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1 July 2006
Via Iris & Banjocat: Toren van beren (tower of bears.)
2 July 2006
New Bookdragon: The Lord of the Rings: The Mythology of Power
4 July 2006
Helping Merrystar get Flash off of Tsiolkovsky when I ran across this page on the Adobe/Macromedia site: How to uninstall the Adobe Flash Player plug-in and ActiveX control
Due to recent enhancements with the Flash Player installers, you are now only able to uninstall by using the Adobe Flash Player Uninstaller (below). To uninstall Flash Player, simply download the appropriate uninstaller for your system and follow the instructions listed below.
When did they stop including an uninstaller in their distribution???
5 July 2006
Note to self. The following phrase will never make you cool.
Me: “I mean, c’mon. My pants repel water.”
Don’t make my mistakes, people! Come here for the worldly experience, stay for the dry monkey!
Improv Anywhere: The MP3 Experiment III: The Search For Steve.
6 July 2006
Jim opens up his Second Annual Tour De France Comment Thread.
iPod Playlist: 2006-07-05 Shuffle
I seem to be back into a rut; all I did was remove the girl bands from the Memorial Day mix and add in some more Trip sound effects.
7 July 2006
Unqualified Offerings: 2006: A “Blogofascist” Oddity.
I saw Guy talking about the 10/20/30 rule in his video for the Art of the Start video, and I’m glad he has it as a post. (If nothing else, it’s much easier to link to.)
If I have not mentioned it before now, let me take the opportunity to say:
I LOVE FIREWIRE.
I don’t just like it. I LOVE it. It’s reduced my backup times to practically nothing. 7GB DVD files? Yeah, transfered in 5 minutes.
I have been using the MacAlly PHR-100AC USB 2.0/Firewire external drive enclosures on 250 GB Seagate 7200 Barracudas as my backup drives. One was running USB 2.0 only (due to a misset Master/Slave jumper, which I think causes most of the problems for people upgrading) and one running Firewire 400.
It was really sad to watch the same backup routine finish so much faster using Firewire. Firewire! Firewire! Huzzah, Firewire!
(Did I mention Trip is teething, and my sleep patterns are somewhat disrupted? Probably should have said something about that before.)
(Yes dear, I’m going to sleep now.)
9 July 2006
This is pretty cool: Creating a Log file with Notepad.
Also cool, from Hawk Wings: Innovative email client design: Thinking outside the Outlook box.
Interesting points by Seth Godin: The Trend to ‘Best Available’.
(I will leave it as an excerise to the reader as to why this particular article is appropriate right now.)
11 July 2006
technorati claiming, nothing to see here.
My neighbor has taken to running on his treadmill at 6:05 every morning. This takes place in the room right next to Trip’s, so there’s this wonderful thump thump thump thump that usually brings him awake. (Loudly, I might add. Shared walls suck.)
To compensate, we’ve been putting the baby to bed at 7pm, which has had some success. Not a lot, but some. This teething, though, has got Trip all discombobulated. He was up and down all night.
This morning, the floor went thump thump thump thump. I got up. And the baby didn’t stir.
6:47, no more thump thump thump.
7am came and went, still nothing.
7:12, he decided to start talking.
7:25, he decided to tell jokes to himself and laugh.
7:30, kicking his legs. Going abababababababa. Did I mention that he has 8 teeth now? With more on the way?
7:32. Can’t believe I’m liveblogging my son’s wakeup routine.
7:37. Inbox empty. Working on essay. Son still making happy noises. At what point do I go get him up? 8?
7:44. It’s really interesting to hear him try out different sounds. He’s got some words down pat (“Up!” “Out!”) but he really seems to be working on sentences. He has a passable “I love you,” and
7:45. Time to go.
12 July 2006
How could I have missed the Traffic.com source for the Yahoo! Widgets Traffic Map?
13 July 2006
We got it.
This story was literally dropped on my desk today. Wall Street Journal: Rice University Revives Its Press In Digital Model
One of the nation’s most prestigious universities is resurrecting its defunct academic press online — a move that adds a new wrinkle to the debate over who will profit from Web publishing.
Rice University in Houston will today announce plans to relaunch its Rice University Press — a money-losing venture that went out of business 10 years ago — under a new all-digital model. Although the new press will solicit and edit manuscripts the old-fashioned way, it won’t produce traditional books. The publishing house will instead post works online at a new Web site, where people can read a full copy of the book free. They can also order a regular, bound copy from an on-demand printer, at a cost far less than picking up the book in a store.
“Our overriding mission is to make this scholarship available for free,” says Joey King, executive director of Connexions, the Rice Web-publishing platform that will serve as the new press’s backbone. The nonprofit Connexions, founded in 1999 by a Rice engineering professor, offers free downloadable educational course materials on everything from electrical engineering to music theory.
14 July 2006
In case you need it: A Guide to Texas Blackberries.
How did I miss this one? Diet Coke and Mentos:
Dell’s new customer service blog serves up a post on magic wands, which are unfortunately in short supply.
15 July 2006
How did I miss posting this one? Via Hawk Wings, one of the best email management posts I’ve read in months. Forget all that GTD methodology, because you need one button: The Delete Key, your best friend.
(Okay, the Ctrl-Shift-V, T shortcut is also really handy. Holy moly, Outlook is usable again!)
I’ve used Skype. And I like it. It has a really simple user interface and does what it promises very well. The call quality is generally great, but I’ve now uninstalled it from all my PCs preferring instead to use the new Windows Live Messenger client. Why? Because Skype, for all its merits, can start behaving as a bandwidth hungry super-node. What does that mean? It means that with Skype installed and running my internet bandwidth was potentially being used by other Skype users without my knowing about it. Which could mean that my PCs consume more electricity and I suffer a slower internet connection. Not exactly the reasons I signed up in the first place.
Seems to be related: I have a single River of News button that gets all my daily RSS feeds. When I hit it, it can take forever to load, and when it’s loading, all my other tabs are FUBARed.
It’s been a while since I switched from Linux to Mac OS X, and a week ago I got a new Windows laptop at work which needed to be rebuilt from the ground up. So: it’s time to review some software.
Mac OS X
I confess: I use a lot of the default Apple software. I started out fresh last November and gave the prepackaged software a try before switching back to my Open Source standbys.
- For Mac alchemy, only Quicksilver will do. Holy holy holy. Quicksilver changes everything.
- Biggest surprise, next to Quicksilver? Safari. I was surprised by how much I liked Safari’s RSS news reader, and how seamlessly it integrated into my workflow. It’s snappy (with some exceptions, of course) and the UI is slightly easier to use than Firefox. Firefox is my current third-string browser, edged out by Camino — both Gecko browsers, but Camino is noticiably faster than Firefox. I tried out a few other browsers along the way: Seamonkey (the old Mozilla suite), Shiira, SunriseBrowser. None of them stood out enough to dislodge Safari or Camino.
- Mail, aka Mail.app. It was good enough to get me to switch from Pine, but its IMAP problems caused me to switch to POP3, which made me become a religious reader of jwz’s Mail.app posts. I like the interface (especially how I can color-code messages) but would like some tighter integration with iCal for tasks. This AppleScript baloney is … baloney.
- I plunked down the cash and got Mac Office, so I use Entourage for my work mail. It works well enough, but the UI? Not so much. Still on the fence with this one. (Mail and calendaring will probably be another separate post.)
- Emacs is here, in both Cocoa and Carbon versions. I’m using the Carbon one more and more, but still waiting for XEmacs to make the leap.
- I am really impressed by Mac The Ripper and HandBrake, the ultimate Mac DVD backup combination. MtR copies your DVDs onto your hard drive (*excellent* for watching while travelling, save your batteries!) and HandBrake compresses them from 7GB to < 1GB.
- Adium X is an instant messaging client that blows iChat out of the water. To be fair, if iChat supported more than 3 protocols, I might be more willing to give it a chance. But it doesn’t. Adium does, and does it better than Trillian.
- For audio processing, I use Audacity. It’s as good as you get outside of an Amiga. (Don’t forget the LAME codec if you want MP3 support.)
- Browsejour, a handy app to spot other items using Bonjour in the area.
- Disk Inventory X gives you a visual representation of a directory. Eh. It was useful when I was searching my old drives.
- DynDNS Updater, to keep my dynamic hostname associated with my Mac.
- Flickr Uploadr, er, uploads files to Flickr.
- Flip4Mac, plays windows media files.
- GLTerminal, a full screen terminal.
- Growl notifies you of events. I haven’t decided if this is a good thing or not. It adds key functionality to applications that miss it, but sometimes it’s too intrusive. I’m on the fence here.
- NeoOffice, the OpenOffice.org port to OS X. With MS Office installed on this machine, I only use it to read OpenDoc format files. Hard to think of a 350+MB app as a utility…
- OggDrop X, for converting OGG music files.
- pearLyrics, a handy app that scans the web and adds lyrics to your iTunes songs. Unfortunately, Warner/Chappell Music sent a cease and desist, and you can read the rest.
- VLC for those media files that Quicktime can’t hack.
- Yahoo Widgets, for traffic and weather. I was using it for stocks too, but that just got too depressing. (There’s a reason I go with index funds.)
Encryption and Security:
- MacGPG and GPGMail, for encryption.
- OTR Proxy, for off-the-record encryption.
- XNmap, a front-end to nmap. Just because.
- IPScanner. No reason.
- Armagetron and Armagetron Advanced, Tron Cycle games.
- Battle of Wesnoth, which I have deleted off my machine so I can remain a productive member of society.
- Crack Attack, one of Merrystar’s favorites.
- Google Earth. Google Maps on steroids.
- Stellarium, planetarium software. Sweet.
Yah. I still use Windows at work. Here’s what I’m using these days.
- PuTTy for SSH and SSH tunnels.
- 7-Zip for file compression (removing WinZip along the way. WinZip is not free, people!)
- PDFCreator” for making PDFs.
- Irfanview for image manipulation.
- Firefox, though I don’t really use it at work anymore. (I visit reporting sites and control panels that require IE… that’s about it. How sad has my life become?)
- Trillian for instant messaging. I tried out Gaim again and still didn’t like it on Windows. Slow, clunky, UI is odd.… just couldn’t warm to it. So, back to Trillian I go, despite its lack of address book integration. (Adium X is definitely ahead of Trillian here.)
- Eraser, for secure file deletion.
- Yahoo Widgets, for weather and traffic.
- Skype hasn’t been put back on my machine, for obvious reasons
- AppRocket is close to Quicksilver, but can’t manage the tight integration with the filesystem. (This is the filesystem’s fault, not AppRocket’s.) Makes the Thinkpad almost bearable now.
Okay, lazyweb: let me know what else I’m missing!
16 July 2006
Finally! Pictures from Scotland, now with 100% more raptor!
17 July 2006
(It took me easily a month to get Quicksilver, so I’m willing to give things a little bit of time before ploinking them now.)
Now, this sounds promising: Send a Calendar via Email in Outlook 2007 —
I’m busy testing the latest dogfood version of the new 2007 Microsoft Office system. As I journey ever deeper into the new applications in the system I’m uncovering some really neat features. One of my favourites is Outlook 2007’s new Send a Calendar via Email feature which allows you to, er, well, send a calendar via email.
Oddly enough, I just noticed that I mention calendars in all of today’s posts.
jwz: obsolete ways of thinking —
This has made me see the error of my ways: what the hell was I thinking, trying to store things that I care about on little plastic discs? Haven’t I learned this lesson many times over already? Why yes. Yes, I have. I should have been storing them as normal files in my well-backed-up home directory all along, just like I do with music.
18 July 2006
ach time I reply to a message, Mail attempts to contact an Apple server through port 80. That’s not a problem at home, but it is at work, where the proxy redirects all HTTP traffic through another port. Mail didn’t respect my proxy settings. It carried on regardless with a process that eventually failed after lengthy delay.
One we understood the problem, we could google for an answer. It turns out that Jonathan Wight experienced the same thing “a year ago”http://toxicsoftware.com/blog/mailapp_hangs_problem_and_solution/. He also provides a fix: delete the ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.security.plist preferences file.
I came across this in my browsing tonight, but I can’t find the source: Why Are Americans So Angry?
19 July 2006
Via Jeff: Repair Clinic.
20 July 2006
“…by submitting the User Submissions to YouTube, you hereby grant YouTube a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable and transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display, and perform the User Submissions in connection with the YouTube Website and YouTube’s (and its successor’s) business… in any media formats and through any media channels.”
Nice way to kill the business, guys!
Does Zooomr love bloggers? Yes, enough to give away free pro accounts if you have your own blog (and post a picture hosted on Zooomr.) Sounds fair enough, right?
Unfortunately, I can’t get the login registration to actually work, which doesn’t bode well. Hmmmm. Fixed now. Looks like a webserver hiccup. The problem when everything is beta…
Site looks very Flickr-like, but without some of the T&C nonsense.
Did I ever post this one before?
Must go now. Trip teething. Requires rocking. More on photos later.
Update: Ars Technica pretty much covers it.
21 July 2006
Interesting, via 37Signals: CSS Browser Selector.
22 July 2006
6 hours of sleep this afternoon and I’m still not feeling better.
Did I really just spend 10 minutes reading about squid?
I guess I did.
I’m all for swtiching to Macs, but this parody of those )(*@#$!@ ads has it just about right.
(More on Jeff Sandquist’s site.)
Oh dear lord: The Daily Show Explains Net Neutrality.
New Bookdragon Tales: The Truth About Everything.
I had never heard of The Truth About Everything when my wife gave it to me for my birthday in 1997. She was not yet my wife, but she already knew what kind of book I liked.
Moreover, she knew that I didn’t know about this book, which made it the perfect gift. Merrystar has done that to me a few times over the years, but this book and my atlas remain the two best examples of her insight into my reading preferences. They remind me how lucky I really am.
The book’s premise is simple enough: philosophy is a form of mysticism, the search for the mystic truth underlying all existence. It doesn’t matter that philosophy couches its search in terms of rationality and logic: ultimately, the goal remains mystical. It’s an intruiging premise, engagingly written, and more interesting than a philosophy book has a right to be.
Of course, it also speaks to the strong anti-intellectual intellectual streak in me. But it remains one of the most surprisingly wonderful books my wife has ever given me, and for that it’s got a permanent place in my collection.
The Truth About Everything appears to be out of print, but if you can find a copy, I recommend picking it up.
24 July 2006
An online banner advertisement that ran on MySpace.com and other sites over the past week used a Windows security flaw to infect more than a million users with spyware when people merely browsed the sites with unpatched versions of Windows, according to data collected by iDefense, a Verisign company.
Michael La Pilla, an iDefense “malcode” analyst, said he first spotted the attack Sunday while browsing MySpace on a Linux-based machine. When he browsed a page headed with an ad for DeckOutYourDeck.com, his browser asked him whether he wanted to open a file called exp.wmf. Microsoft released a patch in January to fix a serious security flaw in the way Windows renders WMF (Windows Metafile) images, and online criminal groups have been using the flaw to install adware, keystroke loggers and all manner of invasive software for the past seven months.
Presentation Zen on Speaking extemporaneously, tubes, and ninjas. For real. Could I make this up?
25 July 2006
26 July 2006
27 July 2006
Help (fellow ex-Trilogian) Jeremy Blachman bring down The Sonoma Diet.
28 July 2006
Oh dear. For the Iron Chef Meat: BBQ Zen.
When you have a bad day, make it your own.
Boing Boing: New Bravia Ad. This one, in Glasgow.
29 July 2006
There are times that I consider adding comments back into this weblog.
Then I go read some political sites and remember that there are really good reasons why I turned them off in the first place.
You ever go searching the web for a post you know is out there, somewhere, that you remember reading on a specific person’s site? But then you can’t find it, even after a hour of searching instead of sleeping?
And then you find an absolute gem of a link?
(Perhaps sleep would have been a better choice.)
31 July 2006
Via SVN, the Ariel Atom, with 600hp/ton.
Upon examining the inner workings of one of the most popular paperless touch screen voting machines used in public elections in the United States, it has been determined that with the flip of a single switch inside, the machine can behave in a completely different manner compared to the tested and certified version.
“Diebold has made the testing and certification process practically irrelevant,” according to Dechert. “If you have access to these machines and you want to rig an election, anything is possible with the Diebold TS — and it could be done without leaving a trace. All you need is a screwdriver.” This model does not produce a voter verified paper trail so there is no way to check if the voter’s choices are accurately reflected in the tabulation.
New Bookdragon Tale: Murder in Mesopotamia.
I picked this book up this weekend at my favorite used bookstore in Williamsburg. I was looking for some light reading to counterbalance some of the history books I’d gotten, and I’ve not yet gone wrong with Agatha Christie. (Of course, I’ve only read Murder on the Orient Express… But still!)
I swear that I’ve read this one before.
But I can’t for the life of me remember doing it.
Usually, I forget the contents of a book, but remember the fact of reading it. This sometimes leads to awkward conversations with fans of those forgotten books as they try to tell me all about some specific element that I haven’t thought about in years.
So it was very strange to announce, midway through the book, that I knew precisely who did it. And that not that, I knew who was the German spy, and who was the red herring. Merrystar asked me why I thought this, and the best I could say is that he wasn’t on the list of suspects. My answer satisfied no one.
I didn’t know the how, but I was absolutely convinced of the who. I have to assume that I’ve either read it or watched it before, because to believe otherwise means that I simply figured it out. By page 50. So I assume that I’ve read it before and blocked it out.
Isn’t that interesting?