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"Serial Bus is a place for me to dump interesting links that I find."


"Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque laudantium, totam rem aperiam, eaque ipsa quae ab illo inventore veritatis et quasi architecto beatae vitae dicta sunt explicabo."


Zac Efron in Firefly Thursday, July 30, 2009 | comments

Figured it was time I make a post that unites all the Serial Bus readers that love both High School Musical and Joss Whedon Sci Fi shows. So there I was, making my way through Firefly when who do I see but a little version of Zac Efron playing the young version of Simon (pictured below). You can tell he's the young version of that character because even at a young age he shares adult Simon's affinity for hair combed to the side and sleeveless overshirts.

[Previously on Serial Bus: I'm a Mac guy and Stands-with-Fist on BSG]

Take note, record labels | comments

By now, you've probably seen the video of the wedding processional that enters dancing to Chris Brown music.

Well, it turns out that of the 12 million people that watched it, enough people then went out and bought the Chris Brown song to propel it to be one of the best selling songs on iTunes. [see full NYTimes post]

Record labels, can we please stripping youtube videos of their music now?

As a nerd, I see where they are coming from | comments

The latest KODT Magazine had a little blurb about this contraption called the Dice-O-Matic. i If there's one thing that tabletop gaming nerds like, it's dice. Everyone has dice that roll well, dice that are good for specific tasks (i.e. casting fireball), and dice that fail you when you need them to pull through for you. Dice go on streaks and sometimes you need to switch out one die for another. Just accept that you might not be able to understand unless you've played.

Now, as for this machine: let me quote KODT:
"According to the machine's creator, gamesbyemail uses some 80,000 dice rolls per day on its online hosted games such as its Backgammon, Risk, and Axis & Allies clones. Players often complained that the computer generated results aren't truly 'random' so they set out to address their concerns"
And so nerds banded together, made donations, and created this machine that is able to generate 1.3 million rolls per day with actual physical dice (though only of the six-sided variety).

Art on Styrofoam Cups Wednesday, July 29, 2009 | comments

Via Digg, check out his flickr gallery

Teamwork | comments

Adults these days. | comments

Here at our apartment community, have carports for all residents (somewhat like the ones pictured). Everyone gets one spot and gets it free.

We have an older resident who is taking up two carports: one is his registered spot and one is a spot that is assigned to no one because it floods from time to time. We don't charge him for the second one and don't bother him about the second one.

Over the past couple months, however, we have had to send him not one but two letters asking him to not park in a third spot that belongs to other residents. These residents don't use their spot often, but assisted living comes every day to check on them and need to use that space.

Someone from assisted living came by today to complain that he was parked in their spot again. Looking to spare the 3-spot-resident the expense of being towed (despite it being allowed and deserved), I gave her a "THIS CAR IS ILLEGALLY PARKED" sign to put on his windshield and she added a note of her own to it.

What was his response? He tore up the sign and note and jammed them in our drop box. Next time he's getting towed.

Self spamming Tuesday, July 28, 2009 | comments

I've recently become quite the eBay seller, putting a bunch of Magic cards online that I don't have amy place in my decks. I figure if I can't make any money playing Magic [given my 2-0-7 and 2-1-8 records in the last two tournaments I played in], I might as well make some money selling Magic.

My main problem is that I'll get on eBay after listing my cards and then poke around to see what other people are offering up for sale. "4x Silence for $.99?!" I will say "Those are worth $11.00 each! I could resell those".

And so I put a $3 max bid on this and a host of other auctions all 6 days 11hrs away from finishing. So of course in that time everyone else sees these auctions and bids on the exact same cards.

And in the end, all I accomplish is spamming myself with "You have been outbid on..." and "Sorry you didn't win on...." messages from ebay as the auctions all end over the course of the next week.

Thankfully, selling things has gone well so far (already sold a $12 card after a day). Now it's on to rework my deck so that I can actually win at tournaments again. Sorry Boggart Ram-Gang, I've got better, more successful decks to make.

Out of place sidenote: if you have any books left over from college, sell them on half.com this instant before they depreciate in value any further. There's good money to be made

Attn Ann Arbor: Apartment Plz! Monday, July 27, 2009 | comments

The great thing about the apartment listing site move.com is that it sends us a lot of leads of looking for apartments. The bad thing is, they make it so easy to send leads that people just blanket the internet with information requests. After I take the time to write someone an email with detailed information, they'll write back with "Thanks for the info but it’s a little to [sic] far south for us." which could have been fixed if they would have scrolled down far enough to look at a map to see that we are nowhere near walking distance to campus.

It's kinda like when people from a decade ago message you on Facebook and ask, "hey hows it going" and expect you to write back your 10 year life history after no work on their part.

Camera sees like the human eye (sorta) Sunday, July 26, 2009 | comments

I can't say that the above photo looks like what I would have expected. More info/photos at the source post, but here's the basics:
"How would images look if we captured them on a camera that was based on the Human Eye? Taking into consideration our field of vision, optical sensory and the brain’s perception of images, George Milde has developed the Human Eye Camera. This device combines modern technology with digital postproduction. When the light hits the “eye” of the camera, it is spread via a prism onto three arrange-able sensors."

Horrible idea Thursday, July 23, 2009 | comments

From Units, the National Apartment Association trade magazine.
Yes, let's invite people to lease apartments using imagery associated with parties and alcohol; that is the lifestyle we are trying to portray.

To be fair though, the guy (in Royal Oak) that made up that promotion clearly has his marketing plan together on their community website. They've got a demographic they're looking to reach and they know how to get their attention (for example, calling the other community the "beige box down the street").

The Ann Arbor News is through | comments

After 174 years, the Ann Arbor News is printing its last paper. Its replacement, AnnArbor.com will primarily be online but still have print editions on Thursday and Sunday.

Photo Gallery: Last Day in the Newsroom

Article: What the staff are up to after the closing [No mention of what Leisa Thompson, their best photog, is doing]

One writer's retrospective

Staff member memories on video

[Picture at right: The front page of The Ann Arbor News on Aug. 15, 2003 during a multi-state blackout.]

Ivanhoe Apartments in Ann Arbor sued for discrimination Wednesday, July 22, 2009 | comments

Check out the following blatant discrimination from a local Ann Arbor apartment community. Here's an excerpt from the full story in the Ann Arbor News:
Over [a 10 year span], the [Fair Housing] center sent teams of African American and white prospective residents to the complex and claims that management consistently and repeatedly misrepresented the availability of apartments. The suit also alleges the apartment managers delayed applications and discouraged prospective renters based on race or color.


The lawsuit highlights one instance in April 2008 where the white team was shown a two-bedroom apartment and told it would be available within two weeks. Within the hour, a black woman seeking the same type of apartment was told none was available to view and that no vacancies were scheduled until that July or August. An hour later, a second white team visited the complex and was shown the same apartment as the previous white prospective renters.
My friend John was once a shopper that went over there and he was told they didn't have students there and I've heard of another time when a woman was told that they don't have kids there. This is like the very definition of fair housing violations.

Girl goes nuts when she meets Ron from Harry Potter | comments

The best part is when she touches his eye lashes.

There's also captioned versions of the interview w/ Harry

Fake bus stop keeps people from escaping nursing home Tuesday, July 21, 2009 | comments

As linked on boingboing, there's this nursing home where the average age is 84 and the residents have memory problems. To help keep people from escaping, they built a fake bus stop that escapers will stop at (and no bus will ever come)
“We will approach them and say that the bus is coming later today and invite them in to the home for a coffee,” said Mr Neureither. “Five minutes later they have completely forgotten they wanted to leave.”

I now present to you Mr. And Mrs. Kelly Hildebradnt | comments

tl;dr version: Two people named Kelly Hildebrandt are getting married. The woman did a facebook search for people with her same name, yadda yadda yadda, they are getting married.


If everyone wins, everyone loses. Monday, July 20, 2009 | comments

Out of curiosity was looking through a list of all the games that have Bible versions (in case, you know, I ever needed a version of Apples to Apples with Ruth or Devout cards) and I came upon a game that I never want to play. I present to you, LifeStories. Specificially, I was looking at the Bible edition but these rules seem to be true for the non-Biblical version too.

A list of questions to ask each other thinly veiled as a game, LifeStories is a game where you ask each other questions like "Tell about a time when you couldn't stop laughing" How do you win? You don't.
"Best of all, everyone wins. Play continues until each person finishes the game. As a player enters the winner's circle, everyone joins the Grand Celebration!"

If anyone ever finds a copy of Redemption (a Christian-themed Magic) though, I will so play a game of that.

Look. It has a Job's Wife card.

Wizards of the Coast, it would be great if you would make a Bibled themed magic (hey, you made an Asian culture set) so we could get quirky cards like those below, but I don't expect that any time soon.

The mock-up card above was made by a guy that even turned Pharoah's dream into a card

65536 hrs remaining | comments

Today's XKCD is definitely something that Karen and I can relate to. For whatever reason between Windows XP and Windows Vista, windows lost the ability to even ballpark how long files are going to take to transfer. Estimates of many days are pretty common and then it will go down to around 40 seconds and say that 40 seconds remain for 2 minutes.

Look at this shirt. Look at it. Friday, July 17, 2009 | comments

[source] is a parody of this amazon shirt and its awesome reviews

A sea of keypads and screens | comments

Look closely; below you see a photo of taken of discarded cell phones in an Atlanta landfill. Or, better yet, go see the full photoset in full size.

Everyone loves when new product hits the streets | comments

Today the new Magic set comes out. It occurred to me that "Cracking packs of boosters" probably isn't the best away message to put on gchat since it would read like I'm getting Stims rather than opening foil-wrapped cards.

When a new set comes out, it's like a nerd holiday. It's always fun to go by the game store when a new set comes out since everyone shares the joy in the good cards that other people open up. Then people start breaking out their new strategies and new decks.

We're nerds; what can I say.

Half Earth Thursday, July 16, 2009 | comments

Photo of Earth from Boston.com's look back at Apollo 11 in photos.

No more flashing-the-paparazzi photos thanks to flashing the paparazzi | comments

When a photog sets up a multi-light shoot, it's pretty common that he has one flash that's connected to his camera while the others are set up as slaves: when they see flash, they fire off their flash too simultaneously.

Some wise person took this same technology and put it into a handbag. When the paparizzi shoots off their flash, the bag flashes back right in their face, ruining the photo.

While I don't want to spoil the awesomeness but this has two main problems
1) It only works when someone's using flash
2) With so many photographers hitting you at once, the flash won't be able to cycle fast enough to stay caught up with all 20 flashes going off. Hopefully they figured out a way around this in the design.

Regardless: very clever.

Someone got thrown into a holographic saloon window onto the street even Wednesday, July 15, 2009 | comments

I picked up Joss Whedon's Firefly series at the library. I figured I owed it to my nerddom to see a Joss Whedon show and I've heard its a great series (though short at only one season long). What I didn't expect is that it would be a space western. All the music is guitars, most of the action happens in the desert, and there are gunfights and horses and stuff. I'm currently on the second episode and they're pulling off a train robbery.

Sure, between stuff they fly through space on ships with nuclear reactors, but when you get down to it, it's a Western. Perhaps when I get a few episodes into it I'll be able to let you know better how I like it.

Here's the opening to give you a better feel of the music's feel

Harry Potter Roundup | comments

1) If any of you internet video sites are looking for a good prank, head over to a screen of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and right as big "WB" logo appears on the screen, put on your dementor costume and then start running around the theater. Soul stealing optional.

2) Harry Potter was a good movie

3) The most recent Harry Potter movie introduces Horcruxes. The way these work is exactly like a Lich's Phylactery (to quite the d20srd: "An integral part of becoming a lich is creating a magic phylactery in which the character stores its life force. As a rule, the only way to get rid of a lich for sure is to destroy its phylactery"), which is amusing to me because I think "Oh so these are like Liches" and if Karen ever read anything with liches she would say "Oh, these are like Horcruxes!"

4) We saw a sold out midnight showing. It's always fun to watch a movie with so many people since you get to see everyone dressed up and hear everyone gasp at the same time. It's clear that all the people there are big HP fans. There was a time near the end of the movie where 6 people in different parts of the movie theater all got up: from reading the books they knew that it was the best time to run to the bathroom.

Like a proton torpedo into a thermal exhaust port | comments

"[At a wedding in Italy] the bride and groom had hired a small plane to fly past and throw the bouquet to a line of women guests, Corriere della Sera reported. However, the flowers were sucked into the plane's engine causing it to catch fire and explode."

[full article]

It's not every day I get the chance to hastily photoshop together Magic cards and someone else's wedding photography.

The Art of John Avon Tuesday, July 14, 2009 | comments

In searching for the art to [the magic card] Pyroclasm for my fire photoshopped into other post, I came to discover a gallery of art by its artist, John Avon and it turns out a lot of the cool art of Magic art comes from this guy. It must be tough for him to spend all that time on the detail of those photos only to have them printed so small on cards (and, well, below):

(Bonus fact: When Karen started talking about painting abstract forms and color on the wall, I thought it would be cool to do something like the mountain above)

It sure would be great to be able to photoshop draw that well: I have no idea how they can do that. Well, I guess I have some idea (video by a different guy):

but still.

Ant closeup | comments

400 photos taken w/ an electron microscope. Zoom even closer at:

Urban renewal in its most plastic form Monday, July 13, 2009 | comments

[more info]

Man loses over 400 lbs and looks like a completely different person Friday, July 10, 2009 | comments

Kaizo Mario Tuesday, July 7, 2009 | comments

Someone hacked Super Mario World and made into a crazy 16 level exercise in frustration. The video below is made using an emulator (in which you can rewind and slow down time), but it's still pretty impressive that he was able to accomplish it, even with infinite tries.

Gives Me Attention Monday, July 6, 2009 | comments

Gives Me Hope is the blog-opposite of F My Life, and I subscribed to it for the interesting stories of people doing nice things. For example, the other day, there was a story about a Starbucks where one person paid for the drink of the person in the drive-through behind him and that person then did the same for the person behind him and this then spread to over 100 people doing the same thing that day.

The problem, however, is a recent string of posts like this:
"Today, I IMed everyone online, whether they knew me or not, telling them they're beautiful. My friend wrote back "we need more ppl like you." I look on here [referring to GMH], and I know there are more people like me. GMH"
It would be one thing if the recipient of these IMs wrote in to GMH to talk about the nice thing that their friend did and how it changed their day, but this post is written by the person that did the nice thing.

It's the equivalent of me writing a post saying "I sure am great! The other day a friend told me how great I was! The world needs more people like me and I'm glad, for the sake of humanity, that there are people like me that visit my site! I'm glad that I'm able to bring this glimmer of hope to your life."

I beg to differ | comments

Today a recent move-in came in the office saying that he wasn't able to pay rent on time because I hadn't told him what the rent amount was going to be when he moved in.

So I pulled out a copy of the hand written reminder letter I had sent him that told him how to pay rent, when to pay rent, and the amount to pay rent.

(We still waived the late fee this one time)

Banksy at it again Sunday, July 5, 2009 | comments

Parody of The Gleaner's from his Bristol Art Show

Looks cute on you, looks cute on you Saturday, July 4, 2009 | comments

[via The Soup]

If only Ann Arbor had Flea Markets like this | comments

[Via Gabe of Penny Arcade]

Giant Flag Knit By Construction Equipment | comments

Unfortunately, there wasn't any info on how they pulled this off

I'm guessing they must have made it somewhere else and then just hung it on the needles, but still

Prepare to lose all your residents Friday, July 3, 2009 | comments

An Ann Arbor Management company with 1000 residents lost a set of master keys and there are now suddenly a rash of home invasion with no sign of forced entry


As Phil pointed out I don't know how they're going to handle this one. I'm sure the residents are absolutely furious and want their locks changed, but I doubt that it's logistically feasible, changing all the locks for all those people.

Guy choreographs dance to mii channel music Thursday, July 2, 2009 | comments

I want to see this guy ride an elevator.

FPS Disorder | comments

A great story | comments

My boss's husband told me this great story from when he was in the Navy.

So one day one of the cooks was making food and, in a freak accident, a small fragment of egg shell got in his eye. It was this huge ordeal and very painful for him, and of course, later, there was all this paperwork that had to be filled out to document the accident.

Days later, they're all in formation and this cook finds out that he's being awarded the purple heart.

The reason? Whoever wrote up the accident report wrote that the cook had gotten a "shell fragment" in his eye and all the brass assumed that this referred to shrapnel rather than yolknel.

He did the right thing and returned the purple heart (which would have entitled him to extra benefits and pension for life), but got a great story out of it for life.