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Judge your smartiness

http://similarminds.com/intdoor.html

This is an interesting test of intelligence. It’s not like IQ tests, but rather, uses an intricate pattern matching scheme to determine how smart you are. Unfortunately, I didn’t know this was a test of intelligence going into it, and instead thought it was a test of creativity. This resulted in me kind of goofing around, and not taking the full 20 minutes to figure them out (only 4). Funny that. Why don’t I take creativity seriously?

So, when you take it, be sure to remember that the test has right answers!

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Musings

Skydiving tomorrow

I’m going skydiving again with some friends on Saturday! Yeah!
PS: If this is my last post, you’ll know why.

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Higher than ever gas profits

Gas companies are turning into one of those evil nasties that happen from time to time until the government steps in to help. Remember the railroad barrens of the 1800’s. Unfortunately, our current president is in bed with the oil barrens of today. Now they are crippling commerce with their high gas prices. Are you convinced, like most, that it is due to New Orleans? Don’t fall for it:

“This is the mother of all booms,” said Oppenheimer & Co. oil analyst Fadel Gheit. “They have so much profit, it’s almost an embarrassment of riches. They don’t know what to do with it. Read more

Does that bother anyone else? Now it seems:

“They [the oil industry] got $6 billion in the energy bill over 10 years. That’s a huge, huge amount of money,” said Claybrook. “And you’d think with the price of oil at $65 a barrel, they didn’t need any new incentives.” Read more

It’s hard to stay positive with this fact staring you in the face. I don’t get it – who falls for republicans again?

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New diversion: face analyzer

I know this Face Analyzer is complete BS, but I found the web site through my friend Debbie‘s blog and it’s pretty interesting, if only from an anthropological perspective. I do find it interesting that they attempt to calculate your ethnicity, which doesn’t bode especially well for privacy in the future. Try it out.

How’s the accuracy? Apparently they say I look like Freddie Prince Jr. and I fit the “Blue Collar” archetype. I score highest on Politeness and Honor, lowest on Promiscuity and Risk. Okay, well at least the program found my eyes okay.

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Musings

Good-bye New Orleans

New Orleans is no longer, which sucks pretty solidly for its former inhabitants. Sure our pump prices are ridiculous now, but drive less and send your savings to the red cross. I did. They could use our help.

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Musings

Google is good, but will it be bad?

It’s getting difficult to determine if I’m just the sort of person that likes something better when not everyone knows about it. But I’m getting a little nervous about Google and their machinery of innovation.

No one doubts that google has put out some great stuff. I use their software every day, and think it’s the best thing since (insert favorite cliche here). And even though some people like to compare them with Microsoft, they are definitely a better company morally than those guys in Redmond. Microsoft steals and plunders, and Google invents. However, I’m a little worried that their sheer success at innovation is in fact stifling it.

Case in point. This past week they released Google Talk, which has the better-than-average potential to become the only free instant messaging and voice platform around. Farewell AIM, MSN, ICQ, Skype…. Again, they triumph by making a program that’s simple to use, uncluttered by useless features, and well-integrated with their existing platform. Why no one did this before astounds me, but this is the story of practically every one of google’s successes. They succeed by making simple things simpler.

Now, I’m not going to argue that it’s bad that they take over the world of IM. I’d prefer that all my friends are on one service anyway. The only reason they succeed is because they’re better, and the reasoning goes that if someone else came out with better software, they could succeed as well. Therein lies the grub.

Google is so insanely successful at turning out software on the upper curve of perfection, that it’s hard to imagine that anyone could possibly improve any of it with enough magnitude to attract attention. After all, their business is information, so for all intents and purposes, they control our attention. Stop: Does that scare the bejesus out of anyone else?

So with one seemingly simple stroke of the hand, they have wiped out a handful of competitors, including many startups with venture-capitalist backings. When Skype dies because of the success of Google Talk, how many investors will be eagerly lining up to invest in the next internet venture? The world of venture capital suddenly becomes a game of hide-and-seek with Google. The first question asked of every entrepreneur these days is “when google releases your same product, how will you survive?” Notice the inevitability of this statement. It’s a tough question to answer, because, frankly, I know I probably won’t. It’s as if I know the storm will come someday, but I have to decide if I want to build a house anyway.

And this is bad because lone inventors will always be better at innovating on a small scale than companies like Google. But if I know I’ll only have to wait a few years for Google to come out with the product that’s on my mind now, why don’t I just sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride? Unfortunately, I think a lot of creative types will.

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Musings

the place where negative outweighs the positive

An interesting note and a sad commentary on our society follows. If you aren’t a hunt-and-peck typer, look at your keyboard. Look at the plus (+) sign. Now look at the minus (-) sign. You have to hit shift to generate a plus sign.

What’s the reasoning behind forcing me to go through this extra effort to type a plus instead of a minus? Really. I want to know. Shouldn’t we be adding more stuff than subtracting? There’s no way the equal sign is more important than the positive sign, unless we live in a world where negative equations and bank account deductions are the most important thing there is.

Is this a conspiracy launched against positive-thinking people everywhere? I think so. The only reason I used to sign my e-mails with a negative sign was because it took less effort. How could I be so blind to the tyranny?

From this day forward, I will sign my name “+b” instead of “-b”. For, with every press of that shift key I am standing in firm defiance of the negative.

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Visit me at aboutbryan.com!

Old blog down, new blog up. Visit aboutbryan.com for info on the author.

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Tutorial: Automated backup and syncing to s3 — free and instant

I’m terrible about backing up. My idea of backing up is buying a new hard drive every year or so to replace the old one. DVDs are too small and awkward to bother with.

But if I could get cheap, easy, and automated off-line backup, I’d do it. Amazon s3 solves the cheap part, but not the easy or automated parts. I’ll show you what I found out after some research and playing around.

First of all, some false positives:
Microsoft’s SyncToy sucks. It’s buggy, and there are some reports of it randomly deleting source directories. It also doesn’t play nice with the Windows Scheduler.
Ycopy is also a no go It doesn’t support scheduling and has a weird interface. I applaud the author for releasing it freely, but I needed something more robust.

Enter Microsoft Robocopy (short for Robust File Copy), a free tool included in most versions of Windows. There’s even a very limited GUI for it. The GUI can help you set up your own command scripts. Once you make one or two, it’s probably not needed as you can edit the command files directly.

One word or warning: this is for advanced users only. It will take awhile to setup, and MANY things can go wrong. Just one simple command and all your source files can go away, forever. For those who don’t mind spending a little money, I think MirrorFolder is just a front-end gui for robocopy (they don’t advertise this fact), and it’s therefore probably a little safer/easier. But if you’re gung-ho do-it-yourself, here you go:

First, create a Tasks folder somewhere on your hard drive. I put mine in C:Tasks.
Open the folder, right click and select New > Text Document. Open it with notepad, and copy-paste this command:

start /min robocopy “C:FROM_DIR” “D:TO_DIR” /E /COPYALL /V /NP /Z /W:30

Rename it to something like “BackupSync.cmd”. Right click