NYTimes archives free

As of midnight last night, the New York Times has made anything in their archives newer than 1987 available for free. Even more interestingly, everything in the public domain (1851-1922) is also available for free, although it looks like they’re mostly just in PDF format. How can they do this? They expect to make more in increased advertising revenue than they did with the paid subscriptions.

You can find the NYTimes coverage of the most important events of the 19th century pretty easily:

Go, search!

Update, 20 Sep: Jason Kottke has posted some more of his own finds.

Academy Award Nominations

In 2006, I hardly did any better than the year before. I’ve hardly seen any of the Oscar-nominated movies.

Category # seen
Best Picture 1
Best Actor 0
Best Actress 0
Best Director 0
Best Screenplay 1
Best Adapted Screenplay 0

The Departed, The Queen, and Children of Men are all still very high on my “to-see” list. Those three alone would push my combined total up to 9. The AP contrasts this year’s Best Picture nominee field with last years – they claim that there’s no immediate widely-accepted favorite. (Of course, last year’s favorite didn’t win..)

Update 26 Feb: For the first time since 2003, I saw the winner of the Oscar for Best Picture (The Departed) in a first-run theater before the night of the awards. That was the only additional top-award nominee I saw, but it brought my total up to six. The only other award winner I've seen is An Inconvenient Truth, which I coincidentally saw just this weekend.

Wii Day

Today’s almost certainly the day. With events planned for today in Japan and the US, and tomorrow in Europe, and pretty much all of the rumored launch dates mere weeks away, it looks like today’s the day to finally hear details from Nintendo on the Wii’s pricing and the list of launch titles. And the true date. I’ll be updating this post as the day goes on.

Right now, Wii.com is live, but only the Japanese section. From the Japanese event we know the price and date for Japan: 25000 yen on December 2. Nintendo has previously said that they can’t manage a simultaneous worldwide launch, but that all the major markets would be within a couple weeks. That seems to indicate a late-November date for the US.

Unsurprisingly, there will be only one Wii box at launch, but sadly it will have only one remote. We also have Japan Virtual Console pricing deets (NES 500 yen, SNES 800 yen, N64 1000 yen; the equivalent of about 4, 7, and 9 dollars).

Perhaps the biggest news I’ve seen thus far is the list of launch titles. WarioWare, Monkey Ball, and Trauma Center should make this a killer investment in my house, but it’s also very nice to know that Twilight Princess is going to be available at launch, despite some recent rumors to the contrary.

Update 7:45: The Seattle Post-Intelligencer ran an article today that it claims came from the New York Times wire citing November 19 and $250. If anyone got advance information, it's the NYT. And I could totally see them "accidentally" putting it on their wire. On the other hand, it claims that Wii Sports will be included with "every Wii", and we already know that that's not true for Japan.

Update 9:40: USA Today confirms the NYT's info, plus includes a photo of the all-important box. And the box proclaims "Wii Sports Included!" pretty prominently.

Update 12:30: It's all over, and it's pretty much all true. $249.99, November 19. Only one remote but including Wii Sports. Remotes for $40. Plus some other interesting features, like the Miis (personal avatars that you can copy to the remote to bring to a friend's house), Wii channels, and free Internet play. Guess it's time to start saving up and counting down the minutes.

Update 14:31: This is the last update, I swear. There are 52 Wii games, including both first- and third-party, scheduled for release before the end of March. That's quite a lineup. Compare it to the Gamecube launch: a dismal three launch titles, and only 12 within the first month. Most were simple ports, and only one was even close to a first-party franchise (Luigi's Mansion).

Three new planets

Supposedly, there’s going to be a new planet definition proposal made the IAU today. Everyone thinks “Pluto is a planet. It just is, so whatever we propose needs to keep it a planet”. So the new proposal also adds three new planets to the solar system: Xena (that’s 2003 UB313 to you), Ceres (the first discovered and largest known asteroid-belt object), and even Pluto’s moon Charon. Under the proposed definition, “A planet is a celestial body that (a) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape, and (b) is in orbit around a star, and is neither a star nor a satellite of a planet.” What’s that you ask? Why does that make Charon a planet? Well, it’s because the barycenter for its orbit lies above the surface of Pluto. It would now be considered a double-planet system.

The rule also introduces the likelihood of even more planets (like Quaoar and Orcus) once we have a better idea of their size and mass. I definitely like some of the new terminology: a “Pluton” is any planet beyond Neptune. We need to start working on a new mnemonic for MVEMCJSUNPCX. Go.

Update 10:15: The IAU press release

WWDC 2006

Is anyone else unimpressed with Apple’s WWDC announcements today? They’re cool, I guess, but there was no real bang. Certainly no surprise. I suppose if I had a Mac, I might be excited about some of the Leopard details, but none of them seem especially groundbreaking to me. The Mac Pro was not only rumored for weeks, but doesn’t seem especially spectacular or surprising. (Let’s see, Macbook, Macbook Pro, iMac, Mac Mini.. Hmm.. What else could they transition to Intel?)

Okay, 16GB of RAM and 2TB of disk in a desktop is pretty impressive. But.. I dunno. What am I missing?

Four random Saturday links

Here’s a random Saturday link-dump:

  1. Don't believe BusinessWeek's bubble-math - Web 2.0 plus shoddy journalism equals a firm foundation for another bubble. BusinessWeek takes a made up number, multiplies it by a rumored percentage, contradicts itself several times, and most readers are probably just thinking "Wow, what a smart kid!" Related: A hilarious parody.
  2. Saved locations on Google Maps - This is a great thing. I've been waiting for some sort of smart auto-complete on Google Maps since day one. The interface is a little crusty (I wish I could click on a bubble anywhere and say "save this location" instead of having to have all locations saved), but I'm certain this is just release number one.
  3. No Space World and Mario Galaxy could be available at launch. Or rather, no one has yet verified that Mario Galaxy won't be available at launch. Related: The early October release rumors still seem to have some air in them.
  4. Two Cool Bash Tricks - Holy cow. Both are total life savers, but the second more than the first. Redirecting output to two files before you can diff them is a big pain in the neck. (via)

Nintendo Name Game

The GDC keynote (that supposedly might reveal the final name of the Nintendo Revolution) doesn’t start for more than two hours, but that’s not preventing the rumors from flying. Might it be the double-entendre Nintendo Go? (The Japanese word “go” means five, and this is the big N’s fifth console.) I’m not sure how I feel about the name, but I’m loving the classic-meets-modern cubed-D-pad logo.

Update 11:49: In this interview done last night, Iwata says that he's going to hold back a lot of Revolution information until E3 in May. Whether this means we won't even get a name today is left to be seen.

Update 14:44: News: You'll be able to download and play Sega Genesis and TurboGrafix 16 games on the Revolution, in addition to the previously-known NES, SNES, and N64 games. But it looks like there was no name change today. Set your clocks for the E3 keynotes!

Update 15:56: Here are detailed notes on Iwata's entire keynote.

Update 27 Mar: It's not a name, but the head of Nintendo's PR, Beth Llewelyn, verified in no uncertain terms that Revolution's name will change. She also claims to not know what the name is.

Flickring the news

I don’t get the newspaper, and I don’t watch TV news programs; instead, I get almost all of my news via the Internet and NPR. The problem with this is that I don’t often get a chance to see what places or people in the news look like.

For me, Flickr is a great way to follow current news events visually. Today, I’m keeping an eye on photos tagged with strike and the NYC group pool.

Revolution Controller

My first reaction to the now-revealed Nintendo Revolution controller was to think of every remote control I’ve ever used. With very few exceptions, they’re uncomfortable and hard to get to do what you want them to do. But after reading that 1up article, and watching the intro video, I started to get it. “Revolution” is the only word that fits. If you think of this as turning a television into a three-dimensional DS-like touchscreen, the controller design makes a lot of sense.

Joystiq has an overview of Iwata’s whole keynote, with a lot of his (and Nintendo’s) rationale and point-of-view.

Matthew 5:43-48

This post is going to be extremely unlike me. I'm going to quote the New Testament, and I'm going to say that it's an insightful passage that everyone could learn from:

"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." -- Matthew 5:43-48

That's an insightful passage that everyone could learn from. Strip out the weird "tax collectors" and anti-pagan parts, and you have the core of Jesus' message: Unconditional love. What's so damn hard about that?

24 Apologizing to Muslims

In previous years, 24’s bad guys roster has included a family from the Balkans, unidentified Mideastern countries, Mexican drug smugglers, and a British former intelligence officer. (Not to mention Nina. Where’s she from?) But Muslims are (rightfully) upset with the depiction of the otherwise normal-seeming Araz family as a terrorist sleeper cell.

Your local Fox affiliate may begin showing PSA’s before, during, or after the episodes.

Woman eats six pound burger

Remember those six pound burger photos that made the rounds a while ago? The bar’s challenge – eat the burger in less than three hours – has been met by a 19-year-old 100-pound female college student from New Jersey.


The last time the European Space Agency tried to drop something onto a planet, the Beagle 2 was lost, and no one was able to determine why. This time, the Cassini orbiter has dropped Huygens onto the surface of Titan, Saturn’s largest moon and one of the few atmosphered bodies in the solar system. If everything is going according to plan, Huygens should have hit the ground about an hour ago, and NASA will begin recieving data (relayed through Cassini) around 10:30 EST.

Update: "European Space Agency mission managers for the Huygens probe confirm that data of the probe's descent to Saturn's moon Titan are being received." "The Huygens team ... hope to release first images later today." Great news!

Macworld Expo rumors

Macworld Expo starts tomorrow, and here’s a good rundown of all the rumors. It’s been difficult to see the wisdom of some of Apple’s decisions lately (although, like Jack Bauer, they were eventually shown to be right). But just about everyone sees immediately that both the flash iPod and the headless iMac are ridiculously good ideas.

Update: iPod shuffle, Mac mini (no i?)

Jerry Orbach dies

Long-time Law and Order star, Jerry Orbach, has died from prostate cancer at 69. I love that show, and the character was just so dang witty and sarcastic. He’ll be missed.

/me pours a beer on the curb

Nintendo Revolution controllers

The newest Nintendo Revolution rumor is that the new console will not have a D-pad or buttons on the controllers. Anyone’s obvious first thought is: “touchpad?” A totally dynamic controller would be pretty cool, if it was still comfortable.

Also, Nintendo has confirmed that the console will be shown at E3 2005.

Game Boys as a drug

An anesthesiologist has discovered that allowing children to play Game Boy for a few minutes can be used as a replacement for pre-anesthesia tranquilizers. Imagine playing wireless multiplayer DS with your brother in the waiting room. That would be the best surgery ever.


Fox is planning on creating twenty-four one-minute shorts based on characters from 24 for display on cellphones. I don’t have a phone capable of playing videos, but it would be mad cool. They’d make good TV advertisements, too, I bet.

Also: Mark your calendars. Fox has scheduled the two-hour premiere for Sunday 9 January at 8pm (or whenever the football game ends). Episode 2 is the next night at 9, in the show’s new timeslot.

Half-Life 2 packages available tomorrow

This just in:

Tomorrow at 11 am PST [I think they mean PDT, which is 2pm EDT], the Half-Life 2 Steam offers will be ready for purchase. Those who purchase via Steam, will receive the final version of Counter-Strike: Source immediately.

This news, prices (bronze $50, silver $60, gold $90), and details available.

Half-Life Purchase Options

Half-Life Fallout has a list of purchase options for Half-Life 2. Six CDs, three different Steam packages, and Counter-Strike: Source available for play by next week. Does that mean HL2 will be available at the same time, or shortly thereafter?

But it’s gonna cost more to get HL2 (through Steam) with CS:S than without it? Ouch, that’s gonna be a tough choice.

Update: HLFallout.net is running a bit slow, Halflife2.net has the information on their front page, also.

New $50

Not that you see them as often as Yuppie Food Stamps, but the firty-dollar bill got a new design (including color). Here’s a comparison with the newest $20 design, just for reference.

Canadian Journalist Saved by Google

A few weeks ago, Canadian Journalist Scott Taylor was kidnapped by insurgents in northern Iraq. A Google search helped save his life. (Streaming audio)

RotK EE Release

Return of the King Extended Edition info:

Release date: December 14
Pre-ordering starts: October 1 (This Friday)
Movie length: 4 hours, 10 minutes
More information here

Update 09-28: The Fellowship of the Ring Extended Edition is 208 minutes. The Two Towers Extended Edition is 208 231 minutes. The Return of the King Extended Edition is 250 minutes. 208 + 208 + 250 = 666 minutes. Update update: IMDB and Amazon disagree about Two Towers' runtime. I'd be likely to agree with IMDB, though, so that means the symbolism is broken. Oh well!

HL2 RC Sent

The Half-Life 2, Counter-Strike: Source, and Half-Life: Source Release Candidates have been sent to Vivendi. Now we play the waiting game (some more).

The waiting game sucks. Let’s play Hungry, Hungry Hippos!

Beer is Good For You

The are a lot of good reasons to drink a glass of red wine every day. Now, there might be just as many to drink a pint of stout, too. Bring on the Guinness!