Cognitive Mileage

So my girlfriend was driving on a highway in Colorado with no tolls to pay at. A month later, we get a bill in the mail from “Go-Pass” telling us that we need to pay $7.20 in tolls. This is fine, but we lost the bill due to hectic summer activities. They sent another bill with a late fee and, due to hectic beginning of the semester activities, we lost that one too.

Finally, a month after the second bill, we got a bill with $160 dollars in civil penalties for “toll evasion”. Needless to say, we found this to be an insane amount of penalty to pay for a road with no clear toll booths to even pay at. So we prepared for a week with a defense to call Go-Pass with, ready to say we would file a complaint with the Colorado Attorney General since we did not actually evade the toll: there was no toll booth to evade.

So I called, provided the customer service representative with my bill number, verified my personal information, and prepared to make a strong case. Except I didn’t have chance to because she immediately offered to waive all late fees and civil penalties if I simply made a pay-as-you-go account with them using my credit card. No monthly fees and they would only charge the amount for the original toll.

So if this happens to you: just call. Apparently, they charge the outrageous civil penalty to motivate you to call in and create an automatic payment account (again with no extra or monthly charge).


Being an avid Keynote user with a desire to mesh my carefully constructed Keynote presentations (with audio narration) on YouTube, I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out the conundrum of incorporating Keynote presentations into iMovie projects.

I’ve done many Internet searches on the subject over the past couple of years and most answers are patchwork, incomplete, or just plain wrong.

Let’s hope my blog post floats to the top of the (once) painful Google query “import keynote presentations into imovie”. The biggest and most untreated problem is that, though Keynote can generate quicktime files, these files cannot be automatically imported into iMovie. It takes some converting both in Keynote and in the Finder first.

Here is the straightforward procedure for anyone looking:

First, in Keynote:
0. I am assuming you already have a finished presentation that you would like to narrate. Open it.

1. Go to File > Record Slideshow
2. Navigate through your slideshow at any speed you want saying anything you would like as narration. Keynote will record everything.

3. Once you are finished, go to File > Export…; This part is a bit tricky.
3 (a). Click the submenu under Formats and go to Custom…
3 (b). In the Video subsection, click Settings…
3 (c). Change the compression type to MPEG-4 Video.
3 (d). Click Okays and Nexts until you get to the dialogue to save your file; save it somewhere
3 (e). Wait for it to compress…
3 (f). Go to the place where you saved the file and rename it to have “.avi” as its extension. If the OS bugs you, tell it to, yes, use the .avi extension.

Now, in iMovie:
4. Go to File > Import Movies…
5. Viola. Your presentation, complete with narration, should import and you can edit the video however you want.

look up stairway to heaven backmask.the whole songs satanic if you listen to the full thing.that proves that god an saton is real


This backmasking thing is very interesting and I’d never really looked into it before. So I listened to Stairway to Heaven backwards. First, you can hardly say that the *whole* song is satanic. Most of the song backwards is jibberish.

However, there is one interesting part in the middle that has some clear “satan”s in it. I was so intrigued and disturbed by this that I recorded the original song to my computer and reversed it myself.

What I found was that the contraction “there’s”, which Led Zepplin uses to begin many sentences in the song, directly maps to “Satan” when reversed. I even recorded my own voice starting many sentences with the word “there’s” and, when played in reverse, it sounds like I am saying “Satan” many times.

I think it is an unfortunate coincidence for Led Zepplin that they happened to use “there’s” so many times in his song because they appear to be very unhappy about the satanic interpretation.

So, seems to be an interesting coincidence and nothing more. Unless you think that somehow the word “there’s” holds some kind of dark satanic power…

This algorithm returns a list that is a power set of the inputted list. The code for int2bin is from DaniWeb‘s Python community.

So the module would give the following output:

>>> PowerSet([1,2,3])
[[3], [2], [2, 3], [1], [1, 3], [1, 2], [1, 2, 3]]

This was recently a problem for me when I wanted to use Python 2.5’s string Templates and random number generation with Iron Python Studio but couldn’t. Here’s how you enable the libraries in Iron Python Studio (IPS):

1. Install the version of Python (CPython) you want to use.
2. Direct IPS to the Python directory you are using by inserting the following lines into the beginning of the .py file you wish to use the modules in:

import sys

For your own work, just change “”C:\\Python25\\Lib” to point to the Lib folder of whatever version of Python (in whatever location) you want to use.

So my girlfriend’s daughter accidently spills water all over my Macbook screen leaving huge bright white splotches in the lower right and left corners of my screen. I freak out and take my MB to an Apple technician and he tells me it will be $750 to replace the screen but that I can probably just evaporate the water myself by running an intensive process that heats up my MB. Obviously, I opt for the latter.

The following Python program did the job.

i = 0
while True:
    i = i + 1

It got my CPU A up to a consistent ~80c with the fans obviously kicking on high. I put some pillows behind the screen to increase the heat.

I’ve been running it for about 3 hours now and the splotches are almost cleared up. It will probably take 4-5 hours total to complete the evaporation. But it beats paying $750 for a replacement..

There seems to be no permanent damage to the screen.

Well, it has been about 15 hours total now of drying, some with the program on, most with it off and the splotches are almost all gone. All that is left is a little pea-sized dot for the right splotch. I’ve no reason to think it won’t disappear by the end of the day.

24 hours later: screen is as good as new. You wouldn’t be able to tell the difference if you tried.

I subscribe to John McCain’s newsletter to see what they are telling their supporters. I also respond to these newsletters when I feel they are misleading.

John McCain’s Newsletter:

As you know, both Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are touting outrageously expensive and unrealistic universal health care plans – a government monopoly over health care.

My Response:

McCain, governments can be publicly regulated. Private oligopolies can’t. They just keep screwing us over and there are so many of them that if you smash one of them, it doesn’t make much of a difference. Allocating all of the accountability into a single place (the government) can only increase our chances that all Americans are covered fairly. We will all stand up and criticize and fix the same system instead of each of us taking on individual battles with individual companies with no coherent overall unity.

Also, if government-funded health care were such a problem, then why aren’t people in Canada, the UK, France, Sweden, and Norway (some of the most affluent nations in the world; the pound and the euro beat the dollar, my friend) complaining about it?

The only possible reason I could think of you promoting a plan like this is if you are getting incentives from private insurance companies towards your campaign.