Speak Your Mind!

I'm attempting to add a "Comment" feature to this blog. Will I succeed? I have no idea. Will I receive intelligent and edifying comments if I do manage to add the comment feature? Yes. Definitely. I really need to believe that.

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Timothy writes:

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Timothy writes:

Okay, well, it seems to work, even if it isn't as pretty as I'd hoped. I guess I'll fix it up later. Isn't that an intelligent and edifying comment?  

Timothy writes:

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I Hate My VCR


That's my reaction to the "new and improved" user interface on today's
modern VCR's.

My ancient RCA VR617HF VCR finally died on me. So I bought a new VCR — a
Sony. I returned it within one hour when I found that when programming a
start/end time you had to scroll the time up and down — there was no way to
simply enter the numbers of the time.

After I returned the Sony, I checked out the Toshiba's user manual at the
store. Same problem. How about JVC? Same problem. Finally, I figured I'd
just get another RCA. I figured they probably wouldn't change the user


Okay, folks, I want a program to start at 6:00 AM. Why does the VCR not let
me simply press Zero Six Zero Zero?

No, that would be too easy. Instead, if it's 11:00 AM and I want to set the
VCR to start at 6:00 AM, I have to scroll the time with the arrow buttons.

Okay, so I understand that this scrolling method is more intuitive for some
people. Like, anybody who has never dialed a telephone. But why on earth
did the designers of the VCR have to disable the ability to enter numbers
directly? Or did it simply never occur to them that people might like to
... oh, I dunno ... enter numbers with a number pad? Was that too much of a mental leap for them?

I used to be able to program my VCR without looking at the remote or even
turning on the TV — I knew the menus by heart. Now, though, programming my
VCR is an annoying chore. Considering that I tape about three programs a
day — I almost never watch show "live" — this is quite frustrating.

Does somebody know of some way that a RCA DRC6300N (or similar) can be
programmed by pressing the number keys, instead of doing this time-consuming
scrolling procedure?

I'm so irritated by this that I'm going to include some keywords in this
blog entry, on the off-chance some clever person might spot it during a Google
search: TV VCR Remote Program. Enter Start Time Directly. Forced Scroll
Arrow Button Buttons Key Keys. Stupid Idiotic Annoying.

I said it before and I'll say it again: Arrrrrgh!

(By the way, why do VCR's still only support 8 programs? Hello?
Haven't these guys heard that memory is, like, really inexpensive? Arrrrrgh!)

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Timothy writes:

I wonder if I can post a comment here, too?  

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How To Write a Press Release

That's the subject I searched for on Google, so I assume other people will do the same. If they do so before this Saturday, they'll find this extremely interesting information ...



Toronto Skeptical Exposition Features $1000 Psychic Challenge

TORONTO, Canada - If you have psychic powers, you could win a thousand dollars at the Skeptical Exposition in Toronto on Saturday, September 25, 2004. The free contest lets attendees test their ESP by predicting the contents of five envelopes. Participants can view, in advance, the full set of images from which the pictures were chosen.

The Psychic Challenge is a popular feature at the Exposition, being held for the third time in Toronto. Previously known as the Psychic UnFair, the Exposition presents lectures, demonstrations, displays, games, and critical assessment of crop circles, UFOs, ESP, alternative medicine, hoaxes, and other controversial claims.

The Skeptical Exposition is presented by Skeptics Canada, Ontario Skeptics Society for Critical Inquiry, and the University of Toronto Skeptics.

The Exposition is free to the public. It takes place at the Medical Sciences Building, 1 King's College Circle, University of Toronto, from 12 noon to 5 p.m. For additional information, visit www.skeptics.ca.

Contact: Timothy Campbell, Vice-Chair, Skeptics Canada
Telephone: 416-916-2527
Email: skeptex2004@tc123.com

# # #


... and if they read it after this Saturday, well, at least they'll learn the format — which is probably what they wanted to know in the first place.

That's not a fake press release, by the way. The event is really happening. Really. There's such a thing as being too skeptical, you know!

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Painkiller, Anybody?

I just finished playing a demo of the latest Doom-like game, known as Painkiller. Normally I don't write about such things, but I'm curious about the fact that I wasn't able to find cheat codes, strategy guides or whatnot on the web. So I'd like to see what happens when I write a few tips of my own.

Well, mainly one tip, involving the Thor character in the Ruins in the demo. He's the one who's as tall as a skyscraper, and carries a gynormous hammer. Oh, and he pounds everything into rubble, mostly with the aim of turning you into something two-dimensional.

This Thor guy is big. Really, really big. According to the game-maker's site, he has an "Achilles Heel", but they don't say what it is. They say it's a waste of ammo shooting at him until you figure it out. Well, while you're pondering this, you die. So this brings me to my strategy...

Big dude. Big hammer. Bad attitude. What should you do? Run away, right? Wrong.

It turns out the safest place is between his legs. He can't swing the hammer down there. So every time I could, I'd run towards him. Once between his legs, I'd fire upwards at, errr, his loin-cloth. After about half an hour of this, his hammer disappeared. A few minutes more like that (lots of running, lots of jumping over rubble), I vanquished him and collapsed back into my chair.

I am not sure if somehow I did find his Achilles Heel. All I know is that the next time I'm fighting a monster as tall as the Eiffel Tower, I'll know precisely what to do.

And to think they say computer games don't teach us useful life skills.

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Why Won't People Change Their Minds?

My article "Introduction to Antiprocess" explains why it is so hard for people with different beliefs to come to agreement. This is, I think, an issue of interest to skeptics and non-skeptics, theists and atheists, and anybody else who gets entangled in a debate that seems to go nowhere.

The URL for the article is:


If you have any comments, the web page has a "Feedback" section.


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