D.T.P. by Lee -- Daily Tales and Punditry

Sunday, February 29, 2004

Nearing the End

It’s a certain possibility that this will be the next-to-last entry made on dtpbylee.com. The last one would be an official sign-off. As I stated earlier, I’m retiring this blog (archives on the same domain will remain) and moving to a different domain.

HUGE props to Raena for working on my new template. She absolutely ROCKS my blogging world! And props to me for my accomplishment last night. The MovableType installation you’re looking at now was mostly set up by my friend, Jeff. I only barely knew what I was doing and, when it comes to server-side stuff, I’m still a plebe. But I did good yesterday. Not only did I completely install MT from scratch—by myself—I also configured it to use a MySQL database instead of MT’s built-in database. Why? Because I could. Sure, I don’t really need a MySQL database since I won’t have the scads and scads of data that MySQL is designed to handle, but I’ve been told that using it will make the database functions of the blog work visibly faster, and the entire database can be backed up with just a few clicks, thanks to my new host’s admin control panel. I did run into one snag in setting up the database—I didn’t have the database name typed correctly in one of the MT setup files. Props again to my friend and coworker, Darryl, for finding that goof.

So hold on tight. The move will be happening sooner than I originally thought. Be prepared to update your blogroll links, RSS feeds, and e-mail addressbooks.

Comments: 1 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by Raena -- March 1, 2004 10:46 AM

The textfile database is also heaps more difficult to repair, fwiw. You did good kid!

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Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Mental Note, the Word “Countless” Equals 2.5

I really hate when people carelessly use adjectives that aren’t appropriate. A recent MacNN listing starts off, “Safari Extender 1.0 Adds Countless Features.”

I’m no professor of mathematics, but I easily counted a maximum of 14 features—specific tasks, to be exact. I would only count “Go Back” and “Go Forward” as one feature, not two. Regardless, this number should actually be even less because, of those 14, most of them are things you could already do without Safari Extender. The utility’s “claim to fame,” as it were, is just to let you access those functions from a popup menu (right click or control click). To be sure, Safari Extender technically only adds two features that Safari can’t already do, and it makes one existing Safari preference settings a bit easier to manipulate.

So it seems the word “countless” is now defined as two and a half!

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Baiting the Criminal

While everyone applauds an effort to deal with a suspected drug dealer, this is not how one should go about doing it. [WNDU Channel 16]

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Monday, February 23, 2004

Too Bad—No Darwin Award

I think it’s a shame someone this stupid didn’t actually become eligible for a Darwin Award. [KTRK Channel 13]

Now let me inject just a bit of punditry. (Read the story first if you don’t like spoilers.) This guy most definitely deserves to have to pay for the hazmat costs, but I’m not so sure about having to pay for the spilled gas. It seems to me that’s something that could be a liability against the gas station. Regardless whether the self-pumping lever is installed, pumps are supposed to shut off when the tank is full. They shut off if you’re hand-holding it, right? What difference did it make whether the object holding the pump was his hand or his wallet? If a pump that I was using didn’t shut off automatically, obviously I wouldn’t spill 63 gallons, but a good amount would spill before I could yank my hand away.

On the other hand, for his two additional stunts, I’ll agree that he he should pay for the gas as well. When you use the self-pumping lever on gas pump handles, their purpose is just so you don’t have to leave your hand next to your tank nozzle to get covered in gas fumes. You don’t frickin’ walk away from the pump! And on top of that, even if you use the pump properly, you shut your car off!

So yes, soak the guy for every cent of expense he caused, but I hope officials put the gas station under review for why the pump didn’t automatically shut off.

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A hundred and thirty frickin’ bucks for a piece of metal!?

Save yourself an even hundred and buy this instead. I personally vouch for it and use mine 95% of the time I’m using my laptop—even when it’s on my desk.

Update: Fellow ATPM Staffer Chris Lawson reviewed this piece of junk and it should appear in the March issue. (Note, this link will not work until next month when the issue is published.)

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The Next iMac

I found a splendid write-up about the potential future of the iMac. The guy makes a number of excellent points—and you simply must click as many of his hyperlinks as you have time for (best to click them into new windows or tabs). Many of them are amusing, even though they are only related to the specific words that were linked and have nothing to do with the story.

I only have on point of contention, and that is the proposed location a the optical drive. What the writer fails to observe is that there is currently no optical drive that is designed to work as efficiently if the angle of the disc is anything other than horizontal. Maybe speeds are fast enough that this doesn’t matter any more, but power users will still gripe, and there are enough power users around for that gripe to be pretty loud.

Comments: 0 (Comments are now closed.)

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Sunday, February 22, 2004

The Beginning of the End

I’m giving my readers a bit of advance notice. I finally settled on a new domain name. No, I’m not going to reveal it yet because I want to completely start fresh with Movable Type and want a little time to fiddle with it before going public. The purpose of this entry is just to let you know that the move is coming soon. The last index.html page and all the monthly and categorical archive pages will be transferred and will remain available at least until dtpbylee.com expires about two years from now. If anyone knows how I can have an archive of comments without having to transfer the Movable Type installation to the new host I’ll be using, I’d appreciate knowing.

The domain I finally chose was one of about eight finalists. I readily admit that the winner was definitely not the most humorous. Some people may not even figure out on their own how I came up with it. Suffice to say that it suits me for a couple of reasons, including my primary goal of choosing a domain that I can give out verbally without having to explain or repeat it several times. I’m so over having to say, “that’s D as in dog, T as in Tom, P as in Paul, by—that’s B-Y, Lee. Yes, L-E-E. Just like my name!”

I’ll reveal the new domain and help you out with my reasons for choosing it when I’m ready for it to go public.

Oh yeah, a big related item pertains to my e-mail address. Or, more accurately, addresses. I’m going to try something that I think will curtail the amount of spam I receive. I intend for anyone who stores my e-mail address to come up with their own part to put in front of the domain. Preferably, it’ll be your name or initials, but it can be virtually anything you want. If you happen to use something that someone else is using, it won’t make a hill of beans difference.

Why do this? Simple. When you own a domain, you can generally have your mailbox set up as a catch-all. This means that anything@yourdomain can get directed to your primary e-mail box unless that first part is otherwise defined as another real e-mail box or an independent alias that forwards elsewhere. Since virtually everyone will have a different address for me, if I start getting spam to one of them, not only can I simply kill that alias (forward it to null), I can do so without having to tell everyone I’m using a new e-mail address. In addition, there’s the possibility that I’ll know who succeeded in getting an address seeded to spammers.

The only part I haven’t exactly figured out is what to have show up in the From: line when I send an e-mail to someone. I’d be very happy if, when people reply to a message I send them, they changed the address to whatever alias they chose to use for me, but I can’t expect everyone to do that extra work. I know I probably wouldn’t always do it if someone asked me to.

My current plan is to use something like repliesonly@mydomain, perhaps changing it every so often or if spammers pick it up. I might also occasionally mention to people that I prefer they use whatever addressbook entry they have for me instead of the reply address.

I’d love to know what you think about this or if you have suggestions for improving my plan. Nail a comment and tell me about it.

Comments: 2 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by Eric Blair -- February 22, 2004 10:31 PM

What about using MTs export/import functionality to get your posts and comments over to your new blog? That's how I moved from xrack to Dreamhost and I still have all my old posts and comments.

One thing to check is that your export file has the proper line endings. Mine got mangled when I downloaded it at first and I had to redo the export. I ended up using IE instead of Safari for the second export. Don't know if this was the difference, but it seems to have worked fine.

Posted by blunted -- February 29, 2004 11:40 PM

Sheesh, I didn't think I could be in so much suspense over the unveiling of a domain name. It's like I'm waiting on the Lotto numbers or somethin'.

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Friday, February 20, 2004

Does Something Look Familiar?

What’s a Titanium PowerBook G4 doing on a Microsoft.com page for a security summit event? What is the message here?

(MS cronies are sure to strip this photo when someone points out to them that it’s a Mac with the glowing Apple logo digitally removed so I have, naturally, captured an image of it for when that day comes.)

Comments: 0 (Comments are now closed.)

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Friends in High Places

You’ve probably been living under a rock if you haven’t yet heard about the dude who posted the MacMerc story about how to see if a Pepsi bottle is an iTunes winner without opening it.

I wasn’t going to blog anything about this. Plenty of people already have. But with the insane amount of linkage the story got (including a short while as one of CNN.com’s top stories), I suddenly developed this idiotic need to quickly mention that the author is a friend of mine who lives in nearby Tampa. I even interviewed him for ATPM about one of the numerous sites he is involved with.

Way to go, dude.

Comments: 1 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by Raena -- February 21, 2004 01:00 AM

What astonishes me is that anyone had to post it at all. It's as if you guys had never seen a cap competition before... I thought everyone knew how to peep under the lid.


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Tuesday, February 17, 2004


Friends and family who know of my interest in Star Trek will undoubtedly be surprised to learn that I agree with Matt Roush. It is time to give the franchise a respite.

Read the full article for the best understanding, but if you’re hitting this entry late, TV Guide will probably have replaced the page with a new article, and I didn’t find any archives. So, here are some of the relevant points:

“After nearly 600 episodes since the franchise returned to TV in 1987 with The Next Generation, it’s only fair to admit we’re suffering from battle fatigue.”

Enterprise’s season 3 improvement “seems too little, too late. Even when the scenarios pull out the stops…they tend to have a recycled feel.”

“UPN hasn’t yet renewed Enterprise for next season, and it’s looking iffy…a mercy killing might be just the ticket. Extinction now could preserve Trek’s freshness for later.”

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Site Status

Yes, as a matter of fact, my site was out of commission for about two days. E-mail, too. My domain host suffered some sort of crisis and the staff spent virtually all of the holiday weekend fixing it. They’re still not completely done, but getting there.

If you tried to e-mail anything to me since this past Friday night, please send it again because I’m not certain whether it’ll eventually get through. E-mail servers generally try to deliver a message for 3 or 4 days before giving up, and I think my e-mail was receiving again before 3 days was up, but weekend mail has not yet showed up.

Comments: 0 (Comments are now closed.)

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The Little Road That Couldn’t

There is obviously something irrevocably wrong with a short lakeside street I frequently use. It undergoes massive construction almost bi-annually.

The first closure was for something I was very appreciative of. They straightened out a dumb curve that served no purpose whatsoever. Two years later, the far end of the road was dug up for what I assume was utilities work.

Then, stuff started getting ridiculous. Three years later, the neighboring mall was building a brand new movie theater—a nice one at that. In an effort to route traffic better, the curve that had been straightened didn’t just return—it was actually made into an intersection that forces me to stop and take a right turn to continue on the same road. Going straight leads to the back side of the theater and continuing around to eventually reach the main highway 436 exit.

Thus, we reach last week, not yet a year after the theater opened, and we find that the entire portion of Crane’s Roost Blvd. that borders the lake has been barricaded and, as of this writing, has been completely scoured of its asphalt. I have no idea what is being planned, but what really bothered me was a sign posted at the point the road was blocked. The sign informed me that the road would be closed until June! I can’t imagine I’m going to like the result of anything that’s going to take four months to do.

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Why Windows Breaks

“There are times when we’re doubly pleased our office (and home) runs on Apple Macs, not Windows computers….” Because Microsoft dominates the market, it has “a duty to be better than everybody else, and it is failing in that duty.” [Australian IT]

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Tuesday, February 10, 2004

A $17,000 Gesture

People don’t seem to realize that authority figures seldom tolerate being shown the finger. [WGAL TV]

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Geek or Goon?

Someone apparently decided that it’s often difficult to visually tell the difference between a programming language inventor and a serial killer. See how well you fare.

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Saturday, February 07, 2004

Build Your Very Own South Park Character

I implore you—do not visit this site if you don’t have time to kill. It’s addictive. (Oh, and it requires Flash.)

(Thanks, Chris.)

Comments: 0 (Comments are now closed.)

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Hey Apple Webmasters—You’re Slipping

What is it with Apple.com and broken links lately? After I finally picked up iLife ’04, I went to download the Playlist to DVD Applescript I previously blogged about, only to find the page doesn’t exist any more.

Then today, I was checking out Apple’s FireWire page and wanted to peek at their “special message” linked at the top about using FW800 drives with OS X. As we all remember, many people reported data loss on their drives when Panther first came out. Well, that page is gone, too.

What gives?

Comments: 0 (Comments are now closed.)

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Friday, February 06, 2004

Quality Cross-platform Video Chats Coming Soon

See, I told you! Two or three people who read my entries have chatted with me about there not really being a decent solution for a Mac user to videoconference with a Windows user. Well, there is now—sort of. And there definitely will be soon. Apple just released the iChat AV 2.1 public beta which will hook up with AOL Instant Messenger 5.5 for Windows.

Personally, I’m holding off for a little while. According to macosXrumors, there’s definitely no mistaking this is a beta version and still needs work.

Comments: 0 (Comments are now closed.)

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Thursday, February 05, 2004

Recipe For Fun

He says alcohol is optional. I sort of think it would have to be required! [~stevenf]

Comments: 0 (Comments are now closed.)

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Tuesday, February 03, 2004

ATPM 10.02

The February 2004 issue of About This Particular Macintosh has been published. This issue leads off with my very first cover art for ATPM.

Comments: 0 (Comments are now closed.)

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Sunday, February 01, 2004

That Was Close

Wow. Only four seconds away from the first-ever overtime during a Superbowl. Congratulations, New England. Now, go away and roll the Survivor All Stars premiere.

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It’s Called a CNAME, People!

C’mon, folks, it’s not that hard. I’m anything but a networking guru and I know about this. Why do I seem to be finding more and more sites that don’t have their hosts configured to permit me to type their domain without the leading www.? For example, typing colorgeek.com in your browser yields a message that no web site is configured at that address. I had to enter www.colorgeek.com to get to the site. One shouldn’t have to type www. in front of a URL any more. It’s overkill. The only time we should have to type a subdomain in front is if it’s something else, such as world.altavista.com to get to the translation service.

Comments: 0 (Comments are now closed.)

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Want a Sega Genesis?

I have a Sega Genesis 2 unit with two games (Aladdin and Cool Spot) that I’d love to unload. Besides the one that came with it, there’s an enhanced function controller plus an extension cable, a phono-plug A/V cable, and a Game Genie cartridge with all the code books that were published before they terminated printing them. I’ve got three options for getting rid of it.

Option one: first good offer. Tell me what it’s worth to you, add shipping (or pick it up in person) and if it sounds good, it’s sold.

Option two: donation. Convince me of a worthy site (not-for-profit child care center, for example) that could make use of it and I’ll give it to them.

Option three: exchange. I’m still in search of the perfect domain name with which I can retire dtpbylee.com. I know it’s not really that much incentive, but I’ll give the Sega to anyone who recommends a .com that I end up purchasing to use as my primary domain.

Comments: 0 (Comments are now closed.)

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Bloggable Superbowl, Take 2

Even though this blog’s first anniversary was last Monday, it was in preparation of last year’s Superbowl that I launched it. Consequently, today has some amount of significance to this blog’s history, too.

The only problem is, I’m not anywhere near being “into” this year’s game. I don’t really care about either team and I’m not currently at any Superbowl party like before. I’m at home, just me, relaxing, and happy for it. I hope it’s an exciting game.

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A. Lee Bennett, Jr.