Barack said WHAT?

OK, this is going to be straight to the point.

I got an email from my father this morning, asking me to verify it. It made some amazing claims about Obama, and I couldn’t resist. It was such a shocking bunch of claims, that I decided to write up a reply, and send it to everyone who had an email address listed on the chain. I’ve included the main content of the email I received, as well as my reply. I encourage you to pass this around, I hope more people find this and read it.

Subject:  Wow, if you want to read something that will scare your socks off, read this in its entirety!

Perhaps there are SOME out there who are beginning to get ‘the picture’.  The following is a narrative taken from Sunday Morning’s televised ‘Meet The Press’. and the author is employed by none other than the Washington Post!!  Yeah……the Washington Post of New York and Los Angeles Times fame!!  Must say that I’m dually impressed………………

From Sunday’s Televised ‘Meet the Press’ Senator Obama was asked

about his stance on the American Flag.  Obama Explains National Anthem Stance Sun, 07 Sept. 2008 11:48:04 EST, General Bill Ginn’ USAF (ret.) asked Obama to explain why he doesn’t  follow protocol when the National Anthem is played.

The General also stated to the Senator that according to the United States Code,

Title 36, Chapter 10, Sec. 171… During rendition of the national anthem when the flag is displayed, all present except those in uniform are expected to stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. At the very least, ‘Stand and Face It’

Senator Obama Live on Sunday states, ‘As I’ve said about the flag pin, I don’t want to be perceived as taking sides, Obama said. ‘There are a lot of people in the world to whom the American flag is a symbol of oppression. And the anthem itself conveys a war-like message. You know, the bombs bursting in air and all. It should be swapped for something less parochial and less bellicose. I like the song ‘I’d Like To Teach the World To Sing.’ If that were our anthem, then I might salute it.’We should consider to reinvent our National Anthem as well as to redesign our Flag to better offer our enemies hope and love. It’s my intention, if elected, to disarm America to the level of acceptance to our Middle East Brethren. If we as a Nation of warring people, should conduct ourselves as the nations of Islam, whereas peace prevails. Perhaps a state or period of mutual concord between our governments. When I become President, I will seek a pact or agreement to end hostilities between those who have been at war or in a state of enmity, and a freedom from disquieting oppressive thoughts. We as a Nation have placed upon the nations of Islam an unfair injustice. My wife disrespects the Flag for many personal reasons. Together she and I have attended several flag burning ceremonies in the past, many years ago. She has her views and I have mine’. Of course now, I have found myself about to become the President of the United States and I have put aside my hatred. I will use my power to bring CHANGE to this Nation, and offer the people a new path of hope. My wife and I look forward to becoming our Country’s First Family. Indeed, CHANGE is about to overwhelm the United States of America.

WHAAAAAAAT the Hell !!!

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, you heard it right. This could possibly be our next President.

I, for one, am speechless.

And, my reply


My name is Tim Rosenblatt, and although you probably don’t know me, I received an email about Barack Obama which had your email address listed on it. So, you’ve probably recently seen an email about Barack having appeared on Meet the Press, and discussing why he doesn’t pledge allegiance to the flag, why he thinks our National Anthem should change, and a few other shocking comments.

My father sent this email to me, asking me about it. I am personally a Barack supporter, but after reading it, I thought the claims were outrageous. Since I think everyone should be given a fair shot, I looked into it.

This original email seems to have been sent on Oct 9, and talks about “last Sunday”, which I can only assume is Oct 5. It also mentions Sept 7. Obama wasn’t on that show on either of those dates. Neither was Bill Ginn.

According to the website for Meet the Press (the following links), the last time Obama was on Meet the Press was July 27, 2008. Bill Ginn wasn’t on the show. You can even read the transcripts of all of their shows with these links. – The full transcript of Barack’s last appearance on Meet the Press

I’m sending this out because I think that making a good decision is hard enough with all of the truthful information out there. We don’t need fake rumors clogging up our brains.

Also, I know we’re close to Election Day, but I’d like to ask you to send me any other claims you’ve gotten in your email. I’d appreciate the opportunity to look at some of these emails and find out if there’s any truth to them.

Here’s the extra links. – This is a very similar email to the one you’ve received – An official campaign site set up to deal with rumors – A large collection of Barack rumors

Thanks for taking your time to give this a second thought.

— Tim

Please pass this around. I think most people would rather have their opinions lose to the truth, than to win with lies.

Max Payne and “know thy audience”

I saw Max Payne last night. Overall, it’s an okay movie. It wasn’t boring, it wasn’t slow, and we stayed entertained the whole time. Cool CGI and camera stuff also. But, there was too much that broke the suspension of disbelief for us. I mostly think it was the dialog and the fact that it was a video game movie.

A “video game movie” is one that’s clearly made for fans of the game. I think directors are still learning how to turn a video game into a good movie, in the same way that they have learned how to turn books into movies. If you ever want to talk about a video game movie, or movie production, I’m always interested in that stuff. But that’s not my point here.

Like I said, a video game movie is made for the fans. That is to say, other people who play video games. I’d say, based on my personal knowledge and experience, that video game fans (and are likely to go to a Max Payne movie), also tend to like the Mythbusters. I do.
In case you don’t accept that assumption, you should know that last week’s Mythbusters had a “special sneak preview” Max Payne trailer during the episode. I did not see this trailer advertised during other shows. Somehow Rachel Ray’s audience doesn’t seem like the Max Payne type. So, clearly the marketing staff for the movie and Discovery Channel agree that people who are watching Max Payne have probably seen a few Mythbusters episodes.

The reason I bring this up is because in one scene, Max is underwater in a river, and there are handguns being fired at him. He’s probably 10 feet under, and the bullets are whizzing by him. In fact, it’s the exact same situation that the Mythbusters tested several years ago, and busted. But it’s in this movie.

Now, despite having written several paragraphs about this, I swear I’m not a foaming-at-the-mouth movie nerd. I’m not going to scream about it not being realistic. It was a cool looking shot, and the movie was a good way to spend 90 minutes. But it was another moment where something in my brain was awkward moment that helped break the suspension of disbelief that movie makers try so hard to achieve.

I feel like there’s some Seth Godin-esque point to be made here. When you do something for an audience, be sure to think about their perspective.

Physical Computing with Ruby and Arduino

Just got back from this month’s ORUG, where Matthew Williams gave a presentation on using Ruby to control an Arduino. Matt is a very natural speaker, and the presentation was great. He even demoed a bartending robot he built, which should be featured on Make very soon.

I took notes during the presentation, and they are as follows, with links where possible.

Matthew Williams
Physical Computing with Ruby and Arduino

Arduino is an open-source board

There’s Bluetooth Arduino boards

There’s an Arduino board that was developed in a circular shape. People have combined this with conductive thread and sewn it into clothing. Someone even integrated this with some LEDs into their clothing and made a shirt with turn signals for biking.

Matt showed a video of a Wii nunchuck integrated with an Arduino, hooked up to some servos, and made a robotic puppet that works just by moving the nunchuck (not the control stick, just the accelerometer motion).

There’s also a YouTube video with someone who built a 1-wheel Segway-esque skateboard. Matt claims there are only about 50 lines of code controlling this device.

So, onto the Ruby Arduino Framework. << outdated << more up to date

Matt says that the Arduino Google Group is fantastic.

[Tim: The Arduino IDE looks a *lot* like the Processing IDE (the Java-based graphics language).]

RubyToC – Ruby To C project; converts your Ruby code into C++, then compile it into Arduino bytecode. Then, there are Rake tasks which will load it onto the board for you. Most — but not all — of the Arduino API has been ported to Ruby.

RAD Methods
digitalWrite | digitalRead
analogWrite | analogRead
serial_print | serial_read

He mentions a slick trick for controlling the 7-segment LED displays. Since there’s 7 segments, you need to set 7 values separately, OR just create an array of those, and set them all with a single assignment.

Coming soon to RAD framework:

  • Testing
  • Arduino Simulator (for testing)
  • Better RubyToC support (there’s a few hacks required because ToC isn’t perfect)
  • More “out of the box” support
    • LCDs
    • OLED displays

Arduino “shields”
Shields are boards that can be plugged directly on top of the Arduino that add major new functionality.

Where to buy? Only $34.95 at (Matt strongly recommends subscribing to Make, says the dead trees copy is excellent)

Cheaper versions are available, but they either have components removed, or you must assemble it yourself

Make published a “get started with Arduino” kit, about $80, includes project info, the Arduino, extra parts. Most of the parts required for the project are included in the kit.

Barduino – DRINK MIXING ROBOT (created by Matt, who is clearly demonstrating his aptitude as a proper geek)
He used windshield washer pumps, $9/each

Matt created a DSL for describing drinks

drink ‘Screwdriver’ do
serve_in ‘Highball Glass’
ingredients do
2.ounces :vodka
5.ounces :orange_juice

Matt mentioned a hack, some functions that accept only one param will get converted (by RubyToC) to functions that accept none, so, the following line fixes it

def dispense(pump)
foo = pump + 0 /* This is the fix */


For more Ruby Arduino…

RubyConf 2008, Friday, 10:25 – 11:05, Room 3
Greg Borenstein — author of the Ruby Arduino framework — is presenting


Can you “brick” an Arduino?
Not via code, but you could put too much power into it and fry it. Matt thinks there’s a little surge protection on it.

Can you sync Arduinos?
He’s seen something like it, and thinks that the serial comm lines would make it fairly easy to do.

Real Orlando, Real Entertainment

Last weekend, I saw my first-ever interpretive ballet. We got tickets to the opening night of Don Quixote at the Bob Carr Center in Downtown Orlando. Now, I’m not the kind of person who ordinarily would go to an interpretive ballet, but I still had a good time, despite not understanding most of it (and despite the old-people-perfume). The guy playing Don Quixote was hilarious — walking around with his lance and jutted chin.

The reason for this post is to tell you about an offer going on in Orlando. It’s called Real Orlando, Real Entertainment. This is a great offer, and seems to be getting surprisingly little attention. The skinny is that for $99, you get 7 tickets to different cultural events in Orlando. There’s one ticket per type of event, and you can choose which event you go to of each type. So, you’ll get theater, art museums, ballet, opera, orchestra (I’m gonna see John Williams!), and a few others. I think they even threw in some bonus tickets to dress rehearsals. These tickets are ordinarily around $40 each, and you get 7 of them for $99. Do the math.

This is an insanely great deal, and it helps support art & culture in Orlando. This is an up and coming city, and I think this deal is a great opportunity to get out there and get a sense of what’s next.