Win7: Federated Search

One of the niftiest features of Windows 7 is federated search, which allows you to search websites within Windows itself. Just by downloading and installing a “search connector”, you can add Google, Flickr, Twitter and other sites to your computer, so when you type in the search box in Windows Explorer, you can not only search your local computer, you can search websites, too!

Windows 7 federated search

It’s kind of hard to tell from the above picture, but this person has added popular site deviantART to his Windows search, and has searched for “Windows wallpaper”.

To add additional search engines to your Windows 7 install, just go to this page and download any of the connectors you’d like. And thanks to the OpenSearch protocol, you can even add your own if you’re good with XML! Read more about it at the linked site.

This is gross!

Jones Soda Company, famous for making oddball flavors of soda to celebrate certain holidays, have released what might be the most disgusting soda flavor ever.

Not content with getting only the carnivore market with their limited-edition “Turkey and Gravy” flavored soda, the company has now released a 100% vegan “Tofurky and Gravy” flavor:

Tofurky soda

I think I just threw up in my mouth a little.


I don’t know how, where, or when it came about, but there’s the idea out there that embassies are somehow “foreign soil”. According to some folks, the American embassy in Japan sits on what amounts to American soil; likewise, the Japanese embassy in Washington sits on Japanese soil.

Allow me to clear this up for you: embassies are not, nor have they ever been, considered “foreign soil”.

I suppose the idea began because ambassadors and other high-ranking diplomats do enjoy something called “diplomatic immunity”. Basically, this means that ambassadors are, in most cases, free from prosecution in host countries. The reason for this is obvious: to allow free communication between government representatives during times of crisis. Diplomacy wouldn’t get very far if ambassadors could be arrested by unfriendly host countries, and if, say, Iran arrested a British ambassador, they might find their own ambassadors arrested in other countries as a form of retaliation. Thus, the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations basically says “don’t arrest my guy, and we won’t arrest your guy”.

Continue reading “RIGHTING THE WRONGS: Embassies”

Veteran’s Day

I just wanted to say a quick “Thank you!!!!’ to all the veterans out there that served their country with honor and distinction. Your noble sacrifice is appreciated!

Here’s an ESPN video about Vietnam veteran and Pittsburgh Steeler halfback Rocky Blier that will surely warm your heart:

Wednesday’s Random Stuff

– Corporations might sometimes seem like heartless, impersonal monoliths. But the fact is, even the largest corporations get their inspiration from little guys every now and then. You might know that the Big Mac and Egg McMuffin were invented by individual McDonalds franchisees. Well, you can now add Subway’s $5 footlongs to that list. The idea behind them was hatched by a struggling franchisee in Miami. Read the (surprisingly interesting) story of how $5 footlongs went from one guy’s crazy idea to save his business into a national sales model and annoying jingle at here.

– Speaking of business, Pabst Brewing Company – a “virtual brewer” who contracts all their actual brewing out to Molson – is up for sale. Although Pabst doesn’t brew their own beer any more, they do own a line of iconic beer brands, such as Pabst Blue Ribbon, Old Style, Ballantine, Lone Star, Olympia, Schaefer, Schmidt, and Stroh’s. PBR’s resurgence in the marketplace has led folks to tag the company’s worth at over $300 million!

– A big THANK YOU goes out to the Belmont Fire Department, whose swift action saved the lives of 8 puppies yesterday morning.

– Tibet is a mountainous country where the ground freezes too hard to bury people and the scarcity of firewood prevents cremation. So how do they get rid of the bodies of the deceased there? By paying monks to smash up the bodies and leaving them for the vultures! It’s called an “sky burial”, and you can read more about it here (warning: gruesome pictures included!).

– And lastly, if you like your humor with a side of intellectualism, you’ll probably enjoy the Nietzsche Family Circus, which pairs a random Family Circus cartoon with a quote from one of Germany’s most famous philosophers. The results are usually pretty funny (refresh the page to see a new one).

Ashes to Ashes Update

I know my blog seems like “all TV all the time” lately, but really it’s just that the Mad Men recaps were leaving me little time or energy for anything else. Hopefully now that season 3 is done, things will get back to normal around here.

Having said that, I did want to link to an update about season 3 of Ashes to Ashes. This post over at Cathode Ray Tube has some interesting info about the filming of season 3. It’s light on the spoilers, but a good read nevertheless.


Mad Men: “Shut the Door. Have a Seat”

Can this really be the end of season 3? Sadly, it is. But this was one hell of a season finale! Let’s get right into it, shall we?

This episode begins with Don waking up… on the twin bed in Gene’s old room. He wakes up and coughs several times. We then see him walking in to a meeting with Conrad Hilton, where the hotel magnate drops a bomb: McCann Erickson, a large ad agency, is buying Putnam Powell and Lowe (and therefore, Sterling Cooper). Hilton further states that he’ll have to drop Sterling Cooper as a conflict of interest. Don then says that they’ll all be fired. Hilton says that Cooper is definitely gone, that he’s unsure about Sterling’s future, and that Don is a “prize pig”, and that he’ll get more stock and money from the deal. Don calls McCann a “sausage factory”, and tells Connie that he turned down a job offer from them three years ago. Hilton says that it’s “just business”. Don then says that Hilton “doesn’t give a crap that my future is tied up in this mess because of you.”  Conrad says that he got everything he has on his own, and that’s made him immune to people that cry because they can’t. He then says that he didn’t take Don to be one of those people. Conrad and Don then agree to “try again” one day.


We then see Don walking in to Sterling Cooper. He’s in a daze, and he slowly looks around the office. When one of the office girls crushes a piece of paper into a ball, he has a flashback: the price of wheat has collapsed, and Archibald Whitman is bucking the wishes of his co-op by refusing to sell for 69¢ a bushel. A young Dick Whitman looks on as his father tells the other members of the co-op that he’s prepared to build a silo and store the grain until winter, when he can get a better price. The others wonder how he’ll pay his mortgage without selling the wheat now. Archibald then orders the other farmers to leave his kitchen.

Continue reading “Mad Men: “Shut the Door. Have a Seat””

SONGS I LOVE: “Born Slippy”

get_well_soonIf you’ve ever seen the film Trainspotting, you’re probably familiar with the song “Born Slippy”, as it was featured prominently in the film.

The song has an interesting story behind it: the original version, by electronic band Underworld, was completely instrumental. The b-side of the single had lyrics, and was known as “Born Slippy .NUXX”, allegedly from a computer error which appended the NUXX extension to one of the tracks in the song. The lyrics are supposedly the “internal dialog” of an alcoholic (band member Karl Hyde was a functional alcoholic at the time). The band didn’t give the tune much thought until director Danny Boyle used it in Trainspotting, which caused the tune to hit #2 on the British charts.

This version is a cover from the German band Get Well Soon. It’s very slow, with a haunting piano line running throughout. To me, the original is a dancy, almost poppy tune. You can easily ignore the lyrics while gyrating on the dance floor or driving around at top speed. But this version forces you to listen to the desperation and sadness of the lyrics. It’s not something you want to cue up on the iPod at at party… but it is something you’ll listen to while lying on your bed with the room spinning out of control later on that night.

Have a listen and tell me what you think: