Don’t ye forget, mateys: today is Talk Like A Pirate Day!
Better late than never, right?
Georgia Tech was riding high after easy victories over creampuffs Notre Dame and Samford. I know it’s easy to say this now, but I was really uneasy about the game against Boston College. And it turns out that I was right: BC walloped the Jackets 24-10. Don’t let the score fool you though; the game wasn’t even as close as the score implies. Tech didn’t score until they punched in a touchdown at the start of the 4th quarter; by that time, of course, the game had long since been decided. Tech has their work cut out for them this week too: although Virginia isn’t the powerhouse it once was, you can never take an ACC opponent for granted… especially now that you’re 0-1 in conference play. Useless trivia alert: there are only five Division-1 schools that don’t have the word “university” in their official title. The service academies make up three of them, and the other two are… Georgia Tech and Boston College.
On a happier note, the Steelers walked all over the Bills 26-3 this past Sunday. Part of what made this post so late in coming was that I wanted to watch the game in full before reporting on it (and it was a slooooow download). And all I can say is… wow! It’s true that the Steelers didn’t put it in the endzone until the second half, kicking four field goals in the first half for a 12-0 lead – but in this case, the score doesn’t tell you how close the game wasn’t. The Steelers controlled the game in all aspects, relying on the running game to dominate time-of-possession. Although Big Ben still looks a bit rusty in the passing game, it’s good to see him not making stupid mistakes by trying to force things that aren’t there. The O-line looked really good (yaaaaa!) and the defense was brutal as usual. The Steelers outrushed the Bills 239-50 in the first half alone… and that’s as much to do with how good the Steelers looked versus how crappy Buffalo might have played. All in all, it was a great game! It’s far too early to crow about getting into the playoffs, but if the Steelers can get it together as a team in the easier first half of the schedule… other teams should look out for them in the second half! Lastly, I’m probably alone here… but I actually liked the Steelers throwback uniforms! They’re not “genuine” throwback uniforms, they’re actually a hodgepodge: jerseys based on the 1940s design, the 1962s helmets with the 1963+ stickers, etc. But since the Steelers have used their current uniforms for 40 years, it’s hard to do a true “throwback” uniform that will comply with current safety specifications.
If you’ve had to deal with Windows Vista, you might find the following just a bit funny:
As you know, the Internet is a great resource for finding new tunes to listen to. Lots of people use a legitimate service like the iTunes store or Rhapsody to get their music fix. Most people, however, use illicit P2P programs like BearShare, LimeWire or the like. While most of those P2P apps are great for searching for specific tunes, most drop the ball when it comes to just browsing for new stuff.
And that’s where “music blogs” come in. Now, there a ton of “blogs about music” out there, but when I talk about “music blogs”, I’m specifically referring to sites that offer links to download either full albums, singles, remixes, or rare tracks. Perhaps I should call them “MP3 blogs” instead. In any case, the blogs I’m referring to aren’t offering music by struggling artists you’ve never heard of. You’ll recognize most of the band names you see on all these blogs. So fire up your browser and check some of these sites out:
New Music Lists – Offers a wide variety of music for download, from pop to rock to alternative\indie to dance to country to R&B. Strangely, the site never offered Christian music before, but they began offering some holiday-themed Christian music just before Christmas of last year. For some strange reason they’ve kept it up, offering 2 or 3 “Christian Pop” albums a week. Although I don’t have anything against “Christian pop” (aside from most of it just being bad music), it’s just weird to illegally download music that celebrates the God that said “thou shall not steal”. Anyway, New Music Lists offers optional memberships that cost a few dollars; a few of their hottest releases will be restricted to “members only” for the first few days.
All New Releases – Offers a range of music, with a smaller scope than New Music Lists. This blog focuses mainly on rock, alternative and indie music. It’s updated frequently, too. Note: in most cases, you’ll find the download links in each entry’s “comments” section. If you find an album you like, click on the “Comments’ link at the bottom of the entry; the download URL will be the first comment.
Bell Canada has a discount cellular division called “Solo”. In an apparent attempt to be “hip” and “edgy”, the company approved a series of billboards with a “punk rock girl” on them. Unfortunately for Bell Canada, the “punk rock girl” was wearing a bunch of buttons… one of which said “Belsen was a Gas” – the name of a Sex Pistols song.
Belsen was, of course, a Nazi death camp. The title of the song is a play on the old slang term “gas” meaning something fun (“That movie was a gas!”) and the Zyklon B gas that the Nazis used to kill millions of innocent people. The title of the song is meant to be ironic (the song is vehemently anti-totalitarian), but the distinction would understandably be lost on people who didn’t know better. Because of this, Bell Canada has decided to scrap all of the ads – which included several billboards and “around 30” smaller displays (such you’d find on busses), which were cropped and didn’t show the button. In any case, it’s hard to believe that no one at Bell Canada or its ad agency didn’t catch this.
Longtime jimcofer.com visitors might recall this post from the original Geek Stuff page. In it, I opined about Toaster, a free WinAMP plug-in that displays pop-up notifications (“toasts”) showing the currently playing track, as well as the track’s album art. I really liked that plug-in, but I think I’ve found something better: a free program called CD Art Display:
This program not only puts the the track information on your desktop, it also puts the album art as an icon in your system tray (see the Ray of Light icon there by the WinAMP icon?). The program also lets you change how the cover art is displayed. For example, you can tilt the “virtual CD tray” at an angle:
You can even have CD Art Display show the album art as a label on the CD itself:
Pretty cool, huh? On top of being free (which is always good), CD Art Display also works with WinAMP, Windows Media Player, iTunes, foobar 2000, MediaMonkey, musikCube, and several other media players! The program can read artwork from several sources (including embedded ID3 tags, my flavor of choice), and CD Art Display can even download missing album art for your tunes from Amazon!
All in all, CD Art Display is one nifty program… Why not try it out today?
Many Firefox users are familiar with IE Tab – a free extension that lets you use the Internet Explorer rendering engine within Firefox. This is helpful for the few sites that require Internet Explorer, like online banking, most other financial websites, and most corporate web-based applications (like Outlook Web Access, for example).
Normally you use IE Tab by clicking a browser icon in Firefox’s status bar. So for online banking, you’d type your bank’s address into the address bar, let the page load, then click the IE Tab browser icon to switch to Internet Explorer. The page is then manually reloaded in Firefox using IE’s rendering engine.
But did you know that with one simple tweak you can have Firefox always open a bookmarked site with IE Tab? Just bookmark the page using Firefox’s standard “Add Bookmark” procedure, then edit the bookmark by putting the following text at the beginning of the URL:
For example, if your bank’s bookmark is:
Change it to:
Presto! The site will always open in IE via IE Tab. Thanks to the gang at Lifehacker for this tip!
Well, week 1 of the 2007/2008 NFL season is over… how about some of my “award-winning” football analysis?
The Steelers absolutely stomped all over the Browns, winning Mike Tomlin’s regular season debut 34-7. But don’t let the score fool you: the game was decided by the Browns’ colossal screw ups early in the game. For example, on Cleveland’s first 4th down, they not only muffed the punt, they were also cited for four penalties. On one play! I don’t recall ever seeing an NFL team get four penalties on a single play, except for perhaps a fight where multiple players get unsportsmanlike penalties. Many of Cleveland’s five turnovers happened early in the game, and Pittsburgh was able to take a quick 17-0 lead. So the game was essentially over by halftime. I’ve watched the first half of the game, and I can’t say that I’m too pleased with anyone’s performance so far. The Steelers wide receivers dropped too many passes, the play calling seemed “off”, the running game didn’t get it in gear until the second half when no one cared anymore, and the defense… well, let’s just say that they’d better gel a lot better before the second half of the season gets here. The Steelers’ main concern – the offensive line – actually looked pretty decent, although there’s still some work that needs to be done… Ben will simply need more protection from these guys. All in all, a good – but not great – performance. The Steelers should be able to beat up on Buffalo and will probably hold their own against San Fran and Arizona… but then the schedule gets hard.
Back in the late 90s, I was infatuated (OK, obsessed) with French supermodel Laetitia Casta. She was absolutely stunning, and I just couldn’t get enough of her. Pictures of her started appearing everywhere on the Internet. I had recently gotten broadband, and with the help of Usenet and “image-grabbing” software (programs that download all the images from a given website), I was quickly able to amass a catalog of thousands of pictures of Laetitia. And some nights I’d get really smashed and watch a slideshow of all those pictures with Mazzy Star’s “Hair And Skin” playing in the background:
Your hair and your eyes
I saw them in the night
Your face, your disguise
I felt it in the night
Your cool clammy skin
It could be right beside me
I saw you swimmin’ over here
You looked so fragile
And don’t you know her eyes were red?
“Hair and Skin” is a b-side from the “Flowers in December” CD single. It was originally written and preformed by “desert rock” band Green On Red, although Mazzy’s take on it is spectacular. It’s slow and brooding, with an old-school organ playing in the background. Hope Sandoval’s voice was always great, but in this song there’s a noticeable echo to her voice that just makes the whole thing a bit creepy. I just love this song:
Blender.com has an awesome list of songs that you probably didn’t know were covers. Examples? “Bette Davis Eyes”, “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)” and “Barbara Ann”.
An interesting tidbit: a lot of folks from “my” generation know the song “Always On My Mind” from the Pet Shop Boys’ cover of it. Many from my generation (including me) were somehow under the impression that it was originally a Willie Nelson song. Well, Willie covered it too, as did Elvis Presley. Until today, however, I had no idea that Brenda Lee actually sang the song originally. You learn something new every day, I guess!