For the last DECADE, this ring of people have been defrauding Wal*Mart

31 12 2004

So, what was the high tech crime that allowed these people to steal 1000’s of $ from WalMart?  They’d been switching the UPC code on products.

Authorities said the scheme involved using a home computer to produce UPC bar codes for cheaper products and slipping them over the real codes on high-priced items. The suspects then allegedly sold the merchandise, or returned it for refunds or store gift cards that also were sold.

Somehow you’d like to think that a cashier would notice when a TV rings through as “Candy Bar”  🙂  Or some such equivalent.   Just goes to show you…. You get what you pay for in products, AND in people.

Some incredible Tsunami Photos

31 12 2004

Care of DigitalGlobeSome satellite photos of Bandar Ace and Sri Lanka  before and after the Tsunami hit.  Some serious changes to the landscape.

Even more pictures – these posted on Wave of Destruction:  Try the DHTML at the bottom of the page for a wiper effect to see the BEFORE and AFTER of the Earthquake/Tsunami

Also, this picture that really helped me to grasp the magnitude of the death and destruction (warning VERY GRAPHIC image – may be disturbing)

More recently: has some excellent BEFORE/AFTER, by rescaling and aligning some of DigitalGlobe’s pics.

It’s truly a horrible thing.

Another good way to help envision is to compare it to the World Trade Center Destruction

Although, if you consider the annual death rate due to AIDS of children UNDER 15 around the world, it’s only 1/4 of that.  How much money is pouring in year after year for THAT?  Perhaps if our governments spent less time fighting, and more time cooperating, people that need help would get it. PERIOD

Final note:  Many of you have ended up here by searching for TSUMANI  It’s SPELT TSUNAMI.  I hope these pictures help put it into perspective.

CES 2005: Bloggers Not welcome!

29 12 2004

According to Digital Photography Blog, the CES is thumbing its nose at bloggers (And from the article, it makes you wonder what they define as a blogger, vs a regularly updated website)

From the InfoWorld Article:

The CEA spent more time qualifying attendees this year to make sure everyone in attendance has a legitimate attachment to the consumer electronics industry, said Kristen Peiffer, a CEA spokeswoman. The show is not open to the general public, and the CEA does not allow the blogging community or other independent observers to attend the show.


Concerned that you might fall out of a plane without a parachute?

29 12 2004

Here’s an interesting slant on that fear of having your plane cease flying while you, without a parachute, have to take a flying leap.

Some tips:

First of all, you’re starting off a full mile higher than Everest, so after a few gulps of disappointing air you’re going to black out. This is not a bad thing. If you have ever tried to keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, you know what I mean. This brief respite from the ambient fear and chaos will come to an end when you wake up at about 15,000 feet. Here begins the final phase of your descent, which will last about a minute. It is a time of planning and preparation. Look around you. What equipment is available? None? Are you sure? Look carefully. Perhaps a shipment of folded parachutes was in the cargo hold, and the blast opened the box and scattered them. One of these just might be within reach. Grab it, put it on, and hit the silk. You’re sitting pretty.

Much will depend on your attitude. Don’t let negative thinking ruin your descent. If you find yourself dwelling morbidly on your discouraging starting point of seven miles up, think of this: Thirty feet is the cutoff for fatality in a fall. That is, most who fall from thirty feet or higher die. Thirty feet! It’s nothing! Pity the poor sod who falls from such a “height.” What kind of planning time does he have?

Thanks Metafilter, for pointing me in that direction.

Broken File Associations on your XP box?

29 12 2004

Omar has posted a link to a site that has each association, with a regfile to return your associations to default.  Handy!

Just got a Digital Camera for Christmas for the first time?

29 12 2004

So, you just got a digital camera for the first time for Christmas, and you can’t figure out where to load the film?   Hope is in sight.  Digital Photography Blog has  you covered.  They’ve posted a list of links for where you should go to find out what button does what, and why you should or shouldn’t press some of them.

Merry Christmas!

25 12 2004

As Christmas eve comes ever closer in this part of the world, I know that many of you may be experiencing Christmas already.  I hope that you can over look any of the sad, or unfortunate occurences during the past year, and that you have the chance to spend Christmas with those you love.  If you can’t be with them, then know that they love you, and miss you, and wish they could be with you too.   Please remember, Christmas isn’t about getting the BEST or the NEWEST, or the greatest gadget or thing.   For myself, it’s time to remember that family and love are the important things.  It’s a time to reflect on how I’ve been as a person, and how I can renew my promise to God to be the best person that I can be. 

While around the world, Christmas temperatures and conditions are different, here in the Northern Hemisphere we have just come out of the Winter Solstice.  The days get longer, and the weather starts turning the corner toward summer.  Of course here in Vancouver, I even saw some Cherry blossoms on trees today!  So, while these blossoms will have a short life, as we will still have cold weather this winter, let the Christmas spirit stay warm in your heart, and keep you strong in your convictions in life, while all the other things in life tug you in other directions.

Merry Christmas, and Happy and Safe New Year to you and your Family from myself and Mrs DragonSpeed!

Some interesting China Stats

23 12 2004

The “Sleeping Giant” is definitely awake these days.

Look at these stats:

China is world’s largest producer of aspirin and vitamin C. In 2003 its vitamin C export reached 54,000 tons – about one third of global consumption (China excluded).

A new power plant emerges every week in China. The growth of electricity market in 2004 alone is equivalent to the aggregate of electricity market in Britain.

It has a population of 1.3 billion. One of every five persons on this planet is Chinese.

In China 300,000 persons are very rich. Apart from fixed assets their disposable assets reach $1 million.

The complete article can be found at the “People’s Daily Online”, quoting its original source as “French L’Express Weekly”

Cat Cloned for $50K

23 12 2004

When your beloved pet dies, and you can’t live without it, what do you do?  You have it cloned.

Want to bank on the likelyhood of seeing fluffy forever?  Simply deposit enough DNA at Genetic Savings and Clone (That’s a groaner)

This woman did just that, and now has “Little Nicky” for a mere $50,000 USD.  That’s a lot of coin.  I guess she didn’t think she could do anything to help the 1000’s of cats that are euthanized daily, and get a new cat for $10, or free in the paper?   Too much money I guess.

Process Explorer and Task Manager

22 12 2004

The default windows task manager is nice, but Process Explorer just simply rocks.  See Jeff Atwood’s take on it:  As such, I’d like to be able to configure my XP system to fire up process explorer INSTEAD of task manager as my default “Task Manager” handler.  Any ideas? Short of renaming my process explorer?

Another cool utility is WhoLockMe  It will find which process is locking a file, and allow you to kill it off.  It embeds as a context sensitive menu in Explorer.  Sweet.

CBC has RSS!

22 12 2004

The CBC has RSS feeds.  They are the first Canadian news source, that I’ve found, which has RSS feeds.  Finally, I don’t have to count on Yahoo! as my sole source of info.


Tonight was our last night for Cubs for 2004

21 12 2004

So, we played games, and sang carols, and ate cookies and cake…Perfect!



21 12 2004

A UPS driver was delivering much needed parts for some equipment at a hospital.  On his way to the hospital, he was involved in an accident.  The ambulance came, and took him to the nearest hospital, (which as it turns out was the one to which he was headed).  They couldn’t perform the diagnostic tests on him because they needed the parts he was supposed to deliver before they could test him….Oh the cruel irony…

Full story:

Silent Night, Stille Nacht

20 12 2004

Christmas 1914.  The “Christmas Truce”  Only one man survives (at least in Britain) from that night.  The Observer has a nice piece on Alfred Anderson who was 18 at the time.   In WWI 20,000 men died on the first day of the Battle of the Sommes, 40,000 were injured.  On Christmas 1914, along 500 miles of the western front hostilities ceased, and men became people, instead of killing machines, even if only for a brief time.

There’s a MetaFilter discussion on this, bringing up some good points.  One that struck me from the discussion:

Whenever I heard this story as a child I always wondered why if they could call off the war for a day, could they not call it off all together. You’d think that men playing soccer could come to some sort of friendly, sensible arrangement.
I think I was a lot smarter back then.
posted by ODiV at 9:55 PM PST on December 19

This Christmas, don’t let religion, or ideological differences pull the world apart.  Let the common bonds of mankind bring us together, as most religions would have us do.

Caroling at my cousins’

19 12 2004

I went over to my cousins’ place in North Vancouver for their annual caroling Jam..  Keyboards/Drums/French Horn/Saxophone and of course the rest of us on vocals 🙂

Some pictures.

Why do people want to know other’s Christmas Lists?

19 12 2004

My Christmas list post is getting tons of people coming.  Many want to know what to ask for, for Christmas.  People – you’ve got it wrong.  Christmas is not a shopping trip.  If you can’t think of what you want, tell people.  You DON’T have to ask for something for Christmas.  Will you honestly be disappointed, if someone thought about what to get you and didn’t get you the latest, greatest dohickey? 

Here’s the Blogtrends graph for “Christmas List“.

People are SUPPOSED to give gifts out of love, affection and friendship, not a sense of duty.  Christmas didn’t become a holiday because we wanted to give gifts – It’s the celebration of the birth of Christ.  PERIOD.  No where in that sentence does it say, “and a time to try and get the latest toys and gadgets”.  Be glad you have your family and friends with you for Christmas, and anything beyond that is gravy.

(Yes, I was out shopping today and ended up a bit jaded)

I need PDF Christmas Carol Song Sheets

16 12 2004

OK fellow bloggers, and casual readers – Help me if you can, please!

I’ve got a problem – I need to find a good pdf layout of christmas carols that doesn’t take 1 page/song.  Something in that tiny print, that you can hardly read would be good 🙂  Does anyone know a good source for these?  Both religious, and more contemporary like Frosty etc… would be good.  Please!  Help!

Update – I ended up going to the Vancouver Sun office, and picking up some from them.  😦  So much for the ‘Net.

Oh well.  Merry Christmas!

Joe Taliban – tricked, tired of fighting to help Osama

16 12 2004

According to this Christian Science Montitor piece, your average Taliban fighter is like many poor fighters in countries wracked by war.  He just wants to go back home, be with his family, and go back to his farming.  Some of them are really disenchanted, and are even willing to do what they can to help capture Osama, now that they realise it isn’t so much a “Holy War”, as Osama’s personal vendetta.

Do ever wish you could bring more of your office environment home?

16 12 2004

Well, now you can.

Recreate your very own cube farm – at home.  Now you can feel like one of the harried masses ALL the time 🙂

Apparently, not only EA works their employees to the bone

15 12 2004

Apple also has disgruntled spouses (spice?)   Not quite as bad as the EA rant, but still…..

Sweatshops in North America?  Say it ain’t so!

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