Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The End...

Well it was a good run last year, but during this school year I've decided to head another direction. SpeakGood is officially dead.

Please check out my new site, It is a computer blog/tutorial/review site geared towards the college student.

Thanks for all of your support.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Facebook as a news source

If you are a Facebook user, you definitely have to "appreciate" the fact that whatever happens on your profile qualifies as news and is treated as such.

Case in point, have you ever noticed the number of responses that occur when a relationship that was on Facebook ends? It can be rather overwhelming. Or when it's somebody's birthday, that's a sight to see. On my birthday for instance, I had over 70 people post on my wall for no other reason than to say the obvious.

I'm not saying that it is bad that Facebook is taking over the lives of millions of people throughout the world. But in the bigger picture it is getting to be more and more pathetic that this is how we gather news about our friends.

I'm sure everyone who reads this has "Facebook stalked" someone. We all do. We want to know if you're single, who your friends are, and what you say to other people. After all, Facebook is the all-knowing and all-powerful website on the Internet.

Nick triumphantly walked into our room after class today with a great idea. Someone who is a devout Christian or Liberal or Republican, etc. should change their profile to say they are Atheist or Communist. Or better yet, perhaps switch your gender preferences around. Give the experiment 48 hours or so to cycle through Facebook and gather your results. I bet you'll get some interesting posts on your wall.

My point is that Facebook is not and should not be the final tell all for everything that happens in someone's life. We survived forever without it; let's not let it become the sole source for everything news.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

King of the World more than just a sports book

Hand me a sports themed book and I'm sold. I love pretty much every sports book I have ever read and I was ecstatic when I was assigned to read King of the World by David Remnick, a book that chronicles the life of boxing god Muhammad Ali.

King of the World surely didn't disappoint. In fact, it far exceeded my expectations. As the saying goes, never judge a book by its cover. I went into the book expecting a history of Ali; instead I got so much more.

Sure, the book covers boxing history. It covers the heavyweights that came before Ali and the situations surrounding them. Floyd Patterson, Sonny Liston, it's all there. The first half of the book is more dedicated to them than it is to Ali.

Ali's prestigious career is covered as well. However, what I was impressed with was the amount of Ali's background that was provided.

Muhammad Ali was a person you either loved or hated. He had an extremely controversial attitude and his conversion to Islam was even more so. What I really enjoyed about the book was the depictions of Ali's relationships: first with Malcolm X and then with Elijah Muhammed.

I may have learned more about Islam from this book than any where else. Not only that, I got to enjoy reading about the early history of Cassius Clay (Ali's birth name) and his road to heavyweight supremacy.

I recommend this book to anyone looking for a fun and informative read.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The future of SpeakGood

Hello everyone!

If anyone has been keeping track, SpeakGood just crossed the 100 post mark last week. I'm proud to say that we've reached 100 posts because this blog is something that I value very much. Even writing four times a week, it still takes takes almost 6 months to end up at 100 posts.

With that said, I'm going to discuss the future of SpeakGood.

I'll be completely honest and say I'm not terribly happy with my writing as of late. It's just lacking something in my opinion. With that in mind I'm going to make a couple changes to how things are done around here.

For starters, I'm going to drop the amount of posts that I do a week. Four posts a week is tough, especially doing them back to back to back to back like I do. From now I'm I think I'm going to cut it down to two posts half a week apart.

It is my goal that reducing the amount of posts will allow me to put out some better, more interesting work. In addition, I will probably try to secure some other writers as well.

I'm done writing for this week. But, look for something to come out early next week. I'm excited about SpeakGood's new direction and I hope you are too.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

XP on low cost laptops will hurt Microsoft in long run

Fans of Windows XP got a boost this week as Microsoft announced that the elder statesmen of their operating systems will live on as a part of low cost ultra mobile PCs.

I've read some places that Asus expects to sell more of their popular EeePC's with XP than with the Linux operating system that they originally offered with. Obviously, customers will still have a choice between both models.

Keeping Windows XP around can only hurt Microsoft. Basically, they've proven to the world that Vista is too resource needy to compete in the low end market. Instead, they want to push their "old" software onto new hardware just to compete with cheap Linux based computers.

Furthermore, eventually consumers are going to realize that Linux offers as much, if not more, functionality than what XP does. XP itself is pretty basic, especially considering Microsoft will probably strip it down even more to meet the space demands that the small storage drives of these laptops require. And Linux's price of $0 fits the budget of almost everyone.

Linux is very resource friendly and is extremely functional out of the box. Many specialized distros have emerged to fit the needs of people who use laptops like the EeePC. Mark my words, once people see that it can be functional they will be willing to switch.

Until Microsoft acknowledges Vista as a flop (which will probably never happen) they will continue to lose ground to Linux and other alternative operating systems. Once they release Windows 7, I may have to eat my words, but until then the new computer fad will be to switch to Linux.

Microsoft's domination of the computer industry is on weak legs to say the least.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Why the Tigers slow start is not alarming

The Detroit Tigers were supposed to be the best. They were supposed to score thousands of runs. They were supposed to be unbeatable.

They are currently 0-6.

Granted the six losses are pretty ugly. Losing three to the Royals is disgraceful at best, but the White Sox are competitive.

They're playing like the Tigers that lost 119 games just a handful of years ago.

Fear not Tigers fans. It's only a rough patch. The wonderful thing about baseball is that it will all work itself out.

Take last year for example. The Tigers exploded onto the scene in the first half of the year just to falter in the second half. This year it's going to be the opposite.

By the second half of the year we should get relievers Fernando Rodney and Joel Zumaya back. Voila, the relief pitching is shored up.

As the weather gets warmer the bats will warm up. Problem solved.

I'll be honest. This first week has been rough. But I'm not worried.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Major tech companies out of touch with consumers

It is unfortunate how often the consumer gets the short end of the stick with technology companies. For example, Apple restricting the iPhone to AT&T's network only. Or companies that provide no Linux support whatsoever.

Add another to the list: Creative screws over smart customer who fixes terrible Vista drivers.

Apparently, it is okay that Creative disables advertised functions in their own sound cards. Heck, they even acknowledge that it's their right:

"If we choose to develop and provide host-based processing features with certain sound cards and not others, that is a business decision that only we have the right to make." -Phil O'Shaughnessy, Creative VP of Corporate Communications
From what I'm reading these functions should have been working in Vista even before Daniel_K started writing his own driver packages. What he was doing was simply providing the functions that they sound cards should have had out of the box.

Creative is claiming that he was taking money for unlocking functions that shouldn't have been unlocked. Daniel_K claims he was taking the donations to buy more hardware so he could write more drivers. Personally, I believe him.

The major problem with Creative and other large technology companies is that they think they have a right to do whatever they want and totally forget about the consumer. Creative wants you to buy a cheap sound card with limited features and then make you upgrade and spend more of your hard earned cash later.

That's just wrong. Good job Daniel_K, keep it up. I wish I was savvy enough to understand how to do stuff like you do.

On the other hand, Creative better learn that they're alienating their consumer base. If there's one awesome thing about the Internet, it is that it takes almost no time for a mini-uprising to happen. I can guarantee that I'm not the only frustrated blogger today.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Web standards and browsers

I'm a freelance web designer in my spare time so I was ecstatic that one of the assignments for my Computer Science class was to create a Web site. In a matter of hours I had the general layout and a day or so later the site was what I would call finished.

Well, or at least I thought it was.

I tested it in several different browsers. And by several different browsers I mean a ton. Firefox, Opera, Flock, Internet Explorer 7, Internet Explorer 8 Beta, Maxthon, Safari, and even Swiftweasel. Frankly, the site looked terrific in all of them.

Unfortunately, I still had to consider Internet Explorer 6. For some odd reason GVSU has chosen to not upgrade the lab computers to IE7.

IE6 simply tears the site apart. PNG transparency support is flawed, and for some reason I cannot seem to get the site to center itself.

The Internet is the exact same no matter which computer you access it from. On modern hardware there should be no reason for web designers to have to code around browsers. It is ridiculous how much grief designers go through trying to get pages to look the same across browsers and platforms.

Thankfully today's newest browsers are about the same. Microsoft finally decide to wise up and fix Internet Explorer.

What makes no sense is that GVSU has not upgraded to IE7. And I believe the main reason is because of the BlackBoard software that the campus uses. We should get with the program and upgrade -- BlackBoard's terribly coded software should not stop us.

Monday, March 31, 2008

My Thought on the Stimulus Package

This past summer I worked on the line at Herman Miller. I earned enough to qualify for the $300 stimulus check. In general, I disagree with government activism; I find the government harms more than it helps in many cases. As a college student, though, I will not say no to free money. Nevertheless, the government will not send me a check this May so that I might help turn the economy around. My parents still claim me as a dependent, which disqualifies me to receive the check. Logic would say that my parents receive that $300 check, but when has the government followed logic? My parents will not receive an extra $300 for me because I am an adult. It would make sense that citizens between 18 and 22 would receive money to help the economy, because we generally need it most and are least responsible with it. This means that instead of saving it, we would spend it; which is what the government wants, more spending.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

What happens when there is nothing

Do you ever watch the news when there has been nothing going on? They usually play up whatever does happen that day and then throw in some crappy feature story. It's tough to watch to be frank.

Today was that kind of day for SpeakGood. I swear, nothing caught my eye, there was no good news.

Instead, I'm going to treat you to a less crappy feature on how I choose what I write about on here. May Godspeed be with you as you embark on this journey.

Google is amazing. Most of my stories come from the iGoogle interface which I have tailored to show me several RSS feeds from the top news outlets in the country. Lately, my technology feed has been the most story laden, and I love writing about tech stuff.

Then comes the actually writing. The topic usually has to have some sort of an opinion for me to write about it. Very rarely do I ever post something just to post it - I'm going to let you know how I feel about it.

Surprisingly enough, most of my posts take less than 20 minutes to write. Even the extremely long ones only take a little longer timewise. I wish this was the case for every school paper I had to write. As it stands now I still haven't finished a history paper that I told myself to finish several nights ago.

Finally, the post is published. At this point, my beloved readers (that's you!) get to see my work in all of its glory. Shortly after I post I update my RSS feed so that the new post shows on my Facebook profile as well.

Whew... 10 minutes later and Thursday's post is done. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Letter discrimination is ridiculous

You know it happens.

If your last name starts with a letter at the end of the alphabet you know exactly what I'm talking about. Last in roll call, last in lines, last in almost everything just because of your last name.

I'll be honest, I was graced to have a last name that started with the letter E. Sure, it's not A, but its a lot closer to the front of the alphabet than X, Y, or Z are.

For the majority of my life I laughed at your end-of-the-alphabet last names. I was superior. I had the letter E on my side.

However, now I feel your pain.

GVSU decides that to be far they change the order of class scheduling so the first letter isn't necessarily first to schedule. In this case, next year's sophomores with last names that start with the letters A through E cannot schedule until the last day available.

I'm not used to such discrimination. I liked being first and I sure am having a hard time giving it up.

Now I'm the one being rediculed. Now I'm the one being picked last. Thanks to you letter discrimination, I've fallen from my pedestal and back among mere mortals.

Letter discrimination must be stopped. Or at least systems like Grand Valley's must be adopted earlier in life.

Maybe then I would be used to it.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A picture is worth a thousand words (and maybe an arrest?)

There is no denying that social networking Web sites like Facebook and MySpace are the most popular web hangouts of high school and college students alike. But what gets me is how dumb some of these students are.

It is astounding how many people post pictures of themselves drinking while underage. I know it happens, but that is not the surprising part. It's the logic (or lack there of) that drives someone to allow yourself to be photographed that baffles me. Furthermore, who in their right mind would post that on a public site like Facebook?

I had a friend in high school that was caught smoking marijuana because he let someone take a picture of him doing it. Long story short, the camera was lost and then found by a school administrator who found the pictures. To this day I have never understood his thought process -- why he would smoke marijuana to begin with or why he let a picture be taken.

It's kind of scary to think that our upcoming generation is not smart enough to realize that pictures can have these ramifications. Maybe we need to be taught some common sense.

As cheap as this sounds I always have felt that you could make a killing as a Facebook "rat". Basically the job would entail reporting underage drinking and saving the evidence to prove the case. I would never do it myself, but then again, someone probably will.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Hotmail, Safari, and Internet ethics

My opinion of the Internet is that it should be an open medium for sharing information. No one company should have dominance over the Internet, whether it be through browser software or through Web sites.

One of the major problems I've had while running Linux is that the "full" version of Windows Live Hotmail does not work correctly using the version of Firefox packaged with Ubuntu and other distros. Hotmail forces you to use it's "classic" version -- which is very flawed. Unfortunately, I sent out some badly formatted e-mails (they were rather important) because of this.

After searching the Internet for a while I ran across a solution involving modifying the browser headers that are sent to Hotmail. Essentially, I am tricking Hotmail to think I'm using a version of Firefox running under Windows. It's the only way I can reliably get Hotmail into its full featured mode.

I've read many posts that claim that it is Microsoft's right to shut out Linux users from using Hotmail. Perhaps it is, but I believe this goes against everything the Internet stands for. In no way should Microsoft be allowed to deny full features just because you're not using Windows. Web designers should not be able to create applications and Web sites that do not work in different browsers -- regardless of whether or not they are competition.

When I booted up into my XP partition the other day I was shocked to find out Apple had begun packaging Safari in with its iTunes updates. This is just as wrong as Hotmail not working in Linux without tricking the Web site.

It's unfortunate that iTunes updates are already 50+ MB, but then they want to throw in another huge file for the worthless piece of software that Apple calls a browser. Firefox has all the features that Safari has, is faster, and is a much smaller download file.

What gets me is that Apple is going to capitalize on people who don't understand computers. When these people go to update iTunes, they probably will download Safari without even realizing it. I have no problem with people using Safari, I just do not think they should be forced to use it (much like how Microsoft should not be allowed to bundle Internet Explorer with Windows).

The news that Safari 3.1 crashes on Windows XP does not help Apple out at all. Not only are they pushing software on users, the software crashes on the most popular Windows operating system.

The Internet is supposed to be OPEN. Companies like Microsoft and Apple must stop their monopolistic practices in regards to their policies governing the use of their products.

It's too bad the United States courts will not do anything to stop these companies. All we can hope for is that the European Union will.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

How to make money blogging

Take this post with a grain of salt. We really make little money from this site so it's not like I'm a expert at the subject. However, when I was searching for this topic through Google, all I could find was recommendations from successful, money making bloggers. I personally think my views as a struggling part-time blogger are more relevant.

People start blogs for many different reasons. Some do it for love, some do it for money, and other reasons abound. I personally do it because it's fun and a great way to make sure my writing skills do not become rusty. Any money I make is a plus.

Before you start your blog, be prepared to have to work. SpeakGood is coming up on it's six month anniversary, and yet the largest number of viewers I've had in one day is 70 according to Google Analytics. On the plus side, it's way more than the five or so that we started out with.

Okay, now that you have heard my little spiel, here are some ways to earn some dough:

Pay-Per-Post Services- Pretty simple concept. You blog about certain things and companies pay you to do so. This has become quite popular as of late, however you will probably never see these types of posts on SpeakGood. Personally, I'm kind of against these types of posts because you do not know if the writer's opinion was influenced by his payment. I liken these posts to the infomercials that have supposed customers praising the product. All in all, if you're not opposed to these posts like I am, this is a pretty decent way to score some cash.

General Ads- These work best with niche blogs, blogs that have a specific topic (say Mayan art). Most of the ad providers automatically scan your site for keywords and show ads that fit your target audience. If your site is very general, the ads are not going to be as specific as you probably will need to get clicks. If you are successful at garnering clicks, this is a great way to earn money as clicks can be worth a dollar or more in some instances.

Referral Ads- Same concept as general ads, except that you're only paid if the viewer "converts" or buys the product the ad linked to. Often these have the highest payouts, but they also tend to be the toughest to get people to use. Once again though, a highly specialized site probably will show referral ads that pertain to your audience so you might get lucky.

Sell Dedicated Ad Space- I can only dream of being able to do this. If your blog is successful enough to sell dedicated space then I would say you've hit it big. Small blogs like SpeakGood simply do not draw enough traffic to interest individual advertisers, but if your blog has a big reader base this solution maybe for you. Very high payouts abound if you can utilize this option.

Obviously, the most important thing to do is to draw visitors to your site. Without visitors, you will make no money whatsoever. Submit your best works to Digg or other similar sites, spread the word around your campus or workplace, or even stand outside on the sidewalk handing out flyers. Each new reader is another potential ad click - which means more money for you.

Also, be sure to keep up a posting routine. I usually post to SpeakGood Monday through Thursday each week in order to keep my readers. Be sure to run a spell check as well.

If all else fails and you simply cannot make any money, look at it this way: You're surely going to become a much better writer if you blog!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Learn some computer stuff (or else find a geeky friend)

I'm probably what most people would consider a geek. I love video games, computers, and all technology in general, and I am extremely excited for the upcoming release of Ubuntu next month. But what comes with the territory and is most useful to others is that I know my way around a computer.

Tonight I spent a good part of two hours troubleshooting some problems with my friend's Vista laptop. Although I was unable to solve her problem (it looks like Service Pack 1 screwed up her user profile), I was reminded how much somewhere like Best Buy's Geek Squad would have charged to do the same troubleshooting that I was.

Did you know that Geek Squard charges $99 to back up a measly 9.4 GB of data? That is ridiculous. I've reinstalled my operating system three times this year and backed my data up by myself each time. Moving almost 20 GB to my iPod took less than a minute of my time. If I had to pay for that I would be fuming.

When my hard drive died earlier this year I had to take it to Best Buy to get it replaced because Acer's support told me to take it there. To say the least I was not looking forward to the trip. I had a feeling I would get an inordinate number of questions from someone who probably knew less about computers than I do. (I'll be honest and say I'm proud of my computer smarts).

I arrived at Best Buy only to be told I would need my receipt for my laptop. Unfortunately, I had no receipt and I had paid in cash so there was no credit card to look up in the computer. No problem, I knew my computer was registered with Acer and that I could look up the purchase date online. I tell my "agent" this and he proceeds to search for the Acer website.

A minute or so goes by and he returns telling me he cannot find it. Frustrated, I proceed to go behind the Geek Squad desk and find it myself.

I cannot be so unhappy because I got a free hard drive that was much larger than my original one. However, the other things people were dishing out money for were laughable. The guy behind me needed to reinstall sound drivers. It's a 5 minute fix tops, but I'm sure Geek Squad charged him $50 or more. Unbelievable.

Moral of the story: Find a geeky friend or learn some stuff yourself. You'd be amazed how much time and money you could save by just learning a little more about computers.

As for my friends computer, I will be backing up her data in minutes and doing a system restore to fix what Service Pack 1 screwed up.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Ageless wonders amaze me

I do not want to proliferate SpeakGood with the boring details of my uninteresting life, but a few recent events have led me to one conclusion: Chris Chelios and Julio Franco are not human.

There is no way possible. Chelios is 46 years old and is still going strong for the Detroit Red Wings. Franco is 49, and though he is a free agent, he is still an active player in the MLB.

What led me to this conclusion? Let's just say the current shape that I'm in leads me to believe after 18 the body just cannot take physical activity.

I'm not a superstar athlete and I never was. I'm average height, and I probably could afford to drop 10-20 pounds (but it seems everyone can these days). I've played baseball since I was in second grade and that includes the last four years in which I played high school ball.

Frankly, I've been brought to my knees by stuff that is so far from what Chelios and Franco endure every day at the age of 45+. For instance, today all I've done is help coach a baseball team for two hours (including extensive throwing) and then play pick-up half court basketball for two hours. And I feel like I'm about to die.

The fact that Chelios and Franco are still in one piece astonishes me. I give them major kudos for being the successful athletes that they are.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Dice-K gets start in Japan

Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka will be the opening day starter for the Boston Red Sox when they take Oakland Athletic's in their season opener in Japan.

Dice-K starting is a wonderful thing for MLB and it's image overseas. Obviously, baseball is a huge thing in Japan, but allowing Matsuzaka to start the first game played their this season is awesome. Major League Baseball is getting the publicity that the NFL only dreams about when it goes overseas.

It is very important that American sports leagues get ample recognition outside of the United States. We are world leaders in just about every sport (except, of course, for soccer) and we need to set positive examples.

Personally, I cannot wait to catch some of this game. The fans are going to be going nuts no matter how Dice-K does. It will definitely be a lot of fun to watch.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The great gas price quandary

Ok, sorry to screw up my publishing schedule. But here is Thursday's post on Friday.

Anyone else sick of these ridiculous gas prices? Yeah, I though so.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say a couple of things that really have no scientific backing. These are only my opinions -- take them or leave them.

First off, the economy must get it through its thick head there is not an oil shortage. All this artificial supply and demand is killing consumers. There is enough oil to last a long time, even at our current consumption rates.

Second, the media must stop emphasizing the gas price hike. They continuous coverage is only making it worse. I'm a journalism major and even I think the media is horrid. By talking about gas at $4 per gallon, it is only going to reach that point.

Third, the United States must open some protected areas to oil exploration (read Alaska). There is enough oil up there to last a long time. PETA can take a seat and shut up.

Fourth, alternative sources of energy must be made economical soon. Until the alternatives cost the same or less as fossil fuels there will be no initiative to change.

There is no reason for gas to be $3.46 a gallon. These four ideas should make the price drop back to correct levels (i.e. $1.75 per gallon).

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Why abstinence only education is no longer an option

My home town is extremely conservative. Thus, it was a huge step when our high school began offering a health class last year. My concern? The only mention of sex education within the pages of the massive textbook was a small paragraph teaching abstinence only.

As I have been later told, this was the only way the school board would approve such as class. However, regardless of my or your feelings on the subject, it is becoming increasingly apparent that abstinence-based sex education is failing.

A study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 1 in 4 girls aged 14-19 has a sexually transmitted disease.

It has always been my opinion that without proper education teens will make mistakes -- though I am not endorsing premarital sex. But, supression leads to oppression in my opinion.

The problem is that sex is a taboo topic in today's world. Many people do not want to talk about sex at all. It is this kind of attitude that is causing many questions to go unanswered. Like the story says, many teenage girls are almost afraid to discuss STDs with their doctor and are even less likely to be tested for them.

Instead of constantly pushing abstinence into the minds of today's younger generations, why not spend some time discussing the potential problems that result in having sex and spend time discussing why it might be better to wait. Perhaps that will convince teenagers that sex may not be such a great idea.

Teenagers will listen to logic, trust me. They will not, however, respond to people constantly drilling something they should not do into their head.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

NFL free agency leaves me scratching head

It is always fun to see just how much many players can get through free agency in the NFL. Every year there is someone like Asante Samuel who is worth the nearly $60 million contract he signed.

But then there is always the head scratchers:

Tatum Bell, RB, Detroit Lions, 1 year @ $1.6 million - Why in the world Bell would want to come back to the Lions is beyond me. He sat the majority of the year and wasn't really effective when he was in anyway. Without Mike Martz the Lions may run more, but Bell will be unlikely to carry over the success he had in Denver -- especially behind Detroit's porous offensive line.

Trent Green, QB, St. Louis Rams, 3 years @ 8.9 million - Green will make a good backup quarterback to Marc Bulger in St. Louis, but is he really worth almost $9 million over 3 years? Green is injury prone and old. Seems to me St. Louis could have spent the money improving other positions because Green probably isn't a much better option than other backup quarterbacks.

T.J. Duckett and Julius Jones, RBs, Seattle Seahawks, 5 years @ $14 million and 4 years @ ~$12 million, respectively - Shaun Alexander is washed up, and I blame the Madden Curse. Regardless, I doubt Duckett is worth half of his contract. Jones was good for a while but has been stuck behind Marion Barber in Dallas for the last couple of years. Duckett was pretty worthless in Detroit last year, so I have to wonder how he managed to convince the Seahawks that he was worthy of a 5 year deal. However, these deals do have the potential to help Seattle's anemic running game.

Time will only tell if these moves make sense for the teams involved. Until then, I'm labeling these as the boneheaded acquisitions of the 2008 offseason.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Apple and their worthless DRM

Anyone who has ever purchased music from the iTunes store knows that every song purchased comes in Apple's annoying "Protected AAC" file format. Like everything else Apple does, they would prefer that their music not be played on anything other than Apple software and hardware.

Since I use Ubuntu Linux (read: no iTunes), it is extremely inconvenient for me to buy songs through Apple because I cannot play the DRM'ed files. Though it is possible to remove the DRM by burning audio CDs, that's a lot of work to just get a couple songs onto my Ubuntu Linux.

Thankfully, a couple months ago I ran across a cool little program called MyFairTunes, which was a one-click DRM stripper for those pesky AAC files. A minute or so later, all my downloaded music was DRM free and able to play on Ubuntu.

Once again, Apple is stepping in and ruining what is easy and legal.

Today I downloaded a song and went to convert it to an unprotected MP3 file. MyFairTunes gave me an error so I went to (the MyFairTunes main site) searching for a resolution. Shockingly I ran across this post.

Apparently Apple has filed a Cease and Desist order against the site and the Hymn Project is no longer allowed to offer download links for the programs.

Like I needed more reasons to dislike Apple and their closed-minded ways.

Using MyFairTunes to remove Apple's foolish DRM is COMPLETELY LEGAL. I bought the songs, why can I not put them on whatever devices I want to? This right falls under the Fair Use clause in copyright law.

Apple's iTunes End User License Agreement (EULA) does outlaw cracking the DRM on their songs, although that is no surprise. What else would you expect from a company that will not let their operating systems run on anything other than their hardware?

What is tough to understand is how Apple thinks they aren't violating the same thing they are fighting. Although CD ripping has been a computer standard for some time now, how is it different than cracking DRM off of a download? There is no difference between ripping a purchased CD and cracking purchased DRM'ed content. Both methods result in unprotected purchased content ending up on a computer.

What is unfortunate is that the Hymn Project did not in any way condone piracy. Essentially, Apple has alienated every user of the Hymn Project's software.

Regardless, Apple can enjoy their DRM'ed crap. Once my gift card runs out, I will be switching to Amazon or one of the other DRM free music providers. They "get" consumers, while Apple is so far behind the times. DRM is dead Apple, get over it.

Until then, I guess I will just have to burn audio CDs to rid myself of the infernal DRM.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Osceola Municipal Golf Course is one of those must play public courses

Oh how happy am I that I was able to play a full 18 holes of golf this afternoon. While my friends spent the day in a snow filled Michigan, I had the opportunity to play at Osceola Municipal Golf Course, one of the few public and affordable golf courses in the Pensacola, Florida area.

What immediately stuck out to me was the course's very cheap rates. While one could expect to pay 30 to 50 dollars for 18 holes and a cart up in Michigan, Osceola cost a grand total of $21 for 18 and a cart. Of course, this was the twilight rate, but the cool thing about Florida is that they consider after 1 P.M. to be twilight.

With prices that low, I really wasn't expecting much as far as quality is concerned. However, I was pleasantly surprised. The course was definitely not top notch, but far above my expectations.

In Florida's warm climate there is no such thing as a golf offseason. As such, the fairways show a little wear, but none more than what you would expect. The bunkers were amazing - as a Michigander I'm not used to pure white sand in the bunkers. Greens were very green and not tore up in the least bit.

From a playing standpoint there was nothing memorable about the course's layout and hole design. The course is very straight and open for the most part, and I've come to the conclusion that they do not believe in rough at Osceola. What is considered rough here is equivalent to Michigan's fairways. As a result your ball will roll forever.

Though Osceola is not particularly memorable, it is well maintained and affordable. For the first time being out this season with rental clubs I carded a 104. So it is definitely not hard, but still fun. I would recommend the course to anyone who happens to be around Pensacola and is looking for an affordable, but still satisfying round of golf.

Osceola's web site can be found by clicking here.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Chris Anderson's feel good moment

Unfortunately for professional sports, there are only so many feel good moments to go around. And sadly, most of these moments come after deaths, like those of Pat Tillman and Sean Taylor.

Thankfully, Chris Anderson's story doesn't involve death. Instead, it involves a much happier story about a recovery from drug abuse.

Anderson was reinstated by the league after a little more than 2 years worth of suspension. According to the ESPN story, he has turned his life around and is ready to be back.

Good for you Chris. I hope your career continues right where you left off.

It's always good to see someone kick a drug habit. They are tough things to kick and sadly I lost a cousin a couple years ago to a drug overdose.

Professional sports need more of these good stories and less of the bad.

Favre no where near the top

No matter which "great" player retires, everyone has to evaluate them against everyone else who played their position/sport. Brett Favre is no exception. His retirement after 17 seasons in the NFL has sparked conversations on just how good he was.

Favre was a good quarterback and a great football player. However, he should not be held as one of the best players in NFL history.

Sure, his consecutive games played streak is impressive. But really how much does that say about him? That he was good enough to start and not get hurt? Wow, that encompasses a lot of players throughout their career. Just because he sucked it up with injuries and played, he does not automatically get to be thrust into the upper echelon of football lore.

At quarterback, Favre was adequete. In his prime he was very good, but since that time (after 1999 or so), he has just become a ho-hum starting quarterback - a Kerry Collins type. I would take Peyton Manning any day over Favre. I will even go so far as to say Manning would own Favre in his prime.

Favre was good - others are better. Regardless, Packers fans are both in mourning and also finally relieved to see the retirement of number four.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Inge will not be forced to play catcher

Okay, so 15 hour car trips from Michigan to Florida really take it out of you. Fortunately, I have enough left in the tank to do a blog post tonight, even while I'm enjoying the rather balmy 70 degree weather.

So it looks like Brandon Inge will not be catching anymore for the Detroit Tigers. Inge, the Tigers' former starting third baseman was relegated to a utility role with the acquisition of Miguel Cabrera this offseason.

Inge was a great catcher when he came up to the big leagues. Unfortunately, he no longer wishes to fulfill that role. And personally, I cannot blame him. I still feel that Cabrera should be moved somewhere else. Inge's glove at third base is too important to sit on the bench.

What angers me more is the comments made on the ESPN story linked above. People are making it like Inge is whining and complaining, but all he wants to do is start somewhere. And, for those that argue that Inge should do his job must remember his contract was signed with the intent that his job would be the Tigers' everyday third baseman.

I really hope some miracle happens and Inge ends up back at third for Detroit. He is my favorite player in recent history and it would be terrible for his tenure in Motown to end like this.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Maybe I should pick colors too

Once we make it though this extended February, March Madness will be just around the corner once again. It seems like the time between these things gets shorter every year.

Of course, March Madness will bring out all the brackets and all of the competitions that go with them.

I'll admit, I do not religiously follow college basketball. Yet, once I get my bracket for the NCAA tournament, I begin to act like a crazed fool.

I really wish I would have held onto my brackets from past years. Why? Because I guarantee you that looking back now I would be dumbfounded at my stupidity.

Even year I think I have a winner. And every year I walk away disappointed. Unfortunately for me, it always seems that one of my Elite Eight or Final Four teams loses in the first or second round.

Have you ever noticed how well women do on brackets? I swear, it never fails that a female is either top dog or runner-up in all of the pools I see.

I blame it on people who understand and know basketball over thinking everything. You know what I hear every women say about their bracket picks?

"I liked their colors better."

Seriously? Maybe I should pick colors too.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Sometimes, only sometimes, does Apple make sense

I really do not mean to blast Apple all of the time, but to me they just rarely make sense.

One of their lastest "makes sense" moves is the release of an iPhone Software Developer Kit. The kit would enable third party software vendors to write applications to run on the iPhone.

Hooray Apple! Thank you for opening up your very secretive smart phone.

I have yet to understand the logic behind locking down every aspect of the iPhone. I do not understand why Apple locked in with AT&T or what took them so long to release an SDK. Though the Information Week article linked above states that Apple wanted developers to make AJAX applications for the Safari browser built into all iPhones, I cannot believe Apple thought that would be good enough.

If there is one thing I've learned from my years around computers, it is that someone somewhere is constantly trying to push the envelope. Developers want to push the iPhone to it's limits. Frankly, why not let them do it?

Cool things come from open platforms. Look at Linux. The kernel is completely free and it has led to amazing software like Ubuntu. Perhaps the opening of the iPhone will lead to something to really be impressed about.

Thank you again Apple. I only wish you were more open about your other products. Then maybe I would want to buy something other than an iPod.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Teens may by out of touch with past culture, but are adults out of touch with teens?

I'm often perturbed at the amount of studies that focus on the shortcomings of America's youth. As the studies will show, a good number of school aged children don't know things certain people deem to be important. For instance, the linked study suggests:

-Only 43% knew the Civil War was fought between 1850 and 1900
-Only 52% knew the theme of the book 1984

Ok, so the Civil War thing is a little sad. But, to be honest, I'm not exactly positive of when the Civil War took place, and I'm in an American history honors class. And I could definitely only give you a vague idea as to what the theme of 1984 was. Why? Because it wasn't required reading.

Who determines what is important for teenagers to know anyway? Obviously someone who is out of touch with teenage culture.

Yes, it is important that teenagers know certain things. But, what if a teenager constructed a survey testing adults about teen culture? How would an average adult do on these questions:

1. What is the significance of Jessica Simpson and Tony Romo?
2. What does this sentence say? 0M6! 15 17 p05518L3 70 533 l33+? (See this horrid news report on YouTube).
3. Who is Miley Cyrus?

As Nick is pointing out to me while I write this, these are "pop culture" references. However, it is my opinion that today's pop culture is just as important as any historical culture. After all, history is written because someone felt it was important. Why are these not as important as any other event in history? Most everything is important to someone.

My point is that measuring student performance based off cultural references is a bit absurd. Yes, those events and items played important roles in history, but teenagers care about different things. Just as an adult would not be expected to ace questions like those I posed above, teenagers should not be expected to ace historical references.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Digital downloads will not take over disks, yet

I was taken aback by CNET's declaration that Blu-ray will just be a stop gap before digital downloading takes over the movie delivery throne.

Digital downloading of movies will eventually become the norm. However, I believe it will be much further in the future than what those at CNET think.

Maybe I'm different, but I would rather keep my movies on a DVD (or Blu-ray DVD etc). Watching a movie on my computer is much less entertaining than popping a DVD in a player hooked to my television. Also, getting a media center computer to hook into a television seems like an unnecessary expense to me.

CNET's article fails to consider that many people don't have enough bandwidth to make movie downloading practical. I live less than 15 minutes away from a major metropolitan area, but there is no such thing as true high speed internet. CNET throws all these numbers out talking about how fast downloading is with Verizon's Fios, but as of right now, Fios isn't widespread.

Unfortunately for proponents of digital downloads, the United States ranks a measly 25th in broadband penetration in the world. Until this number improves greatly, digital downloading may never be as big of a business as some think it might.

Digital downloads will become more prevalent. However, with Blu-ray's victory over HD DVD, players will become standardized and cheaper. Movies will become cheaper. People will buy movies and players. It took time for a VHS to DVD switch, and now it will take time to switch from DVD to Blu-ray.

Until something like Verizon's Fios becomes standard across the country, digital downloads will never overtake real disks. For everyone's sake, hopefully broadband becomes more available and cheaper in the near future, and then CNET's prediction might ring true.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Total privacy impossible in post 9/11 United States

Today I had the pleasure to listen to a presentation by Kevin Bowyer, chair of Notre Dame's Computer Science and Engineering department. Professor Bowyer's presentation was entitled "Porn on the Dean's PC" and covered the idea behind privacy on corporate computers.

In 1998 a Harvard school computer technician found pornography on divinity school dean Ronald Theimann's home computer while conducting a hard drive upgrade.

The technician reported the findings to a supervisor, and Theimann was eventually relieved of his dean-ship.

Keep in mind this was LEGAL pornography in Theimann's possession.

However, here's the kicker: the computer was supplied by Harvard and the house Theimann was living in was also owned by the university.

The major question of the presentation was if the technician was right in reporting the questionable files to his supervisor, and if it was right that Theimann was stripped of his title. And, after everything I heard, I believe the answer to both questions is yes.

Originally, I was opposed to the ideas. However, after being reminded that Harvard owned both the house and the computer I switched my opinion.

Much like a company can monitor e-mails and phone calls made by their employees, Harvard should have the right to monitor Theimann's internet usage. After all, there is really no difference between a company computer and a university computer, especially considering in both cases the providers can be liable for what the hardware is used to do. Not to mention that Theimann was the dean of the DIVINITY school.

In the grander scheme of things, I think the lessons learned from this case can be applied to an issue that is prevalent in America today: personal privacy.

Following September 11, the government passed many laws allowing for the monitoring of several things - including e-mail, phone calls etc. These laws have drawn heavy criticism from groups that oppose the government's encroachment into personal privacy.

I am a firm believer that the government should not have as much influence as they do. However, I also believe one of the responsibilities of the government is to protect their citizens.

Let's re-write the Harvard case to something a little more relevant in world politics:

Library ABC is a small library in a quiet American town. Little do they know, but the government is keeping tabs on all e-mail and web activites conducted at the library.

Violation of privacy? I'll leave that to you to decide.

But, what happens if terrorist ABC decides to use Library ABC to communicate with other members of his terrorist group. The government intercepts this message, stops the communication, and arrests both parties.

Is it worth sacrificing a little of our privacy for that? Yes, I think it is.

Simply put, each United States citizen is like a corporate-owned computer. The government is responsible for their actions, and they are liable for the things that their citizens do. The government must act for the greater good of it's people.

If that means sacrificing a little privacy (or, in the case of Harvard, firing a dean) I'm okay with that.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Jump on HD DVD sales

HD DVD may have lost the hi-definition DVD format war against Blu-ray, but now consumers can pick the remnants of the technology up for a fraction of its original cost.

At there is a forum post discussing where to find the best deals on the now obsolete technology (kudos to this Information Week article for the forum link).

Though HD DVD is essentially dead, I'm thinking I might jump on and buy a player and a nice little stack of DVDs. Worst case, I have an extra upconverting DVD player lying around that can play a select number of hi-definition disks.

With prices so cheap, I see no reason not to. Plenty of movies have already been released in HD DVD format, and the prices of these movies are going to drop extremely fast in the coming weeks.

For the consumer, buying HD DVD may be the cheaper, very short term answer to expensive Blu-ray players and disks.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The steroid post to end all posts

Ok, it seems sports cannot survive one day without talk about steroids. Yesterday it was Andy Pettitte, today it was Miguel Tejada.

Frankly, I'm sick of hearing about steroids. I'm sure you as a reader are probably sick of me talking about them. So tonight I vow this will be the end of their discussion on SpeakGood (though I do reserve the right to cover a huge breaking story). It will be for the better.

Let me start by saying steroids and other performance enhancing drugs exist in ALL sports. Baseball is only a small slice of the pie. The Olympics are riddled with them. The Tour de France, the NFL, etc all have problems with these drugs.

Andy Pettitte, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, and a ton more players took steroids. Roger, it's time to admit it. Pettitte seems to have come off fairly cleanly in my eyes, but now Clemens can't go back on his word.

It is time for Bud Selig to do something to step up and curb this problem. The Mitchell Report was a good start, but it doesn't go far enough.

The Mitchell Report is a joke. Though it gives a lot of good information the investigation was poor to say the least. It relies heavily on only a couple questionable sources and is actually a pain to read. Try reading it, I dare you.

Perhaps the biggest question that needs answering is what do we do to those who took performance enhances. My solution: Let it go. It is in the past and we cannot go back in time. When comparing hitters and pitchers of this time period, compare them with the fact in mind that it was the juiced era. There is no need to prosecute any of the people involved.

That concludes my little finishing rant on steroids. Hopefully I do not need to bring it up again.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Van Horn is prime example of working the system

Do you ever wish you could make $4.3 million for doing next to nothing?

Ask Keith Van Horn, he might be able to help you.

Van Horn, the semi-retired forward whose rights are still retained by the Dallas Mavericks, may be the key to completing a trade that would send Jason Kidd to Dallas from the New Jersey Nets.

The trade, which nearly was dead because of Devean George's refusal to be traded and then Jerry Stackhouse's mouth, is alive again according to ESPN.

Props go to Van Horn. At the most, he will probably have to fly to New Jersey, take a physical, and maybe show up at practice. And for his troubles, New Jersey will pay him approximately $4.3 million.

Earlier this month, Aaron McKie was dealt in a much similar fashion. The Lakers traded McKie, who was then a volunteer assistant on the Philadelphia 76ers coaching staff, to the Memphis Grizzlies as part of the package that brought Pau Gasol to Los Angeles. Reportedly, McKie will make up to $750,000 more than the $7 million he was already being paid through an old contract.

Though McKie has decided to stay with the Grizzlies as a player/coach, it is possible that Van Horn could be released immediately after joining the Nets. He would then be paid for the rest of the year.

I sure wish I could find someone to pay me $4.3 million to take a physical. I spend enough time around the dorm tossing out ideas to make a little cash here and there, and yet none of those ideas seem feasible. I guess I just need to learn how to work the system.

Thanks to this awesome loophole, players like Van Horn and McKie get to increase their already large wealths. And I say, who can blame them?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

First look: MLB 08 The Show for PS3

Today I had the opportunity to play a demo of MLB 08: The Show for the Playstation 3. Though it was only a 4 inning game featuring the Red Sox and Rockies, I was very impressed with the game play and graphics. Mind you, my favorite baseball game of all time is MVP 2005 for the PS2, and that means MLB 08 has some pretty big shoes to fill. Unfortunately, EA Sports no longer has the rights to produce MLB games.

Anyways, here are some quick thoughts on the game:

Gameplay: Easily the truest feeling gameplay I've ever experienced with a baseball game. The swings, pitching motions, stances etc. are well done (at least the Red Sox's are) and the game speed feels about right. Controls are pretty easy to master, with square being power swing, X being normal, just like a lot of older games. My only complaint here is that line shots seem almost too fast to react to, but I guess that makes it a lot like real baseball. (Trust me, third base is not a fun position...)

Graphics: The PS3 continues to amaze me in this area. Hands down, this is the best looking baseball sim I have ever played. Players movements are fluid, the "small" things like uniform wrinkles are right, and the general player figures and stadiums are spot on.

Audio: What really impressed me was the fluidity of the audio. There was no pause or tone change when players names were being said and the crack of the wooden bat sounds amazing.

Overall: MLB 08 seems like it will be a great game. Hopefully I get a chance to go out and get it. Based on the demo I would give it a 9/10.

If you have access to the Playstation Network you can currently download this game as a free demo. Try it out!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Observations on the Roger Clemens hearing

Roger Clemens: "I never took steroids."

Brian McNamee: "I injected Roger."

Clemens: "No he didn't."

Though those are not actual quotes from today's Congressional hearing, they pretty much sum up what happened.

Absolutely nothing.

Ever since the Mitchell Report came out, this entire Roger Clemens thing has been a joke. Basically, it's McNamee's word against Clemens', and there is very little evidence whatsoever. McNamee claims to have used syringes and bloody gauze with Clemens' DNA on them, but I highly doubt that.

Today's hearing was more about public perception than anything. Honestly, Clemens looked innocent. Do I think he took steroids? Perhaps, but he sure can lie tremendously well under oath if he did.

McNamee on the other hand looked suspicious to say the least. While being berated by multiple congress members, he showed very little emotion and he seemed to backtrack on earlier statements he made.

Maybe McNamee is telling the truth. Regardless, who is America going to believe? A seven-time Cy Young winning superstar pitcher, or a former cop turned steroid distributor?

The second option does not seem like the right one to me.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Officials are humans too

A clock stoppage at the end of a women's NCAA basketball game and a foul with only .1 seconds left in a men's NCAA basketball game have brought out the referee haters once again.

These events were questionable, no doubt about it. However, they also bring up the fact that officials are human and can make mistakes.

With the invention of highly sophisticated technology for controlling clocks and reviewing plays, everybody is about getting calls right. In my opinion, a good official is one that you do not notice.

Regardless, human error does happen and as it the case with basketball fouls, it is a judgement call. Hopefully the official makes the right call, but be prepared that they might not.

It is unfortunate that these small mistakes/issues happened. But cut the officials some slack. After all, they are human too, though it is sometimes easy to forget.

Monday, February 11, 2008

A couple of thoughts about Apple

Apple's release of security patches for OS X is another reminder that Macs are not perfect.

ALERT: Macs are not perfect!!!

Sorry, I just had to do that. I'm surrounded by Apple lovers here, and this is one of my only ways to vent. Not only did I have to go to a high school that was Apple based, now a good majority of my peers carry around their little MacBooks and MacBook Pros. From that I've come to a couple of conclusions based on these observations:

1) Most people who use Macs use them only to do basic computing tasks (i.e. word processing, internet, e-mail). This begs the question of why pay for overpriced hardware if all you plan on doing is basic computing? Any $600 laptop running Vista Basic or XP Home (or even Linux) can do those tasks extremely well for almost half the price of an Apple.

2) With the introduction of Boot Camp, more people are running XP and Vista than OS X. One of my friends even went so far to say he likes Vista more than Leopard. Why pay a ton for Apple hardware just to run Windows?

3) People with Leopard fail to use its "cool" features. This goes back to point numero uno. Most people just use OS X to perform simple tasks.

Let me be clear, I am not bashing Macs (or at least not too much). I just continually ponder these observations and have never gotten a good reason from Mac users.

I want more than "It just works".

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Oh Microsoft: Can't thou stop piracy?

Piracy - the bane of Microsoft and the savior for those too cheap to pay for software.

Apparently Vista Service Pack 1 is now available on torrents, only days after it was released to OEMs. Surprise, surprise. Though I don't think SP1 requires a software key, it's as close to piracy as you can get.

Microsoft is constantly developing new strategies to prevent this illegal copying from happening. Yet, they are always one step behind those who can crack such schemes.

Unfortunately for Microsoft, it's own Windows Genuine Advantage cannot detect a valid copy of Microsoft. A Ubuntu user found that while running IE4Linux he could pass validation on the Microsoft web site.

Piracy is a big deal. However, Microsoft is not helping themselves. Charging outrageous amounts for software is bound to cause the problems that it has caused. Until prices drop, piracy will live on.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Shaq traded to Suns

If I had the honor to be a reporter covering the Phoenix Suns I would have one question to ask.

Why fix something that isn't broken?

Trading Shawn Marion to the Miami Heat for Shaquille O'Neal makes no sense whatsoever. What on earth makes GM Steve Kerr think that Shaq will work in their offense?

Not only is Shaq on the decline, his physical fitness doesn't exactly fit into the run-and-gun offense that the Suns run. I can't remember a game where he wasn't sweating profusely less than a minute into the game, and that was only after plodding up and down the court. What's going to happen when he's expected to run?

Marion is an explosive player who is in the prime of his career. Shaq is a shadow of his former self. Advantage Miami Heat.

Though Phoenix does automatically get bigger upfront, it won't help. Shaq is the true center that the really doesn't fit their offense. Speed and outside shooting is how the Suns win, and the last time I checked, Shaq can't run or shoot.

I loved Kerr when he played for the Bulls, but I just don't understand his logic.

On the plus side, as a Pistons fan I no longer have to look at Shaq in the Eastern Conference again. That means I don't have to watch Shaq get babied by the referees.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

National signing days looms

ESPN's front page reads "Who needs Super Tuesday, anyway?"

This is the truth. Tomorrow is the national signing day for college football and to some, the futures of Terrelle Pryor and other top recruits are more important than who will become the next president of the United States of America.

Pryor, the highest-ranked quarterback in this year's class, has yet to decide between Michigan, Ohio State, Oregon, and Penn State.

Like OSU and Michigan fans needed any more reason to hate each other. If Pryor signs with either team, it's only going to bring out more bad blood between the two programs. An already intense rivalry will become even more heated for the years that Pryor plays college ball.

Of course, Pryor could choose to not announce tomorrow, but here's to Pryor being the newest Wolverine.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Tigers sign Granderson to long-term deal

It's amazing what a couple years of success can do for a baseball team.

The once cellar-dwelling Detroit Tigers have re-signed star center fielder Curtis Granderson to a long-term deal through 2012, with a club option for 2013. The deal could be worth $43.25 million according to ESPN's Buster Olney.

At one time, I would have been surprised to see such a high figure spent on a Tiger. But now that they are winning, money seems to be of little object. And that is a good thing.

Signing Granderson further solidifies the future of the star studded team. His extension may be of equal importance to the aquisitions of Miguel Cabrera, Dontrelle Willis, and Edgar Renteria. After all, last year Granderson became only the third player in major league history to join the 20-20-20-20 club.

Good job Dave Dombrowski. Matt Millen, please take note.

Friday, February 1, 2008

The cowards that we fight

In Baghdad early this morning two bombs went off and killed over 70 people. Since the surge, security measures in the capital had increased drastically. In fact, August was the last time an attack of this magnitude occured. The attacks, which occurred in two animal markets, were carried out by two women.

The story is not the fact that attacks, specifically large scale ones, have drastically reduced. These two women were mentally disabled. The bombs they wore were remotely detonated. This means that someone else used a remote control to blow up these women. When I read this story on BBC it sickened me. These cowards, and stronger language enters my mind, not only kill civilians as their battle strategy, but use mentally handicapped persons to do so. They cannot even strap on the bombs to themselves, but must use those who do not have the mental capabilities to make the decision.

I have a hard time seeing their side of story, when they commit such heinous acts as these. Some argue that these terrorists are Iraqis who want us to leave their country. However, when the terrorists we fight are found to be foreign and then they use mentally disabled women to do their fighting causes one to question any speck of integrity they might contain within their hearts. Also, they attack Iraqis on their visit to the market, not a unit of U.S. soldiers.

Needless to say this story prompted me to begin my side of this website again. As I am not a journalism major, I am not as motivated to write more than my classes demand of me. Nevertheless, this horrendous act needs to be heard.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

What every blogger hopes for

Despite becoming busier in the past couple of months, I still am trying to put out a new post four times each week. It has sort of become a hobby since it costs a grand total of $4.95 each year for a domain name.

I am a journalism major and therefore enjoy what I am doing. But, the one thing I do miss is the knowledge that people are actually viewing my work. With a newspaper, someone is bound to read it, but the internet is not the same. Sure, I have Google Analytics and can roughly estimate the amount of visits to the site (which have increased in the past weeks), but what is disheartening to me is the lack of comments.

Of course, I have my constant readers who occasionally post comments about stuff they find interesting. I just wish more people would post.

What every blogger wants is a reader base. We want to be heard. Obviously, not everything I say will interest people. But if it does, I want to hear your opinion on it.

Would I like to become a famous blogger and make money doing it? Yes, I would. But what would make me even happier is some response from readers. After all, it is what every blogger hopes for.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Want a capable OS? Try Ubuntu 7.10

As of a short while ago (say 2 months), I would have recommended Ubuntu Linux to anyone who wanted to play around with a second operating system. Would I have recommended it to anyone as their main OS? No, not a chance.

Would I recommend it now? Why yes I would.

Shortly after removing Vista installing Windows XP less than a month ago, it too began running very slowly, and one night I finally found out what the problem was. A nasty scratching and screechy sound from my hard drive signaled the end of a less than 6 month old drive. A trip to Best Buy and a free 250GB hard drive later I'm back up and running.

Only this time I'm not running XP.

I decided to install Ubuntu 7.10 in conjunction with Windows XP. Since installing over almost a week ago, I've used XP two or three times at the most. Ubuntu is simply awesome.

Sure, there were some problems to overcome. My wireless internet needed a little tweaking before it would work and of course there is always the shock from moving from Windows to Linux. However, since I use a lot of open source free software for Windows, it wasn't hard to find their Linux counterparts. The biggest difference is switching from MS Office to or AbiWord (I like AbiWord the best).

Pidgin replaces AIM and Windows Live (If you have Windows I recommend you download this as well, it's light and quick). Rhythmbox replaces iTunes. GIMP replaces, well, GIMP (I use this on Windows as well). In addition, a nifty little program called Wine allows some Windows programs to work. If you must use MS Office, CrossOver is a pretty good program for that, though it is not free.

Once you get your bearings, feel free to play around with my favorite part of Ubuntu, the graphics. I've enabled Compiz-Fusion to give me cool window effects, effects that rival those of Windows Vista. My personal favorite addition is the Avant Window Manager (AWN). AWN creates a OSX style dock on your screen, complete with animations and reflections. And to my Mac readers, can your dock curve? I didn't think so.

If you're looking for a capable and cheap (read free) operating system, look no further than Ubuntu 7.10. Come April, Ubuntu 8.04 will be released, and this operating system should be even better.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Keep the wireless spectrum open, please

If you keep tabs on technology, you've probably noticed the FCC has put up several “blocks” of the wireless spectrum up for sale. The most valuable of these, the “C” block, has reached almost $3 billion in an open auction.

The important thing about the “C” block is that currently the rules stipulate that whoever purchases the block must make it open to whoever wants to use it. However, if the selling price does not hit $4.6 billion, the government will re-auction the spectrum and remove the stipulation about open access.

That simply cannot happen. The opening of the wireless spectrum is a huge step towards open networks and open networks mean more people can jump in and force evolution in the current technology. Look at the computer industry. Since the time of the introduction of the IBM-compatible PC, competition has driven costs down and quality and computing power up. Just think what an open spectrum might do for cell phones.

Hopefully Google or some other wireless giant steps up and buys the open spectrum. It would be a great loss if it were to be closed.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The ESRB rating system is NOT broken

My RSS Technology feed turned up this article about video games tonight. As I expected when I read the news outlet it was coming from (the oh so prestigious ABC News), it pretty much bashes violent games, and their newest scapegoat is Grand Theft Auto IV.

I don't know if it's the mainstream media's job to create bad press for games rated M for mature or what. It seems every semi-violent game that is released nowadays receives some sort of criticism from groups that claim to be protecting children from these games. Another ABC News article questions the effectiveness of the current Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB). No offense to author Ned Potter, but has he ever played any one of these games? He may have reported on topics like space and the human genome but they do not qualify him to bash violent games.

The ESRB does it's job and it does it well. They rate games. They are rated fairly. I don't know what else people like Senator Joe Lieberman want them to do. Mature games are meant for and marketed to people 17 and older. In otherwords: Parents, DON'T BUY YOUR CHILDREN MATURE RATED GAMES AND THEN BLAME THE GAMES! The system is there for a reason.

These are not isolated incidents either: EA asks Fox to Clear Up Mass Effect Mess

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Mayo may be in trouble with NCAA

USC freshman star O.J. Mayo may be in some trouble with the NCAA after he accepted free tickets to an NBA game from Carmelo Anthony.

The problem arises on whether or not Anthony was acting as an representative of the Denver Nuggets. If the NCAA does decide that Anthony was indeed acting as one, Mayo could face some penalties for accepting the tickets.

This whole situation is similar to the Reggie Bush scandal, only on a smaller scale.

I'm not a fan of the NCAA. They take the whole student-athlete thing too far sometimes. Yes, they value the education of their participants, but honestly, how many high profile players graduate? And, if they do, how many graduate with what I would call "slacker" degrees?

Yes, it is wrong for a college athlete to receive compensation. However, in no way would Anthony give Mayo tickets as a piece of "Hey, come join the Nuggets next year" propaganda. For one, I would hope 'Melo is smarter than that. Second, he is Mayo's friend. Friends may not let friends do drugs, but they can give them free tickets to sporting events at their own discretion.

Hopefully the NCAA makes the right decision and does nothing. Perhaps it will give underclassmen a reason to stick around for four years.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Knoblauch subpoenaed, witchhunt continues

Former Yankee Chuck Knoblauch was subpoened today to testify before Congress about this whole steroids "issue" that Major League Baseball has going on.

I say that sarcastically because this whole steroid thing is getting pretty ridiculous.

Unfortunately, the winter break downtime of SpeakGood did not allow me to discuss the Mitchell Report and the corresponding fallout. To sum up all of my aggression, I am not a huge fan of the report, and I have not heard many that are. A lot of the report is based off singular testimony from a questionable source (read down in the article) and it almost seems to be a witchhunt.

And, what is most frustrating is that Congress is continuing to investigate all of this. Though they do need to have some hand in this, they are biting off more than they SHOULD chew. It is the MLB's responsibility to govern itself. Many of these supposed steroid infractions hardly warrant prosecution.

Moreover, besides some side testimony about Roger Clemens and Andy Petitte, ESPN commenter Stoney2183 summed Knoblauch's role in the investigation the best:

why do they have to use the pic of chucky while he was with the royals? if the royals condoned steroids, they wouldn't have been in the cellar for so many years.

That is all.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Rare foray into hockey: Crosby on injured-reserve

Yes, I do hockey too.

Pittsburgh Penguins' superstar Sidney Crosby was placed on injured reserve today with a high ankle sprain. It is unknown how long he will be out, but early indication is that Sid-The-Kid will miss a month or more according to the Associated Press report. Obviously, he will miss this weekend's NHL All-Star Game.

I really hate to see this happen. Crosby is the new face of the NHL and not having him on the ice is certainly a buzz kill to this weekend's game. People will still watch, but they will miss seeing the sport's top young star. Much like how the San Diego Chargers were shortchanged yesterday with LaDainian Tomlinson on the bench injured for most of their game against the New England Patriots.

I'll take a guess and say Crosby misses much more than a month. Though I do not follow hockey injuries much, high ankle sprains are devastating to NFL players. It seems to take over half a season for football players, which translates to about eight weeks. Two to three months seems to be more likely. And unfortunately for the Penguins, he will be sorely missed.

Friday, January 18, 2008

News media just pisses me off

Listen up Katie Couric, I am sick and tired of you. Not only is the whole presidential race thing already so endlessly boring, I have to listen to you drone on and on about it. The news is the same as it was yesterday, and will still be the same tomorrow. Please for my sake come up with something new.

Also, in regards to referring to our Commander in Chief, it is President Bush, not Mr. Bush. Calling our president Mr. Bush is totally disrespectful in my opinion. If we can still refer to President Clinton as such, surely you could be respectful and refer to our current president in the same manner. Put your own political agenda behind you and do your job.

Oh and Katie, just because the stock market dropped 70 or so points today doesn’t mean that the world is going to end soon. You make it sound like 12,000 is a terrible number to be at. Hmm… wasn’t it just a short while ago that we were sub 10,000? Yeah, I thought so. Be a little optimistic would you? The media has a huge effect on investors’ minds.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Don’t give up on traditional newspapers

Last night in my News Reporting class we were discussing how budget cuts have forced the Grand Rapids Press (the biggest newspaper in Western Michigan) to size down certain areas of their paper. According to my professor, who works at the Press on a part time basis, the sports section is expected to be sized down by an average of two pages.

That, my friends, is a travesty.

Yes, I’m a sports fanatic so the loss of two pages of sports angers me. The bigger issue, however, is that downsizing like this will eventually reach the rest of the paper. Traditional print news just doesn’t sell like it used to, and that’s too bad.

I personally do not like reading my news online. Blogs are okay, but I cannot bring myself to read The Holland Sentinel (my hometown paper) online. It’s just has no character. As a journalism major I’ve come to respect well put together papers. Though a web presence is undeniably important, I personally believe that tradition should be respected as well.

So I urge you guys to not give up on tradition. Continue reading all the real newspapers you can get your hands on and help pull the struggling newspaper business out of the hole.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Scary Facebook security warning

As of an hour ago I had a story almost ready to go for today, and then I got this strange e-mail that changed the topic of what I was going to cover today. The contents of the e-mail are posted below:

Facebook Password Security Alert
Facebook (
Sent: Tue 1/15/08 1:58 PM
Facebook (
Cody Eding (e-mail omitted)


Hey Cody,

We have reset your Facebook account password for security reasons. You will need to use the link provided in this email to create a new, secure password for your account. In the future, please make sure that when you log in to Facebook, you always log in from a legitimate Facebook page with the domain. To reset your password, follow the link below: (link omitted for security reasons)

(If clicking on the link doesn't work, try copying and pasting it into your browser.)

Please contact with any questions.

The Facebook Team


At first I figured it was a hoax. So I went to Facebook and tried to log in. No dice, my password was incorrect. So I looked at the e-mail closer and saw that the link does indeed point to a secure site. However, I still thought the domain was fishy.

Instead of resetting the password through the e-mail I received, I went to Facebook’s home page and reset it from there. Low and behold the reset message came from as well. I reset my password and now I can log back in. Weird.

First of all, I never realized that all Facebook e-mails came from So if you do get this e-mail it appears to be legit. Why they sent it to me is unknown. I will be sending them an e-mail to find out.

My guess is that they think somebody hacked my account and is spamming the system. Why? Because today is my birthday (#19… whoo) and I’ve gotten 40 wall posts in the last 15 hours, which is much more than my usual rate. In addition, I bet I’ve written 40 or so posts back. So I guess the system has a reason to think that a spammer might have taken hold of my account. Oh well, it’s fixed now, but it definitely scared the hell out of me (i.e. virus lockdown mode with all anti-virus and anti-spyware on deck).

I will post the results of my e-mail to Facebook when I receive an answer.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Patriots have clear path to Super Bowl victory (and perfect season)

This weekend’s playoff games couldn’t have gone better for the New England Patriots.

Though the Pats took a while to warm up against the Jaguars, they did end up winning in fairly convincing fashion. But it was the outcomes of the other games that should make the Patriots fan extremely happy.

First in the NFC, the championship game will feature the New York Giants and the Green Bay Packers. Though both teams are good neither team can hang with the Patriots. And you can hold me to it. In fact, if either team does defeat the Patriots (of course, assuming the Pats make the big game) you can publicly humiliate me in the comments of one of my posts. Brett Favre may be good, but Tom Brady is better (along with the rest of his team).

The Pats will face the San Diego Chargers in the AFC Championship game. Normally I would call this a good matchup for the Chargers. However, they are too nicked up to offer much resistance to the Patriot war machine. Philip Rivers, Antonio Gates, and LaDainian Tomlinson are not 100% healthy and to have a chance the Bolts would need these three guys to be spectacular. Plus, the Pats blew out the Chargers 38-14 in week two.

I’ve resigned myself to the fact that the Patriots are going to do it. I like them, but I personally would rather see the Chargers win it all. LT is a great player and is a joy to watch. However, as long as the Lions’ division rivals (Packers) lose, I will be happy.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Yesterday was a sad day for my laptop. Poor Vista fought a good fight, but in the end it was not enough. Finally, I put the nail in the coffin and formatted my pains away forever.

Vista was really nice, but now it is even nicer to be writing this on a fresh install of XP Professional. Sadly, a driver conflict and small program errors were enough to sink the entire Vista boat.

Thankfully, after spending a day with XP as opposed to Vista I have come to see just how amazing Vista was. Don’t despair, don’t give up, sometime in the near future Vista will be the operating system to have.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Baseball’s Hall of Fame: Room for supposed steroid users?

My favorite part of baseball does not take place within the actual season, but during the process of voting for new inductees to Cooperstown.

For those who missed it, Rich “Goose” Gossage was the only inductee this year. In his ninth year on the ballot, Gossage received 85.8% percent of possible votes (75% is needed for induction). Longtime nominee Jim Rice missed the cut once again in his 14th year on the ballot. Mark McGwire managed to only garner about 25% of the total vote in his second year of eligibility.

Frankly, I’m kind of surprised. Though McGwire undoubtedly took steroids, his numbers probably deserve a place in Cooperstown. 583 career home runs merit some sort of spot in my opinion. Let’s not forget that the androstenedione found in McGwire’s locker in 1998 was legal at the time.

The release of the Mitchell Report in December begs the question of how the voters will handle an influx of players that may or may not have taken steroids. Roger Clemens, for instance, would have been a guaranteed first ballot inductee if his name had not been named in the report. Now, Clemens is scrambling to save face and his hall of fame status is in limbo.

If McGwire is any indication, Clemens may just have to wait for a while.

Monday, January 7, 2008

We’re Back: Call of Duty 4 PS3 Review

Sadly for us (and good for our beloved six or so full time readers) GVSU is back in session. Our writing will pick up accordingly.

Our return also marks our first video game review. Though I rarely obtain games on their respective release dates, I hope that our slightly belated reviews will still help those interested in purchasing the game.

I have never been a fan of shooting games. Period. And then I played Halo 3 and Gears of War. Slowly I began to change my opinion of this type of genre.

Call of Duty 4 cemented it.

Playing as the British Special Forces and US Marines the player is deeply immersed into a modern day terrorist-laden storyline that will keep most everyone engaged from beginning to end. Take back control of Russia before the terrorists have their way with the nukes that they have stolen.

As a first time Call of Duty player I was impressed with the entire package, but for sake of the review I will break it down into a couple different sections.

Gameplay: The gameplay is great. Very few games that I have ever played top the amazing realism offered by COD4. The controls are well thought out, and the AI is also very developed. Only on harder difficulty levels does the enemy become insanely difficult to deal with. Though the storyline is rather short (I played through it in less than probably 15 hours on normal) it is very realistic. The replay value is pretty good as well, as the game offers four levels of difficultly.

Visuals: This could go under gameplay, but the visuals on COD4 deserve their own section. The game is easily the most visually stunning one that I’ve ever played. From shadows, to rain, to heat off gun barrels the game recreates everything as if you were actually there. Early on I found myself ducking and twisting like I was actually there.

Multiplayer: This is where the game makes up for its short storyline. The multiplayer is very deep and extremely challenging. Unlike most shooting games, players only appear on radar when they fire weapons. Players are rewarded for doing certain things, and teamwork is very important (which I learned within the first game or so).

Overall, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare would deserve a 9.5 or so out of 10. A longer storyline would have been nice, but the multiplayer more than makes up for it.