Pac-Man split-level TShirt

I’ve been watching the show “The IT Crowd” lately.  In the fourth episode, Roy is wearing a shirt with the final, split-screen level from Pac-Man on it.  I’ve been trying to track down one by searching around on the Internet, but I can’t find one.  Can anyone help me track down this shirt?  I don’t even have a photo of the shirt, but anyone familiar with Pac-Man should know what the shirt is like.


Bell South hates Katrina victims

(via The Consumerist)

Well, that title may be a bit strong, but I like how it sounds.  After the Katrina disaster, the city of New Orleans instituted a free Wi-Fi service to help get businesses and individuals going again on the telecommunication side of a recovery.  Lobbyists from Bell South are working to get this service shut down because it violates a law restricting the government from competing with telecommunication companies.  Legally speaking, the company is correct, and the city is exceeding its legal allowed offering.  On the other hand, this is no way to build goodwill with customers.  Not that goodwill matters when you have a government assured monopoly.  But it still stinks.

One of the surprising acts of compassion and competency that came out of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina was that the city began providing a free WiFi service to business owners and residents whose phone service had been wiped out. The 512 kbps service allowed many business owners to begin struggling back to their feet and corporate sponsors like Yahoo and Google were in discussion to expand the service in the coming months.

Well, no longer. Telecommunication lobbyists from Bell South have put the lean on New Orleans, demanding that the free service be outlawed. Apparently, it violates a law that prevents the public sector from competing with the telecommunication sector. By law, then, cities can provide no more than a 128 kbps service to citizens.

Again – legally, Bell South wins.  Morally, meh, it stinks.  Why don’t these massive companies do more to help people insetad of screwing consumers whenever given the chance?  Oh, that’s right – they don’t have to.  The monopolies never do.

[tags]New Orleans, Free Wi-Fi[/tags]

Make your heart stop sooner

(via Tingilinde)

If you think you’ve found all the bad-for-you eats you can stand, be sure to check out this new taste treat highlighted at – Chocolate-covered pork rinds. If your previous snack session included chocolate and pork rinds, but just didn’t seem complete, now you can mix the two together.

My life is now complete since I have found chocolate-covered pork rinds! Seriously, who comes up with these ideas? They come in milk, dark, and white chocolate, but the most amazing thing about it is that the chocolate is sugar-free. If you are going to dip pork rinds in chocolate, why not go all out? Why make it sugar-free?

If you just have to try these out, you can get them at Search for “pork rinds” to find them. They’re listed in the gourmet foods section.

[tags]pork rinds[/tags]

Download or stream Lessig’s “Free Culture”

You can now get the audiobook version of Lawrence Lessig’s “Free Culture” at  Unlike so many other providers of downloadable content, this is not protected by draconian DRM restrictions.  Get the streaming version or download the complete audiobook and put it on your preferred MP3 player.

[tags]Lawrence Lessig, Free Culture, Free audiobook[/tags]

Preserve a snowflake for years

Popular Science has an article on how to catch, photograph, and keep snowflakes using superglue.


  1. Set microscope slides, coverslips and superglue outside when it’s 20°F or colder to chill them. Catch flakes on the slides or pick them up with cold tweezers.
  2. Place a drop of superglue on the snowflake. Note: Gel glue doesn’t work. Find a brand that’s thin and runny.
  3. Drop a coverslip over the glue. Don’t press down hard or the flake could tear or melt from the heat of your finger.
  4. Leave the slide in a freezer for one or two weeks and don’t touch it with warm hands. The glue must completely harden before the snowflake warms up.

[tags]Snowflake, Popular Science[/tags]

Your rights as a photographer

Given our governments ever growing desire to restrict our rights here in the US, it is more important than ever to be aware of your rights.  If you plan on taking photographs of public buildings, you face a real possibility of getting harrassed.  In case that happens, it might be handy to have a guide to your rights as a photographer.

If you are interested in what set this off, read this ABC news story about a photographer arrested for taking pictures of flags in front of a courthouse.

[tags]Citizen rights[/tags]

Music companies apparently still hate consumers

(via BoingBoing)

A new CD from EMI in Brazil comes with DRM that cannot be uninstalled, must be agreed to even though not written in the local language (Portugeuse), and installs even if you decline the potentially unreadable agreement.  Apparently, the DRM also prevents playing the CD on Linux and MacOS systems or an iPod (although I’m not sure how this is accomplished).

One user’s experience follows:

When you insert the CD in your computer, it automatically opens a window with the “License Agreement” of the CD. This is a very large contract in Portuguese, but it is very difficult to read. The agreement is opened in window programmed in flash, so it is impossible to cut and paste the text into another program. In some computers, when you try to scroll down the contract using the arrows, the text slides completely out of control, making it impossible to read.

After taking some time to read the agreement, the first thing that called my attention is that the text says that a full copy of the contract is available at the address “”. That is NOT TRUE. If you go to the “Brazil” link at the page, there is no copy of the agreement whatsoever at the website, contrary to what the agreement itself expressly says.

The text of the agreement says that the CD will install software in your computer in order to make the cd playable. However, it says that the user must acknowledge the fact that “certain files and folders might remain in your computer even after the user removes the digital content, the software and/or the player”.

Additionally, it says the following: “This contract has been originally drafted in English. The user waives any and all rights that he or she might have under the laws of his or her own country or province, in regard of this contract drafted in any other language”.

Finally, my favorite part. There are two buttons below the agreement. The first reads “Accept the Agreement” the second reads “Reject it”. After reading all the above, I decided to reject it, and pressed the “reject” button. Immediately a screen with the word “Initializing” appeared, the proprietary software was installed, and the music started to play in my computer using the proprietary EMI player, as if I had “accepted” the whole thing.

[tags]DRM, Consumer rights[/tags]

Before he disagreed with French gov’t, Jobs suggested the same

(via BoingBoing)

Recently the French government, in an unusually intelligent display of government doing the right thing, proposed a law which would require all companies which restrict music portability to license their DRM technologies to any company that wants to build a music player.  In response to this, Apple, via Steve Jobs, has criticised the French government, saying this would result in customers filling their iPods with “pirate” music and videos.  Of course, Apple does not want to license their DRM, as that would make it possible for other companies to get iTunes protected tunes to play on non-iPod devices.  The funny thing is, in 2002 Steve Jobs said consumers needed the right to play any licensed music on whatever device they chose.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs offered a critical view of the recording industry in an interview, following Apple’s acceptance of a technical Grammy award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences last week. As reported by Don Clark of The Wall Street Journal, Jobs suggested that recording labels need to make it easier for consumers to use their own music however they want.

“If you legally acquire music, you need to have the right to manage it on all other devices that you own,” said Jobs.

So back when iTunes/iPod technologies were starting and not the dominant force, Apple was a consumer advocate saying music legally acquired should be playable on the device of the customers’ choosing.  Now, music should be restricted to the device permitted by the music download provider?   Hmmmmm.
[tags]Apple, Steve Jobs, DRM[/tags]

Marvel/DC try to trademark “Superhero”, LA Times says “Bad company”

(via BoingBoing)

Marvel and DC comics have tried to jointly trademark the term “Superhero.”  Given that this term is used all over the place, and not unique to Marvel and DC comics, this would be a bad trademark, if granted.  This is a generic term, and not something that any company or companies should be granted trademark protection on.  This week, the LA Times ran an editorial chastizing these companies and the science museum which is involved in this.

In trademark law, the more unusual a term, the more it qualifies for protection. We would have no quarrel with Marvel and DC had they called their superheroes “actosapiens,” then trademarked that. But purely generic terms aren’t entitled to protection, at least in theory. The reason is simple: Trademarks restrict speech, and to put widely used terms under private control is an assault on our language.

Once a trademark is granted, it remains in effect until someone proves to the feds that the term has lost its association with a specific brand, as happened with “cellophane” and “linoleum.” That’s why Johnson & Johnson sells “Band-Aid brand adhesive bandages,” not simply Band-Aids(TM).

[tags]Trademarks, Marvel comics, DC comics[/tags]

State Senator asked to uphold Constitution, not Bible

(via Snopes)

I just found this whole exchange a bit funny. In an attempt to impose their moral views on others, it seems some in politics are forgetting what they are supposed to be doing. Putting aside my personal opinion on the subject of same-gender marriages, I do expect that a right to marry will eventually be legally guaranteed for same-gender couples. If this indeed is the case, exchanges like the following between Nancy Jacobs, a state senator, and James Raskin, a professor of constitutional law, will eventually be looked back on with a bit of a chuckle, I’m guessing.

“As I read Biblical principles, marriage was intended, ordained and started by God — that is my belief,” [Jacobs] said. “For me, this is an issue solely based on religious principals.”

Raskin shot back that the Bible was also used to uphold now-outlawed statutes banning interracial marriage, and that the constitution should instead be lawmakers’ guiding principle.

“People place their hand on the Bible and swear to uphold the Constitution; they don’t put their hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible,” he said.

Some in the room applauded, which led committee chairman Sen. Brian E. Frosh, a Democrat from Montgomery County, to call for order. “This isn’t a football game,” he said.

Read the whole article at Snopes for details on what set this off. Below is the start of the story, though, to at least show why this conversation occurred.

In February 2006, Baltimore Circuit Court Judge M. Brooke Murdock ruled that a Maryland state law banning same-sex marriages was unconstitutional. In response to that decision, state lawmakers opposed to same-sex marriage introduced a resolution to impeach Judge Murdock (a move which was defeated in the Judiciary Committee) and a bill calling for the amendment of Maryland’s constitution to prohibit all same-sex marriages. Although the bill failed to garner sufficient support for passage, it was reintroduced in a version that would define marriage as a union between a man and a women only but would still allow for civil unions. The latter bill was being debated by a Senate committee on 1 March 2006, when, according to the Baltimore Sun, “Clergy, constitutional law experts and children of gay parents were among those who packed the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee room to speak out on the issue.”

[tags]Snopes, same-gender marriage[/tags]