2006-12-20

The future of INDY services

In my entry about a redesign out of necessity, I spoke about server lag and other surrounding database issues. I managed to get many of those problems under control, but discovered a great deal of needed overhaul spots throughout many of my websites.

Mainly, the many services and where they are offered will need to be reevaluated. The most immediate changes will come to the INDY Gallery. Current users will keep the same logins for the Gallery, but there may also be some new features (read: complications) to play with.

More importantly, I will be going back to the original authentication process for INDY members. The basic hard-coded logins were just too basic and too hard-coded, so I'm going back to what we had before. Yes, Dad, you're going to get your "automatic login thingy" back. :^P

I will continue to keep things current here as I go through these overhauls, so keep checking in to see how things are going for the sites. After I overhaul the logins and the Gallery, one of the websites (INDY, T2Adventure, Neternus) is going to have a new design unveiled. Be watching for that news!

2006-11-21

A redesign out of necessity

Visitors may have noticed that INDY.CC has been quite slow these past few days. That's mainly due to all of the pull on my database for page structures, authentication, and especially the gallery. It would appear that what began as a small bit of lag has since turned into a nightmare of minute long page loads.



This just will not do. So, out of necessity, I will be rolling out a completely new site design. I will do my best to keep primary functions up for members (e.g. lists, IMDB, trip tracker, etc.), but don't be surprised if a few other things break in the mean time. Please note: the gallery will not be affected in any way.



Wish me luck!

2006-11-15

Wireless Power?!

Whoa... Power delivered without wires to devices! There's an article on BBC News' website titled Physics promises wireless power was pointed out on Slashdot.org today. I'm still trying to get my head around this one and I think I'm getting there.

Graphic of device transmitting power
It's actually a pretty cool concept. Basically, they use specialized frequencies of EM energy to transfer a charge from an antenna to a ready device. It's still just a computer model right now, but hopefully it will eventually enter the development stage. Who knows, we might someday experience something like this:
"...I'm going to have to call you back. My mobile phone's about to lose power -- Nevermind, I just passed a charger. What were you saying?"

2006-10-04

The Daily Show is as substantive as the "real" news

Slashdot recently posted a link to this article in which Ars Technica claims that The Daily Show is as substantive as the "real" news.



Now, I can't really say that I'm all that surprised since Jon Stewart is a comic genius, but come on let's give the mainstream news some credit and count political bullshitting and chatter about the nice old lady who got the Channel 0 News Best Medicore Person of the Year Award as content as well. I mean... not all "news" has to be relavent to the world, right? This is America after all. We like to pretend that we are the only country in the world and are therefore the best. Who needs global perspective anyway, right? (Hopefully you caught the abundant sarcasm in my last few comments.)



Anyway, I just found the article funny, so I thought I'd note it here. Plus, a friend needed a convenient link to it and the INDY Blog seems to work quite well for that.

Blogger Beta INDY Blog

INDY Blog has now been upgraded to Blogger Beta. Have I ever mentioned that I love Google? I haven't?! Well, I guess I'll have to post about that at some point! Anyway, Blogger Beta has some features which I'm really looking forward to playing with. Labels for example; I'm hoping to try and tie labels into GPS some how. We'll see what I can pull off. Well, thanks for another great service, Google!

2006-09-22

Starwars Robot Chicken - Google Video





I've known about this Starwars Robot Chicken video for a while and I absolutely love it, so I wanted to share it here as well.

2006-09-20

USB Batteries?!

When I first saw these USBCell batteries on SlashDot today, I thought it had to be some sort of joke.



Unbelievably, it's no joke at all. These AA batteries recharge in a USB port. To quote Will Smith: "I gotta get me one of these!"

2006-09-14

Two Fun Bumper Stickers

Artificial Intelligence is no match for Natural Stupidity

We are creating enemies faster than we can kill them.

2006-09-05

INDY.CC and MSIE

I've made INDY.CC slightly more accessible to Microsoft Internet Explorer users. Their version of the site is riddled with ads and a constant message above and below the content about using a better browser.



I mainly made this decision based on statistics. It was getting depressing seeing how many MSIE user came to my site and then just left because their browser started freaking out. So I guess that leaves me supporting the enemy (kinda). Oh well. At least now some unfortunate family members and friends will now be able to view - in a limited way - the content they hear everyone else talking about.



Don't get me wrong though.... My judgement [link] still stands: MSIE is a pain in the asterisk.

2006-08-31

2006-08-24

Planets and Dwarf Planets

Well, it's official! Our solar system now has eight planets and a small handful of dwarf planets [wiki]. The IAU General Assembly 2006 Resolution has thus demoted Pluto [wiki] to dwarf planet status to sit alongside Ceres [wiki] and the yet unnamed 2003 UB313.



8 Planets 3 Dwarfs



I'm excited about this bit of news, as it presents an open view of our solar system. I'm slightly disappointed about where the resolution has left Charon [wiki] as a moon of Pluto, even though both Pluto and Charon orbit each other and together orbit the Sun.

I definitely welcome the new "dwarf planet" celestial body type, since the size and mannerisms between these and standard planets are so different. And, as I mentioned in my previous post on this subject, we're still the third planet from the Sun!

2006-08-22

Dark Matter Exists | Cosmic Variance

Apparently, scientists have found conclusive evidence that Dark Matter Exists. The linked article explains a bit about dark matter. You can also find more information in wikipedia's dark matter article.



I have my doubts about how much dark matter there might really be and would tend to be more interested and comfortable with an altered view of gravity instead, but I do admit that there is definitely a gap in which dark matter fits nicely.

2006-08-16

New Grand Theft Auto Like Coke Commercial - Google Video





I hate Coke, but this commercial has a good message. Too bad the real GTA isn't like this.

We'll still be the third planet from the sun!

In this bit of International Astronomical Union (IAU) News we learn that there may be a new classification of planets coming soon to schools near you. I've embedded a video I uploaded to Google from the IAU website. It's a fly-by of the possibly "new" 12 planets!







I view this as an exciting and welcomed change. I've long awaited the recognition of bodies at the far reaches of our system as planets. Especially since some are larger than Pluto [wiki]. It has also perplexed me as to why Pluto's partner Charon [wiki] was never made a planet until now.



The IAU address these questions and more in the linked article. I hoped you'll follow the link and at least skim the summary of changes we may be seeing very soon and view some great graphics of the planets (both "old" and "new").

2006-08-15

The view from the new executive office we're setting up.

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Take Revenge, Sh*t on a Pigeon


Saw this on the road. Thought it was hilarious.

Let the moblogging begin!

I will now be posting from mobile phone. Mostly short quips and notable images.

2006-08-08

Microsoft Drops The Ball on IE7 Standards Compliance

It comes as no surprise that Idealog: Microsoft Drops The Ball on Internet Explorer 7 Standards Compliance. I have always thought that IE was the bane of the web. I had hoped that IE7 would help heal some of the wounds, but it only managed to dump salt into them.



Visitors of INDY.CC may have noticed that I have gradually made it more and more difficult to use my site in IE. IE7 has only served to accelerate this process.



I am awaiting a new version of the markup language standard called XHTML (currently the website is perfect XHTML 1.1), when that new standard is made public I WILL strictly comply with it. I have already ran tests with it and know that IE does not "render" it correctly. So be ready and "browse happy" now!



I, personally, use and highly recommend Firefox for all your web browsing needs. As can be read in the posted article, Firefox is far more compliant than IE.



If you find yourself in a situation where you are forced to use IE (e.g. public library, friends house, etc.), spread the word and let the managers of that location know that there are better options than IE.

2006-07-25

Trip Data Tracker

Trip Data Tracker



I've released a new member service: The Trip Data Tracker. This service allows you to track trips in which you've gathered data on distance, speed, even heart rate.



It's in a kind of beta phase right now. Meaning, I'm very open to improvement suggestions and the addition of new features.

2006-07-17

OmniNerd - Articles: Fueling a Lifestyle

OmniNerd - Articles: Fueling a Lifestyle

In this article, Matthew Vea presents a study on fuel efficiency in gasoline powered vehicles. I found it to be very enlightening and plan to modify my driving habits to strictly conform to his recommendations.

I have included his article summary below, but hope that you will find the time to read his full article and appreciate the results of his research.

Summary
Fuel efficiency can be achieved in a number of ways. The purchase of a fuel efficient automobile, of course, leads the way in effectiveness. But for those owners already hampered by a gas guzzler or those with a functional need for the vehicle, simply buying a new car is not a viable option. Instead, owners need to adjust driving habits, install performance upgrades or select improved fuels.

Changing driving habits introduce a profound effect on fuel savings for any vehicle. In brief, the following tips collectively save gas in the long run.

* slower acceleration
* reduced top speed
* proper tire inflation
* using cruise control
* proper vehicle lubrication
* correct transmission gears
* using air conditioning only when necessary
* reducing aerodynamic drag
* removing excess weight

Some aftermath accessories will also allow owners to improve the efficiency of their existing vehicles while others prove to be nothing more than snake-oil. For non-carburetor engines, only the products that target the ECU itself will assist with fuel savings. Otherwise the closed loop feedback from the O2 sensors will negate any performance improvements over time. Owners with a carburetor may find benefit from a greater pool of engine modifications because there is not an ECU constantly working to stabilize emissions.

In the near future, fuel efficiency will become increasingly dependent on which alternative fuels are chosen. Bio-diesel provides the most promise for continuing the status quo of vehicle performance, although it requires an engine swap or the purchase of a diesel engine. Ethanol seems to provide the cleanest emissions at the cost of energy output. Although ethanol also requires conversion kits for existing cars, such a process will not likely be as costly as converting to diesel. The choice of fuel is one that consumers will not always have control over, but simply must understand.

For off-road enthusiasts, these tips demonstrate with evidence how to get more from your vehicle when it is being used as a daily driver. Plus, by improving on-road fuel efficiency, there will be more gas in the tank once your 4x4 gets to its off road destination.

2006-06-13

Extreme Diet Coke and Mentos - Google Video




Made to look like the Belagio fountain in Las Vegas. They did an awesome job! I also agree with their reaction to the Coke. I guess it's only good for putting Mentos in. Long live Pepsi!

2006-06-04

Beta Testing New INDY.CC interface

I've released a new interface for INDY.CC into public beta testing today. I've been working on its design for a few weeks now. It incorporates Backbase code and iframes into an AJAX rich environment which should be much welcomed by both member and non-member surfers.



This truly is a beta test. So treat it as such. Key surfers have been chosen to report bugs. Also, not all feature are completed, so just sit back and enjoy the ride for now. I'll post more as things develop.

2006-05-13

Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration

Wow! I'm writing this post at the end of a very exciting day. I have just received my Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration at Colorado State University. It took me five years of academic struggle, but I made it barely.



I am deeply grateful to my family and friends for their unending support through my academic career; and to the faculty and staff of the College of Business who have both cheered me on and helped me to overcome my struggles. Thank you!

2006-05-11

Stock Analysis of Multiple Companies

In an attempt to better understand the behaviors of companies and markets. I have analyzed four different companies over the past twelve months (June 2005 – July 2006). Those companies are Google (GOOG), Walt Disney (DIS), Altria Group (MO), and Anheuser-Busch (BUD).

To better level the playing field, I have put these companies through two different tests: (1) should they receive a large loan, (2) should they receive stock purchases at the current time (May 2006). I was surprised by many of the results and for the most part, enjoyed watching these companies and analyzing their decisions over the past year. So, without further introduction I give you our first contestant: Google!

Google - GOOG
http://sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1288776/000119312505225524/d10q.htm

Google (GOOG) is a fascinating company. Over the past year, Google has made significant market ventures and acquisitions. Their reputation for inventing, purchasing, or simply supporting innovative ideas within the field of information technology is fast becoming legend. Since it first went public, Google has out performed many of its competitors on many levels.

Google reached its peak performance over the course of the last twelve months in January of this calendar year (2006). At that time it was predicted by some analysts that it would continue to rise to around $600. Instead, Google’s stock fell dramatically to $340. It has slowly been making the rise again, but has exhibited some fluctuation. However, it has been holding slightly stable over the past month around $380.

Google has a very low debt to equity ratio and absolutely NO long term debt. In fact, the last time it reported having long term debt was in 2002 at $6.5 million. The facts make it a very good choice as a recipient of a large loan. Although as far as Google is concerned, if they were to want more cash they need only to sell more stock.

On that note, Google’s stock price is pretty high right now, so stock buyers should wait for a drop before buying. Present owners of stock are recommended to hold for now until the stock reaches about $500. It would NOT be wise to sell any owned Google stock at the present time, unless of course it was purchased at a significantly lower price.

Overall, Google is a very strong company. It has a firm and confident following and an unusually high reputation as far as internet companies go. Personally, I enjoy following Google’s actions – both in financial accounts and IT ideas – but my enjoyment remains solely as curiosity. I would not feel comfortable holding stock or loaning money to Google, mainly because when you ride the “cutting edge” you’re bound to get sliced at some point. While I may do that with IT, I do not do it with my finances.

Disney - DIS
http://sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1001039/000095012905008038/v11637e10vq.htm

The Walt Disney Company (DIS) is another great company, although the past year has not been the best for Disney. It hit a “major” dip in stock price in November of 2005. I put quotation marks around “major” because when you look closely at their chart you realize that the dip is only a few dollars. In terms of Disney, though, that is pretty big drop in terms of how stable they normally are.

Right now, Disney is on the rise and most market analysts are calling it “bullish”, meaning it’s charging forward with power. I think their rise is due entirely to the heavy push they are putting into new stores and restaurants. The media business is very risky these days and – as we’re about to see – capital is always good to have when you’re a company like Disney.

Disney has significantly higher assets than liabilities and seems to keep that ratio reasonably stable. Its return on equity is only about 9%, which makes it somewhat less enticing to loan to than a company like Google, but you have to take its stability and longevity into account as well when considering a loan.

As far as stock investment goes, Disney is on the rise and its twelve month target price is about $35. This makes it a perfect time to buy stock in Disney. Especially since it is such a safe investment with how stable it is. If you own Disney, keep it that way. Just remember this advice: “As long as, Mickey Mouse still has ears and a tail, you’ll be riding that California based stock wave for a while.”

Disney is not very entertaining to watch and learn about. The company has had a very long and healthy life and it’s easy to say that they’ll keep on living. Personally, I found it to be on the opposite side of the scale from Google. Rather than being overly cutting edge, Disney is rather drab. Watching its financials is like watching paint dry. I might like to buy stock in Disney, but that would only be if I wanted to have some balance and easy predictability in my portfolio.

Altria - MO
http://sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/764180/000119312505221528/d10q.htm

Now it’s time to talk about Altria Group (MO)! By far, Altria is my favorite company listed here. I’ve been watching Altria since High School (over 5 years ago). At that time it was called Phillip Morris and was well known as the cigarette juggernaut of the nation. For the sake of this discussion, we’ll stay focused on the past year.

Altria is a very stable company. It has had very consistent growth over the past twelve months. Its return on equity is a very high 32.1%. This company would definitely be a good company to loan money to. Just hope that they ask you because they definitely don’t need the loan!

As far as stock goes, Altria has a very reasonable price. It’s recommended by analysts that you buy stock in this company. You can expect very stable and gradual growth. If owned, hold your stock. Altria is a great long term investment.

I decided to save the best parts of Altria for last. Altria Group is of course a reformed name for a reformed company. Too many people had a negative view of this cigarette pushing gorilla, so Phillip Morris changed its name and its image. When the lawsuits started coming in, Altria not only paid out the money required, but they made a great decision social and fiscally… Altria began products and services to aid the unfortunates who had succumbed to the addiction associated with their main cash cow. Now, not only does Altria get them on the way in, it gets them on the way out. As far as business goes, this was genius. Other cigarette companies have began to wither and die, Altria is still going strong. As long as nicotine is addictive, Altria’s stock will be on the rise.

ANHEUSER-BUSCH – BUD
http://sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/310569/000106880005000647/0001068800-05-000647-index.htm

Anheuser-Busch (BUD) caught me by surprise. I expected Bud’s financials to look like a hybrid of Altria and Disney. Instead I found that they are much more impressive. Bud doesn’t have much fluctuation in its stock. Not at all surprising, it generally hits its highs in the summer.

Bud’s return on equity is an unbelievable 61.2% – literally unbelievable, I checked four different sources because I didn’t believe what I saw. This would be an excellent company to loan to. It is very predictable and the interest off a loan to them would be very comfortable.

Stock prices are high right now, as it is starting summer. Wait until after summer to buy this stock. Hold Bud stock if you own it through summer and sell at its summer peak.

Bud was like having a stealth fighter land behind me on the highway at night, I never saw it coming. They’re very stable yet have a predictable rise and fall that one could ride gaining a great profit. I’m looking to buy Bud very soon after the fall month drop and will be watching it for a while into the future.

CONCLUDING REMARKS

These stocks were varied and impressive. I’ve always liked Altria mainly because there’s just something comforting about knowing that a company’s customers are almost physically incapable of abandoning their product. And since Altria now owns the largest number of anti-tobacco arrangements as well, that makes them all the more powerful. Ah yes, and don’t forget about their cheese too! (Altria owns Kraft as well.)

Bud was definitely a surprise. A very welcomed one though. I’m hoping to tweak my portfolio enough over the summer to ride Bud’s 2007 wave to some nice financial profit. Disney is dull, but stable. If I were to buy Google, I’d want a company like Disney to offset the risk.

As far as the battle of the loans goes, give it to Altria if they’ll take it. Ask for a high interest rate too! It’s unlikely they’ll bite, so you may have to solicit my second choice of Google. Perhaps you can tell Google to use your loan for the purchase of an up and coming IT idea that would make a nice trophy for their lab wall.

When it comes to stock purchases, I’m looking to grab the addictive substances companies. Especially since I neither smoke nor drink, so it’s all income and no expenses! As a general recommendation though, I’d say the fastest profit is in Google, however its stock price is far too high. The easiest buy would be Bud, since even the most amateur investor could discern the buy and sell cycles.

I hope this article has been both entertaining and informative. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some stock to buy! BUD-WEI-SER!

2006-04-23

Plans for INDY's future

In the next year, I am hoping to finally get around to updating many key public areas and features of INDY.cc. As you can clearly see, I have already done some work on migrating what was my journal provided by LiveJournal over to the less bloated and well templated Blogger.



My plan for this new blog is to provide relavent information about INDY.cc development and related material. I will sometimes post about entertaining publicly available content I have stumbled upon, but will stay away from posts focusing on events of my private life unless those events are such that they merit public knowledge.



I look forward to these and other coming developments. And hope that it will help to bring back some surfers who have been turned away by what has become a publicly empty shell, while only the members of INDY.cc have enjoyed new features and updated content.

2006-04-07