October 11, 2006 Anyone?

Hans showed this to me a few months ago. Figured I'd point it out since I plan to pick up the blog again.

angelweave's Profile Page
(the times are European). tracks what you listen to via iTunes or WinAmp or a bunch of other means using a plug-in called AudioScrobbler. It also offers radio stations based on your musical tastes or similar to an artist. Good fun.


Posted by hln at 09:24 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 13, 2005

Get Your Violence in Another State?

My coworker Steve pointed out this article for its amusement factor.
Westlake Village (CA) - California lawmakers approved Assembly Bill 1179, which prohibits 'extremely violent' video games from being sold to minors and requires large labels to be affixed to retail boxes. Violators can be hit with up to $1000 in fines, per infraction. The bill now heads to Governor Schwarzenegger's desk and he has 30 days to either sign or veto the bill.

AB1179, formerly known as AB450, was sponsored by Speaker pro Tem Dr. Leland Yee (Democrat -San Francisco/Daly City) and passed by a 65 to 7 vote. The bill will hit retailers with up to a $1000 fine if they willingly sell violent games to minors. In addition, AB1179 requires a two inch by two inch label with a white 18 (outlined in black) to be affixed to the retail boxes of those games. Interestingly, only the retailer will be fined, and not the sales clerk. Also, if the manufacturer forgets to label the box, the store will not be fined.

In AB1179, violent games are games where the player has an option of killing, maiming, dismembering, or sexually assaulting an image of a human being in a 'shockingly atrocious manner', but it is unclear who will determine what content will fit that definition. Yee, who is also a Child Psychologist, believes that violent games can have a dramatic and detrimental effect on children and his bill has the backing of child advocacy groups, like Common Sense Media.
Nanny California - waa waa. Nice subjective determination going on. I wonder if Q-bert would've drawn ire because Q-bert liked to curse in balloons of #)%*#@()@& (and thus and such). That may be next.

Schwarzenegger has to veto.

Oh, and another amusement factor paragraph in the piece.

While there have been studies showing a link between violence and video games, there are just as many studies showing no such link exists. In fact, in the American Psychological Association's monthly magazine, one month you will see an article with a psychologist saying that violent video games increase aggression, while the next month another psychologist will say exactly the opposite. Recently the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found the behavior of players subjected to 56 hours of Asheron's Call 'were not statistically different from the non-playing control group.'
But were those 56 hours consecutive, counselor? I have found that after extensive AC exposure I see all bugs as Olthoi and like to slaughter them accordingly.


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August 25, 2005

Macintosh Blogging

I may or may not have mentioned that Brian's gift to me for my birthday (July 29) was an iMac G5 (little flat screen thing) with a gig of RAM and a bunch of music software. Sweet deal.

I'm blogging from it now while installing some software. So in this room I currently have my work laptop, my PC, and this Mac. Because every girl NEEDS three computers (yes, this was sarcasm).

Still, very nice. If I ever get good at the digital music stuff, I'll post it here. Primarily interested in trance. Have to dust off my old keyboard and hope it still works enough to at least do some MIDI-related functionality.


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August 10, 2005

Recruitment and Selection

A couple of blogs out there on this subject, one even focused to the St. Louis area. I took a look and was pleased - this being my former career and all. Hard to believe was an available domain.

Once before I was in a titled IT position, I had a bit of good fun while interviewing a candidate. Said person figured me for the HR flunkie. Said person got some interesting follow-up questions to his BS responses. Buhahahah.

But that's like anything you do - once you're doing a particular role for a company, said people who see you in that role do exactly that - see you in that role. I still have some pretty fun inteview questions I spring on unsupecting potential hires when I tech screen. Oh, okay, I'll give you one.

Define quality.


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July 19, 2005


Another fabulous idea based on RSS - Blinkx program scanning.

SAN FRANCISCO - Search company Blinkx launched a free service on Tuesday that scans radio and television programs available on the Internet and automatically delivers the shows to a user's computer.

The SmartFeed service allows a user to search program content from more than 30 video and audio content providers including BBC News, CNN, NBC, and ESPN.

Users specify the information they want to find by visiting the Web site and registering it.

San Francisco-based Blinkx then scours the online video or audio sources by using voice-recognition and transcription software. When the information sought is found, a link to the desired material is created and shipped to a user's PC.
Yes, it is free. And you can register Podcasts with it.


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July 06, 2005


China Treats Addicted Video-Game Players

Don't let the headline fool you, though; the clinc's for Internet addiction. And it's for kids.

The 12 teenagers and young adults, some in ripped jeans and baggy T-shirts, sit in a circle, chewing gum and fidgeting as they shyly introduce themselves. "I'm 12 years old," one boy announces with a smile. "I love playing computer games. That's it.""It's been good to sleep" says another, a 17-year-old with spiky hair, now that he's no longer on the computer all day.

The youths are patients at China's first officially licensed clinic for Internet addiction, a downside of the online frenzy that has accompanied the nation's breathtaking economic boom.

"All the children here have left school because they are playing games or in chat rooms everyday," says the clinic's director, Dr. Tao Ran. "They are suffering from depression, nervousness, fear and unwillingness to interact with others, panic and agitation. They also have sleep disorders, the shakes and numbness in their hands."
There's a picture of a person with electrodes attached to his feet. He's 12, and he's receiving electric shock therapy for Internet addiction.

A bit scary. No, a lot scary.


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November 15, 2004

RFID and Pharmaceuticals

Where has your drug been? Your pharmacist may be able to tell you in complete detail, though you won't be able to verify the info yourself. Yet. (Article).
WASHINGTON - The makers of the impotency drug Viagra and the painkiller OxyContin said Monday they will add radio transmitters to bottles of their pills to fight counterfeiting.

The technology will allow the medicines to be tracked electronically from production plant to pharmacy, a development the Food and Drug Administration (news - web sites) said is an important tool to combat the small but growing problem of drug counterfeiting.

Shipments of OxyContin bottles with the transmitters will begin this week to two large customers, Wal-Mart and wholesaler H.D. Smith, the drug manufacturer, Purdue Pharma, announced.
GlaxoSmithKline's on board, too - in development. As the transmitter chips become more affordable, their use is likely to be more prevalent. Wal-Mart's really big on this, and, if you're not a technophile, so is Mobil. Those Speed Passes that link to your credit card? Yep, you guessed it - same thing.
An FDA (news - web sites) report earlier this year concluded that radio transmitters should lead the way in fighting drug counterfeiting. But the Bush administration declined to order pharmaceutical companies to adopt the technology or other measures to combat the problem.

1 Still, administration officials said they expect widespread use of RFID by 2007.

In the late 1990s, the FDA conducted an average of five investigations of counterfeit drugs per year. Since 2000, that figure has risen to more than 20 investigations per year. Last year, federal officials stalked counterfeit versions of Procrit, which helps people with cancer and AIDS (news - web sites) combat anemia, and Lipitor (news - web sites), a cholesterol-busting drug. The fake Lipitor prompted the recall of more than 150,000 bottles in 2003.

The RFID tags look like ordinary labels but are really computer chips with antennas wrapped around them. The tag works like a passport, picking up a notation at each stage of the distribution chain when the chip is activated. Sensors at distribution centers use radio waves to activate the tags, which are electronically read and stamped with a record of where they have been.

A counterfeit drug would have no such record.

Federal officials worked through the kinks in a $3 million pilot project that included pharmaceutical manufacturers Johnson & Johnson, Merck & Co. and Wyeth and such retailers as CVS Corp. and Rite Aid Corp.


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August 22, 2003

#)(%&*@#)%(&#)(@% Namespaces So, here's a

So, here's a geek post. I don't do this very often.

I thought I knew XML. I'm a datahead, yeah. With a capital D. But I got thrown for a loop.

I read about many places, no less. I read the W3C stuff. I consulted a Wrox book. I was ready to go. So I constructed my schema, the thought being that I would have a master schema that would define the highest level elements simply and precisely, and secondary files would hold the scullery data elements - those in supporting roles. Okay - simple enough.

The namespaces had other evil ideas.

But, with help of the noble Hans, I have conquered the foe and feel the need to document the correlation between schema documents aligned to do the same thing and how the instance document makes the validation phone call to the proper schema. As far as I can tell, I found NOTHING on the web with the correlation of all of these things in one place. I aim to change that.

Okay - here's the papa schema (papaDog.xsd) - the one that contains the master elements. Copy it into a file of any name to test it. Honor me by keeping the name the same.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
     <schema xmlns=""
     xmlns:example="" targetNamespace=""
     elementFormDefault="qualified" attributeFormDefault="unqualified">

     <include schemaLocation="" />

     <element name="topDog" type="example:bigDogExample" />

     <complexType name="bigDogExample">
               <element name="blah1" type="example:bigDogElement1" />
               <element name="blah2" type="example:bigDogElement2" />

Fairly simple, no? Okay, the secondary schemas should follow this pattern (this one is named babyBearSchema.xsd). Feel free to copy it into a file with that name to test it.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
<schema targetNamespace=""
elementFormDefault="qualified" attributeFormDefault="unqualified">
     <complexType name="bigDogElement1">
               <element name="blech1" type="string" />
               <element name="blech2" type="boolean" />

     <simpleType name="bigDogElement2">
          <restriction base="string">
               <maxLength value="27" />

Okay - so here are the two schemas. I find this SO non-intuitive as a developer. My simple mind kept trying to put the lower-level schema INTO the upper-level (Papa) schema. You know, like include files. But, no, of course, that's not how it goes. A namespace is like a room. All of my smaller schemas can use the same namespace since, as Hans pointed out, I control them all - so I can stop there from being a naming collision. As you can see, both schema "documents" refer to as the reference for the "example" namespace.

Okay, realizing that, you're most of the way there. The next thing to take note of is the xmlns that stands alone. That points to the W3C's schema; this must be in your schema. This is consistent across both documents. The targetNamespace is also in my example - both documents.

Last thing to notice: the reference to babyBearSchema.xsd should point to EXACTLY where this schema sits. This is papaDog.xsd that's pointing to it. Without this, no validation for you.

Now, these guys validate. Here's the validator I'm using to validate papaDog.xsd. I have babyBearSchema.xsd sitting in the proper place on my site.

And now, the instance document. Stop, get some popcorn and something to drink.

<?xml version="1.0" ?>
<topDog xmlns=""

               <blech1>Atomic Dog</blech1>

Yeah, they work together quite nicely. Note that the instance document points to the same namespace. The xsi namespace points to the W3C's Schema place. The schemaLocation, though, is the kicker. This, again, is completely non-intuitive to a developer. Note that there are two "parameters" within the opening and closing quotes. WITH A SPACE BETWEEN. Aargh!

The first is our friendly namespace, and the section is the actual location of the schema.

I hope this helps. If you see any errors with this post, please e-mail me at

And forgive my indentation. Forcing it with HTML workarounds is, well, tiring. Perhaps I'll correct it when I have more time.


Posted by hln at 11:47 PM | Comments (0)