Jim's Blog Ramblings about novels, comics, programming, and other geek topics


A Week of Wii

Google AdSense

Last week, I got a chance to play with a Wii for the first time. I've been a recent console convert and picked up a XBOX 360 last year, so most of my comparisons will be versus the XBOX 360 and XBOX LIVE.

At first glance, the Wii interface is much more simpler than the current XBOX interface. (Note: The November 2008 XBOX UI upgrade is supposed to do a complete revamp of the UI. This was written before that update.)


How to use custom audit fields with SubSonic

Google AdSense

SubSonic uses a few audit fields by default - you don't need to write any code. However, the field names that are used are coded into the source code. You can modify the source code and generate a new assembly, but if you're like me and would rather not edit the source code (so you don't need to update the code at every release), then you'll be looking for an alternative approach.


Are facts useless to U.S. voters?

A couple new articles came across my viewing today. The first was by Joe Miller of The Fact Check Wire, who posted a new article titled "Fact-Checking is useless."

An [WaPo] article last September pointed to cognitive science research showing that debunking myths can have the effect of reinforcing the very myths you’re trying to refute. That’s because the human brain is hardwired with a lot of shortcuts. One of those shortcuts: Over time, we tend to forget the "not" part of a claim while retaining the rest. So “Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction” becomes “Iraq had WMDs.”


How to verify your voter registration, register to vote, or request absentee ballot online

Note! This blog entry was originally published on Sept 2008. For new elections, please visit your state's secretary of state or voter registrar's web sites. The links below may have changed since 2008.

The Obama campaign released this new web site to allow voters to verify their voter registration. If you aren't registered to vote, then you can also register to vote. Additionally, once you've registered to vote, you can request an absentee ballot and locate the nearest polling location.

Just enter your name, email, and mailing address and the web site will verify using the National Voter Registry. You can verify, register, or request an absentee ballot at VoteForChange.com.


Would you like a soda, pop, or coke with that?

When I moved to California, I used the term "pop" to refer to carbonated soft drinks (such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi). I assume that's because it was the most popular term used where I was coming from. Very few people knew what I meant, except other people from the same region or the mid-west.

After a few years, I adapted and began calling it "soda." Now, most of the time I just order by name (if there's a choice on a menu, etc.) and just say "soda" or "drink" if it's one of those self-serve fountain machines.

StrangeMaps blog has a little discussion started on this interesting map. The "Soda vs Pop" web site has compiled the usage of these terms into a map based on individual respondents to their survey by county, which can be viewed on the Soda vs Pop web site


Visual Studio macro to add file headers

Microsoft's StyleCop analyzes C# source code to enforce a set of style and consistency rules. It can be run from inside of Visual Studio or integrated into an MSBuild project.

One of these rules is #SA1633. This rule requires that each of your files have a file header that contains a copyright XML element. Of course, you can disable this rule if you want through StyleCop settings. But just in case you have a similar rule at your work (or your own personal rule) or need to adhere to this rule, I'll describe the situation and provide the macro below.


How many banned books have you read?

There's been a lot of discussions over a certain government official's "rhetorical and realistic" questions asking the town's librarian "if [the librarian] could live with censorship of library books."

Just for clarification, the town did not ban any of the books. The librarian was just asked if she'd object to having some books removed from the library. Of course, the librarian said she would object to it and nothing ever came of it.


The reason you should vote is…

A friend asked me why she should vote since her vote wouldn't really count. She had a valid argument since presidential elections aren't based on popular votes. The presidential elections are based on electoral college system and our state leans heavily to one side.