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Can't get there from here

My name is Will.  This is what I clicked.


— It's like driving directions if you don't drive, so it tells you what bus to take to get where you're going.  Unfortunately it's only for Portland, Oregon, so it's pretty useless for most of us.  This points out a technology shortfall that I hope companies like Google can help fill.  Government sponsored public information is generally pretty far behind the times.  Mass transit schedules are often pdf versions of hard copies.  Traffic cams are blurry or broken, if they exist at all.  Traffic conditions are sparsely reported except by private news agencies.  I'm not a big fan of corporations taking over government responsibilities, but it would be nice if companies like Google and Microsoft saw a win in helping to modernize public information.

  (Meanwhile, what the heck is this guy's job?  Check out the movies he works on.)

— Note:  Some of them automatically play sound.  These are pretty amazing and include clickable links in the panorama, which I don't remember seeing elsewhere.

Speaking of panoramas, Hans Nyberg recently alerted me to some at the site.  I love the natural sound that goes with these.

— "What if poets and playwrights wrote works whose titles were anagrams of their names?"  The included a link to which are also well done.

  The story is about whether hallucinogenic chemical weapons are being ingested by foreign fighters to motivate them into suicide missions.  There appears to be some skepticism in the comments, but it's a good plot device, fact or fiction.

I know I said yesterday that Fimoculous was keeping track of all the year end best of lists, but I'll mention that I'm enjoying the mp3s I downloaded from .

... and — Some of the best ones are in the honorable mention category.

Speaking of lists,

  Prints your RSS feeds on toilet paper or, as the English might say, your blogroll on a bogroll.  (Say the name out loud to get the joke there.)

— I didn't know this was a parody when I clicked it, but by the end there's no question.

from Alaska to Russia.  What a weird story.

  There are links here to take you to the longer story, but basically if you post song lyrics online you could be sued by the record companies who own the rights to those songs.  The legalities and reasoning are pretty well explained in the comments thread, but I still have trouble getting my head around it.  You're allowed to listen, but you can't tell anyone what you heard.

Speaking of music industry intimidation,
— This is a quick and funny story full of lessons, don't skip it just because you're sick of copyright belly-aching, that's not what it is.

— The first comment is cute.

— I'm not sure what happens next.  I guess when the aliens show up with a list of names, we'll know.

— I, for one, welcome our new gelatinous overlords.  I'd like to remind them as a trusted Web personality, I can be helpful in rounding up others to toil in their underwater zooplankton farms.

— Mostly aerial shots.  (Skip the lame video.)

Speaking of aerial shots, the bird's eye view on the new is pretty cool.

— Instead of trying to figure out how to take all the calories out of good tasting stuff, figure out how to make low calorie stuff taste good.

— What would you make with them?

Speaking of making things, all of the HowTo sites out there assume a certain level of basic skills.  But where can you get those skills ?

Speaking of getting answers to questions, is a new question and answer community.

— Nice and basic, part of an interesting series, "Audiophiles unite."

Fascinating videos of that turns to ice when disturbed.  Why this isn't a stunt at posh bars, I don't know.  NOTE:  This site doesn't work with IE.  If you haven't already, this is a good time to try out Firefox.  UPDATE:  My mistake, it works with IE, you just have to scroll way down.  Thanks to everyone who wrote in.

Remember that video of the house with the music coordinated Christmas light show? 

I was excited about the idea of coffee Coke called "Coke Black" .  "Blak"??  and with a line over the A, isn't it "Coke Blake?"  I know it's a global product, but what language is blak?

Speaking of Coke products, Video of the Day:

Speaking of candy, how about ?

— That's a lesson in reading the fine print.

— Similar to the parody movie trailers we saw a couple months ago.  (Safe to watch, not actually gory.)

Speaking of A Christmas Story, here it is in .

Speaking of Christmas,

And before we leave the subject of Christmas, more Christmas music downloads.  Only by BitTorrent though.  Get used to it.


— I like .

Speaking of automotive politics, — The idea is that the government plans to track your driving with GPS and tax you according to your driving patterns instead of using tolls.  But the larger implications of that tracking is a concern.  What I wonder is if they're able to track all cars remotely, why not just drive them all remotely too?  Our computer mother could keep us from speeding or crashing and report us to our parents for making out in the back seat.

Speaking of things on autopilot, how about ?  My computer is definitely not making me rich enough.

And speaking of this whole string of in-the-future-technology-will-do-everything-for-us clicks, " learns to pilot a fighter plane as scientists develop a new breed of "living" computer."  Sure, but can it blog?

— I can barely stand to read these.  The ones that seem valid to me make me angry and the ones that seem like they're for conspiracy buffs make me angry too.  The whole damn thing makes me angry.

— This brought to mind Microsoft's incident when declared neutrality on an anti-discrimination bill drew the wrath of gay rights advocates, though the dynamic in the Ford story is a little different.

There will be of Jennifer Aniston.  And if you happen to have any, don't even think about making them public.

Speaking of nudity, .  Don't worry, it's safe to click (***Just don't click the ads!!!)  I remember seeing something similar in which a guy took close-up photos of different parts of his hands.

Speaking of celebrities suing, For Suggesting He is Gay? And Even If He Could, Should He?  (The answer is mostly No and No.)

— Looks like it's sponsored by Visa.  Interesting "" list.

Odeo takes a step closer to .

- It's the oldest trick in the book, printing your own bar code stickers.  But what kind of fool thinks he's getting away with an iPod for $4.99?

- The magazine's page count has an interesting correlation with the NASDAQ.

— This is a parody (I hope) of the Intelligent Design debate, couched in the context of the evolution of language.  A fun, if somewhat dense, read.

Speaking of evolution debates, Who Would Jesus ?

Maybe Pagans are more peaceful.  They did give us the Christmas tree, after all... 

  The buzzwords in this piece may mean nothing to you, and you're no worse off if that's the case, but it is interesting to note a shift from what can be done with new Web technology to what should be done with new Web technology (with the "should" being based on what's actually useful to people).

Speaking of buzzwords, just when you thought you had a handle on what Web 2.0 is, it's time to get your head around Social Networks 3.0.  "In a nod back to the earliest instantiations of social networking, entrepreneurs have come to realize that social networks are enablers of other compelling consumer experiences."  It makes more sense if you read how he defined 1.0 and 2.0.

Fimoculous has taken up his yearly tradition of rounding up the .

— World's tallest building may have reopened fault

— I've run into this expression in a few other places, so it's become either a running joke or a new term, but either way, here is the origin.  Its meaning is sort of like truth-by-consensus.

— I'm not so sure about this one.  I think this advice may be worth what it costs.  Decide for yourself though.  At least you don't have to pay for it through an ad in the back of a comic book.

I often see these , but I've never seen the technique used for anything.  Is there a practical application for making something online boingy?

"On June 17th, every year, the family goes through a private ritual: to stop a fleeting moment, the arrow of time passing by."

:  Worst song ever.  I thought was the worst ever, but I agree it's close.

— Summarizes some of the themes that have been touched upon in this blog before, but does a nice job of it.  One other point I'll add that this author doesn't make is that the stories mentioned all have digital themes.  They're not political (Trent Lott) or anti-MSM (Dan Rather), they're about issues in the digital world.  This is the new online activism.

— This brought to mind some recent hype about a in New York City.  Of course, there are illegal places in NYC too, but at least at this one you don't get arrested.

— Was the Google guy really sharing anything new in his Newsweek piece?

Video of the Day:  — Kind of like the 4th of July, but different.

" lets you browse every vote in the U.S. Congress since 1991."


USA Today has .  Wow, check out Kelsey Grammer.  New trailer is .
[Homer voice] X-Men 3.... mmmmm...  [drool]

I almost want to sign up for Skype just so I can help .  In fact, what would be handy is a community for Chinese learning English and English speakers learning Chinese.  I see language practice groups meeting up at Barnes and Noble all the time, surely such a thing exists online.

(for running the business)  It would not be a bad thing if more companies emulated Google's philosophies.

Moore's Law states that computers will get twice as fast every two years, right?  Or is it that computer chips will get twice as small every two years?  Or is it twice as cheap... 

— Reminds me of the Art of War.

— "[H]ow to write humor, thus removing the mystery and in the process turning you into a joyless zombie, albeit a witty one."

Speaking of humor, — A new weekly half-hour podcast.  If you know who Ricky Gervais is, you probably didn't even read this far before clicking.

Speaking of laughing, .  "They say the long, loud pant is the sound of a dog laughing, and it has a direct impact on the behavior of other dogs."

— "The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups."  (Originally published in 1946.)

Speaking of economics,

Voting for began yesterday.

Knitting bloggers rejoice, it's .

" that the Constitution should include amendments requiring a balanced budget, forbidding discrimination in outlays, and guaranteeing the natural liberty to exchange within and across our borders."

  If super-clear images will render ineffective some of tricks of make-up and lighting, will beauty standards become more realistic?  Or will the class of screen-worthy beautiful people become more exclusive?

Speaking of ugly on the screen, — I would argue that it's also boring on TV.  In fact, one of my favorite things to complain about is how much TV (particularly TV news) wastes video as a medium.  Why are there still news reader/anchors?  I'd just as soon watch a slide show or, frankly, just about anything else.  Be sure to check out the video in this article.  That eye tracking technology is fascinating.

— Christopher Hitchens believes that Bush propagandizing is a bigger scandal than is being discussed.

— As popular as Digg is, the community is still very specifically tech-geeky.  In fact, as this blog reflects, the tech community is among the most dominant in terms of online link exchange and discourse.  This makes sense as most of the community tools derive from the tech community.  While many "Diggers" are opposed to the idea of diluting the Digg concept to other subjects, I'm very curious to see if someone can grow a community that isn't tech, Web design, or politics based.  Entertainment news is hugely popular and yet it seldom comes up in the big link aggregators.

— A list of sites that use Google functionality in clever (sometimes useful, sometimes not) ways.

(in spite of last week's Siegenthaler dust-up)  thinks it won't, but points to a discussion for more.


of a teenage girl who accused three peers of raping her only to end up charged and convicted of filing a false report has .  One blogger even in question.

It isn't difficult to understand the perspective of those who feel that a case like this will discourage rape victims from reporting their attackers ( ).  This story called to mind another case in which a teacher accused of having sex with a student who was acquitted and against those who tried to make the case against her.  In the telling of that story, it's the accused who is portrayed as the victim.  The two stories don't really have much in common other than the fact that in the end the tables were turned on the accuser.  I hope the lesson is not that reporting a rape is not worth the risk.

— A must-read about how press releases take advantage of generally lazy reporting to manufacture news.  Make this your commuter click if it's too long to read off the screen.

— I've been burned before believing the "banned" tag on an ad, but I kind of believe that Microsoft wouldn't get behind this one.

Speaking of ads, is remarkably effective.  Obviously it's an ad, not a documentary, but by the end it's hard not to feel like there's something wrong with anyone not using Firefox.  Heck, I even feel like there's something wrong with me for having it crash on me more often than IE.  Two random notes of interest: no one mentioned the extensions, which as I said yesterday, are among the more appealing features of the software, and most people mentioned the tabbed browsing, which I've read will be a feature of IE7, so it'll be interesting to see if that takes some of the novelty away from Firefox.

You may recall during the election season that were announced whenever the administration suffered bad news.  Now believes he's found a similar pattern in news about the war.

Forbes 15 richest fictional characters — I never really thought of Santa as rich.

Video of the Day:  Not all building implosions end in a .

— Even when it's sampled, scratched, and remixed I'm not a fan of Christmas music.  Still, it's better than what they play at the mall.

Read the letter (from Condi Rice) that .  "Burdensome, bureaucratic oversight is out of place in an Internet structure that has worked so well for many around the globe."

Interesting new blog stat tool: 


Cleaning up some links from last week and finally catching up on the mail:

Even though new voting technology is a subject TV news only talks about in the week before election day (if they happen to temporarily run out of mud to spread) the topic is regularly the subject of heated debate around the country.

New Jersey congressman Rush Holt is asking for signatures to a petition calling for .

In California, a candidate for secretary of state named Debra Bowen is looking for signatures for a petition calling for Diebold voting machines to be made to

And in North Carolina there's been some drama surrounding a law requiring electronic voting services to put their source code in escrow to be checked in case issues of fairness arise.  On this subject I first clicked from the 30th which seemed confident that Diebold would either reveal its code or tacitly admit to being flawed.

But only a day later I clicked reporting that in apparent circumvention of the law, Diebold was certified by the North Carolina Board of Elections anyway.  My impression is that the state is under a bit of a time crunch for the 2006 elections so this was a corner they were willing to cut.

Though not exactly non-partisan, is attentive to the issue.  Update:  Brad writes to clarify, "When it comes to Election stuff, I am *decidedly* non-partisan since it's really a non-partisan issue entirely.  As I frequently say about it, it's not a matter of Right or Left, it's a matter of Right and Wrong!"

— It was my understanding that the Xbox was supposed to take over the living room.  Suffice it to say, a plain old TV with a bunch of boxes stacked on top (cable box, VCR, DVD, etc.) won't be found in the living room of the not to distant future.  Instead you'll either have a very computer-like entertainment system or a very entertaining computer.

— The idea of concocting a strange brew to drink as a promotion for a video game has medical disaster written all over it.

The new trailer for the Pirates of the Caribean sequel, — Looks awesome.

— Some tools, some gadgets, and some raw materials.

This one sat in my notes all week until I had time to check it out.  Boing Boing describes , which is sort of like pay-whatever-you-want.  Apparently it works.

.  Hopefully the Catholic cashiers will continue to sell condoms.  I won't personally get too upset until the 7-11 guy has objections to selling me pork rinds.

— Bad news:  It's slowed a third in 12 years.  Good news:  Global warming may balance Gulf Stream cooling.

— Totally cool, check out the video.  I don't know why I don't feel like this is useless.

You may have read of President Bush's latest Iraq speech to Nixon's Vietnamization speech.

This blogger draws a connection a little farther back in history, .

. — It's a little awkward searching something in a foreign language.  Try Green Day for a good idea of what's out there.

One of the hostages in Iraq is .

I keep getting press releases for the new Firefox.  They're for user testimonial videos and home made ads.  The ads are pretty funny.  I used to use Firefox, but had trouble with it crashing when I had too many tabs open.  I just downloaded the new version, so I'll give that a try.  Something else that's different about Firefox is the list of "."


Will -I saw this yesterday, on and mulled it over for the night before sending this to you.  It's about Bono and Patrick Swayze arguing over who "invented the mullet".  (It's at the bottom of the page at .  I've got news for both of them: hockey players invented the mullet!  Okay, okay... it was .The only thing I can really say to these two is: Do you honestly want to be known as the inventor of the mullet? Stephen Bobic

Will replies:  indeed.

Hi Will – We’re addicted to in my office.  Prrrrrretty dang fun.Have a great weekend!Devon

Will replies:  I think I like yours better than the one I keep in my favorites as a time killer/brain resetter.  .

Dec 1 was the first ever Blog Against Racism Day -- and Chris Clarke at Creek Running North had a monster response -- much larger than anticipated.  AND there's a lot of good writing. Check it out .Thanks,Tony Gallucci

Will replies:  Thanks Tony.  I saw some mentions of that.  Too bad it was the same day as World AIDS Day or I bet it would have done even better.

Dear Will," But... I'll see your weird Japanese video and raise you Also, here's a to kill time over the weekend. Tap the arrow keys as they hit the top bar to the beat of the music. Start on beginner ("Tell Me a Story" is a good start) and work your way up, even if you think you know how to play. Oy, does it get tough. I'm stuck on standard.Ajin

Will replies:  Thanks Ajin, you win, that's the weirdest.  Meanwhile, I am utterly terrible at those Dance Revolution games, even with the fingers.

to the blog.Lenny

Will replies:  Thanks Lenny.  For readers who like to know what they're clicking before they click it, Lenny's link is to a Washington D.C. arts site with an explanation of Vlogging and some useful site tips.

Hey Will,I just read the story about the Xboxes locking up.  Speaking of Xboxes, ?  All those people who were in line up's will cry.Bert

Will replies:  I Bert, thanks.  I saw the video of those guys smashing an iPod and while I can appreciate a good smashing as much as the next guy and even understand making a statement about trendy technology, but I don't expect this to get picked up as a new TV series any time soon.

went to Iraq and would walk the streets with his art supplies, find an interesting scene and draw for an hour...better than photos IMO.(forwarded by Jennifer)

Will replies:  I never heard of an embedded artist.  My first thought was that the Iraqis must think he's crazy, but reading some of the text, it sounds like they're more interested than anything else.

Buy a goat for a poor family $75A cow is $545A flock of chickens is $125A half of a sheep is $50, do they get the front half or the back half?It is the .Seems a better deal than an XBox360.-Jan

Will replies:  Thanks Jan.  What a great idea.

Hello Will,In reference to your June blog about a viable electric motorcycle,  I began a search for anything related to electric motorcycles sometime last year and compiled my list on an electric vehicle forum .[If the link is too large, goto the forum section "large scooters and motorcycles" and goto the thread titled "List of EV motorcycles"] For the list, I had specified traditionally ridden motorcycles, not the Vespa/Cushman styled scooters marketed as motorcycles or stand-up scooters.Also, a question could you send a link to your earlier blog about electric motorcycles?  All I see is reference to a diesel motorcycle.Hope you enjoy the information.Lyle

Will replies:  Thanks Lyle, that Big Bear hybrid is pretty kick-ass.  I think the link you're looking for is the "."

Dear Will,I remember that awhile ago you said that Neil Young's entire album was , but not recordable.  Good news.  I found a software program , that records directly from your soundcard to your computer, as an MP3 file.  It's called "mp3 my mp3".  The only drawback, is you have to manually "record" it (start at the beginning of the song, and stop at the end; and name it accordingly), but it's possible to "record" the entire album.  You will need to listen to it, since it records as you listen.  Just thought I'd let you know.  Also, if you happen to record too much (either the beginning or the end, a program called   (and ) will let you "edit" your mp3 files by "cutting" the parts you don't want.  All programs are free, no spyware, and easy to use.  Have fun.Tim Lauderdale

Will replies:  Hi Tim.  Yes, I keep running into software like that as well.  They're called "."  Funny how things come full circle.  After all this technology, we're back to taping things off the radio.


Video of the Day:    This could be a TV show.

Runner up:

These are currently on the most popular downloads list from a site called that carries downloads for iPod and PSP.

This isn't for everyone, but if you're into the truly bizarre, of a guy in New Jersey explaining secret messages about himself in a Harry Potter movie while he watches the movie.  "...the hidden messages planted by Chris Columbus, J.K. Rowling and Time Warner to prevent Mr. Levi from marrying the star of the film, Daniel Radcliffe."  It doesn't really sound like he's kidding.

Guess are fake.  (All of them are silly.)

You may have heard about the recent Bat Mitzva with the rock star performers.  has more photos and subsequent posts give some prices and also address the foul anti-Semitism the item sparked.

Obvious headline of the day:

Speaking of threats to American lives, — Anyone for a war on cars?

" clears up the confusion over the various plans for withdrawal from Iraq, or not."  His "word of the day" segments are the best part of that show.

The London Underground map drawn according to travel .

War and Piece gives highlights and analysis on coverage of new Pentagon scandal.  And Billmon has more to say on that did the actual brokering.

As the sidewalks in cities around the country fill with holiday shoppers and tourists, this (somewhat misanthropic) New Yorker offers for how to conduct yourself.  Note: Coarse language.

This is a little technical, but worth a heads up:

— Lots of free audio.


— A popular Iranian ex-pat blogger who might even be described as an activist for democracy through the Internet is stopped at the border after U.S. border guards google his name.  This isn't really a scandal story because he had technically overstayed his visa (he's Canadian) but it's pretty amazing (and scary) to have one's name googled by officials.  Why scary?  .

This is a cool mash-up.

Speaking of stuff, we're adding to the stable.  (Basketball)

Speaking of sports blogs, today's effort to show popular sports links when I don't quite know what I'm talking about: 

— It's not a bad idea, but I don't think there's any way to make this not look obscene.

As long as we're snickering about phallic imagery, yesterday's .

The congressman who admitted he accepted bribes gets to even after he's convicted.

31 days to save on your taxes — The last tip on page 2 is one I've never heard before.

Voting is in progress on .

is a new blog aggregator.  I thought it was just a collection of A list blogs in categories, but there is an algorhythm at work as well.

Which story is the joke?:

The Internet community nukes another company for .  Read those updates.  Phew, merciless.

— Napoleon Dynamite fans, check out the video.

— Your Tivo would recognize you because you give off a signal, so it would cater your programming to your preferences.

; Further discussions on the rebuilding of New Orleans and the Big Easy's future.  Something I didn't see much of on TV but makes sense to find in Metropolis Magazine are architects and urban planning visionaries talking about what to do with a city starting almost from scratch.

— Energy from the alternator makes the hydrogen, which mixes with the fuel intake.  I've heard of this for cars as well.  Waiting on a motorcycle version.

Hey, remember when Adam wrote in about linking to the sites of crime victims and criminals, with a link to his own well written blog post?  Well, we got in touch with him and republished his blog entry as an article, .  You may not have realized we do that.

More in a bit...


How's this for irony:  Online music trading does not (on the whole) hurt music sales, but preventing online music trading with scary DRMs does.  The explanation is rooted in the ability to load songs into an iPod, but speaking as someone who spends a crazy amount of time at a computer, I'm simply afraid to put a corporate CD into my machine.  So I'm wary of the new (Columbia/Sony) CD, but I had no qualms downloading the (awesome Queen/50 Cent mashup).  UPDATE:  Alternate Q Unit link: Use the mirror sites mentioned at the top, like .  (I did eventually get the nerve up to put SoaD in my work machine.  No funky players or agreements, thankfully.  Intense CD. They rock.)

Speaking of protecting your machine, — A basic explanation of what kind of programs are involved in protecting a PC.  Do read the comments as well.

Speaking of mash-ups, the computer programming version of musical mash-ups are sites like the many we've seen.  What makes these sites possible are when sites share some of their functionality through .  I won't make a fool of myself by trying to explain more than that, but basically, a site with a lot of data shares its APIs and creative clever programmers come up with new applications for that data.

The reason I'm mentioning this is that the Washington Post is one such data-rich site that has opened itself to the tinkering of others.  The blog at the heart of their effort .  The results are exemplified by toys like showing the frequency of words used in the Post.

Speaking of mash-ups,

.  I had to start with the Gizmag home page to get this link to load (though it was worth it because there's a lot of fun stuff there).  When I read "360 degree" I thought you'd sit in the middle of it like a sort of surround TV, but no such luck.

Steve Rubel is at it again with his "ten hacks" series, this time .  Number 6 is interesting, reading Web feeds on TV.

Remember that link to the script of Scarface written to look like the movie poster?  will put the text of a book into a poster.

- A blog by Al Jazeera Staffers.  Hysterical title, but I'm pretty sure it's real.

— Fun if you're not lost.

has heavy coverage of the most recent hostages taken in Iraq.  The hostages were all from something called the .

Commuter Click:  everyone's talking about in which he describes a strategy in which the U.S. will replace troops with air power.

— As you know, video games can be played with strangers through the Internet, so it behooves a video game company to spread Web access everywhere.  We often think of the military as inventing new technology that eventually trickles down to the general public, but it's interesting to see how much video game technology is also branching out.

" is your one-stop destination for audio and video learning.  Browse over 9,000 educational audio books, MP3 downloads, podcasts, and DVD videos."  Most are for sale, but there's some free stuff there too.

Will the concept of copyright as infringement becomes more commonplace?

"One card carries the logo of your bank; the other, a picture of a burning planet.  The first will deduct money from your bank account; the second, credits from your carbon account."  How would you do if you were only allowed to

- A 1959 letter from C.S. Lewis in which he is not supportive of the idea of presenting a "TV version" of his work.  Even having only seen the trailer, I suspect he'd be OK with this movie's effects.  (Of course, I don't know what they've done to his actual story.)

Y'know those ultrasonic noise makers that chase away rats and bugs?  Someone has invented one to as well because apparently they can hear frequencies older adults can't.  I'm having a hard time believing this one but the story itself doesn't appear to be a hoax.

.  It's not ESP.

What does it mean to be Slashdotted?  shares its traffic stats.  Scroll to the entry for the 25th.

— There's a bit of a debate in the comments about whether this is actual science.

Speaking of eyes, is the new blog of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

A macro lens is like putting a magnifying glass on your camera.  This guy made one himself .

— I don't know how many Clicked readers this applies to, but the lessons are still interesting and I think some even apply to regular working.

The sheer quantity of material made available through the information revolution has left a lot of people struggling to find enough time in the day to pursue the opportunities that pique their interest.  So when someone completes 4 years of college in 3 semesters without being a genius and then offers to share his time management secrets, .