like they're an unbiased source of information.

Whoops, here's the right video I was looking for.

But, then again, who isn't biased. I'd be hypocritical to say that I wasn't biased towards truth, freedom, and the killing prowess of a Black Talon cartridge. In my case, I think I fall into the hardcore camp, then. Whew. So glad I got that off my chest.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

8800...more lanes your friendly neighborhood Spiderman

So, after blabbing about it for months...years it seems... I finally got what I wanted: an 8800 series graphics card (an EVGA 8800GT Superclocked to be precise). Found it for an amazing deal through Dell (yes, I was surprised...Dell), which actually advertised it as the XFX 8800GT Overclocked. Dell then fulfilled the order with the EVGA manufacturer's model. Weird.

For Christmachanukwanzaa I received a lovely Zalman VF1000 cooling device, which I just installed this weekend after having also ordered and received some Thermaltake CL-C0025 copper heatsinks (which I needed for some of the smaller chipsets on the card).

Let me tell was worth the wait. Here's how the install went.

Here's the stock card.

Here's what the card looks like with the stock fan components removed. The white stuff is this interesting feeling thermal tape, which assisted in dissipating heat.

Here's what the card looked like after I put on some of the copper heatsinks. Let me just say that while copper is a wonderful heat conductor these heatsinks had serious issues sticking to the chipsets. One kept falling off, which I ended up having to use thermal compound to attach. I'd also cleaned the original stock thermal compound off the GPU. I can speak honestly when saying that 99% isopropyl alcohol works great when applied to a coffee filter to do the cleaning: no lint or chemical residue.

Here's the card after attaching the Zalman provided heatsinks (blue) and the additional Thermaltakes.

Here's the Zalman fan attached to the card. Installation was a breeze, although a little spooky, as I didn't want to damage the GPU by screwing the unit on too tight, nor did I want a loose contact with the GPU and the copper base, but everything worked out well. The instructions indicated that the mounting holes for an 8800 series card were in the #6 position, but that doesn't apply to the 8800GT: use the #5 position. Additionally, I didn't need to use all the extras that the Zalman package included , and I didn't use their thermal compound. I used Arctic Silver.

Here's the PCI-E slot (blue) on my motherboard where the card went. I thought Zalman's placement of the fan power cord was poor, as it has to move behind the card to attach to the mobo fan 3-pin connector. I thought it'd make more sense to have the line come from the top of the card, but hey...I'm no electrical engineer. I ended up tucking the line under the front of the card (ahead of the portion that plugs into the slot). The device sports a design that allows you to manually control the speed of the fan by using a small controller which mounts to the external chassis.

Was it worth it? Well, Zalman is known for its aftermarket cooling solutions, and given that:
  • the ambient temp in room gets high in the summer,
  • I don't have the best ventilation provided for the machine,
  • the 8800 series runs hot as it is (mine hit 60 degrees C on peak, with RivaTuner managing the stock fan speed), and the stock fan is LOUD (like a small mosquito-piloted plane continually doing a nose-dive)
it made sense to protect my investment, and this device does just that.

How did it perform? With an ambient temperature in the room at about 68-70 F degrees, the card was at 36C on boot after the install. After gaming (COD4 and Crysis) it'll heat up to about 41C at the most. Wow. That's cool. Fer shizzle.

Was it quiet? OMG! Totally quiet. Even with it turned all the way up, I can't hear anything from the card.

Aesthetics? Well even though it's inside the computer and I can't take advantage of my chassis's clear case, the device is gorgeous (as you saw in the earlier picture). The blue LED light on the fan brightens as you turn it up, but the noise never increases, as mentioned. The device is made entirely out of copper (except for the fan itself), so it gleams with a fine shine as cookware on display at Sur La Table.

So what do you do with a a rig like this? You play any game you want and you don't have to worry about melting your graphics card or going deaf from a loud fan. Of course, right now, all I've been playing is the Call of Duty 4 multiplayer. As my brother-in-law intoned: it's what 007: GoldenEye was for the Nintendo64 back in the day, but that's for later.

What's it look like in action? Well, some clever bloke already put out some *not very riveting, but functional* visuals:

Just as a note for those interested in doing the same thing, but aren't yet sure: you do NOT need the Zalman’s RAM Heatsink ZM-RHS88 to install on an 8800GT.

Monday, January 7, 2008

We're breaking up

It's difficult when you're in a relationship where one partner just doesn't care about the other. No matter how many times the one in pain tries to get the offending partner in line or to logically discuss the issue, the behavior just never stops. In fact, sometimes it gets worse. It's this type of scenario in which I recently found myself. I had been tolerating it for months, and finally I just went ahead and bit the bullet and ended the relationship.

Goodbye Yahoo Mail. It was fun while you didn't serve me up annoying ads or load my computer up with impression cookies. We had a good run. Finally, even though you provide my broadband connection, I just can't bring myself to continue using your self-serving and crappy interface. I'm tired of all the visual spam. I couldn't understand why you continued to blast me with all those horrible Flash ads even when you get money from me every month. Isn't being a phone, mobile, and broadband customer enough for you? Do you really need me to shell out more money to enlist in your ass-raping Mail Plus service? You apparenly don't care. I know you can't be monogamous, and you have relationships with other people, and you treat them the same...even though they don't appreciate your spam in the same vein I've communicated to you.

Well, I've found someone else. Someone who supports IMAP for my mobile device (should I ever need it). Someone who has a cleaner interface, someone who I was actually seeing on the side. Someone who understands that you don't have to clutter the page with shite in order to make your advertising dollars. That's right. I'm with Gmail now...100% all the time. I've already fetched my mail from you, and updated my settings on my Yahoo account so I don't ever have to come to your mean-spirited page ever again. Gmail will take all my Yahoo mail and display it nice and cleanly for me. I might still take advantage of your email aliasing tool, which allows me to create dummy email addresses that pipe to my main account, but again...Gmail will pull all of your tainted content for me, and I never have to see a gaudy ad on your face ever again.

It feels good to be rid of you, Yahoo Mail. I hope you can walk away from this relationship and take something useful with you: listen to your users. They are getting more savvy every day, and they won't continue to settle for your sub-par environment. And by the way...size does matter. Gmail gives me more storage space. I'm up past 6 gigs and counting.

Yahoo Mail users who are in the same abusive relationship and ready to get all 'Farrah Fawcett on a Burning Bed' can find instructions on how to migrate their contacts over to Gmail by exporting them and then fetching your existing Yahoo mail.

End the cycle of violence.

Peace in the middle East, and although I Heart Huckabees, I don't like Mike.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Nature wet my pants

It was all relatively smooth sailing, from a precipitate perspective, until I disembarked downtown and escalated to street level, where the wind gusted around the gray sepulchers of corporate establishments bringing with it gouts of rain.

I'm telling you...the rain was thick. Imagine a person with a bad heart, and high blood pressure, where it's like pumping pudding through your arteries: that's what is was like walking to the office today.

I was all fired up to do a real dorky post for the new year, and was waiting for my copper chipset heatsinks to come in so I could do a photo essay on installing a Zalman VF1000 on an EVGA 8800GT Superclocked...why you ask? For my own vanity, of course. Later posts will detail how much fun the multiplayer is on Call of Duty 4, and how Crysis was worth the wait.

However, the storm today won the primary focus, like Obama in Iowa. So without further ado, here is what my pants did after Nature held them in a wet pant contest.

And if that isn't enough excitement...did you know that Hollywood is once again remaking another TV show? This time from the 80s. It starred a certain actor who led the action in not the cane doctor...the movie House.

William Katt? Anyone, anyone? The Greatest American Hero. And who's 'supposedly' playing the 'Hero' in the remake...the director of 'Bill and Ted's Greatest Adventure'. You can't make this stuff up people.