iWood Nano

So I don’t like apple products, and in particular their deceiving advertisements. However, I have to hand it to them, they do know style. Now, iPods don’t have the best audio quality for output, I know from experience, but one cool thing I found for them is a fully wooden case.

The case is carved from solid blocks of various hard woods with interesting grains including maple, mahogany, pear, weng, and walnut. Personally, I like the look of the maple, pear, and walnut. The cases include a single hole for your earbuds to connect in while the case is closed. With the case open, you can also connect the data link cable into it as well.

I came across this and thought it was cool. In fact, I am somewhat inspired. Maybe I’ll make an oak or maple case or stand for my Zen micro—who knows? I’m already planning to make a Plexiglas stand/cradle for it in my truck. This wood one would look cool on my desk, and possibly other wood mods, *cough* speakers *cough*.

-John Havlik

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Worst Essay Ever Written

A common observation about the Democratic and Republican parties is that they try to be all things to all people and are thus indistinguishable from each other. When viewing the parties in a macro (generalized) fashion one could conclude that indeed both political parties are indistinguishable. This is realized when looking in to the overall function of each political party, which is to promote its ideologies and nominate candidates for elections. The truth is that one cannot say the Democratic and Republican parties are indistinguishable from each other because they are truly distinguishable when viewed in a ‘micro’ manner. The ideologies that each party represents are what distinguish one from the other. Democrats typically follow and promote the liberal ideology while Republicans typically follow and promote the conservative ideology.

The Democratic Party has in the past and continues to promote equality heavily over freedom and freedom over order, falling into the liberal ideological category, while the exact opposite can be said about the Republican Party. This does in a ‘micro’ manner distinguish the parties from each other since their respective ideologies will influence whom the party nominates and how their members will tend function. A common generalization is that Democrats tend to favor a larger government in terms of social programs while Republicans tend to favor a smaller government and a stronger military along with reduced taxes. In the real world we see that the two parties normally have issues when trying to operate in a bipartisan fashion. How can one say that they two parties are essentially the same if they parties clearly have different views on how the government should conduct itself.

The term bipartisan politics infers that the two political parties are working together and agree on a certain policy or set of policies. If the two parties were the same as the observation about political parties concludes then bipartisan politics would be a thing experienced all the time with both parties spear heading the same issues with the same or very similar approaches. Political parties could be classified as a type of interest group that also nominates and endorses candidates to represent their ideologies in the government. This in turn could be seen as conforming to the pluralist model which does represent a portion of how the United States’ government works. If the two parties were the same then the pluralist model would have less of an impact on the way that the US government operates (since they would operate in a bipartisan fashion) and then in turn diminishes the legitimacy of the United States’ democracy. Since there is often congressional gridlock, we can rest assured that the political parties aren’t one in the same (For the time being at least.) and as a result adhering to pluralist model essentially protecting the people.

If all political parties were the same as the common observation suggests then why doesn’t each party nominate the same candidate? The obvious answer is that they are not the same because of the fact that they don’t nominate and endorse the same candidate for elections. These facts bash the notion that the two political parties are indistinguishable. The one ‘exception’, George Washington, was never actually part of a political party therefore nullifying his significance in this statement.

The inability to operate in a bipartisan mode, differing political ideologies, and other general differences lead one to conclude that indeed the Democratic and Republican political parties are distinguishable and therefore non-homogeneous. Observing with macro precision leads one to conclude things that just are not true and are provably true when observing them with ‘micro’ precision.


The third paragraph in the body should be deleted and the conclusion should be re-written, in my mind at least, I still received a 4 out of 4 on it though.

-John Havlik

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The Empire Strikes Again: Declares War on Teens

The Empire, err Trade Federation (RIAA), is at it again. This time they are sending their troops of layers to get the 14 year old Brittany Chan. After a judge ruled that Brittany’s mother was not to be held accountable, the Empire is now attempting to force the state to assign Brittany a legal guardian to represent her in court. The Empire claims that Brittany used the family computer to download and distribute some 829 MP3s on an unnamed peer-2-peer network.

The legitimacy of the Empire is diminishing and the true qualities of its monopoly are becoming evident. A good question for the Empire is whether or not a trade federation is allowed to act on behalf of its members and sue its potential customers? When a company becomes out of touch with its customers, usually the company goes bankrupt. However, when the ‘individual’ companies band together to form an Empire, they become the sole provider of content to their market. And, therefore enjoy a monopoly over their content’s market. Once the Empire is the sole provider of content, it goes around and marauds its customers and gets away with it.

What happened to the customer is all ways right? The customer no longer has a choice, that is what happened. Competition is good for the customer; monopolies are bad, especially informal monopolies.

-John Havlik

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The Time Has Come: AoE3 Coming Soon!

Finally, a sequel to the Age of Empires series from Ensemble Studios. The eye candy spin-off, Age of Mythology, was cool, but it was not Age of Empires—it did look oh-so-cool graphics wise and was fun to play, but AoM has a limit to the number of towers and ‘castle’ structures that you can build and you can’t build a town center just anywhere on the map as in AoE.

The biggest problem with AoE II is that its graphics are dated to say the least. Plus some features didn’t make the final cut due to system requirements, this time they seem to have done it right. Supposedly, you’ll need a 1.4 GHz processor with 256MB ram and 64mb vram, plus hard drive space and etc. The demo is available right now at ageofempires3.com

-John Havlik

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Gentoo 2005.1 Yippy!

Gentoo 2005.1 was released earlier this week and for the first time the Gentoo Linux project has a true livecd. In this livecd (which is still a ‘beta’ level release.) a Gentoo environment loads with X and the Gnome interface. Along with the Gnome environment there is a gtk based installer included in with the livecd and is fully functional within the Gnome environment, allowing an semi automated installation while still word processing and or web browsing, which in the windowed mode helps getting the required information for the installer, yes it was possible before but this is so much cooler.

The gimp is being well, a gimp on my computer. It has a problem that when it is instructed to create a new file it will ‘crash’ well at least Windows thinks it has crashed and comes up with the ‘this program has crashed, windows killed it, tell Microsoft about it’ dialogue. This is strange because I can open existing files and do all the manipulation that I want, but the second I go to make a new file, *bam*, the stupid MS dialogue pops up and kills the gimp.

-John Havlik

[end of transmission, stay tuned]