Thursday, December 27, 2007

Hi-Fi Homemade Speaker

(from the Audio on a budget department)

Hi everyone,

This is very clever. The electrical engineer and the audio engineer in me both approve:


Sunday, December 23, 2007

Standards for all!!!

(from the Acid 2 department)

Hi everyone,

After reading this post about IE8 and the Acid 2 test, I wondered how Firefox was doing. Currently, Firefox 1.5 and 2.0 do not pass the test. But - how about Firefox 3.0?

So - I tried the Acid 2 test with Firefox 3.0 beta 2. And guess what?

Yup - it passes!

So - now - Opera, Safari, IE and Firefox all pass the Acid 2 test. Standards - here we come?


Friday, December 21, 2007

Merry Christmas from Santa and Rose!!!

(from the Happy Holidays department)

Hi everyone,

Well - our little Rose got to meet Santa for the first time. She was extremely well behaved - perhaps it was her new velvet dress!

Merry Christmas everyone!


Monday, December 17, 2007

First Led Zeppelin, then My Bloody Valentine, now this?

Hi everyone,

Okay - this may not shiver your timbers like it does mine, but after Wire, my favorite band is Swervedriver.


Swervedriver 2008 Reunion World Tour

The Road Is Long

So it looks like Swervedriver will hit the road once more. It all happened quite quickly and we met up in a pub in London last month and figured out what we'd like to do, which at this point is just heading out and playing some shows again.

As far as new recordings are concerned, I already have two albums to record next year (a new 'solo' and The Setting Suns debut) and they take priority. Maybe the Swervies can rustle up a new tune or two but really, there's more than enough going on with that back catalogue already.

I gotta say that something that really sparked my interest in this was hearing the live version of Sandblasted that has been posted for some time at and subsequently at the MySpace page. I'd just never heard it played like that before. I mean, I guess I was there and everything, but it's got this great kinda country style to it that sounds like it might have only happened one night, and it's stuff like that that keeps the whole thing alive to me... not only in the music but the fact that other folks cared enough to record and post these recordings.

In the meantime this 'Bolts of Melody' tour has been going really good and finally it's reached the point where nobody bitches after the shows about the lack of Swervedriver songs! I guess because they've been leaving completely satiated by the set that culminates with the twelve minute C chord that is Ramonesland. Things are nicely in place to build on with another album next year and there's already a great album taking shape I think..

So I guess I'd better sleep now.. cheers - A

BTW - The 'A' stands for Adam Franklin, head swervie. I do have Bolts Of Melody - remind me to tell you about it sometime.


P.S. A slight update - looks like the classic Swervedriver song "Duel" will be in Burnout: Paradise!!! w00t! Hit the accelerator now, baby!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Kind of an experiment

(from the Are you kidding me? Kewl! department)

Hi everyone,

I'm trying something out here. It's a clip from YouTube of Robert Plant & Pearl Jam performing Going To California. Enjoy!


P.S. This is research so I can post some Rose videos to the blog.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Ruby Gloom on DVD in February!

(From the Ruby Gloom department, naturally)

Hi everyone!

Great news! According to Variety, Ruby Gloom will be released on DVD in Canada starting February 2008!!! I can hardly wait.

Original article here: Nelvana draws up DVD pact


Monday, November 19, 2007

Yet another great news headline from Japan

(from the Where do they get these? department)

Had to share this with everyone:

80-year-old granny tries to suffocate bossy husband with futon

An 80-year-old woman was arrested Wednesday for attempting to kill her bossy husband by covering his face with a futon, police said.

Awesome, huh?


Friday, November 16, 2007

Thoughts while getting ready to leave the hospital

Hi everyone,

Well - Mom and Baby are catching a quick snooze right now, and I have a little time, so I'm writing a quick blog entry and including a quick pic.

Both Dana and Rose are doing well. They actually did so well last night that Dad got a little sleep, so I'm returning the favor this morning.

In about 15 minutes, I'll have to wake Dana, and get her ready to see the nurse to get her prepped to go home. She needs to grab a quick shower, then have some staples removed, etc. Meanwhile, I'll head down to get the take-home prescription medicines and install the car seat, etc.

Then, we have to leave our little "baby hotel" room. I'll sure miss having the nurses available to help with the press of a button - but that's to be expected in real life. I am looking forward to taking Rose home, though. She's gonna love growing up in our house, and playing in our back yard. She might even put up with Dad's crazy hobbies - though that will probably take a while. Naturally, I'm hoping she shows an interest in music - I'll probably start playing guitar for her early. I loved it when my Mom played piano for me.

With all that goes on in a busy world nowadays, it was nice to spend two days "disconnected" with my wife and daughter. But like all good things, that has come to an end. I am looking forward to introducing friends and family to Rose soon, though - everyone has been eagerly waiting to meet her!

Okay - Rose is starting to stir, and the nurse will be here soon. Time to gather up Dana and Rose and get started on our new life together.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

It's time!

Ladies and Gentlemen......

It is my honor to present - Rose Victoria Pietromonaco!

Vital Statistics:
Birth Date: Born November 13th, 2007 at 9:30 PM
Birth Location: Swedish Hospital, Seattle WA.
Birth Weight: 7 lbs, 1.7 oz
Birth Length: 18.75 inches
Proud Parents: Dana & Paul Pietromonaco

Dana and I are quite excited and quite exhausted. Her original due date was last week - Monday, Nov. 5th. Since she was overdue, we were planning on starting labor induction tomorrow (Thurs.) - instead, due to some complications, she arrived yesterday (Tues.) via C-Section. Everything is fine, though - Mother and Baby are doing great!

Here's a few more pics:

By the way - those things on her ears in the last photo are not some sort of baby torture device. They're actually part of an infant hearing test. They play soft sounds in her ears, and use the white sensor you can see on her head to scan her brain to determine if she heard the sounds! How cool is that?

Happy Birthday Rose! Mom & Dad love you!


Monday, October 29, 2007

Headlines: Japan vs. England edition

(from the I luv the BBC and Mainichi deparatment)

Hi everyone,

Once again - Japan and England have two of the best headlines. One is from the BBC and one is from Mainichi News. Pick your favorite!

Old man acquitted for fatal shooting of paint thinner-addicted son

Smoking 'raises psoriasis risk'

Where do they get these wonderous stories?


Monday, October 15, 2007

(Pre) Baby photos!

(from The Future Daughter department)

Hi everyone,

My wife Dana had an ultrasound today. Our baby daughter is due November 5th - or in other words, 3 weeks!

At this point, the ultrasound images are incredible. You can really see what she looks like. Just watching the ultrasound screen is amazing, but the nurse printed out some of the best images, so I thought I'd share them with you. Without further ado, here's our daughter:

I think I like the first one the best - but they're all great.


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Don't try this at home!

(from the I Luv The BBC department)

Hi everyone,

There's something amazing about the BBC news service. Where else would you get a story like this?

Doctors save man with vodka drip

Summary: Australian doctors have kept an Italian tourist alive by feeding him vodka through a drip for three days, medical staff in Queensland say.

This isn't a funny story or anything - but that headline is amazing. Almost as good as this one:

Policeman shot in butt with own gun while battling porn vending machine bandits

But - since that's from Japan, where they actually have porn vending machines, that's almost too easy.


Saturday, October 6, 2007

Finally - a good PS3 diagram

(from the Aha! So *that's* what it looks like! department)

Hi everyone,

Just a quick digaram of the internals of the PS3. Original article here. (Translation)

Also, as a follow-up to my prior post, if you translate the original article, you find this tidbit of information about the original EE-less design constraints:

(Note: I've smoothed out the auto translator "english" a little. It should be pretty close to the original Japanese, although this is *not* a direct translation.)

"According to an industry insider, the GS was retained because it can't be emulated by the PS3 chipset. This is due to the GS's pipeline architecture which requires 4MB of super-wideband and low latency eDRAM. Because the RSX (Reality Synthesizer) GPU of the PS3 has a PC graphics pipeline with external memory, it can't replicate the special architecture of the GS."

"Moreover, it is difficult for the cluster of SPUs (Synergistic Processor Unit) in the PS3's Cell BE processor to emulate the GS. Even though each SPU has 256KB of on-chip memory (Local Store), that is insufficient for the requirements of the GS. In addition, a number of game industry insiders point out that there are many developers who did direct, custom access to the GS which would necessitate a hardware solution."

So, based on this, it looks like these 40 gig PS3s are going to remain incompatible with the PS2 - for the foreseeable future, anyway. I'll keep you posted if Sony changes their mind, but at this point, I think it's fairly safe to say that PS2 emulation has been eliminated from the PS3.


Friday, October 5, 2007

40 gig Euro PS3 released without PS2 compatibility - entire world says "Wha?"

(from the Wha? Guh! department)

Hi everyone,

Well - Sony continues to send a very mixed message with their marketing strategy for the PS3.

First of all - they added rumble to the SIXAXIS controller after they said that it was "last generation" technology. All well and good - but although the controller comes out next month in Japan, customers in North America and Europe have to wait until "Spring 2008".


Well... okay... it seems stupid to miss the Holiday season window in NA & Europe, but... okay...

But wait - that's not all. Today Sony announced a new, low-cost PS3 model in Europe. As predicted by various news sources, this model lowers the HDD size to 40 gig, reduces the number of USB ports from 4 to 2, and removes the multi-function memory card slots. All well and good - it's a lower cost machine - but here's the strange part.

They also removed PS2 backwards compatibility.

Wuh? Wuh? Wuh...WHA?

Didn't Ken Kutaragi himself once say, "the PS3 will feature backwards compatibility with PS and PS2 games from day one. I'm emphasizing this because, from what I hear, there are some platforms that haven't been able to completely do this. It's costly in terms of hardware, but we'd rather [invest] firmly on compatibility from the beginning, rather than to have issues later on."

Oh yeah - that's right - he's not there anymore.

Some of you might be wondering how this is possible, given what I said earlier about backwards compatibility in my blog.

Well - the answer is simple. The heart of the PlayStation 2 is two chips - the Emotion Engine (EE) and the Graphics Synthesizer (GS). The earliest PS3s had the EE + GS in silicon - thus hardware PS2 compatibility. The next revision (Europe, Korean, 80 gig US) of the motherboard removed the EE in favor of software emulation by the Cell BE processor of the PS3, but left the GS in place. Apparently, this new 40 gig model removes the GS entirely, breaking backwards compatibility. Someday, if they were so inclined, they might be able to get the PS3's nVidia RSX GPU to emulate the GS, but that would be quite the undertaking, since they are fundamentally different beasts.


If PS2 compatibility means anything to you, buy that 60 gig model now - before it's too late!


P.S. The other thing about Sony that's annoying me right now? They're not releasing the S-Video cable for the new PSP in America. Grrrrrrr....

UPDATE: Some of the European blogs have reported that the 40 gig model has lost SACD playback capabilities as well. I did confirm that on Sony's Australian PlayStation site. The blogs theorize that the SACD playback was discontinued due to either a licensing issue with the SACD division of Sony or due to the increased costs of incorporating Pit Stream Protection in the BluRay Drive. This latter reason seems most plausible to me. By removing Pit Stream Protection, you can use a "standard" BluRay drive, and could shave a little bit more from the cost of manufacturing.

UPDATE 2: I had mentioned that the 40 gig PS3 had dropped PS1 backwards compatibility. This is not true - the 40 gig PS3 will still play PS1 games. As it turns out, PS1 compatibility had been achived entirely through software emulation since the launch of the PS3. The PSP also uses a full software emulator for PS1 games; that is why you can share them between your PSP and your PS3. That is also why the PS3 dramatically improves the graphics quality of PS1 games; it isn't constrained by the original PS1 hardware. Mea culpa.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Here it is...again...Wire!

(from the It's Beginning To And Back Again department)

Hi everyone,

So - you might be wondering where the name of this blog - TheIdealCopy - comes from. It's the title of an album by the band Wire.

Wire has an odd history of being very active, then being rather quiet. Their last period of activity ended around 2004 or so. Fans of Wire - myself included - had wondered if, perhaps, this last phase was indeed the end of the band.

Well - we got some great news from their website Official press release follows.


Read & Burn 03 is on its way!

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, Read & Burn 03—the latest in Wire's series of 'research & development' vehicles—is finished, mastered, designed and in production for a November 12th UK release. Featuring four new tracks—23 Years Too Late/Our Time/No Warning Given/Desert Driving—and with a total running time of over 25 minutes, Read & Burn 03 is both a substantial chunk of audio and significant signposting in the third reactivation of Wire as a recording and live entity.

We will, of course, let you know as soon as we can offer pre-order through Posteverything. Meanwhile, we would be happy if you spread the word that Wire is most definitely back! Please note: unlike previous Read & Burn releases, this item is intended as a complete standalone entity. None of the tracks will be included on the next full-length Wire album, so there will be no excuses not to buy it!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Paul's "Twisted Thought Of The Day®" (inaugural edition)

(from the Snowball's chance in Heck department)

Hi everyone,

I just had one of those weird thoughts that sometimes occur to me.... I think I'm going to start keeping track of these here: My "Twisted Thought Of The Day®" (or TTOTD® for short).

So - follow my logic here....

  1. The original Xbox used an Intel processor with nVidia graphics and USB peripherals.
  2. The Xbox 360 uses a PowerPC processor with ATi graphics and USB peripherals.
  3. The Xbox 360 offers backwards compatibility by software emulation. This is tricky because the CPU and the GPU both have to have an emulation layer.
  4. The PlayStation 3 has a PowerPC processor with nVidia graphics and USB peripherals.

Therefore, to my way of thinking, you should be able to create an Xbox emulator for the PS3 with decent performance. In addition - you wouldn't have to translate the GPU commands with as much effort - the architecture between the Xbox and PS3 GPUs should be similar. (Not identical, but similar). And the Cell should do a great job emulating an Intel microprocessor.

Wouldn't that be a scream? Playing my Xbox games on my PS3?

Unfortunately, we'll have to file this in the "never gonna happen" department, I'm afraid. Still - Halo on the PS3 would be something.


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Running Fedora 7 on Virtual PC 2007

(from the Hardware vs. Software 2 - this time it's personal! department)

Hi everyone,

Here's a (very) quick guide as to how I got Fedora 7 running on Virtual PC 2007. These are necessarily terse notes to myself - experienced Linux users (and Virtual PC users) will dig 'em. If there's interest in a step-by-step guide for normal (?) Linux users, I'd consider writing that as a separate blog entry.

Quick Guide/Notes:

  1. I decided to perform an FTP install of Fedora, so I only downloaded ISOs for the Live CD (Fedora-7-Live-i686.iso) and the Rescue CD (F-7-i386-rescuecd.iso).
  2. Virtual PC was set to use shared networking. (I'm not sure if this is a requirement or not - that's just how I did it.)
  3. Booted from the Live CD and followed the instructions for an FTP install of Fedora 7.
  4. You must perform a text based install. The graphics won't work by default since Virtual PC uses a 16-bit display and the installer defaults to 24-bit.
  5. When you reboot after the install, use a recovery disc and get to a command prompt. You'll want to change /etc/X11/xorg.conf and switch it to 16 bit graphics:
    Section "Screen"
    Identifier "Screen0"
    Device "Videocard0"
    DefaultDepth 16
    SubSection "Display"
    Viewport 0 0
    Depth 16
  6. You'll also want to comment out the S3 driver (with a "#") and add the framebuffer driver:
    Section "Device"
    Identifier "Videocard0"
    # Driver "s3"
    Driver "fbdev"
  7. Next, we need to start the kernel with extra parameters. This starts the kernel in framebuffer mode, fixes mouse support, adds mouse wheel and fixes a clock issue. I did this by editing the kernel entry in /boot/grub/grub.conf as follows (split into three lines for browser compatibility on the main blog page):
    kernel /vmlinuz-2.6.21-1.3194.fc7 ro
    root=/dev/VolGroup00/LogVol00 rhgb quiet vga=791
    i8042.noloop psmouse.proto=imps clock=pit
    1. The vga=791 selects 1024x768 screen and 16 bpp. You can set the pixel resolution to whatever you like by putting in the appropriate VESA value, however, for Virtual PC 2007, you must pick a 16 bpp mode. There's a handy list of them here at Wikipedia.
    2. The i8042.noloop fixes the mouse issue (i.e. PS2 mice that the emulator creates don't work with some kernels)
    3. The psmouse.proto=imps gets the mouse wheel working.
    4. The clock=pit fixes a clock issue

  8. Finally, I had to edit /etc/inittab to switch to X11 graphical boot instead of a text boot. Look for this line, and change the "3" to a "5" as follows:
  9. That's it!
Regular Virtual PC 2007 and Fedora 7 usage I leave as an exercise for the reader. *grin*

Update: Here are a few more notes that might prove useful.
  1. When you set time zone, be sure to indicate that the System Clock does *not* use UTC. Otherwise, you will find that your Fedora clock is off by a number of hours, depending on how many time zones you are away from UTC. If you set this by mistake, you can change it later in the GUI by selecting System-->Preferences-->System-->Date & Time.
  2. You may be able to use the graphic installer after all. When you boot the installer, use "Tab" to edit the command line, and try adding "vesa i8042.noloop psmouse.proto=imps clock=pit" after the "vmlinuz initrd=initrd.img". I'm testing this now, and will update my blog notes accordingly.


Creepy Robot Cat!

(from the Meowwww...eeeewwww... department)

Hi everyone,

I pass this along without much comment... (except maybe....eww!)

Yume Neko Smile, Creepy Robot Cat from Segatoys is now on sale!

(from Akihabara News)

I guess this is a perfect example of "Uncanny Valley".


Monday, September 10, 2007

PS3: 60 gig or 80 gig?

(from the Hardware vs. Software department)

Hi everyone,

I'm posting this information in my blog because there's been a lot of churn on these facts, and I need to document all of this information with as much real data as possible, before it gets lost. Most people will find this pretty esoteric, but if you want to see how global companies operate, read on!


The Sony Playstation 3 (PS3) is backwards compatible with the PlayStation 2 (PS2) and PlayStation (PS1). However, Sony has developed two different ways of doing backwards compatibility using either a hardware or a software solution.

Originally, the PS3 was to use pure software emulation via its powerful Cell microprocessor for PS2 and PS1 backwards compatibility. It is theorized that PS1 titles still may only utilize software emulation, based on this original development decision. However, sometime during the development process, this plan was partially abandoned in favor of a hardware solution for PS2 compatibility.

Therefore, at their November 2006 launch, the original North American and Japanese 20 gig and 60 gig PS3s had a custom PS2 Emotion Engine (EE) + Graphics Synthesizer (GS) chip on their motherboards for backwards compatibility. This custom EE+GS chip was later replaced on the European and Korean models with a single PS2 GS chip in a motherboard revision before their respective product launches, due to the increased performance of the EE software emulator, and to save money on the manufacturing costs. Interestingly, the two different motherboard revisions are apparently not interchangeable - the hardware units can't be "switched off" to become software units.

Since these models relied on software EE emulation, and this type of emulation is quite complex, the percentage of compatible PS2 games were lower for these machines at launch. Each successive System Software revision, however, has seen continual improvement in PS2 backwards compatibility percentages for these hybrid software emulation PS3s. Direct comparisons between the two different designs were initially hard to quantify, since there was only one motherboard design released in a region, and games differ too much between these regions.

The software emulator's difficulties with PS2 backwards compatibility was not a big issue for North American users since all models sold since launch, including the almost immediately discontinued 20 gig model, had the EE in hardware on the motherboard. This situation would soon change when Sony dropped the price of the 60 gig PS3 to $499 in North America and introduced a new 80 gig model at $599. Early press reports revealed that the 80 gig model would be using the EE-less motherboard, and therefore would rely on software emulation for PS2 compatibility. It also was quickly revealed that the 60 gig model was being price reduced because it was being phased out. Sony stated that they would only offer the 60 gig model until stocks ran out.

Sony recently started offering an on-line service for checking compatibility between the North American EE 60 gig models (including the discontinued 20 gig) and the non-EE 80 gig models. Curmudgeon Gamer has recently gone through their game library with this web service, and posted some interesting results. In their findings, the PS1 compatibility results are identical, lending some credence to the theory that the PS3 uses pure software emulation for PS1 titles. However, the PS2 compatibility results are quite different, with the hardware EE 60 gig model seemingly much more backwards compatible.

In summary, if backwards compatibility is important, it might be a good idea to pick up one of the 60 gig PS3s before stocks run out. PS1 compatibility appears identical between the two revisions, but PS2 compatibility seems to benefit from having the EE present, as in the 60 gig model.

UPDATE: added additional hardware GS information, per recent Sony documentation.

Jobs Offers Apple Lisa Early Adopters Store Credit

(from the If it's too good to be probably is department)

Hi everyone,

A friend sent me this tongue-in-cheek post this morning. Made me laugh:

Jobs Offers Apple Lisa Early Adopters Store Credit


P.S. If you don't know what I'm talking about:
Steve Jobs gives all iPhone owners $100 back

Tuesday, September 4, 2007


(from the Paul's Smarter Brother department)

Hi everyone,

It's a little known fact, but my brother David is a silicon chip designer. At one point in his career, he worked for Sony and designed an RGB-to-Video (NTSC/PAL) chip for the PlayStation called the CXA2075.

Well, yesterday, I was poking around on the web, and found the data sheet for it (PDF). Very impressive Dave!

There's still a number of people who use it, too.

Dave's own recollections can be found here.


Saturday, August 25, 2007


(From the OMG - this is teh cut3z ! department)

If you haven't seen this, you should. This is from Firefox in Japan. More browsers need cute mascots like this:

You can find out more here at their homepage.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

More about the Original Adventure source code

(from the YOU ARE STANDING AT THE END OF A ROAD department)

Hi everyone,

You might have seen this posting on Slashdot (or in my RSS headlines) about the original FORTRAN Adventure source code being found in an archive.

Originally written by Will Crowther, Adventure was the first text adventure game. Most people are familiar with a subsequent version that was expanded and edited by Don Woods.

Long thought lost, Crowther's original source code has been located in a backup of Don Woods' Standford student account from 1977.

Matthew T. Russotto has already translated the PDP FORTRAN to g77 (GNU FORTRAN 77) - which means that most modern gcc installations should be able to compile it.

He has a link here:

I've gone ahead and compiled it on my PlayStation 2 Linux box (mips binary) - and on my laptop under Cygwin (x86 binary). I've never used GNU FORTRAN before - very interesting. I might have to peep the source code a bit - last time I used FORTRAN was in 1983 in college.

In the meantime,

$ ./advf4-11.exe
PAUSE INIT DONE statement executed
To resume execution, type go. Other input will terminate the job.
Execution resumes after PAUSE.



go east


Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Tea Rules (of Etiquette)

(from the Miss Manners Says department)

Hi everyone,

The BBC mentioned something about a tea room with "Scary" rules in Brighton. Having been to Brighton a number of times, I had to know more.

Thanks to the miracle of the Internet, I found the tea room, and I found the rules. See how many of these you can follow:

The Tea Cosy Tearooms Etiquette


Tuesday, August 7, 2007

XBOX 360 Thermal Design

(from the It's sure toasty in here department)

Hi everyone,

Saw a great on-line article about the thermal design of the Xbox 360. You should check it out - especially if you're a current Xbox 360 owner.

Fragile Part of Xbox 360? Thermal Design Expert Investigates


P.S. Don't worry about installing Japanese fonts if it asks you - the site is in English.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

New site addition

Hi everyone,

Just wanted to let you know that I've added a new feed to my RSS Headline News. Starting today, you'll see entries from wikiHow. I especially like today's HowTo - How to Host a LAN party!

Let's do it!!!


Monday, July 30, 2007

Anime list from 2003

(from the Invest in CDs? I Thought You Said DVDs! department)

Hi everyone,

When I moved into my new house, I had to pack up a lot of stuff that I had accumulated in 12 years of living in the same apartment. There wasn't time to deal with all of my stuff, so we just left it in the moving boxes in the new basement, thinking we'd deal with it shortly. Two years later, most of my stuff is still in these boxes - including my original webserver for (Frighteningly, it's a Japanese NEC PC-9821 running Win 95!)

I made the switch to a new webserver to save energy, and I still haven't migrated all of the old data over. (Frighteningly, the new server is a PlayStation 2 running Linux!) Most of the data is pretty useless anyway - the domain has always been more of a hobby than an ongoing concern - but I've restored one webpage that's really cool.

At one point, in 2003, I went thru all of my anime DVDs and came up with a master list. I still haven't turned on that computer - but it turns out that the internet Wayback Machine had archived the list.

I now present it to you, for your shock and amazement: Paul's Anime List

The sad thing? That's from 2003! It has none of the anime I've purchased on DVD since then.


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Queen Guitarist Brian May To Complete His Doctorate

(from the Killer Riffs, Killer Asteroids department)

Hi everyone,

Various news sources, including the Sydney Morning Herald, are indicating that Queen guitarist Brian May is going to complete his doctorate in Astrophysics, 30 years after discontinuing his studies to form the rock group Queen.

This is so cool on a number of levels - brainy rock people, doctorates at 60, astronomy - I don't know where to begin.

Congratulations, Brian!

(Also noted here at the BBC)


Sunday, July 22, 2007

A Visit To Kwik-E-Mart

(from the Is This Real Or A Movie? department)

Hi everyone,

Dana and I visited Seattle's "Kwik-E-Mart" today. In honor of the upcoming Simpsons movie, a few 7-11s were turned into the fictional Kwik-E-Marts of the TV show. We went to the one in Seattle.

All I can say is that it was awesome. The interior designs were especially amazing. I ended up buying a 6 pack of donuts (pink like the show!) and a Homer T-Shirt. The employees working there seemed farily enthusiastic about it, really. People were all over the store, taking photos. (It didn't hurt that it was the Bite of Seattle weekend either.)

Here's some photos!

And - yes - the donuts are tasty!


Friday, July 20, 2007

My Name Is... Possible Copyright Infringement?

(from the Lawsuits-R-Us department)

Hi everyone,

I've been surfing the FCC website lately, and stumbled across this page: Kidszone

In the left side of the webpage, you'll see the FCC's new mascot - Doraemon Broadcast.

Anyone else notice the similarities, or is it just me?


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Latest Harry Potter already on the web?

(from the Web Hackorz are l33t! - not! department)

Hi everyone,

Looks like somebody has put photocopied pages of the new Harry Potter novel on the web. Jeez!

New Potter Book May Have Made Its Way To Web


Steinway's Double-Keyboard Piano

(from the You Need Four Hands department)

Hi everyone,

Saw this article on the NY Times website about a one-off dual keyboard Steinway Piano. Is this cool or what?
Let's Play Two: Singular Piano

What got me interested in the double Steinway was a review of Christopher Taylor's concert:
Christopher Taylor - Caramoor - Music - Review


Monday, July 16, 2007

Caffeine Jello shots!

(from the You got Peanut Butter in My Chocolate department)

The title says it all:


Friday, July 13, 2007

Sony 60gig PS3 - are they or aren't they?

(from the Left Hand vs. Right Hand department)

Hi everyone,

Interesting news in the blogosphere this morning. There's a fracas going on over at Sony about the recent price drops in the 60gig model of the PS3.

The battle started with the president of SCEE - that's Sony Europe - stating that the U.S. didn't really get a price cut. Instead, they got a bigger hard drive and a pack-in game for the same $599 price. The $499 price reduction on the 60gig model was, to paraphrase, a "fire sale" to get the model out of the warehouses, and would be out of stock by the end of July.

This came as a big surprise to SCEA (Sony America). They've countered the fire sale argument saying: "As we announced this week, SCEA’s product offering in North America consists of a 80GB PS3 available in August and a 60GB PS3 available now for $499. We will have ample supplies of both models to meet the needs of consumers for the foreseeable future."

So - who's right? Well - let's let the president of Sony Computer Entertainment, Kaz Hirai, weigh in:
"[We do not] have a 2 SKU strategy in the US, we learned very quickly customers respond better to having one SKU than two. We dropped the price on the 60GB model, as you know that model is no longer in production, once it's no longer on store shelves it will just be the $600 SKU."

Sounds like it's a little of both, then, really.


P.S. Don't forget - the 60gig model is one of the last PS3s with the PS2 EE chip in it.

It's here!

But - I'm not going to tell you what it is yet. More soon!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

It's OFFICIAL: New PSP coming!

This is hot from the Sony E3 keynote, courtesy of Joystiq:

Kaz: "We are introducing the world to the evolution of the PSP ... What I'm holding is the newest version of the PSP, which will be available in September. It's not too different, it still has UMD and the same screen, but once you have it in your hand, youll see the difference. It's 33% lighter, 19% slimmer, and the battery is much improved."

So - there you go. I'll post more as soon as I know more.

UPDATE: Yeah - there's more. Much, much more....

11:48AM PDT - "It can also output high quality video. You could hook it up to your Bravia HDTV, so everyone can only your PSP. You see, this is a trailer for Spider-Man 2, which is out on Blu-ray from Sony Home Entertainment. So now, I press the display button, and as you see it's now playing on the flat screen behind me."

11:49AM PDT - "You can control what you're seeing, I'll pause it, get rid of the menu, etc. If you want the video back on your PSP, push the display button again and it's back on your PSP. You can play games, videos, show photos, all of that on a tv screen or your PSP. With DLNA, you can also access the files on your PC at home via your PSP. This sparks the imagination, and encourages developers and players alike to think beyond the norm. As you can see it comes in piano black, but there are some additional colors that are coming to North America, which Jack will show off in a moment."

So - smaller unit, better battery, video out and custom colors. And - price is $199. Sounds like a real winner to me. The only question I have is the video out. I've seen some screenshots of the new unit, and I don't see a video out jack. I wonder if they're using the USB out - if so, I wonder if it will work with the original PSP. (I'm hoping it will, anyway.)

UPDATE 2: No pics yet, but the websites are reporting that the video out is via a new connector, not USB. So - no easy upgrade for the original PSPs. Check the video on for more details.


How to be a psychic

(from the I can't believe you knew that! department)

Hi everyone,

Found this article on-line today. It's great! Now, who wants to try it first?


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Wow - it's hot in Seattle right now!

Hi everyone,

Heat wave in Seattle today!!! According to KOMO TV, it got up to 89 (F) today. (It felt much hotter, though!)

Other highs in the area included (all temps F):

  • Vancouver, WA: 104
  • Portland, OR: 102
  • Forks: 93
  • Bremerton: 91
  • Port Angeles: 91

and the list just goes on and on.

It gets worse tomorrow in Seattle - it's supposed to get into the mid 90's. (According to KOMO, the high will be 96.)

I'll keep you posted.


Monday, July 9, 2007

Okay - one more photo

Hi everyone,

Okay - since these photos came out so well, I'm going to post one more.

This is from the trip back to West Seattle, just as the sun was going down:


Sunday, July 8, 2007

A moment in a parking lot in West Seattle, 8-Jul-07

(from the Candid Camera department)

Hi everyone,

I just had to share this photo with you. That's my wife Dana - kinda waiting for me to take the photo so we can board the water taxi.

"What water taxi?", I hear you ask.

Well, there's a water taxi that runs between downtown Seattle, and West Seattle. You can find more information out about it here:

By the way - check out the weather in the above photo. Boy - it was gorgeous in Seattle today! (And - no - that's not our Mercedes.)

UPDATE: A few people, upon viewing the original photo, have pointed out that Dana appears to be, shall we say, "grumpy". She really wasn't, but even if she were, a tasty ice cream bar on a pleasant boat ride soon fixed that.

Also - enjoying a gorgeous view like this could very well have fixed the grumpies too.


787 Dreamliner launch today - 7-8-07

(From the Fly The Friendly Skies department)

Hi everyone,

Dana and I went to the launch of the 787 Dreamliner today. Due to the incredibly large turnout, we actually went to a remote satellite event at the (huge) Qwest Field stadium. They had live speeches from Washington State governor Christine Gregoire and ex-Boeing president Frank Shrontz. Then, we went live to Everett to the main ceremony, hosted by Tom Brokaw. There were a number of speeches from around the world, then, finally, the unveiling of the plane.

Here's a couple of photos I took at the event.

We sat here:

Brokaw in the hizzouse!:


Ruby Gloom rules!

(from the Gothic Hello Kitty department)

Hi everyone,

While I was in Victoria BC at the first of the month (July), I caught the coolest kids show on yTV (Canadian kids TV channel).

It's kind of a weird cross between Hello Kitty and Chas Addams* - and it's called Ruby Gloom.

The animation is by the northern powerhouse studio Nelvana. No DVDs available yet - and it skews a little to the young side - but the artwork rules!

More info - and sample episodes - here:


* You know, the guy who wrote the comic strip the Addams Family TV was based on...

Another cool feature! RSS News Headlines via RSS

(from the Department of Redundancy Department)

Hi everyone,

One of the reasons I created my blog is in the right hand column: The RSS News Headlines. As I read thru my RSS feeds using Google Reader, I can highlight interesting stories and add them to my blog page. (And I read a lot of RSS feeds! So - having me filter them for you is a good thing.)

However - poking around the RSS output of my blog, it turns out that the RSS News Headlines aren't added to my main RSS feed. But - they're available separately. You'll want to subscribe to this:


Saturday, July 7, 2007

Review: The Melancholy Of Haruhi Suzumiya - Vol. 1 (Deluxe Edition)

Hi everyone,

I've started a new anime series: "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya". I just got Volume 1 (Deluxe Edition) from and finished watching it. So far, this is shaping up to be one of my favorites this year.

The DVD is 16:9 anamorphic widescreen with English and Japanese audio. English subtitles are available - either for full dialog or for signs only. Bonus features include a series of promotional shorts prepared for the U.S. launch of the series that were available on the U.S. website - these are hilarious!

The show concerns itself with a young student who starts a new school. He meets a beautiful, headstrong girl named Haruhi...

...okay - nodding off yet?

Yeah - I know you've heard this plot outline many times before in Anime - but this is where it gets weird. Haruhi is only interested in UFOs, espers, and time traveling. She doesn't have patience for anything else - barely acknowledging the existence of the new student. Haruhi instead puts all of her energy into forming a club called the SOS Brigade, which she hopes will help her find the unknown. The club soon attracts a number of school stereotypes - bookworm, ditzy girl, hunky guy, etc. - who, along with the new student, become unwilling new members.

Or are they really that unwilling? As the show goes on, the new student finds out that all is not it appears to be. And that, quite possibly, Haruhi herself can unmake reality.

The show was originally aired in a scrambled order. There are only 7 episodes of the main plot derived from the original novel - the rest of the episodes are from subsequent works. By scrambling the order, the mystery of the show is preserved.

Or so it might be, if Bandai had decided to release them in that order. With the exception of the first episode on the disc - which occurs much later in the series - the rest of the episodes are in sequential order. This is actually mildly disappointing - the original scrambled order does sound like a better way to view the show. Luckily, starting with Volume 2, the Deluxe Editions will include a second disc that preserves the scrambled order as originally aired in Japan.

A quick note about the Deluxe Edition for Volume 1. This is one of the most gorgeous boxes I've ever seen. It has magnetic latches, and opens up like a jewelry box, with doors and trays. There are a slew of bonus items, including a soundtrack CD, sticker and a Haruhi hair ribbon. Very cool, and well worth the extra bucks.

So - in conclusion - the Melancholy Of Haruhi Suzumiya Vol. 1 Deluxe Edition is a must buy. It does start out a little bit like other harem-type animes set in a school, but quickly becomes something else. The bonus features are good, and the packaging is superb. I can hardly wait for Volume 2.


Added a cool feature!

Oooh - this is cool!

Okay - I use Google Reader to keep up with all of my RSS feeds. It turns out I can mark RSS posts and display them here on my blog. Look to the right - you'll see what I mean. :)


And, here it is again....for the first time!

Hi everyone,

I finally decided to start my own blog. I know, I know, I'm a bit late to the bandwagon. Whatever. :)

So - what is this blog about? Well - a number of things. Mostly music, anime, video games, computers - and oh so much more.

Oh - you meant the blog title? "The Ideal Copy" is the title of an album by Wire. Hopefully, they won't be too upset that I decided to call my blog that.

What does it mean? Well, according to my fuzzy memory - the quote from Wire is "The Ideal Copy is a copy that creates itself" - something like DNA. I'm not sure what it means to me yet - I'll get back to you on that.

So - anyway - this is my blog. Welcome!