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2 December 2006
I dunno. I turn around, and llamas are everywhere.
Llamas, llamas, llamas:
Life is like this sometimes.
3 December 2006
The fuss over the tv.yahoo.com upgrade continues, with interesting observations from Dave Winer about how some (and I’m being careful not to generalize here out to “Silicon Valley”) are viewing the comments.
As a commenter on that thread, I object to charges of incivility and anonymity. I didn’t post any of the curse words that first came out of my mouth when Merrystar showed me the site. However, it’s easier to get page views by staking a position, so… whatever. The game’s afoot, the meta-analysis is on about what this means… I just want to know what time the football game is on.
Yahoo!, for all of their openness (and the willingness of past and current employees to comment on the matter really is impressive) still hasn’t restored the original tv.yahoo.com/grid, so it’s left me and Merrystar with a vaccuum. Like Dave, TitanTV gives me much of what I liked, so I’m probably jumping ship. Bookmarks are easy to change. I’m not that invested in the site.
There are more important things in life than spending time trying to convince a company to do things your way when they obviously don’t want to. I won’t completely abandon Yahoo! over this (Flickr still is better for my needs than Zooomr, for instance), but it says something that Merrystar — who uses Yahoo’s front page every day, for crying out loud — is tired of all the upgrades and improvements-that-aren’t.
Enough of this. Yahoo!, do what you want. I’ve got Christmas decorations to put up.
Tonight, we took Trip to his very first fireworks show.
The weather was pretty meh — drizzly and in the forties — but that didn’t dampen his excitement.
In fact, even though the fireworks only lasted 20 minutes (if that), he couldn’t stop pointing up into the sky and telling us about what he’d seen.
All in all? It was a good night.
(Also? I need to get a tripod if I want to shoot fireworks so that they look like fireworks.)
4 December 2006
Oh, dear lord, please make this happen.
The people of Tokyo should construct a giant building shaped like Godzilla. Imagine what it would do to the city’s skyline, and to the tourism industry. People would come from all over to take pictures. His eyes could flash red so airplanes don’t hit him. There could be an observatory in his mouth so people could look out over Tokyo. One of his arms could house a bar, and the other arm a restaurant. They could serve drinks called Mothra Martinis and dishes like Grilled Gamera Steaks, with a side of Mashed Potatoes.
Oddly enough, today’s dinosaur comics is very apropos of a conversation Merrystar and I had on our drive into the City today.
Ronnie O’Sullivan overwhelmed Jimmy White 7-0 to win his third consecutive Premier League title at the Wythenshawe Forum on Sunday.
World number three O’Sullivan compiled breaks of 122, 93, 73 and 113.
The comprehensive win saw O’Sullivan become the first player since Steve Davis in 1989 to win the league title on three straight occasions.
5 December 2006
Over at the Yahoo! User Interface Blog, Performance Research, Part 1: What the 80/20 Rule Tells Us about Reducing HTTP Requests:
Using a packet sniffer, we discover what takes place in that other 80%. Figure 1 is a graphical view of where the time is spent loading http://www.yahoo.com with an empty cache. Each bar represents a specific component and is shown in the order started by the browser. The first bar is the time spent for the browser to retrieve just the HTML document. Notice only 10% of the time is spent here for the browser to request the HTML page, and for apache to stitch together the HTML and return the response back to the browser. The other 90% of the time is spent fetching other components in the page including images, scripts and stylesheets.
7 December 2006
Fire in downtown Williamsburg yesterday. The ice cream shop was hit hard and the Blue Talon cafe was scorched a bit.
Fortunately, I don’t think anyone was hurt.
10 December 2006
11 December 2006
New Flotsam is up: stickers.
(I sure don’t post there very often, do I?)
Wohba! Slow Motion Golf Ball:
I think this may be my favorite fashion piece ever. Go Fug Yourself: The Fug Wears Prada :
My grandma had a doll that sat on top of her toilet. Her crocheted gown belled out to cover the extra roll of toilet paper that lived up there. As a child, this fascinated me. Why didn’t the toilet paper in my house have outfits? Why didn’t everything in my house have outfits: the spatulas, the drinking glasses, the cat? “Because that would be tacky,” my mother told me. “But Grandma’s toilet paper has an outfit,” I protested. “Your grandma is an eccentric and fascinating woman,” my mother replied, “but my toilet paper does not need a dress.”
12 December 2006
Now it’s obvious, isn’t it? At least it should be unless your monitor is totally whacked. And this isn’t even really in the realm of pixel-peeping yet. What you are seeing above is a 500 pixel crop from a 1500 pixel wide rendering of a 4372 pixel wide original. In other words, looking at it on your screen here is probably about the same as looking at that crop on a 14” or so wide print, albeit at a lower resolution than what I could print for you in person.
As you can imagine, for a large print, the Lightroom rendering is going to win hands down. The icky blocky stuff from Aperture prints out like posterized muck. On Flickr, especially at the default presentation size of 500 pixels, it doesn’t matter so much. But, if I were just worried about pictures for Flickr, I’d still use my Canon Powershot for all of my images.
13 December 2006
After the chipmunk album broke we listened to a collection of Christmas songs by the Osmonds, songs I have never seen on any other compilation since. My favorite was a song called “Sleigh Ride,” and I remember thinking it had to have been sung by one of the cuter Osmonds, because only someone cute could rock that hard, or harder than any song I had ever been allowed to listen to. Not very hard at all. It was the only Christmas song I’d ever heard that featured an electric guitar, and it was fast and breathless and unforgiving, like a Sunday spent skipping church. When we played it we’d dance recklessly around the tree in our footed pajamas playing air guitar, hoping one day we would grow up to be as cool as the Osmonds. You could say that we had been taught to aim high in life.
Bruce Sterling: My Final Prediction —
If an innovation works, some people will thrive on it, while others who are screwed up to begin with will face severe new problems.
I know this is true because I’ve lived it. I’m a pre-Internet novelist who became moderately famous online, only to have my paperback writing slow down as I began to spend uncontrollable amounts of time surfing and blogging. This experience is both grand and problematic. It reflects not two extremes but the slider-bar that is my everyday life.
16 December 2006
Finally! Time for me to experience Apple’s Customer Service first hand. Up to now it’s all been ordering and whatnot. But now I’m having video problems on my 17” Powerbook G4. Joy!
Last night, Hithum’s screen wouldn’t light up upon waking from sleep. I opened the lid, and … nothing. She was obviously on, but I couldn’t see anything. Huh.
This has happened a few times before, but closing the lid and reopening it usually fixed the problem. So that’s what I did. Still nothing.
Maybe a restart? Well, I was in the middle of a backup, so I just let that run all night. I could SSH in and shut down lots of processes, monitor things, make sure that the backup went as scheduled.
But after the backup completed, I rebooted… and got the black screen. I can see — very faintly — the details of what’s on the screen, but there are no lights. The apple on the back also doesn’t light up. Everything else is good.
Okay, so off to the internet I go. Zap the PRAM? Check. Reset the video card? Check. Nuke the PMU? Check.
Turn it on… and black screen. Argh!
Fortunately, I got the extended AppleCare protection plan, and I’m one of the <10% who have automated backups, so I’m just irritated at the inconvenience, not freaking out. So I called Apple this afternoon.
They asked me what I wanted to do. Well, I’ll be in The City on Monday, so I can drop it off at the Tyson’s Corner store. But only on Monday. Otherwise, I’ll ship it in and have you ship it back.
“Well,” the helpful agent said, “I can book you for 3pm, 4pm, 7pm or 8pm tonight, would that work?”
“No,” I replied, “Monday is the only day I can do it. I’m on the other side of the state from that store.”
“Oh, okay. Let me put you on hold for a minute.” I’m on hold for 4 minutes. Dum dee dum.
“Are you an ProCare member,” he asked upon his return?
“I’m sorry, sir, then I can’t make appointments for you on Monday then. I can only make same-day appointments for you,” he said.
“Whaaa?” I said. I think I actually said that, too, with my voice going up and all.
“I’m sorry, sir. But you can call the day of and make an appointment then.”
“Okay. You’re 24×7, right? No problem. I’m up early.”
“Actually, sir, you can only make a reservation starting at 9.”
“For a store that opens at 10?”
(You can see we were getting along brilliantly. At least he called me sir.)
So: Off to a wonderful start, as you can see. I will call from the road on Monday morning, set up an appointment, and drop off Hithlum at the store to get fixed. I expect that I will have a short temper by the time I am all done.
At least I have backups.
17 December 2006
Mmmm, yummy: A Tasty Game of Carcassonne.
18 December 2006
It’s been a while since I posted the latest Mozilla release… I figure that the Firefox train has gotten going and you don’t need me to publish the schedule anymore. In fact, you don’t need me telling you which train to catch, if I can extend the metaphor a bit further. There are a lot of good browsers out there now.
Which is why today’s xkcd is so damn funny.
What does it say about be that I find stick figure comics (and Dinosaur Comics!, of course) so apropos to my own life? Consider and discuss.
20 December 2006
Aha, finally found it. Rodney Matthews now has a site, so Merrystar can now find out why she’s never been able to find The Moth and the Moon in any bookstore.
(It was never written.)
Interesting. SLAX fits on my USB keychain. Nice!
Since I’m going to be stuck on my Windows machine for at least a week, time to get the screensavers installed:
Both of these were first observed at work. The electric sheep one is really interesting, as the ‘sheep’ evolve. No, really. Your screen saver freakin’ evolves.
Still not as good as xscreensaver or the “OS X RSS Screen Saver” — and let’s face it, nothing beats pictures of your wife and kids floating across the screen — but still, very good and worth having.
21 December 2006
O’Reily Radar: OpenID on the Upswing.
So, whatever good computer karma I have have acquired by religiously backing up my own data was negated yesterday when I tried to back up Merrystar’s data.
Last night was spent rebuilding her partition table — by hand, mind you — and then reinstalling Linux on Tsiolkovsky.
If you’re wondering how a backup could have gone so wrong that it would require rebuilding a partition table, well, that makes two of us.
(Fortunately, there is a backup of the drive now.)
22 December 2006
Hoopty Rides: Everything but Horsepower —
Every car is good at something. The body roll and loosey-goosey suspension of the massive Hoopty Country Squire is so striking that all but the most brazen opponents will concede the line in every turn. My Mazda pickup truck was so stiff and predictable, you could dump if completely sideways and that little four cylinder would really roar as you powered out of a slide in 1st gear at 6000 RPM. A champion, that little truck.
Watching Rice play Troy in the New Orleans Bowl.
Though it’s 34-10 (Troy in the lead), it hasn’t been embarassing. We’re losing, but we’re not embarassingly outclassed like so many games I attended in the ‘90s. It gives me hope for the future of the program.
23 December 2006
28 December 2006
Well, the holidays have come and gone, and I’m still without my PowerBook. 14 days without my Mac, which means my computer has now spent more time in the shop this year than my car.
You know, the car that hit a deer? Yeah. It took less time to repair that than it has to get the part for my 1.25 year old computer. (With extended AppleCare, I might add.)
The best part is that when I call up to talk to someone about it, the call centers are all closed for the holiday. You know, I’d like to be able to kick back and use my mac over my vacation, but instead I’m stuck processing photos BY HAND without ANY WORKFLOW AUTOMATION, that’s more that 100 a day, thank you very much.
Not that I’m bitter, or anything like that. Because I’m not.
Even if it’s been two weeks.
I think I start to see why Cory at BoingBoing always purchases two of any computer he’s going to use. One will, inevitably, be in the shop when you need it the most.
We are not amused, Apple!
29 December 2006
About two weeks ago, I saw the hawk (one of a pair) in the picture above from my backyard. Subsequent viewings of the hawk(s) from a distance led me to identify it as a Cooper’s Hawk (Accipiter cooperii), which spells trouble for the birds at my feeder. Cooper’s Hawks will prey upon unwary birds at feeders, and will even chase songbirds into trees for a tasty treat.
Yesterday, I was out in our driveway with Trip when a Cooper’s Hawk came flying at full speed around our house, no more than 3 feet off the ground. He came around the corner into our driveway headed towards the feeders, saw us, banked sharply away from Trip, and then flew at low altitude away across my neighbor’s backyard.
Holy moly, was he fast!
(Trip was facing away from the whole thing, so he missed seeing it. This is probably for the best: having a hawk zooming at you at eye level would startle anyone.)
Merrystar’s Toughbook W2 Tsiolkovsky is back from the shop today. She sent it in on Tuesday. In the afternoon. Got it back today. 3 days from door to door.
Panasonic’s support continues to impress.
Apple’s? Not so much. (15 days and counting. I called their support again today, and they have no idea what part is needed or when it will be in. Sigh.)
I do not quite know what I am doing when I get to your site. I want to download the 200 screen savers. I’m running fedora core 4 on and hp computer. What ever I click it doesn’t give me the option to install, can you give me a little help please?
Dinosaur Comics: Resolution One.
30 December 2006
For the last few months I’ve been in a weird sort of RSS feed-reading state; I moved from Safari’s RSS reader (because it was really slow whenever podcasts showed up) to Newshutch, a web-based feedreader I’d read about on 37 Signals. It is beautifully done, simple, and easy to work with.
But (you knew this was coming) it’s slow. It presents feeds one at a time (like Thunderbird), which is conceptually slow, and it’s AJAX/Rails slow to deliver content, which is technically slow. I think it would really be great with a few feeds - say less than 50 - but more than 200 causes it to choke.
I found myself missing Safari, and was about to switch back over the Christmas vacation when disaster struck. Argh.
And you can share stuff!
It’s Google. That Google.
You know, the one that is about to wander the selva oscura where the straight path was lost?
The one with the goatee?
I miss my Mac. It was so much easier when I just had Safari to blame/tame.
31 December 2006
Search Engine Land: Fury Over Google’s Self Promotion & Wishing For Perspective:
I really dislike other companies getting free passes when Google is held up to higher standards. Blake notes that Microsoft and Yahoo both do self-promotion, but he somehow thinks it’s Google that should be put on fire. I disagree. They all should be put up on fire. Singling out Google distorts the underlying argument. If it’s bad, it’s bad for any of them to do it, not because we love Google so much and are disappointed or because Google should be held to a higher standard.
Typically when Google gets burned, it gets burned because I feel people are too lazy to survey the entire competitive landscape and call for general across the board changes. It’s much easier to point at Google and say Google’s the leader, so I’m focusing on them.
Google News is a good example of this. I honestly want to puke if I have to hear another thing about Google News needing to be more transparent when Yahoo News provides the same or less transparency but no one squawks about that. Want an example of this? Check out the mini-debate I had with Dan Gillmor last year on the issue.
Picking up on the Google “tips” stuff, Smugmug dives in to declare “Google’s gone evil.” Really, because of these tips? I’d rather reserve the evil charge for more serious things like, I dunno, censorship in China.
Engadget has a good overview of the AT&T/BellSouth merger, including a handy map: