Zap-X Sports Sedan

Zap has teamed up with Lotus to create an electric sports car (pictured right) to compete with Tesla Motors and Wrightspeed. The Zap-X will be a $60,000 sedan, will run 350 miles per charge, will attain a full charge using a standard outlet in about 10 minutes, and do zero to 60 miles per hour in 4.8 seconds. Additionally, the car will have a theoretical maximum speed of 155 mph and sport 644 horsepower! Forgive me if this sounds to good to be true. If electric cars continue to make this much progress, the Audi A4 I just bought may be my last gas-powered car.

I remember standing in line to purchase a copy of Windows 95 when it was released at the newly built CompUSA store in Torrance, California. It was a warm August evening and no breeze. There were at least 400 people there lined up to buy only about 300 copies of the new operating system. Excitement was in the air and people couldn’t wait to get home to load up their 486DX/25 machines with the new OS. I was up all night installing it.

Most of the people lined up were running DOS 6.22 with Windows 3.11 and were eager for a change. For one, Windows 3.11 did not support TCP/IP built-in. Most people that accessed the Internet had UNIX shell accounts running a program called TIA over dial-up lines using the SLIP protocol. People also used the Mosaic, and later the Netscape browser to access the web, and Eudora for email. My ISP was Netcom, which was acquired by Mindspring, which was eventually acquired by Earthlink.

Windows 95 was a huge leap forward. It had built-in TCP/IP and PPP protocols to access the Internet through dial-up. This eventually meant the end for TIA, as Internet service providers started to provide PPP modem banks that no longer necessitated the use of a shell account. Those were the glory days of personal computing. Windows 95 was a big step forward and was an eagerly anticipated media event.

Contrast this with last night’s release of Windows Vista. Although there are big improvements in this new OS, mostly in security and graphics, it’s not much better than a well-patched installation of Windows XP Professional. People out there are happy running Windows XP and don’t want to learn new menus and graphics. Some may not want to upgrade Windows because they don’t want to upgrade their hardware. Either way, people are resistant to change.

Last night, the crowds of people never showed up. Granted, there wasn’t a huge marketing blitz featuring the Rolling Stones song “Start Me Up” like the Windows 95 launch. Ultimately, I think Microsoft knew that users would never line up for only a slight improvement, no matter what commercials they ran. Deep inside, Microsoft must know that it has lost its magic and it will never be 1995 again.

Tiger Woods won his seventh straight PGA Tour start by winning the Buick Open yesterday. Tiger was quick to point out that his is not a worldwide streak, as he lost a match play tournament in Europe, and came in second place in tournaments in Chile and Japan.

Still, this is an amazing feat considering that many pro golfers have seven wins for their whole career, let alone seven in just one year. Tiger now has 55 PGA Tour wins (77 total) since starting his pro career in 1996. In contrast, Phil Mickelson, the #2 ranked player in the world, has 29 PGA Tour wins (33 total) since turning pro four years earlier in 1992. Damn.

Thomas Hawk is not the only photographer that has been harassed by overzealous security guards to not take photographs in public, but he’s the most famous. All over the web, there are many examples of photographers being told that they cannot take pictures by security guards and even police when they are not breaking any laws.

Jimmy Norton’s latest post summarizes many of these incidents and provides a few links so that photographers can learn about their own rights, but these shouldn’t be used in lieu of proper legal counsel.

Bottom line, document any incident in which you are harassed or arrested for taking photographs in detail and tell the ACLU about it. If you are not trespassing, more than likely, the law is on your side. In other countries, your rights may vary.

Frank Chu at Westfield

Mama and I saw Frank Chu earlier today in front of the Westfield Mall after our late lunch. As always, I asked Frank if I could take his photograph and of course, he said yes. For those of you that may not know, he’s a bigger media whore than Paris Hilton! He just *loves* getting his picture taken.

His newest sign is another masterpiece for the ages:

“Clifton
12 Galaxies
Whetrostrunikel Endeavors
NBC: Pritrodranical Coverage
Trykrowrinikul
Constancy Iniquities
Errings”

It’s truly one of his best ones. This one makes absolutely no sense whatsoever but is wonderfully phoenetic! I can’t make up words like this, but he can, and does. Seeing Frank out and about lets me know that all is well in the city of San Francisco.

The city’s board of supervisors are shocked to hear that the city’s 23,000 meters are making only $2.61 to $5.59 per day. Surprisingly, the lowest collection rates were in the core of downtown San Francisco, where drivers can drive around for an hour just trying to find a legal parking space and where meters cost as much as $3 an hour.

A city official blamed disabled parking placards, yellow loading zones, parking reserved for construction and motorcycles, and a shortage of parking enforcement officers for the low collection rates. Over the past three years, the city has collected an average of $77.6 million per year from the meters, but it is well below their forecast of $83.5 million.

The transit agency is planning to hire 50 meter maids in the fiscal year beginning July 1 to fill some of the 93 vacant positions. Nobody wants to be a meter maid in this city, since they get attacked very frequently. Just today, Assemblyman Mark Leno is introducing legislation that would make it a felony to assault a parking control officer anywhere in the state. Still finding more meter maids won’t be easy.

I just ran across a Japanese design blog called Pingmag that is written in both Japanese and English (i.e. one that I can finally read). One particularly interesting feature is an interview photographer Bruce Osborn, which has been taking portraits of Japanese children and their parents to illustrate the generational changes. The black and white photographs featured in the article are amazing and speak volumes about the changes (or similarities) from on generation to the next. I would love to see a book of these images.

The full team list for Amazing Race 11 (aka Amazing Race: All-Stars) was revealed on the CBS website last week. Some of my favorite teams returning are Team Guido from the original race, Team Prada (Oswald & Danny) from season 2, Rob & Amber from season 7, and Team Miss America from season 10.

As I looked through the team bios, I noticed the villains from season 3, Teri & Ian. Teri looks like a completely different person! Her face is so stretched after her apparent face lift that it’s a wonder her ears don’t touch on the back of her head. She looks really jacked on the group picture with all the teams. Also of note, Eric from the Frat Boy team and Danielle from Team Pink Hoes of season 9 have teamed up to form a new team which I’ve dubbed Team Frathoe.

One item of note is that even though the race is being dubbed as an All Stars edition, only one winning team is represented, Uchenna & Joyce. The only other teams that even cracked the final three in their respective seasons are runners-up Rob & Amber, Teri & Ian, and Eric (1/2 of the Frathoe team). None of the third place finishers are in the race. Either way, the mix of strong personalities almost surely guarantees a confrontation that will be fun to watch.

Tune into the start of the race on Sunday, February 18th at 8:00 PM on CBS!

Tom Cruise has been singled out by Scientology leaders as the “Jesus Christ” of their pseudo-religious cult. That’s right, JC! According to The Sun in the UK, Cruise has been told he’s been “chosen to spread the word of his faith throughout the world.” The article goes on to say that “like Christ, he’s been criticized for his views…but future generations will realize he was right.”

Scientologists–crack smokers all of them. They are comparing Tom Cruise to the most influential man in the history of mankind. Christ has spawned religious texts and discussion for millenia. Tom Cruise wishes he was as influential as Jesus Christ. He’s destined to go down in history as another weird celebrity, behind Michael Jackson.

Here’s a link to my Scientology post from five years ago for reference. Be sure to go to Xenu.net and read up about these crazy mofos when you have the time.

Airport travelers can now bypass the often-lengthy lines at airport security checkpoints if they’re willing to fork over $100 and agree to submit to a background check, get finger printed, and have their irises scanned. The standard half hour wait to go through security may be shortened to only five minutes. You go to a shorter line, present your special ID, get scanned, and you’re on your way.

This must be part of the Bush’s Administration secret plan to track the whereabouts of every American! I mean, we know they don’t believe in habeas corpus! It is completely insane. Oh, you don’t like the wait at the airport, pay us cash. Oh, you don’t want to go to prison indefinitely, pay us cash. Oh, you don’t want us to audit your finances, pay us cash.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the private company responsible for this scanning idea was owned by the Carlisle Group, Dick Cheney, and the President himself. But, how will they make everyone sign up for the service? The Bush Administration will reveal a new plan in which people that get taken out of the regular airport security line for “special inspection” will get kicked swiftly in the nuts! They’re even in discussion with Fox to make it into a reality show called “Ball Patrol.”

Just to be fair though, I hear that their plan will be to not let the big fat TSA agents do the kicking. Instead, the will pick the smallest female TSA agent to do it, which is usually a short Phillipino woman. After all, they want people to sign up for the service not start a riot at the airport! Still, I for one am going to wait until the kicking starts and the Fox cameras are rolling before I sign up for this “plan.”

Jeniffer_Siebel

In a news story today about our mayor going to Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Summit, the paper stated that Jennifer Siebel is the mayor’s girlfriend. Damn, that was rather presumptious! I didn’t even know that he had broken up with Brittanie Mountz! Apparently, he had shown up at an event with Siebel back in November. Where was the news story then!?

The good news is that Siebel is at least in her thirties and the mayor will be able to make pop culture references that she may actually understand. You know, when the discussion turns to Pac-Man, the Thriller album, Cabbage Patch dolls, and other things from the eighties, she’ll actually remember them. You know, she was alive for all of the eighties.

Jennifer is definitely a trade-up. Icing on the cake: her dad is a prominent San Francisco investment manager so she’s likely not with Gavin for the payday.

The old adage that “no two snowflakes are alike” is likely false, according to scientists. However, your chances of finding a like pair are infinitesimal.

Gap Inc. CEO Paul Pressler resigned from his post. Chairman Bob Fisher (founder Don Fisher’s son) will take over the helm until a permanent replacement is found. Pressler was more than likely asked to leave by the board after the Gap stores’ poor performance during the holiday season.

Long gone are the Herman Miller Aeron chairs, now it’s bring your own damn chair! The world of dot-com startups is going cheap, forsaking glitz for substance and building real products. Still, without the glitz or crazy stock options, it’s hard to justify a big pay cut from established companies and the need to take your own chair to work. Startups are still a young man’s game, but times have changed.

America’s top pork producer creates a sea of toxic pig shit that has terrorized communities, destroyed rivers, killed millions of fish, and even a few people in its pig factories. This story from Rolling Stone, titled “Pork’s Dirty Secret: The nation’s top hog producer is also one of America’s worst polluters,” reads that is like a train wreck, you just can’t turn away.

It’s an investigative piece that highlights Smithfield Foods, America’s largest hog slaughterhouse, and how it indiscriminately pollutes everything around it, circumvents environmental laws, and churns out vaccine-laden pigs for all of us to eat. The article won’t make me a vegetarian, but it is a fascinating read about how economies of scale aren’t always the best answer. Organic, anyone? Via BoingBoing.

Wow, it’s hard to believe that I am officially in my mid-thirties! In order to celebrate, Mama and I are heading over to the Grand Cafe for brunch this morning. At 35, I feel exactly the same way as I did when I was 25. I am just a little chubbier and have a little more money. Damn, I need to get to the gym more, that’s my birthday resolution. Thanks for all the good wishes and emails.

As these crashes in downtown Portland illustrate. If it’s icy, don’t drive.

La Fortaleza in HDR

While in Puerto Rico I experimented with HDR photography by taking a few exposure bracketed shots on my tripod at night. After getting home, I found that I didn’t like the HDR composite images of any of the night photographs that I had taken. The Puerto Rico HDR set was a bust.

It turns out that the best HDR shot that I took was done under duress and without a tripod. I ran out onto the middle of the street and set the camera on the floor to take three shots of La Fortaleza (the governor’s mansion). I almost got hit by another car in the process. I thought for sure that there would be no way that those shots would amount to a good HDR composite. I guess I was wrong.

It just goes to show that some of the best photographs come spontaneously out of instinct and not from over-analyzing and setting up artificial shots or angles. This photo is worth me almost getting hit by a car if you ask me.

I just posted the photos from our Puerto Rico trip for all to see.

A samurai sword wielding vigilante came to the rescue of two police officers that were attacked by an armed gang in South Shields, England. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that this was the work of Hiro Nakamura, from the television show Heroes. A more likely explanation is that small local gangs in England have taken to stabbing each other with samurai swords just to keep things interesting. However, why a gang member would aide police is still a mystery. Maybe it was a ninja.

We returned from Puerto Rico earlier this evening. The trip can only be described as a family adventure–not a family reunion. As an example, most families honor the burial of loved ones by telling stories, eating, and drinking in their honor. But of course, our family took the festivities a step further by getting memorial tattoos. I mean, food and drink just isn’t sufficient when you can mark yourself for life, right!?

So that’s the teaser. I won’t reveal the location or form of my tattoo until I get a chance to upload all of the trip photos onto Flickr and get them properly captioned. I’ll also try and summarize the events that took place in the last five days into something meaningful. Until then I am willing to give one hint as to the form of the tattoo: it’s something you see every single day.

Mama and I are heading off to the island to bury my mom’s ashes in my hometown of Dorado, Puerto Rico. It will be a bitter-sweet trip. Although a somber occasion, we will spend time with my brother and uncles in this small family reunion. We will be returning on Sunday, January 14th.

Yet another article to make you feel jealous of Google millionaires.

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.
— Karl Marx

Pat Robertson is insane. Even other evangelical Christians are distancing themselves from his apparent lunacy. Only one week has passed this new year and he has already expounded these “predictions” for evangelical Christians in America:

  • “The Lord didn’t say nuclear, but I do believe it’ll be something like that — that’ll be a mass killing, possibly millions of people, major cities injured.”
  • “There will be some very serious terrorist attacks. The evil people will come after this country, and there’s a possibility — not a possibility, a definite certainty — that chaos is going to rule.”
  • “God said he’s going to restrain the evil, but he isn’t necessarily going to restrain it in the beginning. A lot of these things can be reversed; we just need to do a lot of praying.”
  • Read more

    Speculation about what products will launch at Apple’s Macworld expo next week is running wild all over the blogosphere. Many claim that a set-top box to play movies, dubbed iTV, and an iPod with an integrated cell phone, dubbed iPhone, as the best bets. However, if history is any indication anything could happen at Macworld. Personally, I am hoping that Apple finds a way to make a better version of the human mind, dubbed iMind. That way I could sell them my domain.

    A 21-year-old German tourist that wanted to visit his girlfriend in Sydney, Australia, mistyped the city on a travel website and ended up in Sydney, Montana. That’s right, 8,000 miles away! He didn’t figure out the problem until he got to Billings, Montana, from Portland, Oregon. He spent three days freezing his balls off in Montana before his mother sent him money for a return ticket home. And here I thought that the German school system was so much better than our own. I guess being young, dumb, and blinded by love is universal.

    SF Homicides Graph, Courtesy of The Chronicle

    The homicide rate drops in San Francisco for the first time since 2000. Police and city officials say the decline was due largely in part because of additional patrol efforts in the city’s most dangerous neighborhoods.

    A sexual pervert is so attracted to mannequins that he can’t resist breaking into storefronts to take them. And who can resist them, really!? He is now facing life in prison because he is considered a habitual offender, he has six breaking and entering convictions and a stint in prison in the last thirteen years. “I wish I could quit you, plastic hoes!”

    Here is a backstage photo set of stormtroopers at the Rose Parade.

    George Lucas announced today that the fourth installment of the Indiana Jones film franchise would be filmed in 2007 for a May 2008 release. Harrison Ford will return as the title character even though he is 62 years old. No film locations have been decided. No plot points were released. I am thinking that it may be called Indiana Jones and the Fountain of Youth!

    How’s this for a plot!? Once Indy finds the fountain of youth the rest of the movie can be filmed using a younger actor as Indiana Jones fighting some bad guys through the Amazon jungle. Indy dispatches the bad guys, seals the fountain, but the effects are temporary. In the final scene, Harrison Ford can then be wheeled into a really large old folks home, much like the ark was wheeled into a really large warehouse at the end of the Raiders of the Lost Ark. One can only hope.

    Mama and I are ending our evening on a fantastic note! We did our traditional fondue sans lobster tails this year early in the evening, followed by an intimate new year’s party at Andre & John’s house, and a second big ass party at the Azul Lounge with Maria & Francois. All in all, a great way to ring in the new year! I am looking forward to tomorrow’s Star Wars themed Rose Parade which is already setup to be recorded by TiVo. Good night to all Nug readers and happy new year!