Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for December 8th, 2006

10,000 fonts for free

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This is not quite as good as the 13,000 free fonts previously blogged, but still… 10,000 free fonts.

Written by Leisureguy

8 December 2006 at 5:17 pm

Posted in Software

Hmmm. Maybe I’ve been paying too much for eyeglasses

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I see an ophthalmologist (who never forgets to tell me to wear sunglasses when I’m outside), and he provides a prescription. I’ve been going to an optician nearby, but this post has me rethinking that. (Via Boing Boing)

I’ve stepped into my last eyeglasses store. I’ve been wearing glasses since junior high, and the prices have gotten outrageous. The last pair I bought at LensCrafters, in 2004, set me back about $300 and never fit properly — even after multiple trips back. They broke the last week of October…

I’ve had my eye on, and nearly purchased a pair of Silhouettes a few months back. They were the titanium hingeless variety. I priced them out at a couple of stores and with AR (anti-reflective) lenses with scratch-resistant coating, I was looking at about $500. I don’t claim to be the smartest guy in the room very often, but no way in hell was I going to buy into that.

The best deal I could find in a store for a pair (in a non-welfare frame) approached $270 — without AR lenses. That would not do either. There had to be a better alternative. I decided I was going to find the Silhouettes online. I already knew what I wanted and they’d have to be much less online. I googled — and found them — for $410ish. Not good enough. I went back to my search results. You know how google has the ads on the right side (of course you do)? I ignore them almost all the time. For some reason (my empty wallet?) I decided to click a link to Zenni Optical (a.k.a., and I kid you not — 19dollareyeglasses.com).

Zenni had a couple of titanium, hingeless frames. I priced them out. I decked them out with AR coating ($4.95 compared to $50+ in the stores), a clip-on sunshade ($3.95 versus $70 in the store) and went to the optional higher-index (thinner) lenses. Total?

$81.

The downside? A couple of things… they might take a month to arrive and I really had no idea on the quality.

I tend to be an overly cautious buyer. I’ll buy, but not before I research the hell out the options and alternatives. Put another way, I’m an informed shopper. The markup on eyeglasses frames can routinely be 1000%! Yes that was one-thousand percent. Screw that noise.

For $81, I could risk it, but not before an hour perusing the most-excellent (if not sparse), EyeglassRetailersReview.com. Zenni got decent reviews, so I ordered on October 26th.

They arrived on Thursday, November 9th and they appear to be perfect. The lens quality and fit is excellent.

Was I done?

Nope. A whole new world had been opened up to me. I decided I needed to hedge my bets. I ordered an even cheaper pair from Goggles4u.com also. This was a cheaper, very different, style frame. With lenses (they don’t offer an especially high-index lens), they came to $25 (and that includes AR, UV, and anti-scratch coatings!). I decided to up the ante a bit and add the photochromic treatment (Transitions — darken in the sun, clear indoors), after all I’m testing this out and $61 is hardly excessive for a pair of glasses.

These arrived on Wednesday, November 8 (12 days). For the price, I couldn’t be happier. They look great and the lenses are perfect. The fit and finish is not of the same quality, but they’re really nice just the same.

Without question, I’ll order from each of these places in the future. The prescriptions are tack sharp, the selections are better than the stores and the prices are incredible. Eyeglasses for less than a pair of shoes? Yes, please.

At the link, a comment from an optician and the response.

Written by Leisureguy

8 December 2006 at 5:07 pm

Posted in Business, Daily life

Coca-Cola does have a kick

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From Healthbolt:

Have you ever wondered why Coke comes with a smile? It’s because it gets you high. They took the cocaine out almost a hundred years ago. You know why? It was redundant.

  • In The First 10 minutes: 10 teaspoons of sugar hit your system. (100% of your recommended daily intake.) You don’t immediately vomit from the overwhelming sweetness because phosphoric acid cuts the flavor allowing you to keep it down.
  • 20 minutes: Your blood sugar spikes, causing an insulin burst. Your liver responds to this by turning any sugar it can get it’s hands on into fat. (There’s plenty of that at this particular moment)
  • 40 minutes: Caffeine absorption is complete. Your pupils dilate, your blood pressure rises, as a response your livers dumps more sugar into your bloodstream. The adenosine receptors in your brain are now blocked preventing drowsiness.
  • 45 minutes: Your body ups your dopamine production stimulating the pleasure centers of your brain. This is physically the same way heroin works, by the way.
  • >60 minutes: The phosphoric acid binds calcium, magnesium and zinc in your lower intestine, providing a further boost in metabolism. This is compounded by high doses of sugar and artificial sweeteners also increasing the urinary excretion of calcium.
  • >60 Minutes: The caffeine’s diuretic properties come into play. (It makes you have to pee.) It is now assured that you’ll evacuate the bonded calcium, magnesium and zinc that was headed to your bones as well as sodium, electrolyte and water.
  • >60 minutes: As the rave inside of you dies down you’ll start to have a sugar crash. You may become irritable and/or sluggish. You’ve also now, literally, pissed away all the water that was in the Coke. But not before infusing it with valuable nutrients your body could have used for things like even having the ability to hydrate your system or build strong bones and teeth.

This will all be followed by a caffeine crash in the next few hours. (As little as two if you’re a smoker.) But, hey, have another Coke, it’ll make you feel better.

*FYI: The Coke itself is not the enemy, here. It’s the dynamic combo of massive sugar doses combined with caffeine and phosphoric acid. Things which are found in almost all soda.

Written by Leisureguy

8 December 2006 at 3:13 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food, Health

USB-powered warm mouse

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If you office is cold or your hands get cold, you might want to invest in this mouse, which warms up via the USB cable.

Written by Leisureguy

8 December 2006 at 3:05 pm

Posted in Daily life, Techie toys

How to use a Furoshiki

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Via Lifehacker: the Furoshiki is a very nice and environmentally supportive way to wrap and transport items: you wrap them in a cloth, folding it like so (different folds depending on shape of object).

Written by Leisureguy

8 December 2006 at 2:42 pm

Posted in Daily life, Environment

The Privacy & Civil Liberties Oversight Board meets at last

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From Wired.com:

The first public meeting of a Bush administration “civil liberties protection panel” had a surreal quality to it, as the five-member board refused to answer any questions from the press, and stonewalled privacy advocates and academics on key questions about domestic spying.

The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, which met Tuesday, was created by Congress in 2004 on the recommendation of the 9/11 Commission, but is part of the White House, which handpicked all the members. Though mandated by law in late 2004, the board was not sworn in until March 2006, due to inaction on the part of the White House and Congress.

The three-hour meeting, held at Georgetown University, quickly established that the panel would be something less than a fierce watchdog of civil liberties. Instead, members all but said they view their job as helping Americans learn to relax and love warrantless surveillance.

“The question is, how much can the board share with the public about the protections incorporated in both the development and implementation of those policies?” said Alan Raul, a Washington D.C. lawyer who serves as vice chairman. “On the public side, I believe the board can help advance national security and the rights of American by helping explain how the government safeguards U.S. personal information.”

Board members were briefed on the government’s NSA-run warrantless wiretapping program last week, and said they were impressed by how the program handled information collected from American citizens’ private phone calls and e-mail.

But the ACLU’s Caroline Fredrickson was quick to ridicule the board’s response to the administration’s anti-terrorism policies, charging that the panel’s private meetings to date largely consisted of phone calls with government insiders and agencies.

“When our government is torturing innocent people and spying on Americans without a warrant, the PCLOB should act — indeed, should have acted long ago,” Fredrickson said. “Clearly you’ve been fiddling while Rome burns. This board needs to bring a little sunshine. So far America is kept in the dark — and this is the first public meeting you have had.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Leisureguy

8 December 2006 at 2:22 pm

Baker’s ties to the Saudis

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From Newsvine:

Besides the study group being a complete joke, it has now been brought to attention that James Baker’s law firm, Baker Botts, has a secret that nobody, including the MSM, wants you to know.

James Baker is the conservative head of the recently formed Iraq Study Group which claims to be bi-partisan and without an agenda. I was one of the first to show you part of their agenda and now I will be glad to help educate you on another. Not to mention this shows that the media is willing to protect a conservative when that conservative is pushing the liberal agenda.

Baker Botts is a law firm of about 700 attorneys and a laundry list of political connections. James Baker is the senior partner of this firm.

Among other places, Baker Botts has an office in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It has also opened an office in Dubai. James Baker has many ties to Saudi Arabia, including numerous meetings that took place when he was the Secretary of State for the first President Bush. He was able to get financial investments in Baker Botts from Prince Bandar, the Saudi ambassador to the United States.

If you remember back, the families of the 9/11 victims sued certain Saudis for their involvement in the attacks, the Saudi Defense Minister and his brother, the governor of Riyadh. These two men turned to none other than Baker Botts to form their defense team. The Saudi Defense Minister, Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, has given about $250,000 per year for the last sixteen years to the International Islamic Relief Organization, an organization being investigated by the U.S. government for funding Islamic terrorist groups.

In an exciting twist, it was none other than George W. Bush who gained employment at Baker Botts at the age of 15.

Does this make you think twice on why James Baker would recommend that Israel give away its land to Palestine? How about the fact that this Iraq “study” Group was able to come up with more than 75 recommendations, none of which described a way to win the war in Iraq? Why do people with these types of connections continue to be appointed to head councils on foreign policy? I consider this grounds for complete dismissal of the Iraq Study Group’s report and I demand that the taxpayers have their 1.3 million dollars returned to them immediately, with interest.

This information can be found on Newsweek, www.bakerbotts.com, and www.thenation.com. It has also been featured by Michael Savage.

Written by Leisureguy

8 December 2006 at 2:10 pm

Always ask the price of the special

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Sometimes it’s surprising: Mac and Cheese special: $55.

Written by Leisureguy

8 December 2006 at 11:59 am

Posted in Business, Daily life, Food

Ethnic prejudice just goes on and on

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What’s up with this? Sometimes it seems the most bigoted and prejudiced group in the US are the cops and firefighters. That can’t be true, can it?

Written by Leisureguy

8 December 2006 at 11:57 am

Posted in Daily life

Did on-line map lead to James Kim’s death?

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Read the story.

Written by Leisureguy

8 December 2006 at 11:55 am

Posted in Daily life, Technology

A Martian sunset

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Sunset on Mars.

Written by Leisureguy

8 December 2006 at 11:47 am

Posted in Science

A heartening post from The Simple Dollar

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He reports great progress. This is an encouraging story and an important direction to move in the event the economy takes a downward turn (see: Bush economic policies).

Written by Leisureguy

8 December 2006 at 11:30 am

Posted in Daily life

More total corruption and incompetence

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Where are the adults when you need them? Read this post about a complete FUBAR of the Coast Guard’s renewal program Deepwater. Via Political Animal.

Written by Leisureguy

8 December 2006 at 11:24 am

Glenn Greenwald

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It seems as though every post by Glenn Greenwald is worth reading and keeping. I suggest that you add a subscription to his site to your Google Reader and simply read each day the two or three posts he writes.

I realized that I was quoting almost every one of his posts, and there’s really no point since you can read them at the source—and they definitely repay reading.

I’m reminded of a comment by one of my freshman tutors who had taught at St. John’s for quite a few years. He said that each time he read Thucydides, he underlined passages that struck him. For example, he realized on one reading that the response from a Spartan envoy was a direct quotation from the Iliad.

After seven readings of Thucydides, he realized that he had underlined the entire book. I sort of feel that way about Glenn Greenwald.

Written by Leisureguy

8 December 2006 at 10:52 am

Cogent comment on Maliki’s “weakness”

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Read this post at War and Piece.

Written by Leisureguy

8 December 2006 at 10:46 am

Where have reporters put their outrage?

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They should find it.

As far as I can tell, among all the briefings, press conferences and punditry, only the liberal Center for American Progress made the connection between the Iraq Study Group and the primary reason for its existence. On the day the group made its report, the Center noted, 10 more Americans met violent deaths in Iraq. Actually it was 13 or 14, which means the total American death toll, 2,922 as I write this, is approaching 3,000.

But I heard no one mention this at Tony Snow’s White House briefings or at the James Baker-Lee Hamilton press spectacular. Would it been too unkind or impolite to ask how many more must die while the president and Congress consider the report? Or what they would be dying for, now that the policy has been branded a bungle or the worst order? Or why are they not now pulled into barracks out of harm’s way?

Among the reasons for this timidity and the failure to call bullshit, of which Dan Froomkin wrote, is the seeming inability of too many reporters to allow themselves a measure of outrage, a value judgment of what’s right or wrong, just or unjust. Instead they listened to Snow’s bullshit, without calling him on it and asking him and the president repeatedly and every day about the dead Americans, Iraqis, Afghans.

Why are reporters so reluctant to show outrage? It is not breaking the stupid and outmoded rules of objectivity to tell the difference between right and wrong and pursue the wrong it as a story. At my bureaus––Knight-Ridder and Newsday––we began the day by wondering who is covering injustice with bullshit. Starting with a point of view on an obvious injustice and writing about fairly and accurately is what reporters ought to be doing with every wasted death in a wasted war. Yet unfortunately, too often reporters paint those who do get rightfully angry as nutty or extreme. As Walter Pincus pointed out in a fine Washington Post piece, the Democrats who turned out to be right when they spoke with passion and voted against granting the president were barely mentioned or described as “fiery.”

There was at least one other story that should have provoked a good, caring reporter’s sense of justice: The New York Times’ story Dec. 4, on the obviously inhuman treatment of Jose Padilla, an American citizen who has been convicted of nothing, has been held in solitary confinement for three-and-a-half years. The story, with a still photograph from a video, showed Padilla on his way to the dentist, shackled at his bare feet and arms, flanked by guards in camouflage, riot gear and helmets with dark visors that hid their faces. Padilla is a small man, but his eyes and ears were covered so that he could neither see nor hear. Sensory deprivation is not considered torture, although Padilla’s lawyers and experts say Padilla literally has been driven nuts. Shouldn’t this touch a reporter’s curiosity, to say the least? Is this not something to ask about, at the White House or the Justice Department? Why no anger?

The letter writers to the Times were appalled. “Who can estimate the harm we have done to our individual souls and the soul of our nation…?” asked a letter writer from Los Angeles. Such questions should have been asked on readers’ behalf if not Padilla’s. Anger, even a little outrage is an antidote for bullshit.

Written by Leisureguy

8 December 2006 at 10:42 am

Posted in Iraq War, Media

NARAL: totally out of it

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Digby analyzes the the National Abortion Rights Action League has lost its way and is now advocating positions against its presumed mission. Read it here.

Written by Leisureguy

8 December 2006 at 10:34 am

Posted in Government, Health, Medical

A Republican criticizing the Iraq War

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From CNN:

In an emotional speech on the Senate floor Thursday night, Sen Gordon Smith, a moderate Republican from Oregon who has been a supporter of the war in Iraq, said the U.S. military’s “tactics have failed” and he “cannot support that anymore.”

Smith said he is at “the end of my rope when it comes to supporting a policy that has our soldiers patrolling the same streets in the same way, being blown up the same bombs, day after day.

“That is absurd,” he said. “It may even be criminal.”

Smith said he has tried to quietly support President Bush during the course of the war — and doesn’t believe the president intentionally lied to get the U.S. into the war — but now recognizes, “we have paid a price in blood and treasure that is beyond calculation” for a war waged due to bad intelligence.

Moved this week by the findings of the Iraq Study Group, Smith said he needed to “speak from my heart.

“I, for one, am tired of paying the price of 10 or more of our troops dying a day. So let’s cut and run or cut and walk, but let us fight the way on terror more intelligently that we have because we have fought this war in a very lamentable way,” he said.

Written by Leisureguy

8 December 2006 at 10:31 am

The morally unserious

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Matthew Yglesias seems on-target here:

Alongside the silliness of the Baker-Hamilton Commission and Tom Friedman’s newfound commitment to good sense, there’s yet another new brand of liberal hawk madness bopping around town. This week’s New Republic editorial, for example, perspicaciously observes that “On the question of withdrawal, which is politically the most sensational question, the report is evasive” before going on to evade the question of withdrawal. In the same issue, Peter Beinart complains that “across ideological lines, American politicians and pundits are finally coming to a consensus on Iraq: It’s the Iraqis’ fault” and concludes that “If we need to leave; we need to leave. But let’s not pretend the defeat is anyone else’s but our own” but doesn’t say whether or not we need to leave. Likewise, George Packer groused in The New Yorker that withdrawal advocates were being unduly rosy about the potential outcome of withdrawal without saying whether or not he favors withdrawal. And here we had Jason Zengerle charging me with undue churlishness in my estimation of Robert Gates’ support for the continuation of the war, combined with an unwillingness to express a view on the underlying policy issue.

To dust off an old term, I think we need to have a conversation about “moral seriousness” here. This passion for nitpicking and meta-commentary is a serious abdication. If you’re going to spend your time writing about Iraq, you have some responsibility to form a view on the central Iraq-related question: The wisdom of continuing the war. If we should stay, then, fine, complain about the rhetoric of withdrawal advocates. But if we need to leave not only do we need to leave, but people who think we need to leave need to say we need to leave.

On the issue Beinart raises, I agree with him. The “blame the Iraqis” account of the war is somewhat offensive and factually misguided. That said, it’s a lot less misguided than continuing the war. If politicians who need to stand for election choose to put the most-politically-palatable possible spin on that policy view rather than the most exactingly accurate one, I don’t think that’s seriously problematic. Practical politicians are in the business of putting positive spin on their policy preferences, and there’s no sense calling 911 every time you hear it happening.

Written by Leisureguy

8 December 2006 at 10:29 am

Posted in Iraq War, Media

Castle Forbes this morning

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Castle Forbes Lavender shaving cream and Lavender aftershave balm. Rooney brush, Progress razor. Really good shaves seem typical now. I guess I have my technique now established. Very pleasant. Lavender doesn’t smell the way I thought it would, but I think I was thinking of Lilac.

Written by Leisureguy

8 December 2006 at 10:22 am

Posted in Shaving

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