The Pittsburgh Steelers knocked off the Baltimore Ratbirds last night 23-14 to win the AFC Championship! My team is now off to Tampa, where they’ll face the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII!!!

AFC Championship FootballHere we go Steelers, here we go!!!!!

TV News

Two quick items from the world of TV:

– Yes! Matthew Weiner, the show runner for Mad Men, signed a seven-figure deal with Lionsgate to create (at least) two more seasons of Mad Men, as well as another show and a movie! Hurrah! Read more about it here.

– ABC hasn’t forgotten Pushing Daisies. The Alphabet Net says that it will run the final episodes of Daisies, Dirty Sexy Money and Eli Stone this summer. I’ll believe it when I see it, but it’s good news for those of us missing the last three episodes of Daisies.

Random News Dump

– Krispy Kreme is giving away free doughnuts on Inauguration Day! So if you’re near a KK store next Tuesday, be sure to stop in a get your free doughnut!

– 79 year-old Donald Peters bought a couple of lottery tickets on the morning of November 1, 2008. He died of a heart attack later that day. His wife, in mourning for her husband, put off checking the tickets. In fact, she was almost going to throw them away. But she checked the numbers anyway… and found out that he had won $10 million!

Here’s a scam that you won’t believe: a couple of guys walked in to Hattiesburg Cycles in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and gathered up $8000 worth of merchandise. Then then presented the cashier with a credit card. The card was declined. They then claimed that they “expected that to happen”, so they somehow convinced the cashier to call an 800 number, where a voice on the phone gave the cashier an “authorization number” and told her to authorize the charge. You know where this is going, right? The card was either stolen or fake, and the person at the 800 number was working with the crooks. How they managed to convince the cashier to call their 800 number and not the one on the credit card machine is a mystery.

– A recent Pew study found that, for the first time, more Americans get their news from the Internet than from newspapers.

SMS via Email

Did you know that you can send SMS messages via email? It’s something that’s been around for ages, but many people never use – except us IT folk, who often set up server monitoring programs to send an email out when something goes wrong.

To send SMS messages via email, all you’ve gotta do is address the email to the proper carrier (see below). Keep in mind that your email will still be limited to 160 characters, like any other text message. As far as I know, email to SMS works with these carriers, and requires nothing at all special – all email services and all email clients are supported:

Virgin Mobile:

Remember, “phone number” means the complete 10-digit number – using 7 digits won’t work.

Goodbye, Old Friend!

Back in 1999, computer hardware was far more expensive than it is today. At the time, the difference between “top of the line” and “middle of the road” in processors was (looking back on it today) laughable. Back then, people seriously agonized over whether to buy the 500MHz or 533MHz processor; it was a clock difference of only 33MHz. But back then every megahertz counted, even if those 33 MHz cost you an extra $100.

I wanted a new computer at the time, as my PII-300 box was getting a bit long in the tooth. The only problem was that the high-end Intel processor of the time – the Pentium III 933 – was incredibly expensive… like, “well over $1000” expensive. I simply didn’t have that much scratch at the time.

And this is where the Abit BP-6 motherboard came in. The Abit BP-6 was a wonderful feat of hacker engineering. At the time, Intel didn’t allow Celeron processors to be used in SMP (multi-processor) systems; the BP-6 changed all that. Using Intel’s legendary 440BX chipset, the BP-6 board allowed end-users to use two inexpensive Celeron chips in place of  a single high-end Pentium III processor. So instead of buying a $1200 PIII-933 processor, the BP-6 allowed me to buy two $150 Celeron 466 chips. Sure, two Celeron 466 processors working together wouldn’t be as fast as a single PIII-933… but performance would be very close, close enough to justify the $900 savings. The BP-6 was also one of the first boards to heavily advertise its overclocking features, so people lucky enough to get a closely-matched pair of the “special” Celeron 300A MHz chips got the same performance for even fewer dollars (because the Celeron chips were essentially a Pentium II without the L2 cache, the 300MHz “Mendocino” Celerons could easily run at the Pentium II’s 100MHz FSB speed, thus they could easily be overclocked to 450MHz).

Abit BP6

I put together my BP6 with two Celeron 466 processors, a then-outrageous 512MB of RAM, and the largest hard drive I could find at the time. Since Windows 9x couldn’t handle multiple processors, I installed Windows NT Workstation 4 on this new box… and then went to town. This computer and I went through a lot together. We learned a lot about IT and computers together. I was an official Microsoft beta tester at the time and would soon be constantly installing (and reinstalling) beta versions of Windows NT 5.0 (later named Windows 2000). I got my first taste of Linux on this computer. I fell in love with the BeOS on this computer. I soon got a TV tuner card, and learned all the ins and outs of video capture on that computer.

Continue reading “Goodbye, Old Friend!”

“Dear Tennessee Titans fans…”

Dear Tennessee Titans fans,

I couldn’t help but notice you folks waving light blue towels during your playoff loss to the Ravens. I find that interesting, since you made fun of Steelers fans a few weeks ago for their Terrible Towels. In fact, there was a little “incident” you might recall involving a Terrible Towel and Keith Bulluck, Jevon Kearse, Bo Scaife and LenDale White. So, to defend the honor of the Steeler Nation, I will post this:

Tennessee fansTake that, jerks!

In other news, the Steelers team I’ve been waiting to see all season finally showed up on Sunday, as the Steelers smothered the Chargers 35-24 (the game wasn’t nearly as close as the score would indicate; the Chargers scored a TD late in the game, when the Steelers had their third-string defense in). The Steelers fired on all cylinders: the defense held SD to 15 total rushing yards, the offense kept the ball for 14:43 of the third quarter… the Steelers even had a punt return for a TD:


All in all, a great game for the Steelers! I can’t wait for this Sunday’s game against the Ravens. You just know this thing is gonna be a brawl, right? A street fight for the ages? Hell yeah!

Bring it on!

My Top 10 2008 Movies!

What a strange year for movies… There’s almost always some super-pretentious “Oscar-bait” film out there… but not so much this year.

So, without further ado: my favorite films of 2008:

1) Slumdog Millionaire

Remember the first time you saw Trainspotting and how you were blown away by the pacing and style? The same director – Danny Boyle – takes on the story of a poor kid from the slums of Mumbai that somehow makes his way to India’s version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? and wins it all. The film captures all the color and grandeur of India, while at the same time showing you the ancient dark side of Indian culture that still exists today. It’s a lovely film, and would be the perfect date movie were it not for a few “rough around the edges” gangster scenes.

2) The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

OK, so the film’s not perfect. But it’s lovingly done and absolutely beautiful. Oh, and it’ll remind you that yes, Brad Pitt can, in fact, act his ass off! “Smashing the sub” aside, anyone that doesn’t tear up at least once during this film has no soul. None.

3) The Bank Job

You know those movies you don’t really have high expectations for? I saw the ads for this and thought, “Oh, Jason Statham in a bank heist film! Looks like fun!” Well, The Bank Job is a heist film, it does star Jason Statham… and it is a lot of fun. But there’s so much more to the story than that. This film might (or might not) be based on a true story that might (or might not) involve everyone from the Royal Family to MI6 to the Black Power Movement. We won’t know for sure until sometime in the 2050s, when government records can be unsealed… but in the meantime, enjoy this movie!

4) The Dark Knight

What can I say about this film that hasn’t already been said? You might think, “oh, it’s just another Batman movie”. And, technically, you’d be right. But there’s it’s so much more than that. This is a Batman film that’s damn near Oscar worthy, and not just because of the “Oh, Heath Ledger died” nonsense. Heath (and Christian and Morgan) really do kick ass in this film, and director Christopher Nolan’s insistence on actual stunt work in place of CGI really shows. An excellent, excellent film… perhaps the best comic book movie ever.

5) Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Wow! Scarlett Johanssen and Woody Allen go together like Burt Reynolds and Hal Needham, don’t they? And yes, I meant that as a compliment. Although named for the two title characters, the film’s really all about Javier Bardem and Penélope Cruz , who steal the show as (ex?) lovers that really are made for each other. Sort of. And the scenery! Barcelona is one of the most beautiful cities on earth, and it shows in this clever (but not too clever) film.

Continue reading “My Top 10 2008 Movies!”