December 29, 2007: 11:40 pm: Technology, Work

Give me enough time off and I’ll go off and do something silly. Like attempt to re-write A Christmas Carol in a modern-day setting.

But if there is enough time after that, I’ll circle back to doing something halfway more reasonable.

And so, I present to you the Buzz Town Wiki

This is our own Wiki for the people of Buzz Town. Here we can create bios for the various citizens of Buzz Town (without risk of violating notability standards), document organizations like TM Analysts, Buzz Air and Space Command, etc.

I’ve seeded it with a few articles, but I encourage you to jump in and add your own. Even add yourself. If we get more than 20 active editors we can graduate from a scratchpad mini wiki to real full-fledged Wikia Wiki just like Wookiepedia. And isn’t that what every Wiki dreams of?

So what do you say Shalin? Dave the psychologist? Tripp? (Are you alive Tripp?) Let’s get some articles on DRM, Perception of difficulty, the chance we’re a simulation, and anything else that strikes your fancy — and relates to Buzz Town.

Maybe even a map!

December 19, 2007: 2:19 pm: history, Technology, Work

Russ Pitts, former Half Price Books Computer Section Manager, Head of Insomnia Productions, Producer of SuBBrilliant TV, writer for SuBBrilliant News, and one-time Line Producer of The Screen Savers, wrote a long, involved, insightful reminscence of his years at TechTV.

This paragraph sums it up:

I laugh now when I hear the phrase Web 2.0, not because I think it’s an inherently stupid concept (it isn’t), but because back when Web 1.0 was barely in its adolescence, The Screen Savers was already pushing the envelope, stretching that bitch at the seams and wanting more. So we created TV 2.0, in which you were part of the show, and even if you never called in, never logged in or sent in an email, watching other people do so, you knew that you could. You knew that we cared. Because we did. It was all for you. Yes, we were having the fucking time of our lives, but we were doing it for you, because we’d been there on the other end of that TV screen thinking nobody understood why these things were so important to us, and we knew how lonely it could be. And we wanted you to know you weren’t alone.

Thanks for that Russ. I mean it. It makes me even more proud to have worked there to have it expressed that way.

Read the whole thing at

October 29, 2007: 9:04 pm: Technology

OK.  Everybody seems to be back on the Flock bandwagon, so I’m giving it a whirl. I wish they had a wizard for setting up all your accounts, though the setup is pretty easy.  Let’s see how this blog posting works.

Blogged with Flock


August 10, 2007: 4:02 pm: Commentary, DRM, internet, Technology, video

I purchased a Deep Space Nine video a long time ago as part of the Google Video store. Today I got this email stating that Google was ending its program and I would no longer be able to watch my video after August 15. Google was nice enough to give me a credit of $2 towards other stuff, but still. This is going to bring another round of people around to the understanding of why DRM is crap, and we need a better way.

Here’s the email:


As a valued Google user, we're contacting you with some important
information about the videos you've purchased or rented from Google Video.
In an effort to improve all Google services, we will no longer offer the
ability to buy or rent videos for download from Google Video, ending the
DTO/DTR (download-to-own/rent) program. This change will be effective
August 15, 2007.

To fully account for the video purchases you made before July 18, 2007, we
are providing you with a Google Checkout bonus for $2.00. Your bonus
expires in 60 days, and you can use it at the stores listed here: The minimum purchase
amount must be equal to or greater than your bonus amount, before shipping
and tax.

After August 15, 2007, you will no longer be able to view your purchased
or rented videos.

If you have further questions or requests, please do not hesitate to
contact us. Thank you for your continued support.


The Google Video Team

July 26, 2007: 11:46 pm: Technology, Work

There’s been a running debate in the CNET forums about whether it’s legal to run OS X on a PC, and if it isn’t should it be allowed as a discussion. It certainly seems to violate the EULA, but I believe it should be allowed to be discussed. I tend to put the burden of proof in speech maters on the party who wants to restrict speech. I don’t have a lot of faith in EULAs, and as long as you’re not pirating OS X, why shouldn’t you be able to run it on a machine of your choosing. However, not everyone agrees with me and I see their point too. But should a software maker be able to restrict what you do with software if it doesn’t break any other laws?

In any case, all this discussion got me motivated to try running OS X on a PC. I plan to shoot a video on it for CNET. Here’s the script in progress outlining the steps I took.

What, this? It’s OS X runnig on my ThinkPad. Well, I mean, OS X runs on Intel now, so why not? Actually there’s a reason. I’m Tom Merritt from I’ll tell you how I did this, and tell you why you might not want to, on today’s Insider Secrets.

So yes this is really OS X. I know I’ve showed you how to make Windows LOOK like a Mac before but this is the real thing, see.

There’s a group of hackers called the OSX86 project at who have a whole wiki about how to run OS X on an Intel machine.

Before we get to the how part, let me remind you this WILL break your EULA. And so it remains murky as to whether you’re allowed to do it or not. Apple’s mostly concerned with manufacturers not being allowed to pump out PCs with OS X, but be forewarned.

This is a pretty nice bit of hackery, but you should know you risk really messing up a computer if you don’t know what you’re doing. So don’t try this at home.

So when you’re not trying this at home here’s what you need.

A hard drive,

A LEGITIMATE copy of OS X. NO piracy. THAT my friends is most DEFINTELY illegal.

And a couple of downloads I’ll show you along the way.

The first one of those is called MacDrive 7. This program lets your PC read the Mac files on the CD.
Move the files from the CD into the root directory of your C drive.

I’ve created an IMG of the OS right here.

Next you’ll need Forensic Acquisition Utilities from This is pretty powerful tool we’re going to use for a mundane purpose. Writing the OS X IMG to a hard drive in such a way that it’s bootable.

You’ll unzip the FAU files to the C drive as well.

Now here’s what I’m doing.

I’ve got a ThinkPad hard drive here in this case. I’m going to use DD.exe from the FAU to image this hard drive as a bootable OS X.

Then I’ll put the hard drive in this ThinkPad here and boot it up.

I need to make sure I know the actual fphysical drive address of this drive in order to use DD.exe.

So I downloaded WMI tools from Microsoft. And I’m using WMI Object Browser to determine that the E drive is actually Physical Drive 1. See that string there. That’s what I need to remember.

Now I’ll call up the command prompt.

I type in dd if for input file dd if=c:\tiger-x86-flat.img and then of fro output file and the physical address of my external drive of=\\.\PHYSICALDRIVE1 then finally because it’s a local drive I add the switch –localwrt

When I press enter, the drive begins copying the image to the external drive.

Drag and dropping it won’t make it boot right so you have to do it this way, bit by bit.

Once I’ve got it copies, I take the drive out of the case.

Put it in the ThinkPad.

Boot Up

And voila, here’s OS X running on my ThinkPad.

WiFi doesn’t work but Ethernet does and it’s a little sluggish because it’s an old machine.

But the fact of the matter is, it’s OS X on a ThinkPad.

The osx86 project has a wiki where you can check on the device compatibility.

A quick shout out to where I cribbed the steps when I tried it the first time, and to all the folks out there that hacked away at making this work in the first place.

Worth reminding you again, it’s a nifty trick but it does break the EULA, so be warned.

May 1, 2007: 11:31 pm: Commentary, Technology

Right now I’m risking breaking the law. Why? Because I’m about to type this:

09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0 09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0 09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0 09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0 09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0 09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0

Yep that series of numbers is against the law for me to type and post publicly? Why? It’s just a hex code, I know. It could mean anything. In fact it describes these colors –
Hex Colors
But it also describes something else. A certain encryption code that the movie industry doesn’t want known.

This is an excellent example of why these kinds of encryption schemes don’t work as law. It’s code. Code can be reverse engineered, repurposed, and reused. You just can’t make the code itself illegal. It’s information. Making it illegal is meaningless. It’s certainly reasonable to make breaking encryption illegal, but you can’t stop information, especially digital info.

So Digg gets into trouble because people can use it for what it’s for, spreading information.

Meanwhile it’s perfectly legal to post information on how to pick locks. It’s legal to post info on the basics of making nuclear bombs. It’s legal and it should be legal to explain how to make a homemade bomb. But it’s illegal for me to type that hex code up there. Priorities are way out of whack.

April 27, 2007: 6:46 pm: internet, Technology

AS I viewed a screen capture of the Twitter error message today I wondered where lolcats would sit in our history. Right now it is incredibly hip to have a lolcat error message. I imagine Twitter is one of only handful that do. But for how long wil lolcats reign?

They have already proven themselves to have more staying power than say, They are a meme with multiple derivatives and with the advent of I can has cheezburger, they have reached past Mahir status.

The question now stands whether they will reach towards emoticon status. Becoming an unremarkable but semi-permanent fixture on the Internet landscape. Or will they pass away to become merely an entry on a list of the top 10 fads of the Web 2.0 era.

One wonders if the lolcats wane, what will fill their place. will it be a short-lived opposite movement like JK-dogs? Or will we see a wholly new invention of image and caption sweep the little kitties into the cache of history. It’s what makes watching the INternet a fascinating game.

April 25, 2007: 5:58 pm: humour, Technology is a new Google map mashup about to launch with backing from the likes of Sequoia capital. The new mapping Web 2.0 site invites users to log in and post when they went, where they went and how it all came out.

“I think we can collect some valuable data that’s just wasted now,” said the site’s CEO.

Users in the secret alpha have already identified such trends as the Kansas afternoon flush, and the New Jersey midnight dump. Beta launch users will be by invite only, building up to the official launch sometime after the first of the year, 2008.

Real time maps will be available to all visitors from launch and are mapped by zip code and color coded on a yellow-brown gradient.

November 2, 2006: 10:31 pm: Technology

During an interview on CNN this evening, Michael J. Fox compared using older existing stem cell lines to using Windows 95. My wife and I were both working on our laptops (Windows XP and OS X) but it caught both our ears.  I laughed and Eileen said, “Did he just say that?”

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