[via Waxy Links]
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April 16, 2006
For You Second Life Fans
March 17, 2006
Doctor Who review in NYT
The New York Times has a short review of the new Doctor Who online. Pretty decent.
The familiar blue police box doesn't seem much revamped, either; it appears to run on pneumatic tubes, and there is no sign of a computer on board. The Doctor, on the other hand, almost quivers with energy. In previous regenerations, depending on the actor playing him, this character has variously been crotchety, spacey, avuncular and even a little glamorous. Christopher Eccleston brings a kind of manic blokishness to the part, giving the Doctor a sardonic grin and a working-class Manchester accent. (When another character says, "If you're an alien, how come you sound like you're from the North?" he replies, "Lots of planets have a North.")
This Doctor is a little forgetful and inept, but nevertheless fairly contemptuous of the human beings he has come to save — except for Rose Tyler, a shop girl to whom he takes a completely understandable shine. Rose, played by Billie Piper, a former pop star who used to occupy roughly the same niche in Britain as Britney Spears does here, is not just cute but also quick and inventive. She's much less frightened of lumbering mannequins or boiling plastic than either her vain, slutty mum or her well-meaning but dopey boyfriend, and she even gets the careless Doctor out of a jam.[New York Times]
March 13, 2006
Looking for Martians
Today brings us the latest offering from Google: Google Mars. Explore the red planet in three different ways: an elevation map shows color-coded peaks and valleys, a visible-imagery map shows what your eyes would actually see, and an infrared-imagery map shows the detail your eyes would miss. It is pretty nifty. Check it out!
February 09, 2006
WoW and Golf
Jane Pinckard asks the question Is World of Warcraft the new Golf? in an article over on 1UP.com.
Overheard, at brunch: two tech entrepreneur types discussing World of Warcraft. What server are you on? What guild? Oh yeah, me too, I heard it's a good way to schmooze.
Is that true? Has logging in to the world's most popular massively multiplayer online game replaced a few rounds on the links as the way to make the right business connections in a tech-driven culture?
The particular Guild discussed by the brunchers above was started by Joi Ito, who became a WoW fan after embarking on the game to do some research on social networks. Joi, the money-and-idea guy behind internet companies PSINet, Digital Garage, Infoseek Japan, and social software like Moveable Type, Technorati, and Socialtext, has quite a few hangers-on who hit him up for advice, money, or access to his Rolodex. [1UP.com]
The fun thing about this is that the guild I'm a part of, We Know, is the guild Joi started. It's become a fun group of people with more than a few people from various other startups and internet companies. It's kind of fun knowing that the person you're questing with could be the CEO of some company you've heard of for ages.
Is it the new golf? I'm not sure about that. Maybe it's like the new paintball instead.
Edit: It's even hit Slashdot.
January 30, 2006
January 13, 2006
Doctor Who in America
It finally happened. Dr. Who will be hitting the airwaves in the US starting in March. Taking up a slot on the SCI FI Channel's Friday lineup. While the SCI FI Channel has done its share of annoying things, this is a great move for them. Even if they were way too slow with it. This is definitely a show to check out. It starts out a little slow, but quickly gathers speed. Almost everyone I've shown it has enjoyed it.
The only downside is that now the season one DVD release has been pushed back till July.
December 28, 2005
Here's a quiz for today.
BUTTERFLY - Your daemon may be a butterfly. It is
ironic that the butterfly traditionally
represents the psyche, yet it is one of the
least emotive physical forms that your daemon
can take. It is very hard to tell what a
butterfly is feeling, and perhaps that is why
you feel so comfortable with this form. You
have many, many friends and a beautiful soul,
but you don't like to reveal what your
innermost feelings are. You aren't afraid to be
yourself - you are vibrant and colourful. But
at the same time, you don't like to wear your
heart on your sleeve.
What Is Your Daemon?
brought to you by Quizilla
December 26, 2005
Dr. Who Christmas Special
Not being able to sleep at 5am this morning, I decided to check out the Dr. Who Christmas Special. Overall I give it a thumbs up. The story felt like a kind of typical regeneration story, with David Tennant making his first real appearance as the Doctor. I think he's going to make a pretty good Doctor overall. I won't discuss any of the content so as not to spoiler people, but I do recommend downloading it if you can (along with the children in need special, which you should watch first if you could).
December 20, 2005
The Gizmo Project
For those of you who aren't up on the latest in internet telephone services, Gizmo and Skype are internet telephone services. You can call other users on their services for free, and for a small fee make outgoing calls, and accept incoming calls if you rent a phone number from them. They also have basic IM services built in.
So why do I like Gizmo? It uses open standards and I'm a geek for that kind of stuff. The interface also seems quite nice and it runs on everything (Skype does too). It also offers some features for free that cost money on Skype (like voicemail). So if you are doing the internet telephone thing I highly recommend giving it a try. You can give me a call at gregoryblake.
Now you too can pimp your nutcracker.
December 18, 2005
Growing For The Holidays
I'm just starting to really get into the Christmas mood. And I just saw a link to a new GROW puzzle, this one with a Christmas Tree. It was pretty easy though. Enjoy!
December 15, 2005
I've always been a big fan of earmuffs. Hats tend to bug the crap out of me for some reason. So these would be great to have.
Thanks, JVC. These headphone/ear warmers arrived just time for us here on the icy east coast. Stoked with Polartec Wind Pro and Thermolite Active 100 materials to keep you warm, these babies promise good tunes and toasty earlobes. Well, warm earlobes anyhow. The cool cats in NYC are opting for ginormous earphones with earcups that double as muffs. Trouble is, you gotta wear those things around your neck like some wandering nightclub DJ for the rest of the day. These things look like they fold up nicely—although they aren't exactly babe magnets.
Hot stuff [GadgetCandy][via Gizmodo]
November 16, 2005
Repetitive Information Injury
Just as I was coming to grips with NADD, I find out that there's another aspect to it: Repetitive Information Injury.
NADD sufferers walk a delicate tight rope between effectively consuming large amounts of information and losing themselves in a endless loop of useless, frustrating information acquisition motions that I'll call Repetitive Information Injury ("RII").
For me RII shows up late in the day. I'm between meetings and having nothing urgent on my to do list. I sit down at the computer and scan my unread email. Once done there, I click on a couple of tab groups in Safari and scan the news. Lastly, I switch to NetNewsWire and scan for changes on my 75+ feeds.
And then... I do it again.
It sounds silly, but I'm literally stuck in a loop of information acquisition. What I am looking for? Something interesting informational tidbit which grabs my attention and if I don't find it, I'll often loop four or five times before I realize that I'm in this useless, non-productive loop. [Rands in Repose]
Crap, this describes many an afternoon for me. I may need professional help.
November 07, 2005
How much is my blog worth?
Damn, not bad, but I could do better I bet. Find out how much your blog is worth.
[via Don Park (who is worth much more than I)]
October 24, 2005
Turner Classic Movies and Miyazaki
ICv2 has posted information about a marathon of Miyazaki films on TCM in January 2006.
ICv2 has learned that in January 2006, Turner Classic Movies, a prominent cable and satellite network, will run nine animated features by the great Japanese anime director Hayao Miyazaki. Miyazaki's movies have received scant exposure on American TV so the showings on Turner Classic Movies should expose a wide audience to these masterworks.
A complete list of the films (and airdates) will be released next week, but ICv2 has learned that TCM will show such Miyazaki-directed classics as: Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, My Neighbor Totoro, Nausicaa: Valley of the Wind, Castle in the Sky, and Porco Rosso, as well as Whisper of the Heart, which was directed by Yoshifumi Kondou, though Miyazaki wrote the screenplay, drew the storyboards and produced the film. [ICv2]
I'm pretty psyched. I've wanted to see Whisper of the Heart for a while. I'm also hoping for Kiki's and The Castle of Cagliostro.
September 26, 2005
People have been pestering me to get crossposting working again so that my blog posts show up over on LJ. I finally got it working this morning after quite a bit of fiddling. I'm using the ljcrosspost plugin for Movable Type. It works fairly well, but took some fiddling to get it to work right. I should email the author and let him know the issues I was having.
Next step is to get OpenID working so that people over on LJ can log into my blog for comments using their LJ info.
One big gripe I have about MT plugins these days is that not enough of them work with dynamic pages. I've got 4000+ entries and rebuilding it all just for a new plugin really sucks (and takes forever).
August 24, 2005
Living with Apple
Dave Winer just got a mac and has been commenting about things he likes and doesn't like about it. For example, he really doesn't like Safari. Though he is happy with his Airport Express.
He's also been getting a bit of advice about software to use:
This is the kind of advice...
This is the kind of advice I've been getting from Mac users. Good stuff. You know, based on the rah-rah's from developers who are probably too scared of Apple to say what they really think, I thought everyone else thought Apple was the perfect company and the perfect computer. That's the downside of people being too scared to speak up, we get shitty information. How can we change this system, so that people aren't so scared? Or can we get Apple to thicken up their skin a bit, and learn to not punish people who have the nerve to criticize them. Blogs were supposed to fix all this. Frankly I think it hurts Apple to just have rah-rah public discourse and commentary. [via Scripting News]
Most people I know who have macs are more than willing to criticize them. The thing is, I find that the positives for me greatly outweigh the negatives. I've had no real problems with Safari. I think most of their software is designed for the casual computer user. It does the basics and tends not to get too fancy.
So in my case I tend to praise Apple a lot since in general it's been much less of a hassle than my experiences with Windows in its various forms. It's definitely not perfect, but I've yet to find an OS that is.
TV on your phone
Full episodes of cult TV sci-fi show Red Dwarf are being made available for fans to buy and watch on their mobile phone handsets.
The Doctor Who special The Five Doctors, originally screened in 1983, is also part of the licensing deal. [BBC News]
Okay, maybe I'm just a bit picky or something, but I really can't see the enjoyment of watching TV on a cell phone screen. I think the smallest I could go is the PSP screen.
July 05, 2005
Blizzard and Coke
Joystiq reports an ad by Blizzard and Coke for World of Warcraft and Coke. It's pretty nifty. It would be cool if we got some ads like that.
April 13, 2005
Thank God for Bluetooth
I'm in the car right now. Dad's driving and we're speeding up 84 to Boston, and I'm bored. At this point I'm just ready for this to all be over and done with. So I figured I'd see if I could get my computer set up to use my cell phone for connectivity and it's working just dandy. Pretty damn slick.
So the next step in all of this lung stuff is to get to the ER at Brigham & Women's Hospital (where I'll be having the surgery and recovering). Once there they'll take some blood, stick an IV in me and we wait for the lung to be ready. Beyond that we'll see. My guess is I'll be fully offline for at least the first few days. Though I'm sure they'll have me up and shuffling along at least a little even by tomorrow.
As far as visitors I don't think I get to have any right at first. My immune system will be fairly suppressed at first and they want to eliminate any chance of infection. Check back here for more details.
I still can't believe it has only been a week since I was last called. And they called during the day! That was the last thing I expected!
March 19, 2005
More on Feedster (and why I love the web)
The other day I posted about issues with spam in the search results I was getting at Feedster. Within hours there was not only a post on Scott Johnson's blog, but I got a nice message from him about how to remove blogspot results from my NetNewsWire searches there. I love to see companies being this on the ball. Especially a place like Feedster. I wasn't really looking for a solution right that second. I more was commenting how spammers seem to be doing their best to devalue a lot of the usefulness of the web.
So here's a quick thanks for the help!
March 17, 2005
Blogger + Feedster + Spammers = Useless
I use NetNewsWire for reading RSS feeds. One of the great features up till recently has been the ability to have it search places like Feedster and have the results show up as a feed. In the recent past my regular search for anything to do with Pulmonary Fibrosis has achieved nothing more than hugely long posts of spam (click and see). Since the 15th there have been around 27 hits on that search, only ONE of them being an actual post by someone. And all the offending posts have been at blogger.
I think Blogger needs to do something about this. Have a better way of detecting automated blog signups or something. Currently it has drastically reduced the usefulness of things like Feedster for me. At least Feedster does have the ability to filter out responses from some urls. I just need to see if I can get NNW to support doing that.
So Who Gets It?
This article at the New York Times made me laugh quite a bit this morning:
LAST fall, David A. Green was looking forward to his new job at a Manhattan real estate brokerage. Finally, he would be able to shed the e-mail confusion that plagued him because of the two other David Greens at his company.
No such luck. At his new company, Cushman & Wakefield, there was yet another David Green. And that Mr. Green already held the coveted e-mail name David_Green, following the company's convention for e-mail addresses.
At his old company, CB Richard Ellis, he had been, reluctantly, David.A.Green. Now he became David_A_Green. Hundreds of his e-mail messages went to the wrong David Green.
"I would have been better off being at his desk than at mine," said David A. Green, noting that the original, initial-free David Green is "most gracious about sending me the volumes of e-mails that go to him." [via New York Times: Technology]
So why did I find this amusing? This isn't a new topic. The sendmail FAQ has had a question on this forever (or at least since 1997). It still amazes me that people don't think that this might be a problem. When I was in college pretty much everyone had four character email addresses in the format (first initial)(second initial)(random alphanumeric)(random alphanumeric). Mine was gb1d. I can still remember pretty much all my friend's addresses from then too. It also helps to keep out people just spamming by sending emails to any old firstname_lastname address.
March 14, 2005
Joystiq and Game Girl Advance both reported on Blizzard banning accounts that were used for "Gold Farming" over the weekend. For those of you not familiar with the world of MMORPGs, Gold Farming is big business. People go around, and just kill monsters for high priced items and sell it off to make in-game money. They then sell the in-game money on places like ebay for real money. This is also done with rare magic items. The practice has been going on for ages. I remember hearing about people doing the same with Ultima Online and Evercrack.
The thing I'm finding baffling about both the posts on this is they seem to be coming down hard on Blizzard. Joystiq asks:
So, you pay for the game, pay your monthly subscription, only for Blizzard to say "you did something we don't want you to do, goodbye", and they kill your account. That's $50 wasted since, as was reported a while back, you can't transfer the serial number. Once it's used, it's used. Where should the line be drawn on what you can and can't do in a game you pay for initially, and continue to pay for every month? If people are stupid enough to buy a game's currency for hard cash, why shouldn't that be a legitimate activity? [Joystiq]
The answer is simple. You are breaking the policies that Blizzard has set forth for how they will run their game. This was not some secret policy that nobody knew of. On the World of Warcraft Policy Page it's right at the top of the announcements link. They even say what they will do to people they catch doing it (Of course, this gets to an even larger rant I have about how people don't read any of the game policies when playing). If this had come out of the blue I'd be able to understand complaints, but it didn't.
March 09, 2005
Phil Ringnalda does some tests to see if spammers are smart enough to grab email addresses that have been escaped as numeric character references. I was surprised to find that spammers weren't going this little extra mile.
Last July, wanting to prove that simplistic protection of email links by just escaping them as numeric character references (
email@example.com produce firstname.lastname@example.org) was a lousy idea — and how could it not be? even without any economic incentive, it wouldn't take me long to write the code needed to harvest them just fine — I put an encoded SpamMotel address in my sidebar, along with a fresh address in the unprotected part of my accessibly spamproofed address. I figured it wouldn't take long before the encoded address was getting just as spammed as the other.
This morning, when I got my third actual email through the encoded one (I guess the "Harvester Test" headline wasn't quite clear enough), I finally remembered to turn it off and take it out. The final tally, for the encoded address: 46 spams, 3 actual emails; for the unencoded address: 2632 spams. Apparently, if you don't have time to really harden an address, it's worth taking the time to at least convert it to NCRs. Lazy spammers. [via phil ringnalda dot com]
I've argued for ages that just escaping email addresses like this was an example of security through obscurity. Of course I'm sure spammers everywhere will now be looking to change this.
March 07, 2005
Reason #4 I Dig World of Warcraft
One of the things I love best about World of Warcraft is its sense of humor and pop culture references. I started a new undead character today and while running through starting area ran across three zombies. Their names: Daniel Ulfman, Karrel Grayves, and Stephen Bhartec. Every once in a while Daniel says things like "You really couldn't blame him...", "No one lives forever...", and "Where's the rest of the guys?"
I couldn't stop chuckling about it the whole time I was playing. Brilliant.
Edit: And I just had to kill Samual Fipps.
January 20, 2005
I've been a little quiet lately. Doing a bunch of reading and playing World of Warcraft. Somewhere in there Apple released the Mac Mini. I seriously want one. I've got an old B&W G3 it would replace just perfectly. I'd probably want the $599 one though. I kind of wish they offered a higher end one with the SuperDrive that wasn't a custom build though.
One thing I've found is that this has many numerous people I know who had been trying to avoid getting a mac finally take the plunge. Bout time Apple made a move like this. Btw, if you're getting one, bump the memory up to at least 512MB if not a full gig. You'll be happy you did.
December 09, 2004
World of Warcraft, First Impressions
So I finally gave into the whole MMORPG craze. I'd played a bit of Asheron's Call back when it was in Beta and enjoyed it. And even played a tiny bit when it was released, but it never really sucked me in that much. But I have a good number of friends playing World of Warcraft, and it's one of the few games I can play on the Mac and still be able to play with them.
First off. Big high-5 to Blizzard for releasing a game that runs on both Mac and PC beautifully. More companies need to do this. I have no idea how much extra effort it requires on their part but they really do a great job. Thank you for giving me something cool to play while all my friends are off playing CoH.
So, about the game. It's beautiful. I took some screenshots that are okay, but nothing as nice as some of the ones shown on the World of Warcraft site. The colors are vivid and for the first hour or so that I played the game i just kept looking all around me. I can't wait to explore more and see what kinds of places I can find.
Next, gameplay. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this game was easy to learn. I saw the manual that came with the the game and was a little nervous at first. It's not huge, but it just looked like there was so much to learn. So, in proper geek form I just dove right into the game. After about 10 min I created my character and was on my first quest.
So far, I love the game. As I play a bit more and get a little deeper into it I'll report back with more details. The screenshots are hosted at Flickr, and there is one other up there.
December 08, 2004
Marcus Ranum asks "Would you outsource your data center to Baghdad?"
As I am writing this, US Marines and Iraqi troops are engaged in pacification operations (the nice word for "blowing the snot out of any resistance") in the Iraqi town of Falluja. Perhaps by the time you read this Iraq will be a peaceful, stable democracy that offers a great climate for business, so this editorial might go out of date fairly quickly. Somehow, unfortunately, I doubt it. I suspect the climate for business in Iraq is going to be poor for the next few years, at least. So, mister CTO - would you outsource your data center to Baghdad?
It's an interesting read and something to think about. What country do you think you'd want to outsource stuff to?
December 05, 2004
Ramblings of a Cultist
(Okay, before I get into this post I'll admit that I'm a Mac user. I've been a sysadmin for over a decade and have had to maintain all variety of machines and OSes (From Suns to PCs to Macs). Up until the release of Mac OS X I honestly wouldn't have considered getting a Mac, but now that I have one I am immensely happy with it. So my response to this is both as a sysadmin and as a Mac owner. Okay, on with the post.)
Rich Brooks over at the Herald Tribune wrote a column about a FL school system's decision to switch from Macs to PCs running Windows a week or so ago. At the time I read it and just kind of shrugged it off. He's now written a second article talking about all the mails he got from the people in the Mac cult. So I thought I'd chime in (that's what blogs are for, right?).
As I read it, his original argument boiled down to this statement:
But with PCs locking in 97 percent of the market, deciding what kind of computers to use in a school system is a no-brainer. [Rich Brookes]
On the surface I agree that it looks to be a no-brainer. But I think there are more issues to look at than that. First off, the cost of this project is $7 million. I'm assuming that's just the price of the hardware (though he doesn't say). You've also got to figure that if your existing support staff don't understand PCs they'll either have to be retrained or replaced. You need all new versions of software. There may be various educational apps that have been in use that don't exist on the PC, which means more spent on finding alternatives. I also believe that support costs for Windows are higher than OS X. I don't have any data,this is based purely on the amount of times I've had to spend dealing with issues on each OS. And the number of sleepless nights each has given me.
My biggest gripe with the first article is that he has no idea as to what the capabilities of the Mac are. He's heard they don't require as much maintenance, and that they are better for graphics and video. But he doesn't know for sure.
Needless to say, the Mac community went nuts over this article. Prompting Mr. Brooks to write a followup column: Revenge of the Mac user cult (and why they missed the point).
Woe unto anyone who publicly questions the efficacy of Macintosh computers.
You will be set upon by the cult of Mac users. They will call you names. They will tell your boss that you should be fired. They will write long letters and e-mails detailing the history of home computers. [Rich Brooks]
Now I'll be the first to admit that Mac users tend to be very zealous about their computers. I'll even admit to a bit of it myself. I think they've done a great job breathing life back into the Macintosh line in the past few years. I'm someone who always hated having to give into the graphics people and go mac for them. But, I do agree that a lot of Mac users sometimes go a bit too far with their comments.
While I don't excuse that kind of behavior I can understand it. I can work with any operating system. Most do at least one or two things better than other operating systems. The problem I run into is that people refuse to even consider Macs most of the time. They don't even want to think about trying it. So I think a lot of Mac users get annoyed when Macs are just dismissed without a second thought.
I do think it would make for an interesting article if Mr. Brooks were to try out a Mac for a month and report back. I can't say that there won't be issues. I'm just as critical of OS X's problems as I am with Windows. But I would like to think he'd be pleasantly suprised by the Mac.
Oh, and floppy drives are dead. With those little USB drives being so cheap these days I can easily see the floppy drive becoming nonstandard on the PC within a year or so.
Nintendo DS in Action
A friend of mine sent me link to a demo of something for the Nintendo DS. It's streaming and using windows media, so you'll need that to watch. It starts out kinda slow, but around halfway through my jaw just dropped. Bonus points go out to anyone who recognizes what is played (I could name it in 4-5 notes). Even more points go to someone who can translate the japanese, since I can't read it (or understand what they are saying).
November 30, 2004
How to Kill a Mockingbird
In case you ever wondered what To Kill a Mockingbird was about.
November 29, 2004
When the whole podcasting thing started to take off I found I was quite into it, but then RL got in the way a bit and it kind of fell off my radar. Interestingly enough, this happened when I stopped being good about using the treadmill three times a week. Today as I was getting ready to walk I realized I needed something to listen to and decided I needed to upgrade iPodderX and start listening again.
iPodderX looks like it is really progressing nicely, even if I'm going to end up having to shell out some $$ for it soon. It's got some really slick features, and I've already found one feature that I want in it. It lets you set the genre of what you download, which is cool, but I want to be able to access other tags also. iTunes has one called 'grouping' which I use for any extra data/keywords to describe the track. For instance, anime soundtracks are in genre soundtracks with anime in the grouping tag. So I'd love to be able to put 'podcast' into the grouping (as well as any other info).
Now I need to get off my ass and figure out where to set up my turntables so I can start doing a mix of the week podcast.
November 18, 2004
projÂ·ect Â· d. u.
(noun) 1. a reader populated with headlines pulled from across the web.
2. relater of news and rumors
3. hiding place for next month's topic of conversation.
4. the center of your Digital Universe. Synonyms: middleman, informant, eavesdropper.
First off, the site. It feels like it is trying way too hard to be 'Hip'. Almost all the buttons you can click are animated in some way. Luckily none of them burst into flames. Next, the Project D.U. Reader. I personally found it to be pretty lame in a bunch of ways.
- The interface leaves much to be desired. It just feels clunky.
- When you look at the lists of posts for a blog it only shows you excerpts, even if the blog provides full posts. Clicking on their 'read more' link opens up the actual post .
- No way to export your subscriptions.
- No support for enclosures.
- Kinda slow and clunky.
- When it couldn't resolve a hostname right away it told me that the feed was bad.
- Project D.U. is a stupid name.
And as I was about to close my browser window on the site, I noticed this on their about page:
One of the best features of this site, not unlike the advent of color television, is the Project D.U. Reader. Itâ€™s filled with headlines from some of the best blogs youâ€™ve never heard of. In fact, weâ€™ve spent hundreds, maybe thousands of hours scouring the web, trying to find the most intriguing sites the world has to offer. To be fair, we pay the favored blogs a bit each month for the right to use their stuff. But we donâ€™t edit what they say, that would be a very un-fun read.
Wait, they are paying the blogs they list money?? How can I get in on that racket.
November 16, 2004
So I finally got a chance to see the Cutey Honey live action movie. It was one of the more fun movies I've seen recently. Cutey Honey first came out years and years ago as a TV series by Go Nagi (the individual responsible for many classic shows) and has had numerous other animated versions throughout the years. Finally, someone did enough drugs to decide that the next incarnation really needed to be a live action movie.
What makes this movie great is that instead of going and tweaking the story too much it sticks with the same over the top feel that the anime has. It almost feels like you are watching an animated movie with live actors subbed in. It's cheesy as all hell, but then again Cutey Honey is cheesy to begin with. My only complaint would be that the ending battle where she goes up against Sister Jill left me wanting more, but in the end it works out alright. Now I just think they should do a live action TV series. I mean, if they can do a Sailor Moon one this should be no problem! Oh yeah, and the theme song for the movie, performed by Koda Kumi, rocks.
November 14, 2004
Just What *IS* flickr Anyways?
About 2 weeks ago I received a Nikon D70 Digital SLR camera in trade for some computer work I've been doing for a neighbor. I've long wanted an SLR of any type and this has helped energize the creative side of me a bit. It also means I've been putting pictures online more and making much more use of Flickr. Which has also led to many of my friends asking "so what's so great about this Flickr thing anyways?"
Flickr is a photo hosting/sharing service from ludicorp that's been in beta for a while now. I think I first started using it around 8 months ago, but didn't really get into it until the new camera. I'd fiddled around with running my own photo gallery software a few times, tried a few other services, but nothing really jumped out at me until Flickr. Flickr is all about finding ways to organize and ways to share your photos. Like most other photo hosting services you can upload pictures, create photosets (albums), etc. It also has a bit of social networking type stuff built in so that you can choose to only share photos with your friends or family.
But where Flickr has really hooked me is with some of the other features. The biggest of which are tags. Tags are keywords you can add to a photo to provide more data about it. For instance, in this photo that I uploaded there are a bunch of tags. I can then choose to look at only pictures of mine with the tag 'squirrel', or I could see all the public photos on Flickr that have the tag 'squirrel'. You can also put notes onto a picture that show up when you mouse over a certain area. Oh yes, and they also have it set up so that you can post your pictures to your blog or LiveJournal from within Flickr and they accept photocam posts too.
One thing the tagging system has done is that some tags have a following. People will take pictures that can be tagged with a certain keyword. One of my favorites is squaredcircle, where people post pictures of circular things in a squared image. This one has enough of a following that someone has created a group for pictures like this (groups are things you can join which have their own photo collections).
The other thing that made Flickr my choice for a photo hosting service was that someone wrote a plugin for iPhoto so that you can export your pictures straight from iPhoto (instead of saving them and uploading with the web site or one of their uploading tools). When it's this easy I can't help but want to post stuff all the time.
Flickr is currently free, also also has a Pro option. With a free account you can upload 10MB of pictures a month, have 3 photosets, and people can view the 100 most recent images you have uploaded. The Pro account offers quite a bit more, you can upload 1GB per month, there's unlimited storage, unlimited bandwidth use, unlimited photosets, and permanent archiving of high-res images. In the future Ad-free browsing will be added to that. You can check out their FAQ for more info.
The last thing I have to say about Flickr is that it has really inspired me to really learn more about taking pictures and to actually get out there and take them. The other day someone invited me to a group called 'sky'. For the next few days I was on the road and everywhere I went I kept looking for good shots of the sky (and I finally got one I really liked). It really ends up being quite addicting after a bit.
Oh, and no, Flickr isn't paying me to rave on and on about how I like them. I just think it's one of the cooler sites out there and want more of my friends to use it.
November 11, 2004
It's Not Easy Being Green
Since I saw the Shrek Twinkies at the store today, I just had to get some and take pictures of them. I was only able to stomach a few bites though. I'm just not a huge Twinkie fan.
November 10, 2004
Hello Kitty Online
There's a part of me that really wants to at least try this. Even if it would be scary.
November 06, 2004
Full Metal Alchemist and Ghost in the Shell: SAC
Excuse the ad, but I'm just doing my part to help promote Full Metal Alchemist and Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Crisis start on Cartoon Network tonight. In general Cartoon Network has done a pretty crappy job with promoting anime, so I thought I'd help out a little. Yes, I'm a geek.
To folks that are just sitting around tonight doing nothing, I highly recommend checking these out, even though they come on a bit late. They are two of the better shows that Cartoon Network has picked up as far as anime goes. Also, don't be mislead by the beginning of Full Metal Alchemist, it gets pretty intense at times.
Hello Kitty Rocks
November 04, 2004
The Mouse I Want
I'd written IOGEAR around a month ago asking when the Bluetooth Mini Mouse that they announced during the summer would be out. I got a nice reply back a day or two later that explained it wouldn't be out until sometime first quarter of 2005. At the time I was kind of bummed because I really like their Mini Mouse line, but was holding out for bluetooth.
Today I just noticed on one of the blogs I read that it had been released! (I wish I could remember which blog so I could give them credit.) I plan on getting one of these as soon as I get paid next. It's a much more manageable size to carry around. Also, it comes with rechargeable batteries. A very nice touch. It's a little bit more than I was wanting to spend on a mouse, but I think I will get a lot of good use out of it.
I'll post a review if I end up getting it.
November 01, 2004
Tired of the picture perfect virtual relationships? iBitch 2.0 puts the balance back into your virtual lovelife, giving you the "low end" to have a more fulfilling and realistic virtual relationship. After all, there can be no good, without the bad, right? iBitch 2.0 is the latest addition to the Virtual Girlfriend software family, compatible with Mac & Windows. [arkamfilms.com]
Oh yes, and this probably isn't worksafe.
October 28, 2004
Stewart Copeland, Mac Geek
Derrick Story writes about his Favorite Stewart Copeland Story:
The next day, when we had a few moments to talk, I asked him what he thought of the laptop. Stewart was in a great mood. He said that since he didn't have any of his stuff on it, he just nosed around, and quickly discovered GarageBand. Stewart is more of a ProTools kind of guy, so he's never taken the time to check out GB.
"I saw this cool looking guitar on the dock," he said. "So I clicked on it. It seemed like about 20 minutes had passed, but it was more like a couple hours. Next thing I knew, I had some pretty sweet tracks put together. And that was without a USB keyboard (as in the musical type). I was just tapping on the computer itself." [O'reilly:Derrick Story]
October 14, 2004
Blog + Wiki = ?
The folks over at Everything Sysadmin have started a wiki to go with the book (along with their blog). They're also talking about integrating wiki and blog, something that I think could be a really cool thing. I've thought about trying to find easy ways to do that myself (especially when I'm posting about some nifty OS X tip).
October 13, 2004
I made the mistake of going into Borders today and walked out with a stack of manga. They need to stop releasing so many things at once! Today's purchases:
- Negima! 3
- D.N.Angel 4
- XXXHolic 3
- Hikaru no Go 2
- The Wallflower (aka Perfect Girl Evolution) 1
I'm most psyched about the last one. I've been waiting for it to come out since I heard Del Rey picked it up.
Microsoft Calls the Kettle Black
When Microsoft opened up the MSN Music Store the other day, there was a comment about Apple and how their system is "closed". This was given as a reason that MSN is better.
"iTunes has done a great job of helping to elevate the [digital music] market," said Christine Andrews, lead product manager of MSN. "We're different because Apple is a closed system. If you want Apple, you have to use the iPod. A lot of people want choice and we offer that." [macnn.com]
So let's see. My choice is use iTMS and an iPod, or buy a whole second computer in order to use the MSN Music Store. Let's be honest, they're both closed in different ways. IMHO MSN's is more closed because I can't even use it on my computer. Though I wouldn't hate Apple if they opened up access to their DRM a little bit. Given their market share I think they can afford to let people use a few other players. There is still a market for flash players that aren't that expensive.
October 09, 2004
Someone Fired For Running SETI@Home... Again
Once again, someone has been fired for running SETI@Home.
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The search for extraterrestrial life has ended at the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
The department on Thursday fired a computer programmer who admitted to using a state-owned computer server to process data for the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence project, run by the University of California at Berkeley.
Charles E. Smith, 63, told administrators he didn't think loading the SETI software on the server was much of a problem because he ran the program only on weekends and on weekdays between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m., when the server wasn't being used, according to a disciplinary report.
Department director Tom Hayes disagreed.
"I understand his desire to search for intelligent life in outer space, because obviously he doesn't find it in the mirror in the morning," Hayes said. "I think that people can be comfortable that security has beamed this man out of our building." [newsnet5.com] [via AP]
I'm not sure if I posted about this kind of thing the last time it happened, but without knowing more background I'm not sure how to react. At most places I've worked there has been an official policy that you aren't supposed to install unauthorized software. This was mostly to try and stop people from installing every little thing they download from the net, and to be able to scold them when something they've downloaded broke their computer. In the case of something like this though, I almost have to wonder if the application was actually cutting into computer resources. But, the article doesn't give us any information about that (though I'd be curious to know more). The other issue is that I think the department director's comments are a bit unprofessional and unnecessarily insulting.
Hmm, maybe I should give SETI@Home a download and start it running on one of the machines I have floating around.
I Just Hope There Are No Spiders In This One
Irrational Games has started talking up Bioshock, the spiritual successor to System Shock 2. Gamespot has a preview of the game and I just may have to see how cheaply I can throw together a PC to be able to play this one when it comes out. System Shock 2 is still one of my favorite computer games ever. It was one of the creepiest games I've ever played.
Irrational Games originally conceived of its cult-classic hybrid game System Shock 2 as a "spiritual successor" to the original game. And Irrational's next game will, in turn, be a "spiritual successor" to System Shock 2. We're pleased to bring you the first official details on BioShock, a new game that will attempt to further the open-ended, emergent gameplay of the previous games by offering even more choices for players to creatively interact with the world around them and to solve the challenges that face them.
While System Shock 2 represented what Irrational general manager Ken Levine describes as "a convergence of technology and commercialism" (that game took place on a corporate-sponsored starship), BioShock will instead represent "a convergence of technology and biological life," or more specifically, genetics. It's important to note: BioShock is not a sequel to any of the System Shock games, nor does it have any official relation to those games. But like the previous games, this one will offer a horror-themed gameplay experience in which what you observe, and what happens to you, will be tempered by your own choices. "[At Irrational], we think emergence is the future," says Levine. [gamespot.com]
Btw, a request to the Mac gaming world. Please get in contact with these folks and do a Mac port of both System Shock 2 and Bioshock. Even though System Shock 2 is a few years old at this point, it's still such a kickass game that really does deserve a Mac port.
October 04, 2004
Reason #5 Katamary Damacy rocks: You can roll up cows. They Moo. Reason #4 is the music for the game.
If you haven't seen this game, check out this clip of the gameplay.
Where is the Clow, hidden right now?
Lately, whenever I find myself humming Magical Trevor (which is way too often as it is) I find myself inserting Clow for every occurrence of cow. Though I really want to figure out some alternate lyrics for what he saw in the parallel dimension.
September 28, 2004
OS X mySQL tools
I have a few different tools I use for managing MySQL on my OS X server. I've always been a fan of phpMyAdmin and have also used something called CocoaMySQL. But I was recently in a situation where I didn't have those available and needed something quick. After searching around some I discovered dbSuite Admin Tools X, a very nice piece of donationware for OS X and Windows for working with your MySQL server. The big bonus it has over CocoaMySQL is that it has user management built in (something I'm sure it will have eventually). These folks will be getting a little bit of a donation from me on my next round of payments.
September 25, 2004
More Wario Insanity!
September 19, 2004
Wikipedia Hits One Million
From Joi Ito's Web:
Wikipedia has just announced that it has reached one million articles. Congratulations Wikipedians! Wikipedia is in more than 100 languages with 14 currently having over 10,000 articles. It is ranked one of the ten most popular reference sites on the Internet according to Alexa.com (trumping Reuters, the Wall Street Journal and the LA Times). At the current rate of growth, Wikipedia will double in size again by next spring. [Joi Ito's Web]
Pretty cool. I keep thinking I should work on contributing more, especially in the anime section.
September 18, 2004
How to Crash IE
Eric Meyer posted a test file that tends to freeze IE6 and in some cases even cause a reboot of the computer. So if you're running that, don't click the link below.
Since a few people asked for it, I've created a test file that reproduces the Internet Explorer freeze reported yesterday. You can find it with the title "Internet Explorer Freezes -- BEWARE!". ...(254 words | CSS Browsers | comments and pings allowed) [via Thoughts From Eric]
Behold, the power of CSS.
September 15, 2004
Yesterday I added the last 10 links I've posted to del.icio.us to the right hand column. I'm going to use this for stuff that just seems interesting, but I really don't have much of a comment on. You can also subscribe to the rss for my links.
September 14, 2004
Let's clear some things up.
[kasia in a nutshell]
The Star Trek thing.
Star Trek is not a geek thing. Not all geeks like Star Trek, heck, most geeks I know never watch it. Would you people stop equating geeks with Star Trek freaks? Who the hell is Ivanova? The first guy to buy me a Star Trek mousepad as a cute gift would wear it as a collar in about fifteen seconds or less.
So people think geeks wear tshirts with brand names because they're proudly displaying their loyalty? That's cute and funny at the same time. T-shirts at conferences are free, t-shirts at conferences come emblazoned with logos and brand-names, ergo, geeks often wear tshirts with brand names because they're free. Unlike the rest of you gap-labled yuppies, we don't pay to advertise corporations.
Unless you count my Free Software Foundation tshirt, I paid for that, but that was really more of a donation than a purchase. Sort of like the emacs manual, yah, i'll ever read that!
Geeks can fix things.
Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha -- that's all I'm going to say on the issue.
In general, I've always thought of myself as more on the geek side. But reading through the guide to geek guys it seems I was wrong. I'm barely geeky at all! Even though in humor, I just found that these were just so wrong and cliched that they weren't even that funny.
My New Fangled Blogroll
September 13, 2004
life - wikified
After a few false starts I've started up my own personal wiki. In the end I decided that MoinMoin would be the best choice for me, since it is fairly small and simple. TikiWiki was interesting, but just way too much for a small personal wiki. Now I just need to make some themes. to make it fit in with the rest of my site. Anyways, you can get there via the link on the left, or by clicking here.
There really isn't that much in there yet. But I'm planning to use it for random information I want to keep track of. And if you want to contribute at all just let me know (everyone has read permission unless I grant them more).
September 09, 2004
Do They Know About CD-Rs?
C.Net has an article about Longhorn putting the squeeze on gadgets
SAN FRANCISCO--Windows makes it easy to quickly download files to iPods and other portable storage devices--a little too easy in the minds of many IT managers.
In the next version of Windows, Microsoft will give big companies an easy way to block use of such devices, while making it easier for consumers to connect their home systems to them, a company representative told CNET News.com.
Much has been made of the security risks posed by portable storage devices known as USB keys, or flash drives, music players like the iPod, and other small gadgets that can store vast amounts of data. Some fear that such tiny devices can be used to quickly copy sensitive data off business PC hard drives, or to introduce malicious software onto corporate networks.
"It's a real problem," said Padmanand Warrier, a developer in Microsoft's Windows unit. "That's the feedback we've gotten from IT folks." [C.NET News]
I know things like USB drives make it a little easier, but anyplace I've worked it was easy to get a cd burning for your machine. Or for smaller things a floppy drive. And telling people they can't use a cd burning is akin to stopping them from ever doing any effective work.
August 31, 2004
Movable Type 3.1 Released
The fine folks at Six Apart have officially released Movable Type 3.1. I've been beta testing this for a bit over a week and it's pretty nice. They also released a pack of plugins for it that includes MT-Blacklist.
I wonder if the is the Infocom one
Radio 4 is re-releasing an old Hitchhikers game.
A Douglas Adams game is revived to mark a new Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy radio series. [BBC News | TECHNOLOGY]
I really do wonder if this is the old Infocom game. I'll need to find some of that not tea I guess.
Movable Type 3.1: Dynamic Templates
One of the cool new things in Movable Type 3.1 (which should be out pretty damn soon now) is the dynamic PHP publishing. Why is this a big thing? Because up till now if you'd changed a something like your individual archive page template you'd have to go back and rebuild your whole site. If you've got a large number of posts this tends to take a while. Now, it can just render the page when requested, which means doing a pushlish all will go much faster.
After a few rough starts, I got the whole thing running on this blog. The index page and the feeds are all static, but any archive page is built up on the fly. And you can even turn on a caching if you so desire. When you do this, a copy of the dynamic page is kept around for an hour so that if someone else visits that page again within the hour it doesn't have to rebuild it again from the database.
Setup for this feature was actually much easier than I thought, once you know a few things. One, it doesn't work if you are using Berkeley DB as your database. Which required me to convert to using mySQL. Which worked out okay overall, but I had to do a bit of tweaking since I seemed to have some odd corruption in my database. Once that was done I just had to turn on the dynamic publishing for the templates I wanted and create a templates_c directory in my blog's home directory. One republish later and everything was working just fine. It's pretty much transparent to the person browsing the site (which means your existing permalinks won't change at all.
It also lets you do caching of the dynamicly generated pages via the Smarty template engine. If you turn it on, dynamicly generated pages are cached for an hour by default (though you can tweak that if you need to). Pretty slick. While my site doesn't generate a ton of traffic, this is the kind of thing that could really be useful for a site that gets tons of hits a day.
One or two other gotchas. If you are using PHP you can't use opening tags in the format <?, you need to have them in the format <?php. As long as you do that you shouldn't have any issues. Also, this is supposedly not compatible with any other plugins (not an issue for me as I don't use any other plugins).
Another issue is how dynamic pages are built. I tend to do my template editing locally using cyberduck+subethaedit and I have my templates linked to a local file on my web server. I find it is much easier to edit them that way. The problem with this is that if you make a change to the local file, you need to go back into MT and save it there also for it to take affect. I personally think it should make a check to see if the file version has changed and load that one in if so.
Next thing to try: doing more with categories and sub-categories (You can see a bit of a preview to the right).
Skype for OS X
August 25, 2004
IT Department in a Box
I like the idea of this a lot. It would be so handy to have a CD I could bring with me for setting up a machine with this stuff in one step.
It's dawned on me that a great many small sites (and possibly big sites too) would be greatly helped if someone made a single box that included:
- Some kind of up/down monitoring system like Nagios or BigBrother
- Some kind of capacity planning monitor like Cricket or MRTG
- TWiki or other Wiki, with a pre-built set of pages
- A serial console system like Conserver.com
- Bacula or other free backup system
While none of those are difficult to install for an experienced Linux person, the goal would be a system that the common "Mr. Fixit" kind of sysadmin that serves small sites would be able to load a CD-ROM and have the entire machine working very quickly. Each application would be pre-installed, and pre-customized. For example, the install procedure would ask for the IP address of a few key servers, and Nagios would default to monitoring it. The Wiki would have pre-configured pages that include add/remove/change procedures the above items (how to add/remove/change a server that Nagios monitors, add/remove/change a file system that Bacula is backing up, etc.). [Everything Sysadmin]<./p>
The thing I'd add to this is that the whole thing would come with a good set of docs on paper on how to use everything. While you can always go and print something like that off. I just like the feel of a real book for docs at times (I hate reading things on screen). I'd also even expand this idea some. How about a series of CDs for different purposes (firewall?). Tools like this would be really handy for people who are maybe doing part time sysadmin work for a small company (and as the post says, even big ones).
August 20, 2004
Using Google as a Research Tool
A LiveJournal user has used Google to figure out some stats about LJ users.
Mac Office 2004 NitPick
I've been trying out the trial version of Office 2004 for the Mac (and should have a real copy of it on the way very soon now). I have to say Microsoft has really done some cool things here. The project manager in Entourage rocks. It's the kind of thing that would be insanely useful to my ADDness. But there are a few things about it that I have to rant about. The first is that some kind of syncing between Entourage and Apple Address Book isn't in there. I read a nice post on this over at blogs.msdn.com by Dan Crevier that explains the reasoning, but it still annoys me. Thankfully there's a nice shareware app out there that does it called Sync Entourage - Address Book by Paul Berkowitz.
My next nitpick is one that I have with a few apps on OS X. In text fields, Cocoa uses emacs control characters for navigation. ^n, ^p, ^a, etc. Even ^k/^y. It's very handy for those of us who sometimes use those out of habit. The problem with Entourage is that it doesn't use these, and in fact those commands do other things altogether. I'd love to have a preference setting to turn that on if I wanted. I just find them much easier to use than the arrow keys. From a typing standpoint it doesn't require me to move my hand to another position at all.
Once I have the full version of Office I'll write up a bit more of a review, but so far it's pretty damn slick.
August 19, 2004
More On The Cult of Mac
John Dodds of the Independent writes the first of two articles about switching from Windows to Mac. He's got some good to say, and some bad. The good:
A different issue emerged in setting up my Wi-Fi connection. (Apple calls it Airport). The absence of a confirmation message left me thinking I'd done something wrong, but all I needed was to unplug the Ethernet link: it switched over automatically. I had expected a Windows-style confirmation of success, but Apples don't prompt you when something's gone right, such as plugging in a disk or setting up a wireless router. They just silently incorporate it. That's a major difference in approach: Windows thinks it's a surprise worth telling you about when something works. Apple doesn't.
And some of the bad.
Also, when working with multiple windows it is sometimes difficult to find what you want, and the thinness of the side sliders of any window demands very accurate cursor control. I have often found myself working on the wrong documents or applications because they were already open or lying dormant on the desktop beneath.
Other annoyances include trying to get both time and date displayed, and the single-button mouse - no doubt there's an internal Apple logic, but it's still irksome. Much more annoying is the lack of a forward delete key. You can use a combination of keys, but I've still deleted the wrong text many times. Also, files downloaded from the web are all dropped into a separate folder, rather than one you specify. But these are minor quibbles. [The Independent] [via MacMerc]
I definitely agree with him on the mouse. It still kind of blows my mind that Apple doesn't use other mice. Almost everyone I know has bought a wheel mouse for their mac. I even have one that I use on my laptop when I'm at my desk. I'm curious to hear what hear what else he'll have to say in the second article.
August 18, 2004
Oh, Yes. So Wrong.
Thanks to those fine folk at Boing Boing for this link. I may have to destroy you all for it.
So wrong: Something Awful re-captions selections from Watchmen.
So wrong, but so funny. Hmm, what other comics to re-caption.
Posted by snooze at 08:56 PM
August 17, 2004
Assholes and Morons
Mark Pilgrim writes about how most developers are morons or assholes in a post about why specs matter.
Most developers are morons, and the rest are assholes. I have at various times counted myself in both groups, so I can say this with the utmost confidence. [dive into mark] [via The Universal Church Of Cosmic Uncertainty]
I believe this applies to sysadmins also, but there are probably one or two more groupings. I know I've fallen into both camps at one time or another. Though I tend to think that my time in the asshole camp was usually caused by dealing with a moron.
Posted by snooze at 11:48 AM
August 11, 2004
XP Starter Edition
I saw this great bit of news over at BBC.
Microsoft is to launch a low-cost version of its Windows XP program to try to halt the rise of rival Linux software.
...Microsoft's new software - dubbed "XP Lite" - will feature lower resolution graphics and limited options for networking computers together.
It will also limit users to running three programs concurrently - a far cry from the full version of XP, where the only practical limit comes from the speed of the computer and the size of its memory.
It will be available initially in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and two other as yet unspecified Asian countries. [BBC News | TECHNOLOGY]
So let's see, since this is supposedly to compete against linux let's compare. Linux gives me no real restrictions as far as how many programs I run and what graphics modes I can use. And with XP Lite I can run three programs.
Posted by snooze at 09:11 AM
August 10, 2004
The RSS Equalizer
Here's an interesting product designed to get your site more traffic. It's sad to see things like this becoming even this mainstream.
and the winner ...
I'm still trying to figure out the 'fun and excitement' part.
Posted by snooze at 12:41 PM
August 07, 2004
Forbes.com does dumb things
I thought this was funny.
What's even funnier? Forbes.com has RSS feeds themselves. Which I guess don't really serve much purpose either
Posted by snooze at 07:19 PM
August 06, 2004
The History of IMDB
That’s a bit of an understatement considering Needham ended up transforming a small hobby into an international business. But remember, back in 1989, terms like “World Wide Web” were totally foreign. Needham joined a movie discussion group on what was then the fledgling university-linked Internet. The members were almost all American male college students, and their favorite topic was — you guessed it — who’s the most attractive actress and what movies has she been in.
Soon, the guys volunteered their private databases and actresses begat actors, which begat directors, which begat writers, which begat cinematographers, which begat plot summaries. [LA Weekly]
I remember when I was at CMU hanging out on rec.arts.movies and people discussing THE LIST. Which was this list of actresses and movies. If you search on Google Groups you can find numerous mentions of it.
Posted by snooze at 11:10 AM
August 04, 2004
SMC Bests Airport Express? Maybe not.
SMC has announced a new portable wireless access point a la the Airport Express. They're calling it the "EZ Connect™ g 2.4GHz 802.11g Wireless Traveler’s Kit SMCWTK-G," but we'll probably just call it the SMCWRK-G or Dance Panda Mandy, as it suits us. For what it lacks in good looks it makes up in features, as the SMCWRK-G can do everything the Airport Express can do and more (save the iTunes streaming), including act as an Ethernet bridge. It might not be attractive, but it's $30 cheaper, ringing in at just $100.
Perennial Wi-Fi smart guy Glenn Fleishmann weighs in with a little more detail at Wi-Fi Networking News.
The Airport Express is also a print server, which SMC isn't listing as a feature for this device. This looks like it is more useful if you just need wireless access when you travel. But for $30 you're losing a bit of functionality, and you need to carry around a power supply to go with it.
Posted by snooze at 01:12 PM
August 03, 2004
Airport Express and the Genius of Apple
Today while looking for a wireless mouse I picked up an Airport Express. For those of you who aren't aware of this device, it is Apple's mini base-station, music streaming, usb printer sharing, network extending device. Currently, I have it set up downstairs hooked to the stereo and had it cranked up while I sat out on the porch. Currently, any mac in the house can stream music to it from iTunes. In some ways it's not a perfect solution, since in my parent's case they'd have to go upstairs to their mac to start iTunes. But for someone with a laptop or a laptop and a desktop it just plain rocks. And I'm not the only one who is loving it.
Here's where I think Apple was smart with this device. They've made it so easy to want more than one of them. I've already got one and can easily justify two more. The second I'll use in my room as a print server/wireless client. The third will go on the third floor hooked into the home theatre setup. At around $130 each it isn't something I'll pick up right away, but once I get my laser printer I know I'll be eyeing it.
Of course, then I may want one for when I'm on the road. MacMegasite has a neat article about using the Airport Express in a hotel room.
Posted by snooze at 09:01 PM
July 31, 2004
Email, PowerPoint, and Breaking Up
Accordian Guy writes about the growing trend of people getting dumped via email.
The underlying idea of using email to deliver unpleasant news isn't all that novel. You've probably had to phone someone to cancel plans and were relieved to get their voice mail or answering machine rather than the actual person, and you may have even heard of situations where people have broken up over the phone. Breaking up in writing was common enough for the term "Dear John Letter" to be coined. In these situations, the bearer of bad news is trying to weasel out of having to deal with the reaction.
Listing the reasons for a breakup, whether the breakup is taking place in person, by postal mail, over the phone or email, isn't new, either. What is new is listing the reasons in point form. [Accordian Guy]
Definitely a fun read.
Posted by snooze at 08:35 PM
July 30, 2004
: Sysadmin Appreciation Day
Not being a part of the working world these days I completely forgot that today was Sysadmin Appreciation Day.
w00t! It's Sysadmin Appreciation day! What could be better?
System Administrator Appreciation Day - A special day, once a year, to acknowledge the worthiness and appreciation of the person occupying the role, especially as it is often this person who really keeps the wheels of your company turning.
- Read about the day: www.sysadminday.com
- UserFriendly's cartoon: www.userfriendly.org
- Do something good for yourself and join Usenix/SAGE: www.sage.org
- Schedule some "me time" and register for LISA in the US, or SANE in Europe.
Posted by snooze at 08:37 PM
O'Reilly has announced a new magazine coming in 2005 called Make.
Make brings the do-it-yourself mindset to all the technology in your life. Make is loaded with exciting projects that help you make the most of your technology at home and away from home. This is a magazine that celebrates your right to tweak, hack, and bend any technology to your own will.
Coming early in 2005, Make is a hybrid magazine/book (known as a mook in Japan). Make comes from O'Reilly, the Publisher of Record for geeks and tech enthusiasts everywhere. It follows in line with the Hacks books and Hardware Hacking Projects, but it takes a highly visual and personal approach. [Make]
Sounds pretty cool, I can't wait to check it out.
Posted by snooze at 07:17 PM
Real, Apple, and Tethering
There's an interesting article over on engadget.com about "tethering". Tethering is where one product is tied into another, one example given is the little packets of coffee for use in a certain coffee maker.
So we looked on with enthusiasm at the new pressurized personal coffee makers. They push hot water through a sealed “pod” filled with a precise measure of coffee. It was neat, slick, well-designed, and promised a strong, good, dependable dose. It’s the same technology that supplies those surprisingly good coffee available from coin machines in public spaces in Europe.
After a half-hour of debating the pros and cons of such a radical “format shift,” we left without one of these cool new machines. We opted out because these specialized “pods” are essentially “tethered” to this brand of coffee maker. [engadget.com]
The author goes on to mention other devices that are tethered in this way (or becoming tethered) such as printers makers and garage-door opener companies. He also talks about the whole Apple vs Real situation and how it is becoming another example of this. I personally think Apple is blowing it. As much as I'm not a fan of Real this doesn't seem like that big a deal to me.
Posted by snooze at 07:11 PM
Philips DVP642: Initial Impressions
I'd been looking to pick up a new DVD player recently, since my old one croaked on me recently. After doing some hunting around online I decided on the Philips DVP642. I decided on this one for a few reasons. First, it supports DivX. This was a big deal for me because I watch a lot of anime that is encoded in this format. Second, the price was right. At $69.99 it wasn't too expensive a risk. Some of the reviews indicated that the DVD playback wasn't that great, but I figured at $70 even if it was good I'd be happy.
Today I picked up my player at a local CompUSA (the only place locally that had them in stock). Initial setup was easy, as was updating the firmware to the latest version. This entailed downloading two files from the philips.com website and burning them to CD and starting up the dvd player letting it read the CD. I haven't tested a DVD yet, but I did test with a DVD-RW that had a few files on it. The good: it read the DVD-R and could play some of the files. The bad: it couldn't play them all. I'm trying to figure out what the differences were in the files it wouldn't play, but so far nothing is jumping out at me.
I've also set up a page on my wiki about this player so that I can keep notes on what works and what doesn't. If anyone has anything they think would be useful to add, please let me know.
Posted by snooze at 06:17 PM
July 29, 2004
Interesting Little Puzzle
I found this a few days ago and I can't for the life of me remember where I got the link to it. But at least I'm finally getting around to posting it. So here's a link to Petals Around the Roses.
Posted by snooze at 06:50 PM
July 28, 2004
LiveJournal RSS Celebration
The other day over on #joiito i was whining about how I wished I could get friends-locked posts in the RSS feeds on LiveJournal. Luckily LJ user crschmidt was there to let me know that it was possible. In general, the link to someone's feed on LJ is http://www.livejournal.com/users/[username]/data/rss. The problem is, it only shows you public entries. So, in order to get friends locked entries, you need to send along your LJ username and password and tell LJ what kind of authorization method to use. The end result looks something like this:
Note that this will only work in RSS readers that do the right thing with urls that have login information in them. But it works in NetNewsWire so I'm happy. While I still have my friends page, this means I now have access to all my LJ friends in the same place I read other blogs.
Posted by snooze at 10:18 AM
July 24, 2004
Another Example of Why I Like OS X
With OS X, I don't have to deal with computer problems like Adam Felber is having.
I'd just written an amusing explanation of the incredible discovery of Bush's lost military records. And then my browser crashed. I haven't worked on a Windows PC for a while, and I'd forgotten that they only work for so long before something horrible happens, at which point the Windows manual suggests that I scream, sob, rend my garments, and upgrade to a newer version of the software that will really definitely totally not crash quite so much this time albeit depending on various conditions involving things that would be far more difficult to learn about than simply following directions and getting a head start on my next bout of screaming, sobbing, and etc. [Fanatical Apathy]
I'd also recommend valium, and some whiskey, and maybe some Lexapro.
Posted by snooze at 12:59 PM
July 22, 2004
I Think This Is The Solution for My N.A.D.D. Too
Thinking is messy.
You don't want to admit this because you've been carefully orchestrating yourself out of the chaos by constructing your personal version of N.A.D.D. These interactions with your desktop, your content, your thoughts exist because information is messy, too. It's all a big mess and our job as consumers of an infinite amount of information is to find a system of organization which best suits our interests and our attention spans.
The comment I've heard most about this new 30 inch flat panel is, "Who in the world needs it?" You do. Right now. So do I. 60 inches would better, but 30 inches is all we got.
Yes, I can't afford it. Neither can you because we're not working at Pixar or PDI where they've got a present day politically correct justification for all those pixels, but that doesn't mean we don't need it. It just means we haven't successfully convinced the bill payers that more pixels means more productivity. [Rands in Repose]
Posted by snooze at 10:20 PM
July 11, 2004
Yet Another Reason The DMCA Sucks
Ugs, this just pisses me off.
This just in: A district court in Boston has used the DMCA to grant a preliminary injunction against a third party service vendor who tried to fix StorageTek tape library backup systems for legitimate purchasers of the system.
How is this a DMCA violation? Well, it turns out that StorageTek allegedly uses some kind of algorithmic "key" to control access to its "Maintenance Code", the module that allows the service tech to debug the storage system. The court found that third party service techs who used the key without StorageTek's permission "circumvented" to gain access to the copyrighted code in violation of the DMCA, even though they had the explicit permission of the purchasers to fix their machines. [LawGeek] [via boingboing]
What scares me the most about this is thinking about what the next step from here could be. Could a car manufacturer do a similar thing with the computer in your car? I'm not a lawyer, so I don't know for sure, but it seems like it could be done.
Posted by snooze at 09:55 AM
June 24, 2004
IM spam, commonly referred to as "spim," has been flagged by experts as a growing problem. However, experts have also written off spim as a far cry from e-mail spam, which has caused enormous headaches for consumers and businesses alike. [CNET.com]
SPIM? I have to say this is one of the lamer terms I've heard. If you look at the origin of the term spam, it doesn't even seem to come from email at all. So I guess that means for email we should be calling it 'spem'.
Posted by snooze at 10:48 AM
June 18, 2004
My Amazon Wish List
Via The Universal Church of Cosmic Uncertainty, a link to a cool project for making an Amazon Wish-of-the-Month club. Each month it randomly picks something for you to buy from your wish list and buys it and sends it to you. You set things like a price maximum so that you don't end up buying something too expensive. Quite the cool idea.
Posted by snooze at 08:27 PM
June 10, 2004
Airport Express and iTunes 4.6 and What I Think Is Missing
Apple's new Airport Express sounds great. It's one of the things I've really been looking for. A nice way to have a wireless repeater that (hopefully) doesn't kill the network speed. Everything else is just really good icing. Mini base station, great. Printer server, great. Streaming audio receiver: great. AirTunes, which is part of iTunes 4.6, here's where I think they missed slightly. You can only stream to an Airport Express box. I would have loved to have seen the ability to stream to any other box running iTunes. Yes, there is music sharing, which is great, but I can think of times when I might want to be just streaming to a laptop. Or both a laptop and an airport express. I live in a fairly good sized house and maybe people in multiple places want to be able to tune in.
I think Apple also needs to come out with some kind of stereo/AV component for listening to music and viewing photos (and maybe even movies) on your home theatre system. Something that works like TiVo's Home Media Option (which is now included in the TiVo subscription instead of as an add-on), but more tuned to how Apple does things. It would let you listen to AAC encoded files, and AAC files you bought from iTMS. But it would act more like the iTunes music sharing does. To me, this could be the killer box for Apple. Roku comes close with their products, but it still isn't exactly what I'm looking for. The one thing I know I don't really want is a full computer attached to my home theatre system. It just seems like overkill to me when I have a server already that has all that stuff stored on it.
Posted by snooze at 11:13 AM
June 07, 2004
How to Spend the Day
How do I spend the day when the power is out for most of it? By playing my Fire Emblem and the original Legend of Zelda on my GBA. I'm kind of amazed at how much I remember of a game that came out 15 or so years ago. And by how much it still holds my attention.
Posted by snooze at 05:54 PM
June 02, 2004
More Manga in the News
The New York Times Magazine had an article on manga last sunday that's a pretty cool read.
Posted by snooze at 09:46 PM
May 29, 2004
Catching Up With Blogs
I'm catching up on a few days of blog reading while I switched to a new machine. Here's a few things that jumped out at me:
- Goodbye TechTV. Leo writes about the last day of Call for Help and leaves some thoughts on the merger. Personally, I have no idea what kind of crack Comcast/G4 is smoking. From all I can see they're doing their best to alienate most of the TechTV audience. One thing I always liked about TechTV was that they had stuff for everyone. G4 feels like it is targetted towards the 15-25 year old crowd. At first I thought it was kind of charming, but it quickly got on my nerves. Biggest missed opportunity? Not bringing over a Call for Help and not bringing over a Tech Live, a daily tech news show. Rumor has it their own weekly news show will be going daily, but not until July. I dunno, I'd think if you suddenly owned a network like TechTV, which has been experiencing strong growth in the past year, you'd want to keep some of that audience.
- Kasia talks about The Day After Tomorrow. This is one I kind of want to see just for the special effects. From everything I've heard the movie itself was pretty lame beyond that.
- Neil Gaiman talks about Fred the Unlucky Black Cat being sick and inspires a small poem.
- Derek has found that Alpha-Bits may be no more. Dammit, I used to love those (even though I'm more of a Special K guy myself these days).
That's it for now, time to get out and get some fresh air.
Posted by snooze at 03:12 PM
May 28, 2004
If I Ever Even Consider Buying Something Like This, Kill Me
Gainax has announced a life sized, poseable Hikari doll from Konomini. I'm not sure what frightens me more. The idea that things like this exist, or that there are people out there who are probably anxious to own them. The dolls are made by Paper Moon, who offer a number of other dolls (including Sakura and Ryoko). Words cannot begin to describe how wrong I find this. What's next? Real Anime Doll?
Posted by snooze at 10:43 PM
Cool Screen Saver
We would like to provide mysterious suites constructed by random matching of the words and pictures. Enjoy yourselves in the surrealistic world spun by strange coincidence and eternal imagination. And run your meditation on what "meaning" represents.
Posted by snooze at 06:51 PM
The most recent i, cringely is about how people are making new versions of the firmware for some of the new Linksys 802.11g boxes, specifically the WRT54G. I'd noticed the other day that the access point I'd gotten recently, the WAP54G seemed to be running linux also, so did some searching to find out if they were similar. It seems that they are and Sveasoft had just recently released new firmware for it too. It's pretty slick being able to connect to your access point from the command line. The only real issue is that it doesn't have as much memory as the WRT54G, so it doesn't have quite as many features, but the important ones are there, including some bandwidth management tools (something I think these boxes should have anyways).
What I'm thinking about now is getting a WRT54G for our gateway, this will give wireless to the back of the house and the back porch, and using the new WAP54G as a repeater for the front of the house, just to get complete coverage.
Posted by snooze at 12:53 PM
Final Fantasy Tactics Advanced
Phew. After quite a long time I finally finished Final Fantasy Tactics Advanced. I'd zoomed through a bunch of it a while back, but hadn't had as much time to play recently. Overall it was quite fun. At times it was a little challenging, but never so hard that I felt frustrated by it. Definitely one of the better games to get for the Gameboy Advance.
Next up: Advance Wars 2
Posted by snooze at 10:05 AM
May 26, 2004
More on Email Tracking And Other Evilness
Freedom to Tinker mentions a company called readnotify.com that also uses web bugs, but also uses IFRAMEs, which cannot be disabled by just turning off remote image loading. There's also a mention of how these places can put tracking bugs in Word Documents.
readnotify.com is an email tracking system that uses Web bugs (like didtheyreadit) and also uses a trick involving IFRAMEs (unlike didtheyreadit). The IFRAME trick cannot be disabled by the standard countermeasure of turning off remote image loading. There may not be an easy way to disable it in today's email software, short of turning off HTML email entirely.
Worse yet, readnotify offers a service that lets anyone put hidden tracking bugs in Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, and other OLE-compliant document formats. When somebody opens a document containing one of these trackers, the time of the access is reported, along with the accessor's IP address (which often reveals their geographic location) and some configuration information about their computer. [Freedom to Tinker]
So my question is, is there an easy way to turn this stuff off in Word/Excel? And I guess I'll have to see if Mail.app supports IFRAMEs.
Posted by snooze at 09:06 PM
May 24, 2004
Mail receipts or a bit of snake oil
Dan Gillmor mentions a service called DidTheyReadIt and some of his concerns about it.
DidTheyReadIt and Civil Behavior
A company launching a new application claims it can tell senders of e-mail whether the recipient has opened it, and for how long (and even, in many cases, the location of the reader). "Creepy" doesn't begin to do justice to this concept. [Dan Gillmor]
I'd just heard of another service like this called Point of Mail. How do these services work? Easy, they embed a 1x1 image into your message when you send it. So if the person reading the email has a mail reader that supports html, it will grab that image from their site. This isn't anything new really. Spammers others doing mass emails have been doing this for ages. It's a way to get a rough idea of how many people read your messages (and can be handy for pruning email lists).
Dan Gillmor calls it creepy. I agree, but also have problems with how they are selling this. First off, it is easy to block. Just turn off html or image loading for your mail program. I did this ages ago because I just don't trust html based mail. Plus I don't always use Mail.app for reading mail. Sometimes I use pine, which doesn't support images at all. Yet there is nothing on their site about things like this. In the end, this ends up being a potentially very unreliable service for someone.
Oh, and one last thing about pointofmail.com. They have this nice open webmail gateway called sendnow.
pointofmail offers you a world's first web mail service that allows you to send an e-mail right away with no username and password needed. You can send e-mail from anywhere - using your e-mail as a reply address or even stay anonymous.
It's easy to use, free, fast, time-saving. You can send email from anywhere. No long-time logging with username and password. It is perfect when you are not near your computer.
Tell a friend about this exiting and revolutionary service and get confirmation when your recommendation was read.
I wonder how long till their SMTP servers are listed on RBL and similar places.
Posted by snooze at 04:58 PM