“pci”s in a “pod”

pci and “pod” — these are two of my (currently) least favorite things.
as regards the pci thing… i haven’t bought a motherboard (by itself), or really looked into motherboards, in probably five years. the last time i was looking around the card slots were isa (dying out), pci, and agp. recently i decided to try and help a friend spec out a new motherboard based on what he needs and what hardware he already has. one thing he has is a pci-x card. so a few years ago they evidently added pci-x. okay, i can understand that.
then they added pci express. so now, back to back, they added two names which are totally easy to confuse. trying to find a pci-x board is a pain, because half the time websites say pci-x they are actually referring to pci express (which is every now and then referred to pci-e). pci express can also come in 4 fruity flavors: 1, 4, 8, and 16. so you’ll see pci express x1, pci, pci-e, pci-x, pci express, pci x16, etc. and sometimes even things like pci-x 8 (which doesn’t exist because pci-x is just pci-x).
how in the world could the pci folk have pci-x out, then decide they should take this new thing originally called “3gio” (a name quite unique from the current standards) and rename it “pci express”? like that’s not obviously going to lead to confusion. hhmmm…what could “x” stand for…how about “express”! but no, they’re completely different.
as regards “pod”… apple created a portable music player and called it the ipod. there were other players, but apple’s device dominated the market. consumers started to call all portable music players “ipods”. then some people figured out they could record things and other people could download them. (okay, that happened long before the players.) but someone figured out they could make it easy to “subscribe” via rss and end users could get the latest recording easily. especially nifty was that you could download it and put it onto your portable player and listen at your leisure while away from your computer. this was similar to broadcasting, but it needed a snappy name (like “webcast”, but that was already taken). terms were thrown around, but the one that eventually stuck was “podcast”. which is kind of dumb, because the whole concept is in no way tied to ipods — but the marketplace loved calling everything an ipod, so the marketplace decided. apple apparently was more than happy to embrace this branding terminology, eventually (years after the term was coined) incorporating podcast capabilities into its itunes software. the term “podcast” was being thrown around by everyone, including a lot of people who had absolutely no idea what a podcast really was. the word “podcast” came into its own. eventually people started tying the word “podcast” to products and websites and all sorts of stuff, using the word for the purpose it was meant, which was player agnostic. as companies and brands are wont to do, people starting contracting and combining terms to make new names for their products and services that can be used for/with podcasting.
at this point, apple suddenly seems to have decided it doesn’t want people using the term “pod”. no, not “ipod”. just “pod”. even though they lovingly embraced “podcast”, now that it’s become a word in common usage (a word the u.s. patent and trademark office has deemed common and thus can not be trademarked) they start worrying — it seems the nice brand advertising potential they embraced now may dilute their good name (which isn’t even actually their name since it doesn’t start with an “i”). they’ve gone after a golf podcasting group, people who make software to keep track of arcade game profits (profitpod), a lady who makes a neoprene slip cover for laptops (tightpod), and a group who makes software along with a website to centralize and automate podcast subscriptions and downloads (podcastready (website) and mypodder (software)), among others. the frenzied sharks…er, lawyers…have even gone after a company who makes moving bags for grand pianos because they’re called “pianopods”.
i must confess that russell from podcastready.com listens to the radio show i help do (technology bytes — geekradio.com) and has gone to a number of our gatherings, both monthly and weekly post-show. but that only explains why i’m more cognizant of what has happened — i’d have the same opinion whether i knew someone involved or not.
also, please don’t take my timeline and explanations above as absolute truth of all events. think of it more as a wikipedia entry…maybe it’s true, maybe it has some inaccuracies.

body piercing saved my life

i completed body piercing saved my life: inside the phenomenon of christian rock by andrew beaujon recently. i thought it was a pretty fair-handed attempt by an agnostic outsider to look into the world of christian music — where it came from, what it is, and what makes it tick. he had interviews with brandon ebel (from tooth and nail records), david bazan (pedro the lion), mark soloman (the crucified and stavesacre), steve taylor, doug van pelt (hm i.e. heaven’s metal), etc. as you can see from my list, he — unlike a lot of people writing about christian music — actually pays a lot of attention to the alternative xian music scene. which is cool for me, since that’s where most of my past experience and interest is. it would have been really easy for him to turn the book into a way of belittling and mocking the scene. and there is certainly plenty about it to dislike or find odd, especially if you are an outsider to it. but fortunately, he manages to rein in some of the knee-jerk reactions a lot of people have and present what i found to be an interesting and worthwhile outsider perspective of the scene. if you’ve ever been into the xian music scene, i recommend this book. and if you haven’t, i think it’s a good introduction to the scene and its oddities.

intelligent design

i completed reading by design: science and the search for G-d by larry witham a few weeks ago. i had feared it would be a semi-intellectual attempt at defending the intelligent design movement. (there are a lot of semi-intellgent people clamoring to defend it. 😉 i was pleasantly surprised to find it actually did a decent job of presenting the various modern views in science, and name-dropped quite a few different folk. i could definitely read a slant toward the i.d. side and a number of times it sort of seems to take shots at darwinists and anti-i.d. folk, but overall it read at a higher level and with more info than i’d expected. thank goodness. i really expected it to come across more as a semi-intellectual muckraking job in an attempt to defend i.d. and attack everyone else. you could do a lot worse than this book if you’re trying to find a book about science and i.d. and modern views. (though if you don’t like i.d. and christians who are scientists, then you probably would get annoyed reading it.)

more books and music

i mentioned going with my parents to a couple of half price books and 75% off books late last week. what i didn’t mention was the stuff i bought. let me take a minute to correct that:
from the half price books at westheimer and montrose:

  • * spadella!: the essential spade cooley – spade cooley (legacy/columbia)
  • * legends of country: 27 all time favourite country hits – various (prism leisure)

from the half price books in rice village:

  • * return to reason – kelly james clark (eerdmans)
  • * letters from a skeptic: a son wrestles with his father’s questions about christianity – dr. gregory a . boyd and edward k. boyd (cook communications)
  • * the eleventh commandment: a story of success – g. vaughn smith (thirsty turtle press)
  • * the gospel according to the simpsons: the spirtual life of the world’s most animated family – mark i. pinsky (wjk)
  • * the gospel according to peanuts – robert l. short (john knox press)
  • * volkswagen military vehicles of the third reich: an illustrated history – blaine taylor (da capo)

and from 75% off books:

  • * the life of st. francis – bonaventure (harper collins spiritual classics)
  • * eyes wide open: looking for G-d in popular culture – william d. romanowski (brazos press)
  • * pop goes religion: faith in popular culture – terry mattingly (w publishing group)
  • * searching for G-d knows what – donald miller (nelson books)
  • * through painted deserts: light, G-d, and beauty on the open road – donald miller (nelson books)
  • * xml – magnus stein and ingo dellwig (addison wesley)

expanding identity

(this is the follow-up to the comment about my mom meeting the lady here in houston at a starbucks…)
my mom was adopted. her parents never hid the fact that she was adopted. from the way it was told, they made it into a positive instead of a negative — other parents were stuck with whatever kid they had, my mom was picked. she had always been told her adoption records had burned up in a fire at the hospital or the adoption agency or whatever. evidently that part of the story probably wasn’t quite true.
in the last few years the story expanded to include that a girl had come from out of state (i recall georgia being the state given), had her, then immediately given her up for adoption. turns out that wasn’t quite correct either.
my mom requested her adoption records be opened a few months ago (or maybe it’s been over a year by now). i think you have to wait like 25 years from the adoption date or something, then the judge in the county where the records are has to approve it. so she got those, and there was almost no info. there were two documents she got that had a signature. after she got them she started looking around some, but nothing came of it.
then a couple of weeks ago she picked up the search again. this time she hit pay-dirt. and on the first contact she attempted. turns out her biological mother lived a couple of counties over in Texas. and my mom’s grandfather was german. not sure about the grandmother. i’m not sure if anything is known about my mom’s dad either. but i guess now i know i’m over half german.
it also turns out i’ve got like five half-aunts and half-uncles. or whatever the term is for aunts and uncles from different fathers. that’s kind of weird, considering my mom and dad were both only children, and thus our immediate family tree was very small.
i don’t know that this will change much of anything for me as far as things go, but it is an interesting bit of information to learn about my biological ancestry.
oh yeah…the lady my mom was meeting at the starbucks. she was a women here in houston who saw a post my mom made on a website asking for information. she evidently helps people try to locate their birth parents in her spare time, and had chosen to try and help my mother. my mom wanted to meet her and show her the pics she’d taken with her two sisters (or half-sisters, or whatever), and thank her for helping.

parental units

the parents came down thursday. i met up with them at half price books on westheimer near montrose, sometime around 1pm. we then went and ate at angelo’s, which is a german restaurant on montrose just north of westheimer. from there we went to the holocaust museum. i’d parked near it for a year or two but had never gone. it is a pretty powerful statement about goings on before, during, and after world war ii. there’s almost certainly at least one thing there — an object, a picture, etc — that will deeply affect you. it’s also pretty amazing how easy it seems to be to get ordinary people to be involved in committing atrocities while they convince themselves they’re not culpable. we left there around 5pm, so to avoid rush hour traffic we stopped by the west alabama ice house. we hung out there for a couple of hours, then went to james coney island at the corner of shepard and richmond. from there it was off to the half price books in rice village. the evening was finished off with a cup of coffee and a slice of pie at the house of pies.
friday we got up and headed down to galveston. the original plan was to go to moody gardens, but after discussing options we ended up going to the Texas seaport museum. i was mostly interested because on their website they have a database where you can search ship rolls for immigrants, and they talk about immigration to Texas through galveston. unfortunately, the museum itself only has a very small area discussing immigration. the 1877 elissa is docked at the museum also, and that was definitely interesting. i’m not much of a fan of sea culture or the sea though. it doesn’t capture my imagination. i don’t like nautical themes, seafood, etc. after the museum visit, we headed back to houston and went to sylvia’s enchilada. the food was excellent, as usual. my mom planned a meeting with a lady at starbucks (more about that in an upcoming entry), so my dad and i dropped her off and then went by cavender’s and a barnes and noble. afterward, my mom thought it’d be good to grab some microwave popcorn. except i don’t have a microwave. so i went old school and bought a jar of popcorn and some cooking oil. the popping went well. but i didn’t have any butter or salt in the house, so the popcorn was kind of bland. (i live like a true bachelor.) my dad started to look at some of the books he’d bought and my mom and i watched the coen brother’s first film blood simple. i think it’s a great movie, but i don’t think my mom was too excited about it.
saturday we got up and ate brunch at le peep (westheimer and wilcrest). we dropped by 75% off books and whole foods as well, since they are in the same strip center. we then headed back to the house where my parents packed, loaded the water trough from the back yard into their pickup, and headed on their way.
they offered to haul off a bunch of the stuff tamara left behind, but i still feel guilty just tossing it and not going through it. i seriously think one day she may realize how stupid it was of her to leave some of the stuff she did. given what she’s done to me i should probably not care and gleefully burn it in a big bonfire, but most of the time i just don’t have the heart to do it. plus i don’t really feel like it’d give me much satisfaction. yeah, she fscked me over…and over, and over — but it just doesn’t seem to be able to make me stay a sadistic, evil b4st4rd. that only comes in fits and spurts, usually right after she’s done something new to me, or i’m having to deal with some painful issue that’s a result of her actions. but those moments don’t last, and usually i don’t accomplish much in the way of dastardly deeds during those phases — i’m more likely to just fume and scream for awhile, then break down and cry and wish this all weren’t really happening. i’m much more evil and sadistic in my mind than most anything that ever sees the light of day.