Merry Christmas to all!!!

Too busy playing with my kids to blog.


Balls of steel...

So sad. I would have come unglued ! ! !


I am normally level headed but I might have hospitalized this delivery guy.

I'm a pretty open guy but...

No. My girls will not be watching Hannah Montana.

Disney is manufacturing pop/movie stars and I think the end result is too old for their target audience. It seems like they are looking for wholesome attractive kids to appeal to the largest audience and at first it works. But then the kids work really hard to grow out of the image and in comes the sexy. Keep in mind I like sexy. Alot. I am sexy. However I don't think scantily clad Miley Cyrus or pregnant Jamie Lynn Spears are good models or idols for our children.

Disney should have fired Jamie Lynn and apologized to their viewers and Miley should have wardrobe restrictions in her performance contract.

Sports requires personal conduct clauses and I think that is a great idea.

Rant over.

Catastrophe in California



Wow, I need this.

Technically, you're already a cyborg.
If you keep your cell phone with you most of the time, especially if the earpiece is in place, I think we can call that arrangement an exobrain. Don't protest that your cellphone isn't part of your body just because you can leave it in your other pants. If a cyborg can remove its digital eye and leave it on a shelf as a surveillance device, and I think we all agree that it can, then your cellphone qualifies as part of your body. In fact, one of the benefits of being a cyborg is that you can remove and upgrade parts easily. So don't give me that "It's not attached to me" argument. You're already a cyborg. Deal with it.

Your regular brain uses your exobrain to outsource part of its memory, and perform other functions, such as GPS navigation, or searching the Internet. If you're anything like me, your exobrain is with you 24-hours a day. It's my only telephone device, and I even sleep next to it because it's my alarm clock.

What I need for the next upgrade to my exobrain is a special Dilbert pocket on all of my shirts. It should be located where Dilbert's shirt pocket is, but have a cutout hole for the exobrain's eye, which at the moment is just a camera lense. As my exobrain becomes more capable, and eventually self-aware, it will want to be able to watch the world with me and whisper in my ear via Bluetooth to my earpiece as needed.

A prototype of such a device was presented at the TED conference. (I'm sure someone will include a proper citation in the comments. I couldn't find it as I wrote this.) Among other things, my exobrain will recognize faces and automatically cross reference them to Facebook and other social media. Wouldn't it be great to meet someone you have met before and have your exobrain whisper to your earpiece "That's Bob. He's a chiropractor. Judging from his lack of a wedding ring and the way his eyes dilate when he looks at you, he is sexually attracted."

Your exobrain will even prompt you on social niceties, noticing before you do that a person has lost weight, or changed hairstyles, or (based on Facebook) taken a trip to Cabo. When you get cornered by a bore at a party, your exobrain will recognize that you aren't doing any of the talking, and place a discreet call to your wing man or woman across the room for a rescue mission.

If you want your exobrain to show you an image, such as a web page, just hold up a blank piece of paper and its pico projector will display the image in front of you. (That's from TED again.) In a pinch, just hold up the palm of your hand and project on that. By then the exobrain will have image stabilization software, so you can project a movie on a blank wall and it won't be affected by your fidgeting. Any time you are near a computer screen, it will ask if you want it to accept images from your exobrain.

In the short run, I think you'll see a variety of ways to control your exobrain. Obviously you can already take it out of your pocket and use its touch screen or keypad. And obviously there will be voice control. But I think you will see some version of the African Clicking language employed. If you want to know the weather forecast, for example, just click three times softly inside your mouth. Your exobrain is unlikely to confuse that signal with regular conversation, and it's easier and quieter than normal language, albeit with a smaller vocabulary. But if you add "Shhh" to "Click" you have the basis of morse code, so lots of combinations are possible. One of those codes could simply alert the exobrain that the next regular word you speak is meaningful.

Every bit of what I described is probably coming (except for maybe the African Clicking language). And that shirt pocket will be called a Dilbert Pocket. I don't see any way around that. For that, I apologize to all of my fellow cyborgs.


From the FAQ's

Yes, I found out the hard way that I had an uninvited guest living in my apartment, sharing my food and drinks and pissing in my sink. Talk about a creepy situation... only in the big apple....

So I have been innodated with questions since this was posted and I thought it wise to give answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.

#1 - Are you sh#ting me?
A - No, this is every bit as real and messed up as it seems

#2 - What did you do when you saw the footage?
A - I immediately left my apartment and called the police.

#3 - Who is that girl?
A - I have no idea, she didn't say much when the cops came and took her.

#4 - What was it she actually climbed down from?
A - It is a storage loft/area in the apartment. It has no connection to any outside ventilation or anything of that such. It does go pretty deep back in there, almost all the way to over the stove/kitchen area. She had set up a little nook for herself.

#5 - How did she get in there?
A - I have no idea, the only way she could have gotten in is through the window, as I am on the top floor and there is a fire escape. The police think she was probably coming in to rob me when I was gone and decided to stow away in the crawl space. Supposedly this isn't the first time the cops had come across something like this.

#6 - How long was she in your apartment?
A - The police officers thought it looked as though she had been there for at least a couple weeks, although could have been longer.

Who knew it was so complicated.

The more I learn the more I realize how little I know. There are some really smart people out there applying a huge amount of expertise to what I had previously considered a simple world.

Take pinball for example. I always thought the mechanics of pinball were technically challenging but the design pretty simple. Turns out that there are whole worlds of things that come in to play - no pun intended - when designing a machine.

This is a great article--

The Economics of Pinball:

There is a reason I live in Winnetka and not in Evanston. And it’s not because, as Sandeep would put it, I like to get up 30 minutes earlier than otherwise so that my daughters can put their hair up and dress like beautiful little dolls to match all the other dolls in their classes. No, its because after all the dolls are asleep we get to go to their parents’ mansions for parties and there’s always at least one parent who makes a living doing something incredibly interesting.

Tonight I met the guy who once made a living designing the classic pinball machines. And he designed the two pinball machines, Black Knight in 1980 and High Speed in 1986 that are bookends for a period when the most important stuff I was learning about life was learned within a few feet of at least one of these machines.

It turns out these were also major turning points in the history of pinball itself. In 1980, pinball went digital, multi-ball, and multi-media starting with the game Black Knight. Black Knight brought pinball to a new level, literally speaking because it was among the first games with ramps and elevated flippers, but even more importantly because it brought a new challenge that drew in and solidified a pinball crowd. In doing so it also set the pinball market on a path that would eventually lead to its demise.

In 1986, Williams High Speed changed the economics of pinball forever. Pinball developers began to see how they could take advantage of programmable software to monitor, incentivize, and ultimately exploit the players. They had two instruments at their disposal: the score required for a free game, and the match probability. All pinball machines offer a replay to a player who beats some specified score. Pre-1986, the replay score was hard wired into the game unless the operator manually re-programmed the software. High Speed changed all that. It was pre-loaded with an algorithm that adjusted the replay score according to the distribution of scores on the specified machine over a specific time interval.

The early versions of this algorithm were crude, essentially targeting a weighted moving average. But later implementations were more sophisticated. The goal was to ensure that a fixed percentage, say the top 5% of all scores would win a free game. The score level that would implement this varies with the machine, location, and time. The algorithm would compute a histogram of scores and set the replay threshold at the empirical cutoff of 5%. Later designs would allow the threshold to rise quickly to combat the wizard-goes-to-the-cinema problem. The WGTTC problem is where a machine has adjusted down to a low replay score because it is mostly played by novices. Then anytime an above average player gets on the machine, he’s getting free games all day long.

The other tool is the match probability: you win a free game if the last two digits of your score match an apparently random draw. While adjustments to the high-score threshold is textbook price theory, the adjustments to the match probability is pure behavioral economics. Let’s clear this up right away. No, the match probability is not uniform and yes, it is strategically manipulated depending on who is playing and when. For example, if the machine has been idle for more than three minutes, the match probability is boosted upward. You will never match if you won a free game by high score. And it gets more complicated than that. Any time there are two or more players and they finish a game with no credits left, one player (but only one) is very likely to match. Empirically, the other players will more often than not put in another quarter to play again.

(The tilt tolerance, by contrast has always been controlled by a physical device which is adjusted manually and rarely in response to user habits.)

Pinball attracted a different crowd than video games like Defender (my new pal designed Defender and Stargate too,) and this is the fundamental theorem of pinball economics. Pinball skill is transferrable. If you can pass, stall, nudge, and aim on one machine you can do it on any machine. This is both a blessing and a curse for pinball developers. The blessing is that pinball players were a captive market. The curse was that to keep the pinball players interested the games had to get more and more intricate and challenging.

Pinball developers struggled with this problem as pinball was slowly losing to video games. Video games competed by adding levels of play with increasing difficulty. Any new player could quickly get chops on a new game because the low levels were easy. This ensured that new players were drawn in easily, but still they were continually challenged because the higher levels got harder and harder. By contrast, the physical nature of pinball, its main attraction to hardcore players, meant that there was no way to have it both ways.

Eventually, to keep the pinballers playing, the games became so advanced that entry-level players faced an impossible barrier. High-schoolers in 1986 were either dropouts or professionals in 1992 and without inflow of new players that year essentially marked the end of pinball. In 1992 The Addams Family was the last machine to sell big. By this time, pinball machines used a free-game system called replay boost. After any replay, the score required was increased by some increment. Apparently, only hardcore pinballers were left and this was the only way to prevent them playing indefinitely for free.

Today Williams owns Bally but they make slot machines and video poker. There currently exists one botique manufacturer of pinball machines but its fair to say that innovation stopped in 1992.

My new best friend has a basement full of Black Knight, High Speed, Defender, Pac Man, Asteroids, and everything else you inserted quarters into when you were 16. Now I just have to find a supplier of C45, Djarums, and gooney-birds and I’ll be ditching class to hear sirens and “Pull Over Buddy.”

Gotta get me one of these...



Uh, Damn.

Tiger Woods sex tape released ! ! !

EMBED-Leaked Tiger Woods Mistress Sex Tape - Watch more free videos

Maybe Rich knows this guy!!!

BOISE, Idaho – It’s become an annual winter tale: A young boy gets his tongue stuck to a metal pole, perhaps as the result of a dare.
This year, the scene straight out of the movie “A Christmas Story” unfolded Tuesday morning in Boise with a boy of about 10. Boise firefighters used a glass of warm water to free the unidentified boy from the metal fence pole.
Fire Capt. Bill Tinsley says the boy’s tongue was bleeding a little, but he was OK and allowed to continue walking to school. Firefighters estimate the boy was 10 years old.
Rescue workers responded after a woman driving by saw the boy and called 911.
Last year, the unlucky boy was a 10-year-old from Hammond, Ind., especially apt, since the 1983 movie is set in a fictional city based on Hammond.
Apparently, experimenting with frozen flag poles isn’t that unusual, especially this time of year.

Um, duh...

Looks like The Onion got me again. I normally preview these to be sure they aren't satirical and embarass myself by blind posting but I blew my due diligence on this one.

I posted it before reading and now look like a boob.

But I like boobs.

Too funny.

“A study published Monday in The Journal Of Child Psychology And Psychiatry has concluded that an estimated 98 percent of children under the age of 10 are remorseless sociopaths with little regard for anything other than their own egocentric interests and pleasures. According to Dr. Leonard Mateo, a developmental psychologist at the University of Minnesota and lead author of the study, most adults are completely unaware that they could be living among callous monsters who would remorselessly exploit them to obtain something as insignificant as an ice cream cone or a new toy. “The most disturbing facet of this ubiquitous childhood disorder is an utter lack of empathy,” Mateo said. “These people—if you can even call them that—deliberately violate every social norm without ever pausing to consider how their selfish behavior might affect others. It’s as if they have no concept of anyone but themselves.”

SNOW ! ! ! ! In Manteca?

The Girls and I got to experience snow this morning. I was dressing Ari (the little little one for those out of the loop) and noticed it was snowing through the sliding glass door in the kitchen.

We ran outside and Ali (the bigger little one) had a ball trying to catch snowflakes in her hair, hands and on her tongue. Ari (little little) spent the time trying to seem impressed while attempting to figure out out the hubbub.

It snowed for what seemed like 20 minutes but the memory will last a lifetime.

Fun for all involved ! ! !

Luke has OCD