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

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

D.T.P. by Lee Is Now Officially Retired

The domain: dtpbylee.com

Born: January 30, 1999

Reborn as a blog: January 26, 2003

Laid to rest: March 2, 2004

The successor to this blog is Second Initial. Consider this message as confirmation that dtpbylee.com’s RSS feeds will no longer be updated. Please join me at the Second Initial and, by all means, feel free to interact via comments and occasional polls.

My dear readers, let not your browsing patterns be troubled. Ye believe in blogs, believe also in my ability to continue blogging. In ICANN’s house, there are still many unregistered domains. If it were not so, I would have told you. I have gone and registered a new domain for you. And now that I have gone and prepared that domain for you, I will blog again to receive your mouse click unto myself, that where I blog, there ye may read, also.

http://blog.secondinitial.com/

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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!

Comments: 0 (Comments are now closed.)

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Monday, February 23, 2004

NoteRiser=DebtRaiser—UPDATED

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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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.)

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Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Trek-haustion

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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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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Saturday, February 07, 2004

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?

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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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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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Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Happy Anniversary

Ironically, the CGI issues I described in the prior entry had a part in causing me to forget to post (and would have prevented me from posting, if I had remembered) about last Monday being the first anniversary of D.T.P. by Lee’s life as a weblog. There’s just something about having passed the one-year blogging milestone that gives me the feeling that I’m serious about blogging and it’s not just a passing distraction.

Comments: 1 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by Raena -- January 29, 2004 07:20 PM

Go you!

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Monday, January 26, 2004

Weekend Update

I’d always wanted to visit Splendid China. Unfortunately, it closed last month—permanently, it seems. So the best I’ll ever have are some photos taken from over the wall. Some friends actually jumped over and got a few more photos, but I wasn’t down with that and I waited in the “getaway car.” Hah. We also toured Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge which has a savanna-like zoo within the resort, and the Coronado Springs Resort where I got some great dusk shots of the sky and lake.

Sunday, a group of friends took an Amtrak train down to Kissimmee (yes, short trip, but it was fun) and rollerbladed around town. We even stopped to observe a group playing battle games dressed in full knight’s armor! Our lunch was extremely late—after 3pm—but it was very tasty. If you’re ever in Kissimmee, I highly recommend visiting Azteca’s Mexican restaurant.

Unfortunately, I seem to have taken too much sun. I think I may have endured the effects of a tiny bit of heat exhaustion when I woke up this morning. I’m still feeling kind of nasty, so I’m taking it easy today.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Finally Attacked by the Unleashed Panther

It’s happened. I finally got around to upgrading my PowerBook to OS X 10.3. So sweet. The bugger was just that I had planned all along to try and clear up some problems (I think I succeeded) by cloning my Jaguar installation, initializing the drive, installing a fresh copy of Panther, and pulling in my old data while installing as many applications freshly as I could. That, in and of itself, wouldn’t be so bad except that I got into it late Tuesday evening. I got so wrapped up in the process, the hours raced by. Before I knew it, I realized I’d been up all night long! I had exactly 25 minutes to take a shower, get dressed, and meet someone at work! (Yeah, I was late).

So here I am, sleepless for just under 40 hours, and I’m fading, so I’m cutting this post shorter than I’d originally intended.

Panther rocks!!

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Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Pretty Sneaky, part Deux

Nearly a year ago, I pointed out that I’d been seeing an increase in unmarked police vehicles. Sightings sort of dropped after that, but it’s picking back up again—one yesterday and two this evening driving home from dinner.

Watch your speed!

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Macworld Expo Thoughts

I don’t know that I remember the last Expo that didn’t announce speed bumps to the Macintosh lineup. Interesting.

Anyway, here’s a paraphrased blow by blow and some thoughts.

At the beginning, His Steveness announced there were more than 60,000 viewers connected to the webcast with broadband, coming from more than 100 countries. That’s pretty impressive. I was, of course, one of them. In addition, the quality was undeniably amazing. I dropped out twice, but it didn’t take me long to reconnect. In the past, splotchy video and maybe a steady audio signal was about as much you could hope for.

Yes, I have safely stored away the “enhanced” 1984 ad. I’m not going to give away what they did, and I promise you it’s more fun if you look at it yourself and not just read about it from the plethora of news outlets that have told.

I’ve been reading reports that the Microsoft segment was the most boring part of the keynote, and this is probably true. But make no mistake, anyone who has to use spreadsheets is probably going to be very happy about Office 2004, and you don’t have to wait. Go ahead and pick up v.X now, and you’ll get the new version for free when it ships.

I wonder if Virginia Tech people are kicking themselves for not waiting to use G5 Xserves. Regardless, what they’ve accomplished is pretty damned impressive—third-fastest supercomputer for only a bit above $5 million.

Xserve Raid. 3.5 terabytes at $3.14 per gigabyte. ‘Nuff said!

Top iTunes customer has spent $29,500 and a 100,000 gift certificates have been sold since October. Any bets that this big spender bought the majority of those gift certificates and sold them to people who don’t have U.S. credit cards?

Billboard charts in iTunes—1949 to present. Hate me if you want, but I was totally deprived of 80s music. Looks like I’ll finally be able to build an 80s hit playlist pretty easily.

Regarding the 100 million songs being given away by Pepsi and Apple (look for the yellow-capped bottles), all I have to say is a repeat of how Steve left it. “Start drinkin’.”

I may have to give iPhoto another look. I’m a type that likes to know exactly what’s happening to my original files when I am cataloging them. I know that iTunes may rename my music files and organize them into artist and album name folders (yes, I like this setting), but the actual data in the file doesn’t get changed. For my pictures, I’ve thus far been content to simply create a folder in my Pictures folder, name that folder to match a subject, and copy my digital camera’s pictures in there. I create iView Media (free with Roxio Toast Titanium) indexes for each folder which I know only index the images and never actually changes them. Now then, iPhoto probably leaves the originals alone, too. Somehow, I managed to get the impression that there were cases where the original files might get resaved, and we all know you never want to open a JPG and resave it as a new JPG, replacing the file—especially if it’s your original copy. No, I don’t need anyone to chime in saying this or that. I’m just going to install the new iPhoto when I get my hands on it and give it a shot.

iMovie is just getting better and better. Finally, some decent-looking title effects. You can scrub audio on the timeline and trim clips nondestructively. You can import video directly from an iSight! Guess I don’t need GCam any more.

Twenty more free iDVD themes. Now, up to two hours of content per DVD!

What I perceive to have been the best-received announcement was the new iLife addition, GarageBand. While I, personally, am not likely to have much use for this application (I’m not a musician), it may be somewhat helpful if there are audio loops unique to GarageBand that aren’t found in Soundtrack. However, one of my best friends is coming along pretty well with his band, Ádamas. He desperately needs to purchase his own guitar and amp instead of using one that belongs to a colleague of his. I seriously wonder if a PowerBook with GarageBand and the Jam Pack addition (along with, of course, various needed audio/MIDI interfaces) might be something he should really consider. Sure, he could get an amp with speaker for less, But imagine the versatility of using GarageBand. The only worry I would have is whether it could be set up to be powerful enough. Ádamas has a pretty heavy sound.

Watch out, though, people like John Gruber are going to have a heydey with GarageBand. Not only has Apple rubbed against their own Human Interface Guidelines again by using a much darker brushed metal interface for GarageBand’s windows, but the sides of the main window sport a woodgrain look. Personally, I don’t complain much about HIG adherence or violations, and the effect is pretty cool on screen.

Steve’s One More Thing™ was, of course, the iPod Mini. I’m siding with Chris Breen on this one. “…the iPod Mini hints that much of Apple was on lunch break when the ‘Power Mac G4 Cube: Lessons Learned’ memo circulated.” I simply don’t get it. Sure, it’s smaller, but not that much smaller, and it’s only 4 gigabytes. Breen continues, “Let’s see, for $50 more, I can pack 3.7 times more music on my iPod and have access to a boatload of accessories compatible with the original iPod? Hmm, let me think about that…”

I thought the iPod Mini used flash ROM instead of a hard drive, but such is not the case. The $249 price tag might have been warranted if it was for something you didn’t have to worry about if it fell to a carpeted floor or you went jogging with it every day. But ATPM colleagues reminded me today that they were pretty sure the theoretical limit (sorry, I don’t remember the number, but it wasn’t astronomical) on how many times you could rewrite a flash ROM was still a barrier.

If that wasn’t enough, there was one more One More Thing™ to announce. It comes in colors. Again. I think this little perk would go over better if you could swap out the face covers like you can on many cell phones.

So there you have it. I’ll close by echoing Gruber’s question. What happened to iPhoto 3?

Comments: 1 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by Michael Tsai -- January 6, 2004 08:44 PM

I don't think iPhoto recompresses your JPEGs (just as iTunes doesn't recompress your music), but neither does it let you choose the folder structure.

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Friday, January 02, 2004

Schwartz Settlement Refund

Does anyone have a clue what this “Schwartz Settlement Refund” is all about? I’ve Googled all sorts of results of people saying they either received a check or a credit on their Citibank credit card statement for this or that amount—totaling well below a dollar for most individuals. Indeed, I received a 15¢ refund!

Comments: 9 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by Jason Baker -- January 5, 2004 12:01 AM

I too was in the dark about this (I received $.33). Here's a link about the class action lawsuit:

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/04/09/national/printable548446.shtml

Posted by jennifer -- January 7, 2004 12:56 AM

I am responding because I just received a credit on my citibank statement. I am doing a search at this very moment and will call citibank as well to investigate this.

Posted by Babe Somebody -- January 11, 2004 11:16 PM

Don't bother, or don't believe them They don't tell the truth nor are they in compliance of the law. They are above it.

Posted by Iyone -- January 14, 2004 04:19 PM

I have recieved the check for a settlement of $.15 with Citibank, I called citi and they said it wasn't anything. I asked a family member about it she said to call the people that gave me a settlement because they lie,(Citibank). They would lie to get extra money.

Posted by Steve -- January 17, 2004 08:17 AM

I ws so excited about my $0.83 settlement I just received as a credit my my credit card bill. Now, my family can take that much needed and deserved family vacation. Heck, we just might go all out and go and see that big mouse down in Orlando. On a more serious note, I am glad someone is looking after those of us who are "paying the bills" in this country.

Posted by kindra -- January 18, 2004 04:01 AM

In the letter it states: "We estimate that the average finance charge refund would be less than $1.00 for each eligible cardmember. That estimate proved correct." but I bet out of the "cash" payment of approximately $9 million for attorneys fees and costs, their share was a bet more than my $0.24.

Posted by fioricet online -- February 17, 2004 10:57 AM

blue plastic coffee

Posted by monie -- February 19, 2004 08:10 PM

It's a shame that Citibank was not fined more. I say they should have been made to clear every customer's account affected by the lawsuit. We should all have a zero balance with at least $1,000 dollars cash for our trouble! These large coporations make me sick! The nerve to send someone a fifteen cent check!

Posted by Milan -- February 23, 2004 03:50 PM

How many of you have actually received the refund? My wifeís account had (and still has) a $0.00 balance in November 2003 when she was notified that she was receiving a tiny refund. Subsequently, she was notified that on January 5, 2004 her refund was processed and she would be receiving a check for the amount. To date, no check has been received and two phone calls to Citibank (Feb. 11 and today) merely result in a runaround from them. Methinks Citibank is stealing back its ordered refunds through this non-activity regarding checks for refunds. In all likelihood, this is in violation of the courtís order.

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Thursday, December 25, 2003

Merry Ho Ho

Merry Christmas!!!

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Tuesday, December 16, 2003

A Little Advice for Windows Users

Winamp developers say, “It’s so fine, we skipped a number!” This, of course, is referring to today’s release of Winamp 5.0. It would probably be more realistic if they said, “Apple’s iTunes is at version 4 and we wanted to be ahead.”

The basic version of Winamp is free, but to rip a CD and burn at up to 48x will require shelling out $14.95 for the pro version. AAC encoding is touted as a feature of Winamp. The “pro” feature specifically refers to ripping MP3s, but I can’t believe ripping MP3s requires buying the pro version and ripping AACs would be free, so I’m assuming any and all ripping requires the pro version.

And this leads me to my advice—why pay fifteen bucks for a music manager when iTunes for Windows is free and lets you rip MP3 and AAC and lets you burn CDs at full speed? iTunes will also play Shoutcast broadcasts. Sure, maybe iTunes doesn’t deal with video like Winamp does, but that’s what Quicktime is for.

So, I put forth the question, pretending I was using a Windows machine (hah), why would I want Winamp instead of iTunes? (And don’t come back with an answer of skins and visualizations. Big whup!)

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Sunday, December 14, 2003

Restaurant Ramblings

Have you ever once observed someone actually use a stack of napkins or a pile of condiment packets left behind by a previous customer in a fast food restaurant? Neither have I. So why do people leave them?

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Wednesday, December 10, 2003

No, I’m Not M.I.A.

Wow, has it really been a week since I’ve made an entry? Shameful. So, what’s been going on lately? I suppose much of the reason I’ve been less active on the blog is because I’ve been more active with my photo albums.

I was off work Thursday and Friday. Thursday, I and several friends did the Disney park-hopping thing and, yes, the photos are in the album.

The bigger news from the weekend pertains to my vehicle. You may remember in a prior blog entry and its follow up when I mentioned I had rented a Pontiac Vibe and hoped to soon own one. That day has come. I got mine this past weekend and I love it! I think the 2004 models corrected a couple of the minor issues I had with it. It’s pretty well loaded, too—sunroof (well, technically it’s called a moonroof), aluminum wheels, power everything except the seats, 4-wheel ABS, etc. I ended up with the same dark blue color I had rented before. I’ll put photos of it in the album when I get time to give it a proper photo session!

I do have another piece of news, but it’s still in the making and I should probably remain tight-lipped about it for now. I’ve already told a few of you who may be reading this, but I’ll say more about it here at a later time.

Anyway, if several days go by between posts you might do well to hop over to the photo albums and see if there’s anything new there. I usually spend the time to write fairly detailed captions for most photos, so it’s almost like a photoblog.

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Wednesday, December 03, 2003

One Slipped Through

TV censors apparently aren’t perfect. Not to imply that Christina Aguilera prancing around a stage on prime time television wearing her usual performance outfits is wholesome family viewing, but when she sang Fighter during the November 30 “Stripped in London” program on the WB network, did anyone else hear her say, “I remember all the shit you put me through…” without getting bleeped or muted?

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Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Some News Photo Editor Was Sloppy

I’m not generally inclined to blog something like one of Jay Leno’s “Headlines” bits, but one of ‘em struck a nerve, I guess.

The article was talking about how the new $20 bill redesign is causing some problems in automated machines that aren’t programmed to recognize them. Now then, we know good and well that either an older stock image from the newspaper’s library was pulled, or an underpaid and undercaring photographer was sent out with the assignment to get a shot of someone feeding a change machine with a $20 bill. In either case, I wouldn’t directly blame the photographer, but this goof was inexcusable for an editor.

The goof? The reasonably large (for a newspaper) color photo that showed the change machine also showed a placard on the machine that prominently reads: “$1, $5, and $10 bills only.”

I might have even forgiven this screw-up if it had happened 10 or more years ago, but we’re living in a time where an amateur Photoshop user could’ve remedied the error in about 60 seconds.

Comments: 1 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by Eric Blair -- November 25, 2003 12:46 AM

I'd rather see if a goof like that then have stuff Photoshopped before it gets printed in a newspaper. It's a slippery slope between what's acceptable and what's not.

A few months ago a photographer taking pictures over in Iraq got whacked because it was discovered he "customized" a photo because he couldn't get the soldier and the refugees to line up "just right."

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Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Saying My Name Is Considered Secure!?

Am I the only one who thinks Walgreens’ Express Pay is a disaster waiting to happen? Suffice to say, if I ever fill a prescription at Walgreens (and I probably won’t, anyway), I’ll be paying with cash.

“Express Pay, the fastest way to pay. Walgreens can keep your credit card information on file at the pharmacy and will automatically charge it when you pick up your prescription. It’s especially convenient for parents of college students who are away from home or the elderly who have caretakers managing their medication.”

What this short blurp from their web site fails to say actually is mentioned on the TV commercial—that you just give your name at the Rx counter, and you’re automatically charged for your prescription. Someone tell me exactly what prevents a desperate druggie (assuming he or she can walk in looking cool and collected) from walking in, saying they’re so-and-so, and walking out with someone else’s prescription without having spent a penny?

Comments: 1 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by Jon Gales -- November 11, 2003 02:00 PM

This is why you don't let druggies know where and when you get your prescriptions. It's marginally easier than stealing a credit card. And I woulnd't be surprised if you have to show ID.

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Sunday, November 02, 2003

Props to Whoever You Are

Several people have made either audible or silent acknowledgments of my MAC-USER license plate. Until now, the remarks were pretty much either from friends who know me well enough, or from people around my apartment or in parking lots, asking what a Mac user is.

Saturday afternoon, I got what I believe was my first acknowledgment of a new variety. I was at a stop light and a car pulls up behind me. I don’t make a habit of staring back at trailing cars in my rear-view mirror, so it was a few seconds before my peripheral vision realized the occupants were making various motions with their arms. I looked in the mirror straight on and the driver was pointing down at the back of my car, grinning, then giving me the thumbs-up sign. I up-thumbed him back as the light turned green, and I continued home, enjoying that I have a new friend whose name I’ll never know, nor will I likely ever see again.

Comments: 0 (Comments are now closed.)

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Sunday, October 26, 2003

Fall Back

So what are you planning to do with the extra hour we gain tonight?

Comments: 2 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by Jon Gales -- October 26, 2003 10:55 AM

An extra hour of work!

Posted by Raena -- October 27, 2003 04:25 PM

Hey, you took our extra hour!

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Friday, October 24, 2003

Isn’t It Ironic

The organization I work for is currently combating a pretty significant financial crunch. It was brought about through no fault of any bad planning. It is completely a matter of several circumstances all happening at the same time. Each of the circumstances, individually, were predictable, but it was unfathomable that all of them would occur the same year.

I’m not awfully concerned. A very good plan of action is in effect. Things will, ultimately, be fine.

I’m seeing a huge point of irony, however. One of the points that came up to deal with the situation is that 50 full-time equivalents need to be cut. This, in no way, means they’re going to start laying people off. I am confident that won’t be happening. Instead, these cuts are intended to happen by attrition—in other words, as people transfer or retire or whatever, that position will be evaluated so as to either be taken up by an existing employee, or to determine if the functions handled by the former employee can be suspended for a few years.

What’s the irony? Our past president recently announced that he was not interested in continuing as president for another term (three years—and the stop/start point of that term occurred a few weeks ago). Yet, he wasn’t going anywhere, not retiring, not entertaining job offers from other places, etc. So what happens? A new VP position is created and he fills it—and we get a new president who actually came from Pennsylvania!

Don’t misunderstand me, the function of the past president’s new role is legitimate, and I can already tell that I really like our new president. However, it sure seems like a horrible example to set to tell all the employees that we intend to reduce our workforce by 50 FTEs while simultaneously adding a new position—a VP position, no less.

Comments: 0 (Comments are now closed.)

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Monday, October 20, 2003

An Addition to the Family

I previously blogged that I was keeping an eye out for a desktop Macintosh to act as a local server and be a permanent home of my iTunes library. I’m pleased to announce that a 450MHz G4 will soon be in my hands.

Evan is ’da man. We were chatting the other night and I was telling him about my desire. He mentioned he had this tower that he’d planned to give his to his dad, but it would be kind of overkill for his needs, plus he’d need to buy a monitor/keyboard/mouse for it—all currently missing. We realized that I could buy his tower (I can use my existing peripherals via my KVM switch) and the price we agreed on we only be a little bit shy of the price for a new eMac that’ll be perfect for his dad.

In preparation, I’ve already transferred DNS management of my domain to No-IP.com. It’s been 24 hours and it should be pretty much in place now. Web, FTP, and mail functions still route back to my web/domain hosting service, and I defined a subdomain host for occasional use locally on my PowerBook, though I’m not yet running the IP auto-update client. Additionally, my digital photo album is currently using http://photos.dtpbylee.com/ even though the prior dtpbylee.redirectme.net still works. I’m still trying to come up with a clever, yet easy-to-verbally-give-out, new domain which will become my new blog (Daily Tales and Punditry will be retired), my new e-mail address for personal use (dtpbylee.com will remain for registrations, work-related stuff, etc.), and the address from which I’ll define a host for local file sharing purposes on the G4 tower that’s coming and will be the machine I run No-IP’s client to auto-update the DNS when my dynamic IP changes. Drop me a line if you have any domain suggestions.

By the way, I find no small amount of fascination in the fact that Evan, who has sold me his G4 tower, was also the one who sold his 500MHz G3 PowerBook (Pismo) to me three or so years ago—a machine which, as far as I know, is being used by a pastor for word processing, internet access, and PowerPoint presentations.

So, I’m looking forward to having what will essentially amount to my version of an iDisk with a space limitation of whatever size of hard drives I install, running my digital photo album locally rather than relying on a server run by a friend of mine, and having a slightly safer location for my permanent iTunes library that can be easily backed up to DVD-RAM discs and be played on my living room stereo at any time since I’ll be running a permanent audio cable from the tower to my sound system.

Comments: 0 (Comments are now closed.)

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Saturday, October 18, 2003

Ouch

Jobs_Dell.jpg

Comments: 2 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by David Ozab -- October 19, 2003 01:33 AM

Almost as scary! Check out my new monitor:

http://www.ozab.net/mt/archives/000075.html (open in new window)

But it's hooked up to a G4 so . . . whew :o)

Posted by Raena -- October 19, 2003 02:55 AM

Me: "Oy! What's with the beard? Oh hey, he's using a Dell."

HP produce nice monitors, david, you're absolved. ;)

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Thursday, October 16, 2003

Selling Sugar Water—But Not For Life

John Gruber suggests Steve Jobs isn’t remembering his own woo to John Sculley. What Gruber fails to point out, though, is that even though Steve is, in effect, pushing “sugar water,” he isn’t doing it “for the rest of his life.” There’s no harm in helping sales of someone else’s product to encourage more people to take a look at yours.

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Hell Froze Over—UPDATED

Yeah, I know I’m stealing Apple’s message for my headline. Sue me.

Yes, I immediately downloaded Quicktime 6.4, iTunes 4.1, and the iPod Software Update v2.1. Honestly, I’m not currently seeing a whole lot different in iTunes 4.1, but I want to stay up to date. Many of the new features listed for iTunes were accessible with version 4.0.1.

The iPod Software Update, however, is a different matter. Of course, it includes the software to utilize Belkin’s new voice recorder accessory. I’m considering whether it would be useful to me. I can think of some times it would, but not sure if it’s often enough. What I’m more interested in is a stereo line level record module. I’d use that a lot. Better yet, how about a module with both a line level input and a mono mic combined into one unit? Then, of course, there’s also Belkin’s media reader accessory. I’ve read reports from people who think this device stole the show. I’m not so sure. The way you connect an iPod to it looks unwieldily. It would have made more sense if it were something that cradled the iPod a little better. Also, I have a 256mb picture card which I would be very hard-pressed to fill before I could offload the pictures to my computer—especially since my laptop accompanies me often times on my trips and vacations.

The iPod Software Update also included some functional changes that I am able to use now. First of all, the boot-up screen now sports a progress bar. You no longer have to wonder whether the reboot got hung up on the Apple logo screen. The battery/charge indicator has also been enhanced. Originally, there were just three bars that technically only indicated if the battery was nearly (or completely) full, somewhere between perhaps 1/4 and 3/4 full, or nearly drained. Now, the indicator can apparently show the amount of charge in LCD pixel increments. It may only be accurate to 10% increments or so, but this is a huge improvement. A new game has also been added—Music Quiz. You get a list a several songs that are on your iPod and then a clip from somewhere in the middle of one of the songs is played. You then have to select which song is playing. The faster you select, the more points for that round. Obviously, being intimately familiar with all your music is a big help to play this game.

Naturally, the biggest news was that iTunes 4.1 is also available for Windows 2000 and XP. According to what I read, Apple had commanded about 70% of the legal music download market up to today. To hell with what nay-sayers think about Apple coming up with a Windows version too late and that competitors have had their service out for a little while—Apple is going to own the digital music market. Period. That 70% was built from only the tiny number of Mac users compared to PC users. Even if only a fraction of Windows users latch solidly onto iTunes, I can’t see that any other service has a prayer of catching up.

In related news, Apple has allied with AOL. This means that all 25 million AOL members now automatically have iTunes Music Store accounts. Their credit/payment information is already on file with AOL, so all they have to do is log in. Make no mistake, I abhor AOL. But even I admit—this is big. Very big.

Also big is the promotion Apple got into with Pepsi. Hey, if you drink Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, or Sierra Mist and don’t care much about this music stuff, be sure to peek at your bottle caps. 300 million caps are part of the promotion and 100 million of them are worth a free iTunes download. That means, if you get a bottle that’s among those which are part of the promotion, there’s a 1 in 3 chance it’s a winner. You can’t get odds that good anywhere else. If a winning cap doesn’t do you any good, I’ll gladly accept it on your behalf! :-p

It makes perfect sense that iTunes Music Store customers should be able to access and purchase audiobooks without having to set up a separate Audible.com account. Unless you want to use the monthly subscription service, you can now buy audiobooks a la carte with your existing iTunes Music Store account.

That pretty well wraps it up. I’ll sign out by mentioning that Apple has sold 13 million tracks and, unless I’m mistaken, were hoping to sell 100 million songs within one year—which will be April 2004. Steve, keep adding new music and don’t piss off those Windows and AOL users, and I think you’ll reach your goal well before April!

UPDATE: I forgot to mention two other new features of the Music Store—gift certificates and parental allowances. Gift certificates are self explanatory. Allowances is a great concept. Parents can create an account for their children with, of course, control of how much is spent. At any time, they can decide when and how much their child can spend to buy music. Once they set it up, the child logs in and has a credit on their account and can buy music up until that credit is gone.

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Thursday, October 09, 2003

Mid-week Update

You’re right. There hasn’t been much blog activity the past little while. I’ve done massive amounts of overtime in the last two weeks.

Things I’ve recently taken notice of include the following:

  • The Adobe Creative Suite, meaning that I’ll probably finally be making the jump from Pagemaker to InDesign, as well as no longer having to migrate my distilled PDFs over to the PC to finish them. Heretofore, I’ve only had a PC version of the full Acrobat software (now known as Acrobat Pro) at work. The best part is the cost—upgrading to Adobe CS Premium is only $750, something my office’s treasurer will be happy about.
  • Speaking of the treasurer, he showed no signs of being nonplussed over the $1,300 price tag I estimated to upgrade my machine to OS X, upgrade to the latest Adobe software, and acquire a smattering of other items I’d need to make the permanent transition from OS 9 to OS X.
  • MacRumors reported a feature that was described on Apple’s web site, but has since been removed. At first, I was very intrigued, but I think, now, that it wouldn’t be a huge deal to me. Sure, knowing FileVault is there when I upgrade to Panther sounds great. The feature to be able to sync my entire ~/Home/ folder to an iPod sounded like it would be very handy. That was before I remembered I keep a pretty full Home folder. Indeed, mine’s 25 gigabytes right now, and I have 9.25 gigabytes of music on my 30 gigabyte iPod. Besides, I use a PowerBook instead of a desktop. My Home folder is frequently within easy access anyway.
  • Say hello to California’s governor-elect, “Ah-nold” Schwarzenegger. Please, curb your enthusiasm.
  • I’m thinking I’d like to acquire a used Power Mac tower—as inexpensively as possible, of course. Something like a 500MHz G4 would be cool, but a 400 or 450MHz Blue & White G3 would get the job done. Anyone have any leads? Here’s what I want it for:
    1. Local web/FTP/Apple file sharing/etc. server I can leave running 24/7.
    2. New home for iTunes library. I’d like to free the space on my laptop and I would have a nice big hard drive in the tower to house my music. Naturally, I’ll run its sound out to my stereo. Besides, being often that both my iPod and my laptop travel with me, it seems kind of redundant (and less safe) to have my only two copies of all my music frequently in close proximity.
    3. A place to perform a quickie e-mail check or web page lookup when my laptop is packed up and I’m not inclined to dig it out.
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Sunday, October 05, 2003

Weekend Update

My, my, where the time goes. I’ve been at my office kinda late most days this week trying to finish a newsletter. I’m liable to be late tomorrow night, too. I hope my blog doesn’t turn into a weekend-only update thing!

Yesterday was quite eventful. I was out on the trail with a friend of mine. He was rollerblading and I was biking. On the way back, he decided to be energetic and jump over this metal grate-like plate in the sidewalk—probably covering some utilities access. Mind you, he’s an excellent rollerblader. He has skills. He has never fallen before when it wasn’t someone else’s fault.

Those skills were temporarily absent for this particular stunt. He didn’t land it right, at all. At first, it just seemed as though he fell backwards and landed sitting down. He got right back up and we kept going around a corner. That’s when he decided to check out his arm which was hurting. He took off his wrist brace and…woo…there was absolutely no question his arm had broken. The guard sort of did it’s job and protected his wrist. The break was basically right where the top edge of the guard stopped.

Ouch.

He managed to make it back to the car and I drove him to the ER, then went to his house to grab a change of clothes for him so he could get out of the sweaty stuff he was wearing. After that, there was little use of me hanging around, so I did some errands, got dinner, and came home. He finally called around 10pm (mind you, the accident happened maybe around 6 or so) to say they were just then giving him a painkiller shot so they could set the bone back into place. I came over to keep company, and it was midnight or later before the doctor had done his job and put on a temporary splint. We figured I could take him home shortly after, but the painkiller was causing nausea and we were told it likely wouldn’t wear off for another couple hours. So he stayed there and napped and I went home and slept ‘til 6am when he called and was able to walk.

A bit more driving and a trip to CVS to fill his prescriptions, and it’s 7:30am, I got back home, and went back to bed, only to be called 2.5 hours later in regard to equipment needs (which I’m responsible for) at an event next weekend. One hour, and a couple e-mails later, here I am typing an entry, and I need to wrap it up because I have to drive to south Orlando to pick up a few items once some meetings get finished there at noon. I suppose this afternoon is just going to be hanging out with friends—perhaps a movie.

Yep, this entry is very live-journal-ish. Sue me.

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Friday, September 26, 2003

Weekend Warrior

I’m relatively lucky that weekends are, more often than not, mine to do with as I please.

Thus, it feels quite disruptive to be realizing the full scope of the series of weekends I’m in the middle of now.

9-14-03—freelance desktop publishing for a job similar to one I did for the same person last year and will make a sincere effort to not agree to do again.

9-21-03—more of the prior weekend, and I haven’t even quantified the amount of weekday evenings I’ve also spent on it.

9-27-03—my brother is on a work trip over here in Florida. He has some down time and I may drive to Cocoa to meet up with him and perhaps go through the Kennedy Space Center.

9-28-03—will be responsible for audio/visual at huge business meeting (which happens only every three years) and involves, uhm, I’m going to use the words “customers” and “clients” so as not to violate my separation-of-work-and-blog rule. At least the auditorium has Wi-Fi.

10-2-03 through 10-5-03—more audio/visual responsibilities at yet another work-related event. I nearly had to take photos at still another event going on this same weekend up above Gainesville (or, even worse, do both of these, but I nipped the north Florida trip in the bud).

10-10-03 through 10-12-03—annual convention related to my field of work. The event is in a different part of the U.S. every year, but is, thankfully, here in Orlando this time.

10-19-03—finally a bit of a break and hopefully will be with friends at one or more of the Disney parks.

10-25-03—monthly sound board obligation in Tampa (though I my day last month was taken by someone else…bless him).

So, if anyone ends up with any cognitive dissonance about what I’m spending my normally free time doing, just read this post again and then go to your room!

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Friday, September 19, 2003

Isn’t That Censorship?

Has anyone else noticed that, in some cases, the original version of songs are not available on the iTunes Music Store—only the “radio/clean” versions? Take Missy Elliott’s “Under Construction” album, for example. You can purchase the entire clean version or any individual track. But the original (a.k.a. explicit) version only has some of the tracks available. “Work It” has a text message that says “Album Only” instead of the “Buy Now” button, which I don’t understand because I don’t see an option to purchase the entire album. Additionally, the equally popular “Gossip Folks” isn’t even on the list.

I have to believe that we have the record label to thank and not Apple, since the Music Store has not, shown a tendency to not make the unedited versions of songs available…hence the fact that you even see “Explicit” and “Clean” tags on tracks.

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Monday, September 15, 2003

Monday Musings

Dumb dumb dumb.

Why my gang chose to go to one of the Pointe Orlando night life venues on a Sunday evening to play pool and (for a couple people—not me!) dance ’til after midnight is completely beyond me. I’m at work today, but I’m dragging—big time.

It’s been kind of a whirlwind since Thursday night. Originally thinking Survivor 7 started last week, I was at my friends’ house anyway and we watched The Core. We were just chillin’ so late, it was nearly 3am before I went to bed.

I overslept Friday (big surprise) and just did some work Friday afternoon after our office had closed (yeah, we’re out at noon on Fridays) but most of the afternoon was spent in my apartment complex pool with several of my pals. I hate going there by myself, so I always try to encourage them to come over. It’s more fun—especially when we decide to do something wacky like grabbing a disposable camera for some wild and goofy shots underwater. If you’re ever looking for a good long laugh and have some friends who aren’t camera shy, this is one way to do it. (I’m still debating whether to put the pictures online—my gang may not like me too much! *laff* We all look like nerds! So, maybe I could just say, you show me yours, and I’ll show you mine! Fair enough?) Anyhow, the day finished with a trip to see Once Upon a Time in Mexico.

Saturday was pretty lazy. After some of the ladies of the gang went to see a college football game, all of us hooked up at Friday’s for dinner.

The majority of my Sunday was spent on a personal project I’m doing for a colleague—all the while missing the day at the beach my friends spent. :-( And that brings us to the dumb (but fun) late night last night.

What a weekend, huh?

Anyhow, during that weekend, an image burned into my retinas and it stings! Naturally, I have to share. While pulling into a parking space at home, I observed a man pulling items out of the back of a U-Haul trailer. He was a very heavy-set man. It was a fairly warm day. The man was bending over at the waist to reach whatever he was trying to retrieve, revealing a long sweat line—right down the seam of his pants over his butt crack! ACK! It gets better—he then took a step back and revealed the dampness branched off in both directions down both legs! Nastiness.

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Tuesday, September 09, 2003

My Very Own Street Corner

I’ve known of lots of people offering punditry about the fact that they share the same name as a popular road. I even have a friend whose mother and aunt have streets named after them because my friend’s grandfather was a general contractor for the houses built along those two streets and he named them after his daughters.

LB-road.gifEven though I didn’t have a thing to do with the coincidence, how cool is it that I have a street corner sporting both my given and my family name? Yes, I know this photo is a bit icky. It was taken a long time ago and saved as a poor quality GIF file. Eventually I’ll go there and take a new photo.

Because I know I have some skeptic readers and because of the quality of the picture, I’ll cater to anyone who wants proof by suggesting they simply go to MapQuest and type “bennett ave at lee road” in the street name search box, “winter park” in the city, and “fl” as the state.

Oops, I just realized MapQuest shows Lee Road only as the State Road number—423. Fine then, here’s a Florida D.O.T. page showing the revised interstate exit numbers. Down near the bottom of this I-4 page, next to old exit 46/new exit 88, you’ll see SR 423 identified as Lee Road.

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Sunday, August 31, 2003

Unexpected (Yet Welcome) Perk

So I’m now on my trip to Washington state and got checked into our hotel last night. Fully prepared to plug into the phone line to get online, I quickly realized that I was getting a good quality signal from someone’s wireless access point! I don’t know where it’s coming from, but the only guess my friend, Jeff, and I have is that it’s the hotel office. My room is practically next door to the office and the signal is full strength. Jeff’s room is at the opposite end of the wing and he can’t pick it up at all.

Suffice to say, I’m pretty happy.

We’ll be taking day trips this week and I’ll get pictures on my album soon. Stay tuned.

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Friday, August 29, 2003

Late-night Musings

It’s nearly 1:30am. I’m waiting for my dryer to finish so I can complete my packing. I’m headed to Washington state for a while. Yes, the PowerBook is coming along.

For some odd reason, I clicked to this MacSlash posting which was somewhat interesting, but not especially so.

What I did find amusing was the two comments (the second was a follow-up by the same person).

“Al Gore is on the Board of Directors for Apple. The U.S. Military just switched Army.mil to Mac OS X for security reasons. The various recent Windows worms have caused an estimated loss of 1 billion dollars in business revenue. Windows has been acknowledged to be full of security holes and “wide open” default configurations. Need I go on? It just occurred to me that one of Al Gore’s ‘accomplishments’ in office was to improve the U.S. government’s purchasing system—primarily in regard to technology purchases. Maybe hiring Al wasn’t such a bad idea.”

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Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Pre-vacation Observation

Has anyone named the phenomenon where, the day or two before you leave for a vacation, you get rushed by people at work with all sorts of quickie requests to do this or that—people who swear they didn’t know you were leaving?

I left the office at 8pm today. Tomorrow is technically my first day of vacation and I planned to spend it packing and doing laundry, yet I already know I’ve got to spend about an hour at the office. You can rest assured, though, that it won’t be before 11am.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2003

“They Paved Paradise, and Put Up a Parking Lot”

Back when I was attending Andrews Univeristy, the student newspaper once carried someone’s cartoon poking fun at the plethora of sidewalks that snake across the campus. One character is seen telling another character that these sidewalks make it easier to get from place to place. The second character has a drop-jaw expression as he gazes at all the sidewalks that twist before him.

Obviously, the drawings of the sidewalks were an exaggeration, and I completely understood the joke at the time. I did not, however, completely understand the scope of the joke until last night, when I found myself looking at an aerial photo of the AU campus from MapQuest.

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Sunday, August 24, 2003

Veg

What an utterly lazy day.

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Saturday, August 23, 2003

I Want… —UPDATED

…a Sling Pack and an i-Trac.

UPDATE: w00t! A Sling Pack is on its way to me! I’d love to share the events leading to my acquisition, but it’s probably in the best interest to sit on that information for the moment. I mean, it probably doesn’t matter, but I’m leaning on the side of caution. I’ll tell you all about it when the dust settles.

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Friday, August 22, 2003

Kerboom!

Wow—central Florida is probably seeing just about the most intense thunderstorm I’ve seen in a long time. It’s pretty wicked.

With my various heavy-duty UPS devices, I’m not really inclined to unplug stuff yet, though I don’t have very many items turned on right now. My PowerBook is, of course, what I’m most concerned about.

It’s wonderful to simply unplug the power cable and keep on doing my thing using a Wi-Fi connection, knowing it’s 100% impossible for the lightning to damage my computer right now.

HAH—as if in total defiance, a huge bolt just struck nearby right after I typed the previous sentence!

Bring it on, mother nature!!!

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Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Another Reason Why I Hate Windows

“None of us are infected/sending the messages. I think it’s about time to call a few friends still knee-deep in tech support and brag about the Mac :).” [I ♥ Mena]

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President Arnold Schwarzenegger?

“As Arnold Schwarzenegger launches his political career, it’s worth recalling a scene from the film Demolition Man, which takes place in the year 2026. As Sandra Bullock[’s character] attempts to bring Sylvester Stallone[’s character] up to speed on what has happened in the world in the last 30 years, she refers to the Schwarzenegger Presidential Library.”

Stallone: “Hold it! The Schwarzenegger Library?”
Bullock: “Yes, the Schwarzenegger Presidential Library. Wasn’t he an actor?”
Stallone: “Stop! He was President?”
Bullock: “Yes. Even though he was not born in this country, his popularity at the time caused the 61st Amendment.”

[About.com Political Humor]

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Sunday, August 17, 2003

The Eagle Has Landed

To follow up my entry about seeing Mission: Space at EPCOT, never mind on the pictures. there honestly wasn’t much to take pictures of. The web site shows the exterior, the waiting area had a moon rover (who hasn’t seen that) and a full-size mockup of a rotating space habitat that generates artificial gravity. If you want to see that in action, just watch 2001: A Space Odyssey.

As for the spoilers—what the ride consists of is a surprisingly large mechanism in a circular room. The whole thing has, I believe, 10 simulator pods on arms which all spin around the center section. When it gets going fast enough, you get the sensation of a couple of Gs pressing on you. The illusion that you are experiencing a vertical take off is pretty neat. There is the slight sensation that you are spinning, but it is slight. You’ve seen or been inside those rides that put you in a big cabin on hydraulics that lean the cabin back and forth and point the cabin as far upward as it can to simulate acceleration? EPCOT’s new ride simulates the acceleration with substantially more realism.

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Makes Sense To Me

“I think Macs threaten the livelihood of IT staffs. If you recommend purchasing a computer that requires only half the support of the machine it is replacing, aren’t you putting your job in danger?” [I, Cringely | The Pulpit]

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Saturday, August 16, 2003

Blast Off

I’m headed to EPCOT tomorrow with a friend of mine to check out the brand-new Mission: Space pavilion that opened yesterday. It’s nice to be able to choose to whiz off to a Ratland park, making use of a seasonal pass. I’ll have photos and spoilers posted later. Stay tuned.

(Not that you really care, but yes, I’ve intentionally backtimed this post to 10:30pm Saturday, even though I’m actually typing it after 1am on Sunday. That’s because I’d fully intended to make this entry at 10:30 and couldn’t because my web host was completely DOA for about 2 hours—web, e-mail, everything.)

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Thursday, August 14, 2003

Interesting Idea. Would It Work?

Suppose—just suppose—a conglomerate like Sony or Disney (anyone but Time Warner!) bought Apple and did for it what BMW did for the Mini.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Yuck

I officially dislike Persian food served at such establishments as Ali Baba’s Exotic Cuisine Gallery (yes, that’s its name).

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C’mon, MS—Make Existing Customers Happy

(A bonus, faintly related topic is included at the end of this post.)

“[Microsoft] is cutting the price of the standard version of Office for the Mac by $100, to $399. In addition, the company is introducing a ‘professional’ version of Mac Office v.X that sells for $499 and includes the company’s Virtual PC software for running Windows programs as well as the needed license for Windows XP professional. Microsoft acquired Virtual PC when it bought the assets of Connectix earlier this year.” [News.com]

Okay, naturally I don’t expect Microsoft to send VPC to existing Mac Office users who paid $499 for the product—even if they bought it very recently. But suppose there was a discounted price for VPC offered to current Office v.X owners? Say, $100? Tell me that wouldn’t convince a lot of people who’ve been “thinking about” buying VPC to go ahead and do it. I probably would. It certainly would translate to a lot more sales of VPC and, in the end, would probably mean more profit for MS. Maybe not. I’m clueless on how all that works. Supply and demand. If a product is cheaper, you generally sell more of it. If balanced properly, you can make more money by selling a product for less.

Now for the bonus topic. Microsoft’s web search engine bites the BIG one.

I went to look up the current price of VPC 6 for Mac ($219 for XP Home and $249 for XP Pro) and typed “virtual pc” in the search box on MS’s front page. I was presented with a generic search page with absolutely no indication any search was performed. Indeed, further tests revealed that it doesn’t matter what the hell you type in there. You get the same “let’s do a search” page every time—even leaving the box on the front page blank.

Undaunted, I typed “virtual pc” again on the “real” search page and actually got a list of links. Below the small section of related hits for “Downloads” was the larger “Product Information” section I wanted. The very first hit was “Virtual PC for Mac Information Page.” So, I click it. “Sorry, there is no Microsoft.com web page matching your request.”

??!!!??!!????

Feeling rather daunted at this point, I finally realized that Virtual PC is right there, easily accessible, directly off the Mactopia site and I got the information I wanted.

But jeez!!

Comments: 1 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by chris -- August 13, 2003 12:41 PM

And this shocks you that something from Microsoft really sucks?
;-)

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Sunday, August 10, 2003

Free Advertising Opportunity Lost

I think someone at Apple legal dropped the ball.

I’m sitting here tonight watching the Travel Channel’s Anatomy of a Shark Bite program. One hour and 45 minutes into the 2-hour program and I’ve seen Apple’s G5 commercial four times. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if I saw it one more time in the last round of commercials.

But I’m getting an extreme sense of irony that some scientists are using what is obviously an Apple iBook to play back DVDs of footage to several shark bite victims. One shot blatantly revealed the use of OS X and Apple’s DVD Player application. The iBook logo is even visible at the bottom of the display. Yet, when the camera swung around for a shot from the back of the computer to see the faces of the people, the glowing Apple logo was very conspicuously covered with a piece of black gaffer’s tape.

If Apple is spending the money to run their G5 ad several times during a show, it seems like it would’ve made sense to bolster the value with a little freebie advertising by not making the producers cover their trademark logo! In today’s age of commercial-skipping features, product placement is key!

Not that I’m any more of an advertising fan than most people—I just found the juxtaposition (or lack, thereof) amusing.

Comments: 2 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by Eric Blair -- August 11, 2003 12:32 AM

Are you sure it was Apple who made them cover up the logo on the iBook? My understanding is the logos on products used in TV shows are typically covered unless the maker of said product pays for a product placement.

I assume this is laregely to keep from pissing off those who actually did pay for a placement - in the age of ad skipping, networks are always looking for ways to make more money.

Posted by Lee Bennett -- August 11, 2003 12:42 AM

Yeah, I know this is probably the case. I was just commenting on the irony.

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Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Geek Code

All right, all right, I finally got around to writing mine. If you’re completely nongeek, a decoder is available.

-----BEGIN GEEK CODE BLOCK-----
Version: 3.12
GCC/O d-(++) s: a C++(+++) U@ P+ L E(----) W+++>$ N+ o? K? w(---) O- 
M+>++>$ V? PS(+) PE? Y+(-) PGP- t+(++) 5++ X-() R-(*) tv++@ b-(+) 
DI++ D G>++ e++ h(+) r->++ !y+ 
------END GEEK CODE BLOCK------

This entry reveals my code at this particular point in history. The code block is also found on my About Me page and that will be the one I update, as needed.

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Tuesday, August 05, 2003

The High and Low of It

Seems like every time something good happens or I find out some good information, something else later in the day always offsets it.

While it’s been on the calendar since the beginning of the year, it just occurred to me today that my office is closed both Friday and Monday surrounding the Labor Day weekend—not just Monday. This means I can start the vacation I’d already planned a day sooner, plus count two fewer days against my vacation bank. I sort of let that perk carry me through the day (with my work load, yes, stuff like that is a perk).

It would not, however, carry me all day. Even though I basically never cook, I still try to find reasonably healthy stuff. Sometimes, though, I’m just too rushed or needing something too convenient and tonight (for the first time in more than two weeks, I promise) I went through McDonald’s. After having to wait 4-5 minutes because they’d just started cooking a new batch of fries (at least they tasted good when I finally got them), I got out on the street and looked at the hamburger. Not only was the bun almost hard as a rock, but one pickle that was poking out the side of it had turned into about the same texture as a potato chip!

That I had to go back and get an order fixed wasn’t what pissed me. That some brain-dead employee actually served the thing, did.

Anyway, completely off topic—seen as I was typing this—Apple sighting: kid with iPod in an Ethan Allen Kids commercial. (Too bad the Yahoo! site I just linked here only generically refers to it as “an MP3 player.”

Comments: 1 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by Sue -- August 6, 2003 10:29 AM

I drove through a McD's once, got all the way home, opened the wrapping on the burger - moldy bun, cold burger. So I went all the way back and made the manager look at it. The immediately gave me another one. I opened it up at the counter - again MOLDY. I asked for the bag of buns to be thrown out, - DUH! - a whole NEW order (fries were cold at this point), and my money back. They obliged and then gave me the wrong size fries. Again, I was back at the counter. They were so happy to see me leave that night! I just couldn't believe the obsurdity of the whole thing. McDonald's was never my favorite anyway, so I haven't gone back to one since.

• • •

Guaranteed Winner

Taco Bell has sort of a contest like thing going on. Its tagline is “Drink Big, Win Gas.”

Naturally, we all know it means that game pieces to win a supply of gasoline are found on large and extra large drinks, but we’re talking about (usually) carbonated beverages very often joined by pinto beans swirling around in your stomach.

I’m thinking “Drink Big, Get Gas” is more accurate.

Hey! That means everyone will be a winner!

Comments: 0 (Comments are now closed.)

• • •

Sunday, August 03, 2003

Laziness to the Nth Degree

“Wired has the scoop on a prototype fridge from a Swedish company that includes the ability for cell phone users to request an image of its contents via MMS. No matter how lazy you think we are, don’t expect this to make it to market soon.” [MobileTracker]

Even if this doesn’t reach the market at all, just the notion that someone thought of it proves humans are getting way too lazy.

Comments: 0 (Comments are now closed.)

• • •

Saturday, August 02, 2003

Napkin Hoarding

Ever notice when you ask for a couple packets of ketchup or some other condiment at a restaurant, you’ve given about a gazillion of them, but when you ask for napkins, you get one—two if you’re lucky?

Comments: 1 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by Jon Gales -- August 2, 2003 09:22 PM

You wouldn't need more than 2 if they didn't give you so many of those damn packets :P

• • •

Monday, July 28, 2003

PVRs Rock!—UPDATED AGAIN

After some short research (trust me, not much was necessary) on other PVR devices like the TiVo and ReplayTV, this afternoon I stopped by my Brighthouse cable TV office and swapped my digital cable box for the new one that does digital recording. Since I’m a Bright House customer, I didn’t have to buy a multi-hundred-dollar piece of hardware and, at just $6/month, the monthly charge is considerably less expensive than the other services.

I love it! I thought the feature was just recently introduced, but it’s apparently been available for some months. Its dual tuner allows recording of two shows simultaneously. A caveat is that I can’t record two things and watch a third without recording, but at least I can watch something I previously recorded while still recording two other programs. And I can even start watching something I’m recording before it’s finished!

Almost as if it were a bonus, the newer cable box has been improved from the prior one. I couldn’t guess whether it’s hardware- or software-related, but the on-screen navigation is much snappier. Plus, when I scan far enough ahead in future programs that it has to take a moment to load the data, not only is that data available sooner, but it no longer blacks out the reduced-size picture and sound of what’s currently on air during that time.

I’ve looked at other PVRs longingly but the cost just kept turning me off.

I’m truly going to enjoy this one!

UPDATE 1: Cool! When a digital recording is paused, you can advance it frame by frame by pressing the forward skip button.

UPDATE 2: More coolness. While looking up more information about the actual box (it’s made by Scientific Atlanta), I found this FAQ item about dumping a digital recording to a VCR:

The best solution is coming soon via a future software release. The option to copy a DVR recording to VCR tape will be added to the Recorded Program Options screen, the Playback Status screen, and the Playback Ended screen. The second set of composite outputs labeled VCR OUT 2 on the Explorer 8000 back panel will be activated for this feature. You will then be able to copy a DVR recording to a VCR at any time without affecting what the two tuners are doing. In other words, if both tuners are recording or time-shifting a program, you will be able to copy a recording to VCR at the same time. You’ll also be able to copy a recording to VCR while playing back another DVR recording. This software release is due out later in the year.

Continuing down the same FAQ list, I also discovered something Bright House didn’t tell me (not that I really expected them to), nor is it found in the “barely a manual” manual. I can program the remote to turn on several of my AV devices with just one button. Yes, unlike the prior digital cable boxes that Time Warner advised is best to just leave turned on, these PVR boxes are best turned off when not in use. I suspect this has something to do with not wearing out stuff to record live TV for time shifting while you’re away. The developers were even intelligent enough to allow the user a choice of which devices are turned on. For example, I programmed mine to only power on/off the cable box, the television, and my DVD/audio amplifier component. I don’t imagine I’ll be using my VCR very often any more, so I left it on an individual on/off setting.

Since this isn’t in the manual, and I may or may not be able to find the info online someday down the road if I ever have to change it again, I’m reprinting it here—not because I think you (the reader) cares, but for my own archival purposes.

On the remote, press 9 9 8. The CBL key blinks twice. Then, press a digit for the power button to affect the corresponding devices:
  1. Cable box and TV.
  2. Cable box, TV, and VCR.
  3. Cable box, TV, VCR, and auxiliary device.
  4. Cable box, TV, and auxiliary device.
  5. Restore independent power control.

Still more neat functionality I just discovered while typing this entry (which is in the remote’s manual) is the ability to set the default device the volume and mute buttons control when the remote is targeting the cable box. It’s defaulted to the TV, but my TV is only used as a monitor—not for sound. I have a Sony mini home theater device that integrates my DVD player and is also the audio amplifier and surround sound decoder. So, I’m quite happy that I no longer have to hit the AUX button to change the volume.

Comments: 1 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by Sean -- September 30, 2003 11:34 PM

It only adds 6 dollars to your Brighthouse bill if you're an existing customer? If so, I'm on my way there tomorrow.

• • •

Geekdom

At least he’s using the right hardware.

Comments: 0 (Comments are now closed.)

• • •

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Cue Huey Lewis

“All I want is a couple days off!”

And, thankfully, I’m getting ’em. A much needed break is headed my way Monday and Tuesday. Note that I’m not calling it a long weekend because I do have to be at a workshop my department is putting on this Sunday. It’ll be about four hours plus some setup and tear-down time.

Comments: 0 (Comments are now closed.)

• • •

Sincere Flattery In the Form of Imitation Is Well and Good, but This Is Ridiculous

I’m so glad to see a lot of people pooh-poohing BuyMusic.com. It’s far too obvious that it’s an iTunes Music Store rip off and, like the all-in-one Gateway computers that took on the LCD iMac, the copycats got the concept right but totally missed the boat in spirit and implementation.

Jon has a great list of (counter)points. Included in his punditry are things like errors in the site’s HTML coding, the 79-cent price tag apparently is only the cost of tracks by lesser-known artists, cover art images are 404ing, nebulous DRM, the television ads that are completely begging for a suit from Apple Computer, Inc., and the really scary choice of Windows Media Player format instead of a codec written by a less monopolistic company.

Spymac has pointed to a few sites that are also badmouthing BuyMusic.com. “Ten Reasons Why BuyMusic.com Sucks, [TheMacMind], The Good, the Bad, the Stupid of BuyMusic.com, [LowEndMac], and Latest Music Download Developments, [Applelinks].”

Comments: 0 (Comments are now closed.)

• • •

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Do “Apple Firsts” Not Count?

Okay, I’m very confused. PC Magazine said:

“Manufacturers are trying to push ever-larger LCD monitors into the mainstream, and it looks as if 21 inches is the next frontier. Samsung is preparing to roll out the Samsung SyncMaster 213T, which will deliver a 21.3-inch viewing area, 1,600-by-1,200 native resolution, dual analog and digital inputs, an ultranarrow bezel design, and pivot technology for both portrait and landscape viewing.”

Maybe the “push…into the mainstream” is the key phrase here. Admittedly, large LCDs aren’t mainstream, but this blurb sort of reads as if Samsung is leading out in the production of this size flat panel. Exqueeze me, but Apple’s been hawking its most excellent 23" Cinema Display for a while, and there are large LCD displays offered by other companies, too, such as BenQ and ViewSonic.

The blurb, above, feels a bit misleading.

Comments: 0 (Comments are now closed.)

• • •

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

As If Admitting It Makes It All Better?

Pptttt! Hey Phillip Morris corporate buttmunches—we’ll believe you when you put your money where your mouth is. Close down your tobacco production sites for good and perhaps we can take your admissions seriously.

“We agree with the overwhelming medical and scientific consensus that cigarette smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema and other serious diseases in smokers. Smokers are far more likely to develop serious diseases, like lung cancer, than non-smokers. There is no ‘safe’ cigarette.

“We agree with the overwhelming medical and scientific consensus that cigarette smoking is addictive. It can be very difficult to quit smoking, but this should not deter smokers who want to quit from trying to do so.” [Phillip Morris]

Comments: 2 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by Thomas Noe -- July 15, 2003 09:19 PM

Just curious if you want alcohol companies to shutdown as well?

Or any other company that makes something bad for your health.

Tobacco companies have been scummy, no doubt, but they are not alone in making products that can kill. People know what they're getting into (now).

Posted by Jon Gales -- July 15, 2003 10:39 PM

It's as American as you can get. As long as they aren't lying about it and saying it's good for you, there is no problem.

Red meat and fat is bad for you too.

I think it's horrible that the gov't is making them run ads against their own business. That is NOT American. Do the beef people run ads for Tofu? Oreos for salad? Nuclear energy for hydrogen? Nah. We all know smoking is bad. Enough with the ads.

</libertarian>

• • •

Monday, July 14, 2003

Decisions, Decisions

So just as I’m starting to think I should just jump ship and start using QuarkXPress now that it’s OS X-native, a colleague stands in my office today singing InDesign’s praises. The biggest clincher—native support for layered Photoshop files! I’d die to have this capability. Thus, I guess I’m back to holding out for InDesign 3.

Comments: 0 (Comments are now closed.)

• • •

Friday, July 11, 2003

33

All comments beleaguering me about turning another year older today will be summarily ignored.

However, exemptions will be granted to the owners of those comments that are accompanied by something fun to play with. This, of course, means the exemptions are limited to those who have a means of delivering a physical object to me!

Comments: 3 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by chris -- July 11, 2003 02:58 PM

:P

Happy Birthday, bro. I'll join you in the 33 line in 4 months, 22 days...

Posted by Michael -- July 11, 2003 07:39 PM

Happy birthday, Lee.

Posted by Jon Gales -- July 11, 2003 07:59 PM

Hey look at the bright side... You're not twice my age. Enjoy all the wisdom age brings :).

• • •

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Good Idea, Bad Price

A PocketDock looks to be the perfect solution for the proprietary FireWire connector on the bottom of the latest iPods. But wait a tic. $16.95?? Sure, this thing enables you to use all your old accessories with 6-pin connectors, but I’m thinking about what is possibly a large number of people who’d simply like to use the standard 6-pin to 6-pin cables they already have. Why pay 17 bucks for an adapter when Apple’s own cable with the proper connector is just three bucks more—and you won’t have potential issues with making proper contact. Everyone knows that even though adapters are important, the fewer you use, the better (and, think about it, a cable itself technically is an adapter).

Comments: 0 (Comments are now closed.)

• • •

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

My Adobe Admiration Is Fading, Along With Premiere for Mac

Good gravy train; could it actually be that I’m starting to lose my respect for Adobe? Granted, Photoshop is a killer application and will remain to be so for a long time. I’ve gotten glimpses of Photoshop 8 which is going to be a boon for video editors. (I was going to include links to various sites’ screen shots, but Adobe’s legal department has been busy demanding removal.) Regardless, let’s recap a little of Adobe’s most recent history.

Pagemaker was repositioned as a business tool instead of a professional page layout tool. No, they didn’t strip features—they just “said so.” I imagine Pagemaker users, like myself, who thought they had embraced a professional product, started feeling pretty insulted to be using a tool that was suddenly reclassified as just a business product.

Thus, to use Adobe’s “professional” tool, you now have to use InDesign. But “Indy” has, so far, failed to attract the straggling QuarkXPress users. These users were so great in number that Apple Computer was actually feeling some pressure to rescind/delay its decision last year that all new Mac models released starting January this year would not be able to boot up in OS 9.

Indeed, I’ve been holding out for version 3 of “Indy,” which has yet to receive much press coverage. However, after having had to actually work a few pages in QuarkXPress 4 a couple months ago, and with version 6 now available and finally OS X-native, I’m terribly tempted to switch over.

Additionally, there is a lot of mixed opinion whether Illustrator or FreeHand is the better illustration tool. Admittedly, I’m biased to FreeHand because I learned it in school, so it’s the one I prefer. “Illy” always frustrates me every time I have to do something with it and I’m glad to see there’s a sufficiently large camp who, like me, prefer FreeHand.

Then, there’s Premiere. The latest news about Adobe’s video editing package is what prompted this blog entry in the first place. This week’s issue of TidBITS reported that Adobe’s latest version of the 12-year-old application, Premiere Pro, will be shipping in August, but that it will not be available for Macintosh!

After having just barely cut my teeth on higher end video editing two years ago on Premiere for Windows (I didn’t have the Mac version at that time) and even more so last year (both Windows and Mac), I had made the decision to use Final Cut Pro 3 for this year’s round of video vignettes thanks to some heavy-duty (and appreciated) coaxing by my friend, Andy. If you’ve been reading my blog a while, you already know how glad I am to be using Final Cut instead of Premiere and that I’ll never go back.

Well, with the Mac version of Premiere apparently being officially killed off, my response is, “good riddance.”

The TidBITS blurb says, “Presumably, Adobe has decided it’s no longer worth their time and effort to compete with Apple’s extensive line of digital video applications (primarily the recently revamped Final Cut Pro [4], but also Final Cut Express, iMovie, iDVD, and iDVD Studio Pro) on a platform also controlled by Apple.”

By the way, I didn’t make the typo, above. TidBITS either goofed or they chose not to correct (nor point out) Adobe’s error in referring to DVD Studio Pro as iDVD Studio Pro.

But that quote isn’t the kicker. TidBITS’ final sentence is what had me laughing my ass off. “Current Premiere users may wish to migrate to the Windows platform, but it wouldn’t be surprising if Apple were to offer a competitive upgrade to Final Cut Pro.”

:-D

The reason I’m laughing is not so much that TidBITS and/or Adobe would tout platform migration as a solution, but because it is not possible (unless the capability was added to Premiere Pro) to convert Premiere projects from one platform to another—at least not easily. Trust me, before I started using Final Cut Pro and was still using Premiere 6 on my Mac while a coworker had the same version on his XP machine, we attempted some sample project conversions—both directions. No dice.

So let’s recap my recap. Pagemaker, while not abandoned, has been all but shelved and an OS X-native version will never appear, InDesign has failed to draw much attention from the prepress industry, Illustrator continues to battle FreeHand for supremacy, and Premiere for Mac is kaput. Oh, and lest I forget, we all know how much pooh-poohing there’s been about Acrobat 6.

The only thing left to say is, God help us if Adobe ever decided Mac users aren’t worthy of Photoshop!

Comments: 0 (Comments are now closed.)

• • •

Thursday, July 03, 2003

The Name Game

Me mind’s made up. I’m going to start migrating to a new domain. I just have to decide what domain to buy.

The biggest rationale is, you can’t imagine how tough it is to give out my e-mail address verbally—especially over the phone. “What was that again? C.V.G. by Wee?” Far too many letters in the English alphabet sound like each other!

So I’m open to ideas. If you have one, I’d prefer if you could mail me directly rather than commenting here. I do have some criteria:

  1. It must be irrevocably NOT complicated to tell someone verbally—not just in letters sounding like others, but words as well, i.e. whole and hole. Similarly sounding words criteria might be waived if the context makes it obvious which spelling is correct.
  2. The .com version must be available. I know, I should get over myself, but I don’t care. I simply don’t want a .net or .org or whatever.
  3. It can’t be a zillion characters long. I do have to fit this thing on business cards, after all. (What is the length limit, anyway? I’ve seen some pretty long ones before, such as a great site I sometimes browse: www.toostupidtobepresident.com)
  4. I’ve been trying to think of something that ties to my family, but coming up dry. “Are we there yet?” is an old joke with us, but it probably is with a lot of people. Regardless, arewethereyet.com is taken. So, what I’m pretty much leaning on is some sort of two-word combination—especially if the words make an oxymoron. For example, wholepiece.com is actually available, but I’m not sure I want that one. For some reason, wettowel.com caught my interest, but it’s taken. There were some others, but I’ve forgotten them at the moment.

So, when the day comes that I settle on something, the blog known as dtpbylee.com will be set aside and a newly named blog will take over. Same concept, just a different name.

Comments: 0 (Comments are now closed.)

• • •

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

I Think a Wired News Writer Screwed Up

Jeez, Elisa Batista, let’s say you go take some basic Journalism 101 courses before writing another article. Pay attention to the section about checking your facts!

Elisa reported in Wired News that American Airlines claims to be the first airline to permit passengers to use cell phones while the plane is on the ground and the door is open. What kind of crap statement is this? I’ve flown a couple of airlines (American included) over the past year—all of which have indicated that cell phones could be used until the door is shut. This has probably been in effect longer than a year, but I can only say about a year for certain.

Probably some underpaid intern we’re dealing with here, you think?

Comments: 2 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by Jon Gales -- July 2, 2003 12:17 PM

Maybe they are the first ones to make it official policy?

Posted by Andy -- July 2, 2003 01:38 PM

The rest of the sentence is the key part: that passengers will be allowed to use their cell phones after landing BEFORE they have arrived at the gate and the door has been opened.
So now, if you fly AA, you can phone your ride while the plane is taxiing, and not worry about the stewardess interrupting you (and 20 other cell phone users who couldn't wait to check their voice mail--even before it was "allowed" by policy) with a chastisement on the PA system.

• • •

Thursday, June 26, 2003

Not All Businesses Are Selfish Jerks

Props to Sunglass Hut, or at least the worker who was in the store I just went to—the store nearest me.

The release button on my car visor clip I’d bought from them broke. I guess I pressed it too many times or perhaps a little too hard. I bought it into the store, not to complain, but to ask if there was a design that was less susceptible to the problem. The employee looked at the clip, looked at me, looked at the clip again, and said, “That’s not supposed to do that!” He reached for the cup of identical clips that were for sale, took my broken one, handed me a replacement, and admitted that the “updated” design was made to hold slightly bigger glasses and that he didn’t like the release button on it. I agree. It doesn’t clip back shut as easily. Fortunately, the store still had a quantity of the prior design.

Pay attention, business owners. This company, for a piddly four dollars and 99 cents, successfully earned my continued repeat business. This doesn’t even take into account that any Sunglass Hut will properly clean and tighten my shades for free any time I stop by—which is exactly what I do whenever I’m in a mall and happen to pass one.

Comments: 0 (Comments are now closed.)

• • •

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Learn-to-Like, Take 4—UPDATED

Okay, consider this my proclamation. But first, you need a little history.

My mom will tell you, I’ve always been a horrifically picky eater. I need to do much better at eating things that are good for me. Admittedly, my mom will also tell you that I’ve never been one to eat massive amounts of stuff that’s super bad for me, either. Sort of middle of the road.

At one point when I was young, my dad talked me into starting to eat salads. We all know how this goes. I lay on just a couple pieces of lettuce, then pile on cheese, beets (which, for some reason, I’ve always liked), carrots, croutons, and LOTS of dressing. Over time, I used more and more lettuce and other veggies while using less and less cheese and dressing—to the point that I can now eat a respectable salad.

Later, because I found myself being served peas and green beans so frequently, I sort of set my mind to liking them. I never really hated them, but wouldn’t eat them if I didn’t have to. These days, no problem.

It was about then that I realized that I can basically put all my effort into learning to like a particular food. So far, for takes 1 and 2, it didn’t take very long.

For take 3, I set my sights on broccoli. After probably 6-7 years of keeping after it, I was finally able to have a serving because I wanted to and not because I had to. Yeah, it took a long time, but I made it.

Since then (that was probably 3-4 years ago) I’ve procrastinated in choosing a new item. Even before I was truly at a point of enjoying broccoli, I sort of figured tomatoes ought to be the next thing I tackle since they come on (and with) so many things. Well, once and for all, I’m officially making tomatoes my next thing to tackle.

To be clear, I love tomato sauces and most forms of salsa. It’s raw tomatoes that turn me off. I don’t like slices of tomato on sandwiches, I don’t like chucks of tomato in a taco or burrito, and I get pretty turned off when I see those half tomatoes baked with some sort of cheese and breading on the cut side.

So, for lunch yesterday, a salad came with the meal and it had four average-sized slices of tomato on the edge of the dish, surrounding the salad. Without hardly batting an eyelash, I just up and decided to cut up two of them into quarters and mix them in with the salad. Left the other two slices alone.

No, I’m not about to sit here and tell you that it was good. When I bit into a piece of tomato, you can be sure that I knew it and my mouth was none too happy. But I ate them anyway.

Thus begins the fourth round of learning to like a yucky-but-good-for-me food. It could be a couple years—just like the broccoli—before I announce victory, so keep me encouraged!

UPDATE: For dinner this evening, a friend made a run for the Border and brought me back a Southwest Steak Bowl. Out of complete habit, I asked him to order it with no tomatoes. He got back to the house and realized then that the workers put tomatoes in it anyway. He felt bad, but I didn’t beat him up. I rejected his offer to take it back and ate it anyway—and survived!

Comments: 1 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by Sue -- June 25, 2003 04:56 PM

ok, so I know how you feel. I too detest raw tomatoes, though I enjoy sauces, salsas, and even cooked tomato halves.
I tried for some time to tolerate (swallow) raw tomato simply because I was, in effect, a long-term guest and would not even think of offending my hostess, who was a fabulous cook. It took some initial twitching to get those first bites down, but eventually I could ignore those tomatoes like a pro.

Once I was no longer in that particular situation, however, I ceased eating raw tomatoes - haven't touched one (except to take it off my plate) in roughly 4 years.

Good luck!

• • •

Branding?

Something just occurred to me, having just looked at what is probably now the 100th front-on shot of the new Power Mac G5. The front needs some sort of Apple identification on it. Don’t ask me why the G4s didn’t seem to need it, but something about the front of this new case just seems a little naked.

Comments: 0 (Comments are now closed.)

• • •

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Very Brief Comments About Announcements

John Gruber has some very terse yet very insightful things to say about Apple’s latest offerings. I’m largely in agreement with his thoughts, but I’m going to risk a lynch mob by saying that, honestly, the metallic motif doesn’t really bother me much. I am in no way saying I love it, but I’m not saying I hate it, either. I mean, I did use a tiled metal look for the surrounding background of this blog, right?

I’ve always enjoyed chromes, silvers, greys, metallics, etc. I’ve even managed to get my office set up with these colors, with the exception a couple pieces of leftover brown furniture from my old office that I can’t get rid of. At least it’s all on the opposite side of my room. [Daring Fireball]

Comments: 0 (Comments are now closed.)

• • •

Monday, June 23, 2003

WWDC Wonderment

I feel like a total geek. Here I am at work with two displays powered by my dual 800MHz G4 tower that belongs to my office and two more displays with my personal 1GHz TiBook. I was following five or six auto-refreshing sites, including MacMerc, two MacMerc chat rooms, and three or four one-on-one chats with a few friends including MacMerc’s Jon Gales, himself.

My initial reactions to WWDC03: the specs on the G5s are impressive. I don’t really care for the case design. Maybe it’ll grow on me. I suppose it’s not all that bad.

Too bad there was nothing about new PowerBooks. I guess His Steveness had to save something for MWNY, huh?

Can’t wait for Panther. The Finder looks really cool. As I’m typing this paragraph, I’m watching the Quicktime rebroadcast of the keynote and I’m taking a look at Exposé for the first time. OH MY GOD! I just saw it in action! IT IS INCREDIBLE! I am SO buying OS X 10.3!

Comments: 0 (Comments are now closed.)

• • •

Sunday, June 22, 2003

Hulk Hooey

Saw Ang Lee’s rendition of The Hulk today. Weird. Very weird. I was initially surprised when I started hearing from people that the movie was gonna suck. Well, I wouldn’t say it totally sucked, and I admittedly have never been into comic books, but I did watch some of the TV shows and there seemed to be hardly any comparison. I’m not talking about the fact that the visual effects are vastly improved. I just mean the core of what the concept is about. It wasn’t what I expected, but on other levels, it sort of was.

If you’re still deciding whether to go watch it, my advice is, wait ’til it’s on video.

Comments: 0 (Comments are now closed.)

• • •

Saturday, June 21, 2003

iTrip

No, the title of this entry is not talking about Griffin’s FM transmitter. What I’m talking about is today’s excursion down to Port Charlotte—a drive of 3+ hours each way. Having a couple gigabytes worth of music in my iPod to keep me occupied was most definitely worth its price!

Comments: 0 (Comments are now closed.)

• • •

Saturday, June 14, 2003

Say Bye Bye to Mac IE

Raena took a moment to nicely summarize the future of Internet Explorer and what it likely means for Mac users.

Comments: 0 (Comments are now closed.)

• • •

Thursday, June 12, 2003

I’ve Got Final Cut Pro 4!—UPDATED

Never mind that the big 4@4 event to kick off the availability of Final Cut Pro 4 is this weekend. My pre-ordered copy arrived today! I’m having a lot of fun playing with Soundtrack.

I had attended the Final Cut Pro User Group Network’s gathering during this year’s NAB convention. Those who attended received an e-mail offer last week for a $50 discount on upgrades and a $100 discount on new purchases. An Apple reseller (one of the gathering’s sponsors) called The Tech Superpowers made the offer. I received an e-mail from them stating the offer on June 4 and I ordered it on June 7. It shipped on the 10th via UPS Ground and arrived today.

If I manage to stop by the Apple store this weekend for the event, it might be interesting, if the opportunity presents itself, to comment that I received my copy two days early.

UPDATE: My friend, Andy, pointed out that I made several major factual errors above. That doesn’t surprise me, considering the haste in which I wrote it. It’s been slightly rewritten.

Comments: 0 (Comments are now closed.)

• • •

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

My Take On Remote iTunes Sharing

Besides being a good tip for restoring what iTunes users lost, the submitter made an excellent point which was very well elaborated on by the forum moderator. It’s exactly what I thought about the topic from the start, but was not pundit enough to be able to word it well.

“I feel that iTunes, because of its five-connection limit and the need to authorize computers to play purchased music, is a very weak platform for pirating music. … People who are truly interested in pirating music are going to use one of the P2P applications, not a measly little iTunes five-connection-limited application that requires an additional third-party application with which to actually steal the music.” [MacOSXHints]

Comments: 0 (Comments are now closed.)

• • •

Monday, June 02, 2003

It’s Finally Over

The huge annual “event” I’ve previously mentioned is finally history. As usual, I’m sitting here at home with flu-like symptoms. I’m exhausted. I’m cranky. I don’t feel like typing this entry. But I’m doing so since last Tuesday was the last time I posted anything at all.

I’ve not counted yet, but I have the feeling I worked more overtime hours during the event than normal hours. But that’s moot since I’m salaried. I guess it’s good that I’m off work this entire week, but it certainly doesn’t feel like a vacation.

Cross your fingers that I’ll feel better in a couple days and am able to get some “home stuff” done that I’ve put off for far too long.

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Saturday, May 24, 2003

Operation Vagrant

“[Kissimmee, Florida] Police went undercover as homeless people in tattered clothes to catch drivers running red lights.”

This was just plain hilarious and it’s a damned good idea. The full story is on this CNN.com site.

“The undercover officers held signs reading, ‘Sheriff’s traffic sting in progress. Buckle up.’”

I suppose those who are running red lights are too busy trying to gun through the intersection to pay attention to those cardboard signs.

Naturally, a story like this wouldn’t be complete without someone being quoted as saying that the whole thing is appalling—that the officers are disrespecting those who actually are homeless. I guess no one told Ms. Gordon that probably half the people who collect your change at intersections aren’t only not homeless, they probably also have very nice homes and could very well be earning more money in change each week than she is!

I’m reminded of the story I read a long time back about a school crossing guard who was well-known for his annoyance at drivers who don’t slow down through school zones. Some students decided to take an old hair dryer, paint it to look a little more technological, and gave it to him to use as if it were a radar gun … and it worked!

Thanks, Andy.

Comments: 1 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by Ellis G -- May 27, 2003 06:12 PM

I'd like someone to explain how or why this effort is "offensive to homeless" persons? If it misrepresents what homeless people look, dress, and act like, then it isn't offensive because it isn't a real representation. And if it acurately represents them, then it isnt offensive because its an accurate representation.

• • •

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

It’s Like a Digital All You Can Eat Special

I would truly like to be clued in on how this could possibly work. Apparently, a service is going to enable you to download an unlimited amount of music in a finite period of time—i.e. $3.99 for eight hours on up to $24.99 for one month.

Exqueeze me. Something stinks here. Never mind the fact that, even with slow connections, you can download a hell of a lot of MP3s in eight hours for the price of just four iTunes tracks. Does anyone else think this sounds an awful lot like America’s taxation system? Think for a moment—the perception (I could be wrong, I don’t fully understand how taxes work) is that the rich pay less taxes than the poor. Or, more accurately, the rich pay a lower percentage of taxes than the poor. If we apply this to the intended pricing of digital downloads, this means that those who have access to high bandwidth get more for their dollar than those with low bandwidth. Why are the modem users being penalized just because they can’t afford (or, in some areas, can’t even obtain) high speed access?

If I’m completely off whack with this theory, then I’d be right if I flip-flopped it. In other words, the service would throttle the outgoing bandwidth to be more nominal for everyone. If that’s true, then it’s doomed to fail. Those with high speed access would be the service’s bread and butter, and most would likely not bother patronizing them if they knew the downloads would only peak out around 56kbps.

I realize I may be making a mountain out of a Spymac molehill, but the web site it mentions seems to indicate the concept is moving forward. [Spymac]

Comments: 3 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by Eric -- May 21, 2003 11:35 AM

They're claiming they can do it because of a loophole in Spanish copyright laws - they're trying to operate without licensing from the record companies.

They're trying the Napster approach (it's legal for us to distribute music because of reasons a, b, and c) versus the Grokster/Morpheus approach (we have no control over what's on out network). They're jsut trying a different set of a,b, and cs than Napster.

CNet has an article on it: http://news.com.com/2100-1027_3-1007920.html. I don't know if this is linked to in the SpyMac article or not, but I generally try to avoid giving them any more page views.

Posted by Tim -- May 24, 2003 09:36 PM

Actually the "rich" pay not only a higher percentage they pay a far larger amount than the poor. In fact there are soooo many credits and breaks for the "poor" that they end up getting a shitload of money that they NEVER PAID IN TAXES TO BEGIN WITH.

I really don't know where people get this idea that the "rich" (whatever that means, according to the IRS itself that could be anyone making $50k a year) don't pay hardly ANY taxes. I guess its because the poor have never purchased and then sold anything that gets hit with the Capital Gains tax, started a corporation and get corporate taxes (State and Federal), bought stocks that appreciated in value, did not have any kids (to get a child tax credit for breeding more citizens to tax) or had any kind of investments that gained in value.

Then I could see how they think the "rich" never pay taxes.

Posted by Queue -- May 27, 2003 11:39 AM

I'm glad someone (Tim in this case) pointed out the flawed analogy about the rich and taxes. If you look at taxation rates, the rich pay, I believe about %36 on their taxable income as oposed to, again I think, less than %20 for the lower income families. And if you're truely poor, you pay no taxes and gain money from the tax payers in the form of welfare.

I don't remember where I saw it now, but I once read a very interesting analogy as to how our taxation system works. I'll have to find it and blog it.

• • •

Monday, May 19, 2003

More Thoughts On the Vibe

All right, so I drove the rented Pontiac Vibe to Tampa for the weekend. This vehicle rocks! I think I’m hooked. We’re pretty close to seeing the 2004 models come out, so I’ll see whether I’d want new features of the ’04s or if the clearance prices of the ’03s are too enticing to pass up.

Yes, it is just slightly narrower than my Stratus and a bit shorter in length, but it feels like lots more space. Indeed, the cargo area behind the back seats is about the same area as my trunk, but can be filled higher. Or, the back seats fold down flat for more than twice as much cargo space.

The thing rides very smoothly and has a turning radius that has to be seen to be believed. It’s got the best design for A/C vents I have ever seen. The flaps in the round vents only cover a 90° arc between fully shut and fully open, but the entire vent rotates 360°. In other words, you can direct air in absolutely any line-of-sight direction from the vent.

The center of the dash has controls that are up high where you can see them. Even the transmission handle is high and easy to reach. My dad, who isn’t exactly a tiny person, felt very comfortable in the back seat.

Best of all, in spite of the fact that you feel like you’re sitting up as high as many SUVs, the top of the vehicle only comes up to my chin. As Raena put it, it is “low-slung.” I will never own a vehicle that appears taller than it is wide, and the Vibe fits the bill.

Very few things could be classified as negatives. The lighters won’t give charge when the vehicle is off. I realize this is a safety thing, but sometimes I like to leave my cell phone charging while I’m in a shop or something. The instrument panel is cool, but awfully recessed. In the daytime with my sunglasses on, it was slightly difficult to read. Also, the top of the steering wheel obscured the upper part of the instruments. If I raised the wheel to see through well to the instruments, the wheel was too high to be comfortable.

Speaking of the steering column, the controls are sort of oddly placed. A zillion controls for not just the front windshield wipers, but the rear wiper as well, are all on one single stick coming off of the steering column, and this stick is almost completely obscured by one arm of the steering wheel when the main wipers are off or in the high speed position, and totally obscured if the stick is in the delay or low speed positions. The cruise control is a box-like device attached to the wheel (not the column), so if the wheel isn’t oriented upright, it’s tricky to use the controls. Admittedly, if you’re going fast enough to use the cruise control, the wheel probably damn well better be upright! But the cruise control’s real groaner is that the speed you had set is not remembered if you hit the cancel position. Doing so is equivalent to turning the cruise control off and back on. The former speed is only remembered if you halted the cruise control by tapping the brakes. On all my prior cars (and the current one), I’ve been accustomed to being able to slow down a tad by hitting cancel without having to make the person behind me think I’m slamming on my brakes, then hitting the resume button to, well, resume.

So I spent a lot of typing on what was supposed to be only a few annoyances, but I’ll state firmly that, overall, I truly enjoyed driving it and definitely hope to own one soon.

Comments: 0 (Comments are now closed.)

• • •

Saturday, May 17, 2003

I’m Feelin’ a Vibe

Literally. I am “feeling” a Vibe—the Pontiac variety.

I rented one for the weekend to try out. I’ve been really thinking I wanted one as my next vehicle—after my lease on a 2001 Dodge Stratus is up. Or, maybe sooner. I dunno.

So far, I’m loving it. It’s very comfortable. Pretty roomy. Plenty of headroom. Wonderful turning radius. That’s about all I can say at the moment because I’ve only had it a couple hours. I’m going to Tampa this evening, so it’ll make a great test drive. I’ll say more about it Sunday night, after I’ve gotten a better sense of it.

Oh yeah … it’s dark blue.

Comments: 0 (Comments are now closed.)

• • •

The New 30GB iPod Reviewed

Since other people do much better at reviewing stuff than me, here’s an excellent rundown of the new iPod. It completely packages my own thoughts…except there was no mention of the frequent need to reset the thing that is starting to be widely documented. I anticipate a version 2.1 software update before long. [MyAppleMenu]

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Friday, May 16, 2003

Aww—Poor Little Businessman Whiner

“While many commercial websites struggle to be noticed, some bloggers are unintentionally attracting lots of hits. Their daily utterances, even on topics they know nothing about, are generating high traffic from search engine queries. By Joanna Glasner.” [Wired News]

The full article has one line that is all you really have to read. “‘The Web is absolutely the great equalizer,’ [Fredrick Marckini, CEO of iProspect] said. ‘Good content rises to the top on the Internet. It doesn’t matter if the medium is a blog or a corporate Web page.’”

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• • •

The Poor Man’s Ticket To a Segway

So when do we start seeing this available at the more popular convention centers (specifically Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center)?

“A Spokane, Washington, entrepreneur is renting Segways to people seeking cheap, easy transportation. Renters shell out $5 for a test drive and up to $20 for each 30-minute increment, for up to 90 minutes.” [Wired News]
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Thursday, May 15, 2003

I Admit When I’m Wrong

So it was apparently true, for a time, after all.

“After claiming that the iLoo, a portable Internet-connected toilet, was a hoax, Microsoft has changed its tune. The company now admits that the iLoo, as silly as it sounds, was a real project after all.” [Wired News]
Comments: 0 (Comments are now closed.)

• • •

Sunday, May 11, 2003

PADD Pod

So yes, as the prior entry indicated, I made the decision to pick up a 30gb iPod on Friday afternoon. Before I’m accused of impulse purchasing decisions, I’ll go ahead with some comments in my own defense.

First, I’ve considered one of these things for quite a while. From my perspective, that, alone, takes me out of the “impulse decision” category. If that’s not enough, however, there’s more.

I’ve been scouting around for updates to my cell phone and PDA. Until this weekend, my desire/plan has been to purchase a combination PDA/phone. Never mind the fact that I cannot (yet) find one that has exactly all the specs I would want—it finally hit home that my current phone is somewhat bulky and I decided I would really prefer to have a smaller phone. A combo PDA/phone would probably be rather bulky if it were to be truly useful as a PDA.

Then, I sort of started realizing that I don’t really use the calendar/planner that often. The phone I’m very likely to get, I believe, has a basic planner in it which will probably suit me just fine.

As for the contacts, I found out earlier Friday afternoon that it is an extremely simple matter to dupe my Entourage contacts to my iPod. I had been concerned about finding a device I could sync to with Entourage. It turns out, dragging contacts from the Entourage address book to a folder (including the Contacts folder on mounted iPod) exports those contacts as vCards—exactly the format the iPod wants. Voila. Instant portable address book.

Then, there’s the need to get phone numbers into the phone without having to manually key them all in. I’m quite certain I’m going to pick up a Sony Ericsson T68i. It’s only $50 after rebates. Many people are raving about it. It’s Bluetooth ready, so syncing it is going to be fun. I thought I might could use it as a basic PDA. As I just mentioned, I think it might have a basic planner in it, but the contact list is very limited. Not many fields.

So, I got to thinking; instead of putting $200-300 (or even more) into a really decent PDA/phone—assuming I could even find one that had all the features I wanted—and end up with another bulky phone, why not in just a little more for what look like will be a better scenario. Yes, I’m carrying two devices again, but both are much smaller than either my current phone and my current PDA. The T68i and the iPod together will do all the things I need and want, and a helluva lot more. I’m loving the portable music much more than I guessed I would. But beyond that, this thing is going to make a great way to take computer files to and from work—something I generally have had to accomplish by packing up my laptop and bringing it to work.

For what it’s worth, this entry’s title is what I named my iPod. My computer and its hard drive is PADD, so PADD Pod just sorta happened on its own.

Guess I have to stop now. I forgot to bring my power adapter, and the battery is showing 7% … make that 6% charge.

Comments: 1 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by Raena Armitage -- May 11, 2003 06:02 AM

The T68i's sneaking up to its end of life; you might want to think about the 610 instead.

• • •

Friday, May 09, 2003

I’ve Been A Bad Boy

I couldn’t stand the behind-the-times feeling any longer. I just bucked up, bit the bullet, and bought one.

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Son of Sea-Tac

Everyone knows that the community that sprung up in-between Seattle and Tacoma is actually named Sea-Tac, right? How often does this sort of thing happen? Whatever that number is, add another to the list.

While driving from Orlando to Tampa this afternoon, a bit west of Highway 27, I noticed a sign that said “Future site of downtown Orlampa.”

Orlampa!?

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• • •

Thursday, May 08, 2003

(Not So) Daily Punditry—More iTunes Talk Ahead

I guess I better lay down the facts now. Late March through early June is the most crunched time of the year for me at work. I feel like I’m guilty of a crime or something for not living up to the “Daily” part of this blog’s title. So, to set my mind at ease, I’m going to establish that some days’ punditry might be that I’m just choosing to keep my mouth shut! (smirk)

I know I keep posting stuff about the iTunes Music Store. Before you think I’m sounding like a broken record, know that using it truly is what’s on the entertainment side of my mind lately. I’ve purchased 35 tracks—two complete albums among them—and have started encoding some of my more favorite CDs. Getting the Now That’s What I Call Music! albums (yes, I own copies of all 12 volumes) in there seemed pretty logical since it would give me a great smattering of variety pretty quickly.

Let’s see, what else is in my master play list? I bought Alanis Morissette’s MTV Unplugged album from the store and encoded the other albums I already owned—Jagged Little Pill, Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie, Under Rug Swept, and Feast On Scraps, which I just bought last night. By the way, those of you who are Alanis fans, did you know there’s a hidden track on Jagged Little Pill? Following the alternate version of You Oughta Know, there’s a full minute of silence, then an a capella performance of Your House. Of course, in an effort to be geeky, I ripped the track to AIFF, opened it in QuickTime Player Pro, removed the dead space and split the songs in two new tracks, exported back to new AIFFs, imported them into iTunes, and encoded with AAC. Mua ha ha.

Hmm, there’s some Sheryl Crow I snagged, an iTunes Music Store exclusive of the Todd Terry Radio Mix of Jewel’s Intuition, a couple of Toya tracks, Christina Aguilera’s Beautiful and Fighter, Natalie Imbruglia’s While Lillies Island album, Picture by Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow, Save Me by Remy Zero (yes, I love Smallville and really love the theme track), and, just for good measure, Tom’s Diner by Suzanne Vega with D.N.A. It’s a strange trip, but very addictive.

No, I don’t plan to start reporting all the music I buy from now on. This has just been my statement that I’m definitely enjoying and making use of the service. I’d thought about starting to rip my own tracks, but wasn’t so sure when I got my MP3 CD player for my car. The Music Store renewed my interest, and I will probably start considering an iPod if a version comes out that can record, as has been rumored.

Well, time to start sifting through the news links for today. Maybe I’ll find something else interesting to blog about.

Comments: 0 (Comments are now closed.)

• • •

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

Putting One Million Songs In Perspective

You’ve undoubtedly seen the news—Apple has sold a million tracks in its first week of operating the iTunes Music Store.

I started wondering what that much activity translated to. Someone is sure to have figured this out by now, but I’ve not seen it yet, so here goes:

1 week = 1,000,000 tracks
1 day = 142,857.1 tracks
1 hour = 5,952.4 tracks
1 minute = 99.2 tracks
1 second = 1.65 tracks

Yes, that’s a bit faster than one song sold every second, 24 hours a day in a seven-day period of time!

Stunning.

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Friday, May 02, 2003

Future iPod To Feature Recording Capability?

This is the one feature that I thought iPods needed back when they first came out. I’m now officially not itching to get one of the current line of iPods as I tough it out several more months to see if the next batch includes the ability to record. Just a line in would be nice enough, but a tiny built-in mic to use it like a minicassette recorder as well would be icing.

Full MacRumors story.

Comments: 1 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by Eric -- May 3, 2003 01:32 AM

Ah, but the new ones are really fun :)

Yeah, I'll be writing more later. Prolly tomorrow.

• • •

Friend of a Friend of a Friend of a…

File this in the “okay, that’s cool, but relatively useless info” category. Did you see Bush giving his speech from the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln yesterday? Did you also catch that he got there riding in an S-3B Viking Navy jet? Well, turns out I have a very indirect connection to that. I’ve been doing some computer assistance with a photographer who’s moving to digital and is working with his new iMac, photo printer, etc. Anyway, his wife’s brother was the pilot who flew Bush for the short trip to the carrier.

Comments: 3 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by Jon Gales -- May 2, 2003 06:37 PM

Have to ask him if he needed a change of clothes afterwards... :P

Posted by Eric -- May 2, 2003 08:26 PM

Too damn small a world:

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story2&u=/030501/168/3y9qd.html

Fellow in the back laft corner belongs to the same fraternity as me, though a few classes before mine.

Posted by Queue -- May 5, 2003 10:29 PM

I have a hand in and know quite a bit about what's going on with naval support over in the middle east. It's very interesting to be testing ships that go over there.

Ok, so I don't "know" anyone per se, but hey, it's something. ;)

• • •

Swallow This Jagged Little Pill—UPDATED

Did Apple Computer perhaps not think anyone would notice that Alanis Morissette—a popular singer/songwriter who gave the new Music Store high praise in the promo video—is conspicuously absent from the list of musicians currently available?

What’s wrong with this picture?

Update—5-6-03: A week after the Music Store debuted, Alanis’ music can now be purchased. Some of it, anyway. The only albums there are Feast on Scraps, Jagged Little Pill, and MTV Unplugged: Alanis Morissette (Live). Her two other more recent albums—Under Rug Swept and Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie—aren’t there. Neither is some of her early work.

Comments: 0 (Comments are now closed.)

• • •

Wednesday, April 30, 2003

I’m Hooked

I genuinely have to hope this new Music Store doesn’t flop. I already love it. Whatever trouble Apple was having with letting me register my existing Apple ID with my credit card info was resolved today. I’m all set up and have purchased a few individual tracks and one complete album. Way cool!

On a side note, I am admittedly curious to find out what these purchases will look like on my credit card statement. At the moment, I’ve made two separate transactions and will undoubtedly do more within this billing cycle. Am I going to see a line item for every batch? I’m wondering if Apple queues transactions and produces a line item for everyone just once a month. This site has some theories, but no firm answers.

Comments: 0 (Comments are now closed.)

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Monday, April 28, 2003

Car Rental Tips

Because I’ve discovered I like to trade into a new vehicle every couple of years and lease them so it doesn’t cost nearly as much to cater to this preference, I’ve recently decided to start renting a car when I have to take business trips so as not to soak several hundred miles against the amount the lease allows.

Having said that, here’s a couple things to check on when renting a car. I’ve learned my lesson.

First, even if you have to bump to the next higher class of vehicle, get cruise control. Driving to Miami and back in the same day without it will give your right leg vicious cramps.

Make sure the cigarette lighter works. No, I don’t smoke, but I did want to plug in my cell phone charger.

Make sure the rear view mirror doesn’t fall off the window attachment when you adjust it. Thankfully, I was able to put it back on.

Again, even if you have to bump to the next higher class of vehicle, get remote keyless entry. I’m hopelessly spoiled on this feature.

Lastly, give serious consideration to renting something very comparable to the car you typically drive so you don’t spend half the trip trying to get comfortable in a seat you’re not accustomed to. There’s a huge difference between a Dodge Stratus and a Pontiac Sunfire.

Comments: 1 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by Queue -- April 28, 2003 06:46 PM

Let me add a couple more suggestions from one who travels and rents a lot of cars.

Visually inspect the car inside and out and try all the "features". The last thing you want is to get stuck with a bill for something that was damaged that you didn't do. The rental agreements have places to list the problems.

Watch your speed. There has been various rumors that some rental companies place monitors on the vehicle and fine you for any "excess speed". Although I've never seen this first hand, the rumors I've heard are from reliable sources.

Make sure you know how much coverage your insurance provides for rentals and suppliment it with the appropriate insurance from the agency.

I'm sure I could come up with more, but maybe I'll save that for a blog entry. :)

• • •

I Think It’s Just A Phase

Is there such a thing as a blogger’s version of postpartum depression? I “birthed” this blog a few months ago and entries have been just a little bit far between the past week or two. It’s probably just because April and May are the busiest times of the year for me at work.

Not to worry, though, I’m not abandoning it. All I have to say is, don’t take the “Daily” part of this blog’s title too seriously! ;-)

Comments: 0 (Comments are now closed.)

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Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Customer Appreciation Is Turning Into Crap

Are places of business so stinkin’ sure about the loyalty of their customers (or maybe we customers so stinkin’ tolerant of being mistreated by these places) that they feel it is absolutely no consequence to them how the customers are treated?

I decided to order a pizza this evening. There are two Pizza Hut stores in my immediate area—pretty much equidistant. (Normally, I’d hyperlink something like “Pizza Hut” in my entries, but I’m pissed at them, so no link.) The east store decided that I’d enjoy spending well over five minutes on hold. The west store seems to think it’s intelligent to have a gal answer the phones who could use a life lesson in conversational skills and takes longer to calculate the order’s cost than it does to explain what I want. In addition, this act must take 100% of her mental capabilities because I finally blurted out that I knew what the price was—just tell me how long, and I got absolutely no response until about a minute later when she finally repeated the price I already knew and then said something to the effect of, “I suppose I should find out how long for it to be ready.”

I don’t fault the employees. Everyone’s human.

Hey managers: do a little quality control in your own stores, will ya?

Comments: 2 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by chris -- April 23, 2003 01:02 PM

Our Papa John's goes through this sort of ineptitude every so often. It depends on if we get the high-schoolers, or the college crowd working. I get the impression the high-schoolers don't want to be there, or, as you point out, are somewhat intellectually challenged.

I'd rather the college crowd anyway; they're trying to pay their way thru school, and generally deliver better service in the hopes of better tips.

Posted by Queue -- April 23, 2003 11:48 PM

Our Pizza Hut can't get credit cards correct. The last time I used one, they didn't bring the receipt so they claimed they couldn't charge it without my signature (yeah right!). So I wrote a check. Sure enough, there was the charge on my credit card even though the delivery guy assured me it wouldn't be on there. *sigh*

• • •

I(RS) Art Holier Than Thou

I saw a great bumper sticker on the way in to work this morning.

“If 10% is enough for God, it’s enough for the IRS.”

Comments: 0 (Comments are now closed.)

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Sunday, April 20, 2003

Wi-Fi At Its Best

I’ve still been a little sparse with my entries because my days have been crammed with catch-up work since I was away from the office for a week at NAB, my evenings have been spent either helping a new acquaintance shape up his home computers or watching recordings of TV shows I taped while I was away, and weekends have been spent at my parents’ house visiting with family in from California. Paying attention to a two- and a four-year-old takes precedence over blogging!

But they’re both asleep now, so I’ll sneak in a quick entry just to gloat about my Wi-Fi router that travels with my laptop. I’ve been using wireless for quite a while now, but I think this weekend makes the first time I’ve truly used it in an environment that made buying the router worth while. I’m sitting out on my parents’ back porch with the rest of the family—not a cord in sight—typing this entry and working on some items that should appear in the upcoming May issue of ATPM. It’s a gorgeous Easter day here in Tampa—not too humid and a slight breeze. This is why I am a firm believer in Wi-Fi!

Whups, the 4-year-old just woke up. I guess I’m done here!

Comments: 0 (Comments are now closed.)

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Wednesday, April 16, 2003

It’s Just Like Being There!

Admittedly influenced by Christopher’s recent entry, I was compelled to show you my desktop, as well.

TiBook_Desktop_small.jpgAnd just to appease the cognitive dissonance you may be having about the crap that resides in my menu bar and dock, here’s the scoop. And no, I’m not going to spend an hour to link every utility to its developer site. Point your lazy butt and your web browser to VersionTracker and find it yourself.

Menu bar, left to right: FruitMenu has modified my Apple Menu and turned the Application Menu to an icon instead of words. After the menu items is the OS X Character Palette I keep enabled. On the right side is PTHPasteboard (multiple clipboards), Proteus’ menu utility (IM client), WeatherPop (meteorology is a hobby), Searchling (handy search tool), IP (displays WAN and LAN IP addresses), OS X’s default volume, monitor, Script Menu, Internet Connect, AirPort, and Power menu icons, and, instead of OS X’s built-in clock, I use PTHClock (more customizable and has a popup monthly calendar).

In the dock, top to bottom: Finder, three DockExtender menus for Apps, Utilities, and Internet, Entourage, Safari, Internet Explorer, Proteus, NetNewsWire, LaunchBar, MemoryStick (also seen in the bottom left corner), EarthDesk (which manages my perpetually updated wallpaper image), and SpamSieve. Hovering above the Trash is another DockExtender icon to let me navigate all my volumes from one place. TinkerTool was originally used to pin the Dock to the end position on the right, though DockExtender can set this, too. This effectively keeps the Trash in a constant location, which I prefer. Finally, I used some utility to adjust the color shading of the dock background but, embarassingly, I forgot the name of it.

Comments: 1 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by chris -- April 16, 2003 10:43 AM

My, how formal! "Christopher."
;-)

• • •

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Las Vegas/NAB Photos

I have posted my Las Vegas/NAB photos.

For what it’s worth, my intention is to have all my future photo albums at http://dtpbylee.daemon.sh:8080 so you can bookmark it, but be aware that as soon as I’m able, I will set it up to not require the :8080 part. Someday, I’ll also transplant some of my older albums to this server.

Comments: 0 (Comments are now closed.)

• • •

Bad Joke Alert

I just made this up tonight.

“All your Iraq are belong to Bush!”

:-p

Comments: 0 (Comments are now closed.)

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Saturday, April 12, 2003

Weekend Happenings

I’ve been a little light on things to post about since I returned home. I’ve just sort gone into low power mode. I got home after midnight and was kind of jet-lagged. I slept until after noon, caught up on some e-mails, then drove to Tampa to visit family who is over from California.

We had a picnic and a walk at Bok Tower this afternoon and tomorrow we’re going to Tarpon Springs.

Back to the work grind on Monday.

I’ll be writing a little NAB report for the May issue of ATPM. Watch for it, if you’re interested.

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Thursday, April 10, 2003

NAB Epilogue

Well first, I’d better follow up on what I cut short last night. Yesterday’s quality tchotchke was a pair of retractable cords—one for ethernet plus another phone cord for a modem. These came from G2 Satellite Solutions and PanAmSat, respectively. (G2 is owned by PanAmSat.) No quality tchotchke for today, as I only spent an hour or two making a couple follow-up and pick-up visits in the exhibit halls. The rest of today’s events will come in a moment.

I’d sort of hoped Bose would have some sort of showing here, but such was not the case. I’ve been seriously considering a pair of the noise reducing headphones. My brother recently acquired a pair and, on Monday, I got to experience them for about a half hour. Apple’s section had a little classroom like area set up where I sat in on a Final Cut Pro 4 introduction, and every station had these headphones. That clinched it. I went to the Las Vegas Apple Store and picked up a pair. Having acquired them while here for NAB, they kind of feel like a tchotchke, even though I totally paid for them.

Regarding the walking, I’ve figured out why hopping around one of the Rat-Land parks never gets me as sore as I’ve become here. At the parks, you walk for a little while, then generally sit for a show or a ride or, at the very least, stand in line without actually moving your legs and hips and often having something to lean against. But yes, three days of hard walking has gotten me pretty stiff!

I didn’t buy the $125 product…yet. I’m talking about a made by Nada Chair. Granted, there’s a $25 version that isn’t a , but then you have to figure out where to put it when you’re walking. The automatically provides a place to put this awesome back-supporting product plus gives pockets which I’m a big fan of. I seem to always run out of pockets. Fortunately, the deal I was told about here is good online, too. If I later buy this , the $25 SlouchBuster is added for free. Nice thing to share with someone who may be along with me…if they carry it!!! ;-)

And then, of course, is the Star Trek: Experience. Oh my goodness! If seeing a large collection of costumes and props used on the show wasn’t enough, the “experience” portion of the visit took the cake. It was extremely fun. Hope to go back some day.

Yesterday ended with some product demonstrations and lots of food at the Stardust Hotel. Major props to ProMax for not only hosting a great event, but doing it for free! The only thing that could’ve topped it was if I had won the 20gb iPod, the external FireWire drive, or one of the other raffle prizes. Oh well. On the other hand, I, and everyone else, derived an enormous amount of amusement at the couple of computer glitches that cropped up during various presentations, all of which were from Windows machines!

Then, there was the Fremont Street Experience. Very spectacular. It’s two (or so) city blocks covered by an enormous curved structure fitted with a gazillion colored bulbs which, every hour, transforms into an electronic canvas of animated images set to music. Wow.

And that brings me to today. As I mentioned, I only spent a little while in the expo halls. Afterward, I went back over to the Star Trek: Experience because I wanted to photograph a few more of the models out front. I didn’t do those yesterday because after we did the attraction, we realized we were pretty tight for time to get to the ProMax shindig.

After the follow-up photos (and purchasing a tribble), I made the mistake of walking from there to the Apple Store in the Fashion Show Mall to get the Bose headphones. It was further than I thought, plus I have a slightly red forehead and nose to show for it.

Tonight, Andy and I attended a Final Cut Pro gathering hosted by the Los Angeles Final Cut Pro User Group. I learned more new things about Final Cut, though luck was still not on my side for the prize giveaway. ;-) Afterward, we made a final round of visits to hotels on the strip. I just need to say that the Luxor Hotel is amazing. The architecture is unbelievable.

So there you go. I better get some sleep. I fly back home mid-day tomorrow. Yes, I’ll be making real good use of the headphones while on the plane!

Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis has left the building.

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Wednesday, April 09, 2003

More NAB Fun

I’m going to keep this one relatively short. I’ll follow up on things tomorrow. It’s after 1 in the morning (Las Vegas time) and I don’t have the stamina to do a better description of today’s goings-on.

Instead, I’ll type a few items to 1) serve as teasers for you on what I’ll type about tomorrow, and 2) to remind me what to type!

Those highlights are: today’s quality tchotchke, running across more people I know, why isn’t Bose represented here, the result of the enormous amount of walking we’ve done, a $125 product that I’m VERY tempted to either get here at NAB or order when I get home, the Star Trek: Experience (wow), tonight’s Promax meeting at the Stardust, and last, but not least, a visit to Fremont Street (more wow).

Good night, and stay tuned.

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Monday, April 07, 2003

Hear Yourself Think Different

The headline for this entry is something we can all take to heart. Granted, it’s for a product that I’ll probably never directly use any time soon, but Crywolf Computers’ slogan left a considerable impression—especially when you remember the numerous complains at how loud the Mirrored Drive Door G4s are. This company makes some great-looking equipment silencing and cooling cases. Some marketing brain for them was on the ball with this slogan.

But beyond this product, think about the slogan. How much psychological clutter is present in your life that prevents you from being able to, well, think different?

A little something for ya.

Anyhow, while I’m referencing this as day 2 of my trip, it’s actually my first day of scampering around the convention expo halls. So far, we’ve only been through the Multimedia/Internet section and sort of whisked through the Television Broadcasting section (not really my field). There’s lots more to go…but this is only Monday!

Oh yeah, you may recall my prior entry about tchotchkes. Lots and lots of them to be had here. Andy is sitting here beside me reorganizing his as I type. (No, unfortunately, I’m not online in the convention hall. I’m typing into TextEdit and will paste into an entry tonight when I get back to the hotel.) As far as today is concerned, the best tchotchke, by far, is this carabiner flashlight. Not a traditional flashlight, but one with a super bright blue LED.

Naturally, if I’m describing this particular tchotchke as my favorite, it’s only fair that I say to everyone that discreet gave it to me. So, from my point of view, I’ve proven to myself that receiving a quality tchotchke actually does increase my respect for the company. :-) Seriously, though, the company offers a wide variety of digital production products.

I got to sit in on a Final Cut Pro introduction at the Apple pavilion. Hopefully, some of the information I heard will stick. I really want to migrate from Adobe Premiere to Final Cut. The new version 4 looks like a must-have upgrade.

Something else to think about for a moment: more than 90,000 people are probably milling around the 1,200 exhibitors in the two million-square-foot Las Vegas Convention Center right now, and I actually bumped into some of my coworkers with no advance planning. How unreal is that?

Well, this is where I stopped typing at the convention center. I’m now back in the hotel finishing up this entry and taking a quick break. Thanks to my old, but very comfortable, pair of L.L. Beans, my feet don’t feel to bad. Can’t say quite the same about my hips, though. We’re giving thought to heading over to see the Star Trek: Experience this evening, but I’m pretty comfortable and Andy has crashed face down on the bed. :-) Who knows what’ll actually happen.

Oh yeah, props to Adobe for the expo-in-mind tote bags they were giving away. Yeah, there was a line for them and you had to swipe your card since it was one per person (of course), but these bags are exactly what the doctor ordered for planting all the literature and goodies you pick up as you make you way through all the exhibits.

Yes, I got some photos, but I think I’m going to choose to not post them to the blog. I’ll set up an album soon and point you to it.

More to come. Stay tuned.

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Pitter Patter of Little Feet

And before I go to bed, let me chime in one other little news note: a huge congratulations to Andy and Lianne McConnell who are expecting a baby, due in November.

Lianne, I was thoroughly impressed with Andy’s description of how you broke the news to him. Actually getting an Asian restaurant to slip a custom message into a fortune cookie predicting that Andy would be a father. Very clever!

Again, congratulations to you both.

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Viva Las Vegas

Welcome to the first entry of the D.T.P. by Lee NAB edition. Admittedly, I have not actually been to the convention center yet. My flight got in Sunday afternoon, I met up with my friend, Andy, and we took a bus from the Westward Ho hotel to the Rio. We had dinner and then made our way to the Samba Theatre where we saw Penn & Teller. The show was fantastic. Much fun!

But even though I’ve not yet experienced NAB itself, I’ve already got some information from it. First of all, Apple Computer has announced Final Cut Pro 4, DVD Studio Pro 2, and Shake 3. Another item of interest to me is that Adobe announced the Acrobat 6 product line.

More to come. Stay tuned.

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Saturday, April 05, 2003

Pricey PowerBook or Crappy Car?

All I want to know is, what pile of junk is this guy driving?

Comments: 1 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by Queue -- April 7, 2003 09:56 AM

I would expect someone who gets to park in a nice lot that's owned by their company to not understand the value of driving a junky car. For those of us that have to park in public lots, we realize that driving a junky car means it's less likely your car will get broken into or stolen, plus, who cares about door dings?!

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Thursday, April 03, 2003

Excusez-moi, avez-vous le temps?

Wouldn’t you know it? One of the reasons I bought my digital camera was to be able to snap a photo of something at any time as I navigated my way through life and, ever since I obtained it not too long ago, I’ve kept it reasonably close to me—except today. So, naturally, I saw something I wanted to snap a photo of and couldn’t.

Well, I’ll describe it, anyway. There’s a business not far from my office called Clock World. I shouldn’t have to tell you what they sell, but what caught my attention was their changeable letter marquee on their sign.

“We don’t sell French clocks.”

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Wednesday, April 02, 2003

Star Trek 6.2

Oh tell me it’s not true! I just saw the preview for next week’s Enterprise. The producers wouldn’t really be planning to recycle the plot of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, would they?

Comments: 2 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by Eric -- April 3, 2003 12:44 AM

Why not? They basically combined II and VI to get X a few months back.

Depending on your point of view, it was either extra value (two scripts for the price of 1!) or a huge time-saver (watch ~4 hours of story in a ~2 hour period!).

I'm sorry, all the new ideas are busy. Please hold and we'll pass along something you can recycle.

Posted by Queue -- April 3, 2003 10:14 AM

After all, this is the age of prequells and remakes.

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Neurosurgeon

Well that was fun. I upgraded the memory in two CRT iMacs this evening in preparation of upgrading them both to Mac OS X. I would be making note here of how much a pain in the ass it is to do the upgrade if I hadn’t once upgraded the memory of a Mac SE back during college. I find it somewhat bemoaning that it’s easier to upgrade the RAM in a G4 PowerBook than a G3 iMac. Thankfully, it’s a significantly easier task for the G4 iMacs. The only potential quirk with those is figuring out how to rest the LCD display when you turn the thing over to open it up.

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Let’s See Eminem Try This!

Caution, if you’re the type who doesn’t like to know how “neat-o” things are done, don’t read this entry.

I’d love to hang out for a while on some sets of music videos as they’re being filmed. There’s a certain activity that apparently goes on that I think would be a laugh riot to watch.

Have you noticed how so many pop music videos are either partially or entirely done in slow motion, yet the singer is keeping sync with the music you hear? If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, try Avril Lavigne’s I’m With You or the final sequence of No Doubt’s Underneath It All. (By the way, it’s pretty ironic that I think Gwen Stefani looks better than I’ve ever seen her in this sequence.)

You realize what this means, don’t you? Naturally, everyone knows that artists are lip synching to the studio recording when they do the videos, and most people know that the best quality slow motion is obtained when the scene is recorded with the camera running in fast motion. When the tape is played normally, everything is slowed down. Thus, the artists are mock-performing the song to the camera with the track sped up to match the camera speed.

Okay, forget hanging out on the set. Just show me a blooper reel of artists who can’t stop laughing at themselves as they try to accomplish this stunt!

Hmmm, if you put this procedure in reverse, do you suppose it’s how the voices were recorded for Alvin and the Chipmunks?

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Tuesday, April 01, 2003

No Worries—They’re No More Fake Than Before

If I didn’t like their onion rings and vanilla shakes so much, I might would have to join Chris’s Burger King abandonment.

Think about this for a moment. If you were selling a food product that was processed and artificially shaped into something that is supposed to make you believe it’s a natural shape, you would endeavor to not draw attention to the fact, right?

So what does Burger King, in its infinite marketing wisdom, decide to do? Are you sitting down? You can now order Chicken Tenders™ in “fun new shapes,” specifically, lightning bolts and stars!

By the way, if you really want chicken strips from a fast food restaurant, at least go get them from Arby’s which sells strips that are actually edible. But hurry, before Oven Mitt™ gets his, well, mitt on them.

Comments: 1 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by Queue -- April 2, 2003 09:21 AM

For milkshakes, you're better off with A&W or some small deli that makes them out of real ice cream.

For chicken strips, I prefer KFC, however, our Safeway (grocery store) caries chicken strips in their deli that I think has them all beat, hands down.

Burger King? What's that?

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Bright House, or Dim Wit?

With all the bad karma that’s been floating around Time Warner lately, it was only time before a marketing stunt like this happened. Time Warner Cable is now known as Bright House Networks. (Here’s a press release if you have the guts to read it.) Too soon to tell if service will improve or stagnate. My prediction is they’ll later jack up prices and justify it with hyper-inflated new features that the reorganization is bringing.

My friend, Jeff, said it best. “This sucks. I liked TWC.”

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Monday, March 31, 2003

Brrrrrrr

Sheesh, I thought winter was over!

Yeah, yeah, I know. I don’t need any punditry from you northerners who think it’s laughable that I feel as though I’m freezing my butt off with mid-40 temps this morning. But I can laugh at you any time your area gets hot and humid (it happens), and all you want to do is lay there and drip.

Comments: 2 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by Eric -- March 31, 2003 11:12 AM

One of the things that consistently amused me during my short stint in Miami was all the heavy jackets that would come out when the temperature dropped below 60.

By the way, it was snowing when I woke up this morning.

Posted by Raena -- March 31, 2003 08:28 PM

Pfft. When there's nothing but water between you and Antarctica, you'll know cold.

"Penguins and snow and ice!!"

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Sunday, March 30, 2003

My Weekend

Have you ever noticed when you finally get a weekend to just relax (translation, I didn’t have any assignments/obligations laid on me), you still end up getting yourself involved in all sorts of tasks?

In spite of the fact that I spent most of today taking some photos of a couple houses a builder/friend of mine worked on to be used in a showcase brochure, and then helping another person (friend of a friend type of thing) get started migrating from his older Revision A iMac to his new 17" iMac (there’s still more to do…later this week), this has actually has been an enjoyable weekend. The point is, I agreed to these tasks because I knew I’d derive a bit of enjoyment from seeing these beautiful houses and from seeing yet another person experience the wonder that is Mac OS X.

There’s a lesson here. Even if they’re more laborious, I’ve proven to myself that self-imposed obligations are far less troublesome and daunting than employer-imposed obligations.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Canuck Gets Cancelled

This is just plain stupid. “Who knew buying a laser printer could be such a politically charged event?”

And I don’t know if it’s more or less stupid than the enormous number of people who still don’t know how to properly capitalize the name, eBay (check the headline).

Full Wired News story.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2003

CNN’s Web Site Induces “Shock & Awe”

Jeez, ain’t this the truth? I saw those CNN pages and wanted to back up about 10 feet!

(No punditry about the PC web browser graphic. I saw the image on the defective yeti site.)

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Monday, March 24, 2003

Madonna Breaks Online Ground

For once, a little good news to go along with the slime pit that is the music industry.

Full News.com story.

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Sunday, March 23, 2003

Panther to Officially Debut at WWDC

Though it was largely assumed to be the case, many are probably happy to hear Apple’s official announcement that the next generation of OS X, code named “Panther,” would be introduced at the Worldwide Developers Conference in June.

Allow me to make the observation that virtually all the other web sites I’ve seen that talk about Panther refer to it as OS X 10.3. Yet, Apple’s announcement says nothing of version numbers. While I’m sure there’s plenty of grounds beyond assumption that have the next version number assured, I’d be amused to see Panther come out as something like OS X 10.5. Indeed, Apple’s System Software version numbers have, thus far, a pretty good history of skipping from either .1 or .2 up to .5. System 6 only got up to 6.0.8; System 7 went from 7.1.2 to 7.5; and then we saw Mac OS 8 go from 8.1 to 8.5. (Yes, there was an 8.2, but it was just an internal development version in advance of 8.5.) I might as well also mention that OS 9 has capped at 9.2.2. Even if it is updated to work properly with Panther, it will probably only get bumped to 9.2.3 or (if tradition holds) 9.2.5.

Comments: 1 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by Jon -- March 24, 2003 12:58 PM

Yea but this is NeXT style now. They used to do lots of updates and went roaring through the sub versions. Also, they don't want to speed up because the day when they reach 11 means a whole new ad campaign.

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Saturday, March 22, 2003

Isn’t This A Little Like Going Out To Get The Mail On Sundays?

I imagine that I (or, more accurately, my account) will probably be the newest laughable topic at the water cooler for some customer service reps at EarthLink. The guy I was talking to was incredibly amused at whatever he was seeing about my account on his computer screen.

Some years ago, I switched from my local ISP, Access Orlando, to EarthLink—mostly in anticipation of DSL access, but largely to also have national dial-up access. After a while of using Sprint DSL (with Earthlink as the ISP), and not being immensely satisfied, Time Warner Central Florida opened up their service to my area and, at the same time, had begun offering EarthLink as an ISP choice. I switched as soon as my DSL contract was over…which wasn’t very long afterward. I might also point out that, for reasons I won’t waste time with here, I modified my account name a few times when I was a dial-up and a DSL customer.

So, suffice to say, my account with EarthLink has gotten a bit of a workout. Tonight, I got an e-mail stating that my credit card that is associated with the account was about to expire and was asking for an update. To be truthful, the one they had on file was to expire this month, though it’s now got another three years on it. I had just never updated with EarthLink for an obvious reason—ever since I switched to broadband, I was no longer billed by EarthLink. Sprint, followed by Time Warner, handled it.

The reason the EarthLink rep seemed amused was that his computer revealed the EarthLink portion of my account has been billing me for $0 every month! Everything had been converted over properly when I went from dial-up to DSL to cable but, somehow, the monthly billing cycle hadn’t been flagged off. I never knew anything of it—until tonight, when the system tried to ask me to update my card information.

The EarthLink rep said I just made his day.

Good for him.

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Friday, March 21, 2003

Optimus Prime Heads to Middle East

This one is probably only going to be meaningful to you if you used to watch the old Transformers television cartoon. Bryan, this one is for you!

Among the members who are preparing to go to the Middle East as the 5694th National Guard Unit, from Ohio, is one Optimus Prime! Yes, this guy legally changed his name to that of the fearless AutoBot leader of the popular 1980s cartoon.

(I don’t know if the first link in this entry will always work. I just went back to it and got a message: “A dynamic link library (DLL) initialization routine failed.” I wondered if it’s not possible to link to sub pages on the site, but when I navigated to it normally, it still didn’t work … so maybe it’s just temporary. If you can’t bring it up, and if you care (:-p) the main transformers.com page still loads for me, though it starts off with the recent (translation: lame) incarnation known as Transformers Armada.)

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Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Photographer For Hire?—UPDATED

Wow, I must be a photographer, or something! I just received a request from the South Carolina Rural Water Association to use one of my ATPM desktop wallpaper images on the cover of their upcoming annual membership directory, distributed to about 450 members.

This will make the third book cover that has utilized a photo I’ve submitted to ATPM as a desktop image. Plus, two other times, I was asked permission to use my U.S. Capital photo as screened backgrounds within electronic newsletters.

Before someone gets any ideas, the header for this entry was typed with tongue firmly planted in cheek. I’m happy to discuss the use of photos I’ve taken for personal reasons but, with few exceptions, I really don’t avail myself for contract photography.

Update—2:30pm: Well, perhaps I jumped the gun a little. I misunderstood the original e-mail request and SCRWA is at the stage now of choosing one of a final candidates for use on the cover. Mine is one of them. “In the event we choose another photo for the membership directory, we may want to use it on our website or in our quarterly magazine.” I suppose I understand that they have to know they have the photographer’s permission for all the final candidates before “the brass” chooses the one to go with.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Queue On War

I’ve already indicated that my brother comes up with some gems of blog items. His latest entry makes a pretty valid observation that no matter what the outcome of a war with Iraq, it’s quite likely that we’re going to see a lot of changes with the U.N.—if it doesn’t just evaporate altogether.

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Monday, March 17, 2003

Outside, Looking In

Wired News also has an article that touches on what I couldn’t express earlier. It’s true, if you want a really good journalistic take on how the U.S. is handling the situation, go read it from sites that don’t care if what they report slams on Bush’s tactics—go read foreign news sites.

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Tick Tick Tick Tick…

Is it just me? Is giving Saddam a final 48 hours an earnest plea for him leave or face a military conflict at “a time of our choosing” or is it just schmooze to us Americans? Saddam isn’t going to do in 48 hours what he hasn’t done in countless years. Forget about the timed ultimatums and just go in and get the bastard.

Bush also said, “I urge every member of the Iraqi military and intelligence services, if war comes, do not fight for a dying regime that is not worth your own life.” Exqueeze me? Isn’t this the type of thing a military leader says to try to scare his opponent when he knows he may be getting ready to fight a battle that isn’t going to turn out well for him?

Don’t misunderstand me, Bush is probably right. Knowing how things turned out during Desert Storm and knowing that Iraqis have already been surrendering without there even being a declaration of war on them yet—sure, Allied forces are likely going to go in there and totally kick ass. It just seemed to me like a pretty lame thing to do to suggest to Iraqi military that they should just not bother fighting.

Comments: 1 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by Queue -- March 17, 2003 11:25 PM

I think Bush's warning to the military is good strategy. The Iraqis know we can stomp them, and many of them have already expressed an interest in getting out. I'd say Bush made the perfect move to get as many of them to leave as possible.

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Saturday, March 15, 2003

My Day

Long day. Short blog. I’m sleepy.

I will say this, though: I’m pretty impressed with the battery life on the digital camera I purchased. I’ve been playing around with it a lot this afternoon to see what it can do, intentionally trying to drain the batteries so I can charge them overnight and have a fresh set (I may be going to the MGM park, if the weather is decent). I shot and shot and shot. Even did a bunch of rapid-fire shots. I finally even resorted to setting to to take a movie file. At the lowest quality setting with no sound, it will record on a 32mb card for nearly 500 seconds. After the many test pictures I took (and erased), I let it do the long videos about 5-6 times before the batteries finally gave out. Suffice to say, I’m predicting great battery life under normal use. (This afternoon was, most assuredly, not normal use.)

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Friday, March 14, 2003

Laid to Rest

It’s a sad time for my family right now. My mother’s 13-year-old Cocker Spaniel, Princess, had to be put down yesterday. Besides being blind, partially deaf, and arthritic, she was developing advanced symptoms caused by a heart murmur and liver disease. It’s likely she also had cancer.

Little baby girl, you wiggle tail, you’ll be missed.

Princess Cassandra Lynn, III
Born: January 31, 1990
Died: March 13, 2003

Comments: 0 (Comments are now closed.)

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Blog Queue Goes Movable—Author Celebrates Birthday

First things first—happy birthday to my brother, Bryan.

Now then, I’ve mentioned Bryan’s blog in the past. This is a pretty major update for him. He’s now using Movable Type. Granted, his ISP doesn’t permit CGI so he can’t run MT himself, but he’s piggybacking off my installation in a frameset, so his original domain will still work. Those of you who prefer to syndicate the blogs you follow, that’s available, too.

I’ve said it before—Bryan can come up with some great little gems on a variety of subjects. You won’t be bored with his brand of punditry! Head on over to the Blog Queue.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Au Revoir, François—Redux

As previously blogged, a movement had started to officially rename french fries as freedom fries.

Apparently, it’s now official.

Comments: 0 (Comments are now closed.)

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Bolder and Bolder

I guess people are getting increasingly comfortable (even if it’s a false sense of comfort) that they are anonymous on the internet. Either that, or they don’t care that, someday, someone might check them on their activities.

As I’ve mentioned before, my primary ATPM responsibility is cleaning up after the trash that sometimes gets left in comments on the site. I just deleted a comment which read, “could somebody please give me a real link on where to download the full version of sim tower for free, please? thanx ;D”

HELLO!!!?? As if ATPM is actually going to allow that comment to remain. I suppose maybe people just don’t realize the comments on ATPM are monitored.

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Why!?

Oh god. And to think this thing costs nearly half the price of the PowerMate it’s designed to hold.

Listen, I have a PowerMate and love it. I’m absolutely positive I wouldn’t find it as useful if it was raised up a half an inch on this pedestal.

Thanks, Jon.

Comments: 1 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by Bryan -- March 11, 2003 10:57 AM

I can't believe they're getting away with charging $20 for a piece of clear plastic. Where can I jump on this bandwagon?!?!

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Sunday, March 09, 2003

Now That’s What I Call A Fanatic

Before the next person calls me a fanatic about Apple just because I have a license plate that reads MAC-USER, measure my fanaticism against this guy!

Comments: 0 (Comments are now closed.)

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Saturday, March 08, 2003

The Twain Shall Meet

The previously blogged experience notwithstanding, any trip to an Apple Store tends to be a fun trip. Even more so when you meet up with friends. Hi to Ellyn Ritterskamp—fellow ATPM staffer—whom I met for the first time tonight at the Orlando Apple Store.

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Wednesday, March 05, 2003

Evening Dose of Retrophisch

My buddy Chris blogged a couple of great items this evening.

First up, a story that sheds a whole new light on the concept behind taxation in the United States. I do not claim to understand much about our country’s taxing system, but if it’s anything like this tale, I’ll never complain about the rich getting unfair tax breaks ever again.

In the “ooo, neato” department, the world’s smallest combination lock has been developed. Each gear is only 300 microns across. That’s one one-hundredth of an inch, or three tenths of a millimeter.

Finally, moving over to the “why?” room, $20 bills are going to start showing up in rainbow colors. Is it just me, or has someone in the U.S. Treasury been doing a little too much “LDS?”

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• • •

Monday, March 03, 2003

Drink Coaster Envy

CD-R media is between 30 to 40 cents per disc if you just pick up a spindle at a local computer shop. If you dig around the internet for deals and rebates, they can be had for just pennies a disc.

So how does one put an end to the feeling of being gypped when the rare disc fails to burn and is rendered useless?

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• • •

Sunday, March 02, 2003

Change Is In The…Sea

Wow, anyone been to Sea World Orlando lately? It’s a lot different from what I remember. Unfortunately, a lot of what’s new is various vendor sites littered throughout the park—especially near the entrance/exit. But beyond that, even the general feel of walking around the park is new, and the entire southwest side of the ski lake is totally blocked off for a lot of new construction, so there’s even more to come.

It was a nice day for the park, today. Cloudy, and it did rain twice, but the timing was great. The first time, we were under a pavilion for lunch, and the second time, we were inside the Wild Arctic attraction.

Today’s trip was an office outing, so coworkers were seen off and on all day long. Probably the best thing about this is that Sea World has a special on where an additional $10 on top of the ticket price converted my ticket to a pass that’s good until December 31. Since the office paid for the pass, I only had to come up with the $10 and can now go back any time I want this year.

Of course, best of all, I got to spend the day with some of my best friends, Rosa, Juan, and Jeff, and also got to know better some new friends I met a while ago, Ed and Faye. What Ed does for a living is getting a blog entry of its own, so stay tuned…

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• • •

Friday, February 28, 2003

It Figures

Splendid. Wouldn’t you know it that when I get asked to be one of the “official” photographers at a concert and am going to be placed among the best seats in the house, the concert I’m photographing is a style of music I could either take or leave—southern gospel.

Admittedly, I heard a bit of practice this afternoon and the sound was pretty good. I did notice that Paul David Kennamer, Jr. of Valor was among the 100+ singers. I didn’t notice any other members of Valor present, but I suspect they will be there since the concert’s web site mentions the group name and not just Kennamer. I do have a Valor album and rather enjoy it. I hope they come out for a number by themselves.

By the way, the concert is free, so if you’re in the Orlando area, you can attend if this is your sort of thing. It’s tomorrow night at the Calvary Assembly, 7pm (doors open at 6pm).

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• • •

Thursday, February 27, 2003

Large Marge

Why do the Brits have all the fun?

Thanks, Andy.

Comments: 1 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by Jon -- February 28, 2003 11:43 PM

This was on a month or two ago... So the Brits are behind the times.

• • •

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Tchotchke

Oh bother, Chris beat me to the punch, but I’m posting it anyway. I learned a new word. Tchotchke is a Yiddish word for “trinket.” It’s pronounced CHOTCH-kah (short o) and I, like Chris, appreciate quality tchotchkes. Unfortunately, I have about a zillion and one sort-of-okay tchotchkes that I’ve not learned to throw away. But don’t let that give you the impression I don’t like getting other good ones.

By the way, one thing Chris didn’t beat me to is the fact that there is a same-named site that specializes in “trinket-o-logy.”

Comments: 1 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by chris -- February 27, 2003 11:55 AM

Don't get me wrong: I'm for acquring as many tchotchkes as possible, the reasoning being that you have to separate the wheat from the chaff to get the quality pieces.

But you need to learn to dump the junk. After all, there are plenty of colleagues who appreciate the junk, and you may someday appreciate theirs.

• • •

Fake Reality

Oh good gravy train! Is anyone watching The Twilight Zone tonight? I’m still making up my mind whether to be miffed at The Twilight Zone’s producers for stooping to such a level, or to congratulate them for a taking such a great jab at the asinine topics being explored by today’s reality television shows.

At this moment, as I type this paragraph, this episode of The Twilight Zone is half over. The show, “How Much Do You Love Your Kid?” has abducted a woman’s son and gives her 60 minutes and a sprinkling of clues to find him in order to win half a million bucks. She’s gotten close and is chasing a car which, apparently, her son is in, but the car flies off the side of an embankment and the driver hobbles away. Cut to commercial.

Hmph, I just deleted the ton of text I typed in favor of just saying it turns out the woman’s husband was the abductor, having agreed to do the show in the hopes of winning the money, but the pissed-off wife put several bullets in his chest. Spokesperson arrives to say, “You did it! You’ve just won a million dollars and the best defense money can buy,” and she is hauled off to jail.

Sound ridiculous? First I should be clear about the fact that I do watch Survivor. It’s the only reality show I can stand, though I can’t completely explain why. It just doesn’t seem to suck like the rest. Of course the fact that a group of my friends make a party out of it each week may have a lot to do with it. It just seems like the others are based on more and more ridiculous plots (don’t even get me started about Joe Millionaire) and, one of these days, they’re going to go even to the extremes tonight’s Twilight Zone episode demonstrated.

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• • •

Monday, February 24, 2003

Bad Cop, No Donut

Is it wrong to be pundit about cops who turn on their vehicles’ light bars for the sole, brief purpose of running through a red light—a stunt proven by the fact that the lights immediately go off as soon as they’re through the intersection?

I’ve always hated the saying, “Do as I say, not as I do.”

Comments: 2 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by Eric -- February 24, 2003 11:07 PM

I've got one that may or may not beat your tail.

I was in the far left lane of a highway, driving home from work. I was going about 5-10 mph over the speed limit - with the flow of traffic. All of a sudden, I see the flashing lights behind me.

I pull over one lane to the right, hoping the cop just wanted to get by me. No luck, he still pulls behind me. Then he gets into the lane to the right of me and I breath a sign of relief as I watch the cop pull off at an exit and kill his lights.

I was not very happy.

Posted by chris -- February 25, 2003 03:07 PM

Not to excuse this kind of behavior from those who have sworn to enforce the law, but there is something you need to be aware of. There are many times when cops receive a call to roll on a location sans sirens/lights, so as not to alert the potential felons. So when the roll up behind you and flash their lights, or do it to get through an intersection, it could be for that reason.

That said, I've seen plenty of the behavior you've both mentioned when it turned out to NOT be on a no-lights/siren call, and it's disgraceful.

• • •

Weekend Update

Okay, here’s a smattering of thoughts that have been rolling around my head during the time I was Mac-less.

First, I want to point out that the entire world is not made up of selfish, grumbling people. I know this because over the weekend, my family and I were visiting some of the Rat Land parks and we were in line at the Dinosaur attraction in the Animal Kingdom park. We came to a pause right next to where an employee…er, a cast member…was checking FastPass return tickets. My dad made some idle comment to him about working, or the weather, or something…I don’t remember exactly…and, after answering, the guy kind of got this “mua-ha-ha” kind of look on his face and asked how many were in our group. He answered “four” and the guy handed my dad four FastPass tickets and had us move into the appropriate line. Knocked the 30 minute wait time down to about 5!

And while I’m on the topic of what I was doing over the weekend, I’ll just make note that Sunday’s weather was A-W-E-S-O-M-E. Days like yesterday, combined with relatively short and not-so-cold winters, are precisely why I live here and hope to never leave. I assure you, a more beautiful day could not have been asked for, weather-wise.

Let’s see, what else is new? Oh, guess what I just found out. You can type a phone number (using the standard (xxx) xxx-xxxx format) into a Google search box, and it will attempt a reverse lookup for you! Pretty nifty, especially for those of us who have Google search bars in their browsers. (Thanks, Michael.)

In case I wasn’t perfectly clear in my previous post, I’ll reiterate that I am really happy to have my TiBook back. It’s sailing along like nothing ever happened, merrily accepting and returning any disc I offer to it.

Moving briefly into a rant topic, it feels kind of unfair that some new iMacs are reportedly showing up with Sony-made SuperDrives instead of Pioneer-made. These new drives supposedly deal with DVD+R and DVD+RW as well as the (I think) more widely used DVD-R and DVD-RW. If I had waited to get my TiBook repaired a while later, perhaps the Matshita slot-loading drive would have been replaced with some sort of updated version. Hmmmmm. Even as it is, I am kicking myself for not taking a screen snapshot of what Apple System Profiler had to say about my SuperDrive before I shipped it off so I could compare it to what I see now. Does anyone know if the initial 15” 1GHz PowerBooks had a SuperDrive Device Revision number of D0C4 and a product ID of DVD-R UJ-815?

And for one final tidbit of punditry, something that somebody may have to tell me is not as humorous as I’m making it out to be. I have a T-shirt with a neck tag that has various information in three different languages. Fine, no problem by me. But when the size of the shirt that’s printed on the tag is abbreviated to just the first letter and the other two languages have words that mean “Large” that both start with the same letter, and the tag is printed with “L/G/G” in big, red letters, I kind of wonder if people who read either of the other two languages get confused as to whether the first or second “G” applies to their language!

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• • •

Hello, Again—UPDATED

I’m back in business! Assuming it is properly repaired, I am extremely impressed. As indicated in the previous blog entry, I shipped off my TiBook around noon last Thursday because my optical drive mechanism wasn’t working properly. I just received it back this morning! Talk about fast turnaround! The drive appears to be functioning perfectly now. I just inserted and ejected a disc four times in a row without a hitch. And while I did certainly miss not having my machine with me, the fact that I spent all day Saturday and Sunday doing some fun things with my family minimized the withdrawal symptoms by distracting me for most of the time it was away.

By the way, my weekend activities—not the lack of a computer—is what has kept me away from any blog updates. I’ll post some information when I’m home this evening, but I had to chime in here from work to sing out that my TiBook came back.

I don’t know if I’ll be able to get anyone at Apple to tell me…I’m kind of curious exactly what they did and whether their feeling was that it was a manufacture defect or something I did to it. I got a letter with “Proof of Repair” printed big at the top, and the first sentence reads, “We’re pleased we could repair your Apple Product….” At the bottom of the letter, it mentions part number 678-0379 and describes it as, “SUPERDRIVE,SLOT,MKE,SW-9181.” Can someone enlighten me as to what that is?

UPDATE: 12:10 p.m.—I bit the bullet and called the inquiry number for repairs printed on the letter, and actually managed to get a human being. She confirmed that the drive was replaced, and that it was a manufacturing defect.

Comments: 2 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by chris -- February 24, 2003 11:37 AM

Based upon my own PowerBook repair experience, it sounds like they just did a straight swap of your SuperDrive. When my TiBook/500 went in, in addition to the same drive problem you had, my screen also neeed repair (solid vertical line, a couple of pixels wide), and the latch was no longer functioning.

Looking at the Proof of Repair I received, my TiBook got a new DVD drive, a new bottom case, a new latch bezel, a new mouse button, and a new LCD. I think the components, individually, are such commodity-type items, that it's just easier for Apple to replace the component, test it, and clear the repair.

Lucky for me, my PowerBook went 3 hours south to Houston for repair, and I got it back within 48 hours of shipping it out.

Posted by Eric -- February 24, 2003 11:58 AM

SW-9181 probably refers to the SuperDrive model. I guess Apple has three different suppliers right now - Pioneer, Sony, and a third company. I think the third company, who I am competely blanking on right now, does the slot-loading drives.

• • •

Thursday, February 20, 2003

Bye Bye, Love

It sort of feels like a sad day. I am currently bundling up my TiBook in the Apple-provided box to have my DVD-R SuperDrive repaired. Apparently, the mechanism that pushes out a disc to be ejected is fouled up somehow and discs don’t always eject. Other times, the problem prevents me from even inserting a disc. A hardware reset always temporarily fixes it, but that sure is a pain…for a brand new machine!

So, I’ll be without my silver baby over the weekend, Monday, and perhaps Tuesday as well. Sure, I have other machines at home and work to do virtually everything I need/want to do on a computer while the PowerBook is gone, but it is, of course, not the same thing.

Godspeed and safe journeys, my slender, metallic, computing joy.

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• • •

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

Au Revoir, François

I very much like this idea, especially since fried potato strips were never French to begin with.

Thanks, Chris.

Comments: 4 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by Raena -- February 20, 2003 03:32 AM

It's this easy: call them what they are. CHIPS.

Chips chips chips. I even call them chips when I go to McDonald's, who are the only people who call them fries here.

Posted by chris -- February 20, 2003 04:03 PM

Ah yes, which leads to the never-ending debate over what we Americans would then call our "chips." My vote would be that potato chips become "crisps."

Posted by Raena -- February 22, 2003 03:11 AM

Yeah, those are Also Chips. Or crisps, if you're my mother (weird british stuff).

Posted by chris -- February 24, 2003 11:30 AM

Now that I think about it, it's been a while since I've personally referred to them as "French fries," even before all of this French nonsense w/regard to Iraq began. For quite a while now it's just been "fries."

• • •

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Drool Quickly Transformed to Spit

Someone, please, tell me what I’m overlooking. I’m quite underwhelmed about NEC-Mitsubishi’s new 40-inch LCD display. At 1280 x 768, it has slightly less pixel resolution than my 15-inch G4 PowerBook and a lot less than the new 17-inch lunch tray version. To add insult to injury, the thing costs nearly twice as much as the PowerBooks.

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• • •

Military Alert?

Should I be concerned that what appeared (note, I said “appeared”) to be an Army Huey-type helicopter hovered in the vicinity of my residence for about 10 minutes?

Comments: 1 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by jon -- February 18, 2003 09:59 PM

Not if they didn't go after you.

• • •

Monday, February 17, 2003

Less-than Pleasant Apple Store Experience

It was rather off-putting today to stop by the Orlando Apple Store with my G4 PowerBook in hand to get some opinion about a little iMovie 3 quirk I’ve been experiencing. I discovered that there are two or three workers at that store who are considered experts with iMovie and none of them was present at that particular moment. Moreover, while I did get some names of who to ask for, I could not get a time frame during which I should check back for privacy reasons of individual workers’ schedules. Fine, don’t give me individual schedules…just tell me when I can get some help.

There’s a lesson here. I had called beforehand to inquire if I could stop by to demonstrate my problem and see if anyone had some ideas and was told “fine.” This is advisable, but from now on, specifically ask if someone is present who is familiar with the software you are inquiring about.

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• • •

New Cell Phone Feature Perceived As Privacy Menace

First, you need to read this Wired News article unless, of course, the link breaks after a while. The article is basically talking about the built-in cameras that are starting to appear in cell phones.

I think some people will find something to complain about just to hear themselves complain. Don’t these brain-dead people realize they have a lot more perceived privacy breaches to worry about than a dinky little cell phone camera that you basically have to point in someone’s face to get a picture of them? Don’t they realize that their picture is taken or they are videotaped nearly every moment they walk around in a public location?

Face it, the moment you walk outside your house, you’re subject to being recorded on film or by some digital means. It’s a fact of life. Deal with it.

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• • •

Mixed Feelings

Trust me, I am not going to be making a habit of posting entries at 8:30 in the morning—especially a Monday morning. Mostly, I’m glad to have today off, but I sort of feel like I’ve been disparaged. My office’s holiday schedule sheet specifically indicates that employees choose either Martin Luther King, Jr. Day or Presidents’ Day as a holiday to take off. Doesn’t that inherently suggest that the office itself is open both days? Well here I am, trying to wake myself up, as usual, to get ready for work, and my boss calls me trying to figure out why she can count the number of people there on one hand. There were signs on the door stating that the office is closed, so I can’t gripe there. Then again, I hardly ever use the main doors and those signs are, naturally, not posted on the doors that only employees use. So, anyhow, I suppose I should be positive and just accept that, instead of sleeping in as I would have done if I’d known, I should use the opportunity to accomplish some “home stuff” if you know what I mean.

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• • •

Saturday, February 15, 2003

Uh-Oh

Bombtech.jpgAnother picture that speaks its own punditry.

Comments: 0 (Comments are now closed.)

• • •

Pretty Sneaky

Pay attention when you’re driving. I’ve been identifying more and more unmarked police vehicles in the past weeks. I’m not talking about the white or navy blue Crown Victorias with tinted windows, visible light bars in the front and rear dashes, reinforced undercarriages, and a handful of antennas on the back that you can spot from a distance. No, I’m talking about SUVs and even plain sedans that don’t even have the yellow city tags like Orlando (probably other cities, too) uses on its vehicles. The only thing that has given me a clue is that you can just barely make out red and blue strobes within the (usually) black front grille of the vehicle. But, that means you’re either in front of them, or driving the other direction—either way, they’ll probably have seen any illegal driving maneuver you may have just performed.

I have, fortunately, not yet had first-hand dealings with these vehicles.

Comments: 3 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by Jon -- February 16, 2003 12:47 PM

I've seen quite a few too... The other night I saw 3 in a 10 minute drive home. They aren't as sneaky over here, and I have a pretty good eye for spotting the radar guns.

Posted by chris -- February 18, 2003 10:00 PM

Antenna arrays are a pretty good indicator as well. I know with some of the new transmitters they don't need the tall antennae like they used to, but multiple ones, usually the radio + a cellular, are a dead give-away.

Posted by Lee Bennett -- February 18, 2003 10:16 PM

As I said in the entry, the unmarked vehicles I've been seeing lately do _not_ have the cluster of antennas.

• • •

Missing Feature

Okay, I feel gypped. Today, I was at my parents home and using their Compaq PC to check e-mail and to post the prior (and now this) entry.

As I loaded the page to start typing the entry, I was reminded (I think I knew this before, but had sort of forgotten) that, on Windows IE, Movable Type has buttons and, as it turns out, keyboard shortcuts to automatically add bold, italic, underline, and hyperlink tags around selected text!

After some Movable Type forum searching, it turns out the functions are created with a javascript command that isn’t supported on the Mac. The script uses the document.write function.

Let’s see some javascript-savvy Mac user find a way to do this on our side!

Comments: 2 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by Raena -- February 16, 2003 01:45 AM

document.write is Mac-doable; it shouldn't just be that.

Hrm.

Posted by Jon -- February 16, 2003 12:49 PM

I have buttons in pMachine, but not key commands. I'll look into it.

• • •

Friday, February 14, 2003

Homeland Insecurity

Today’s Joy of Tech illustrates an insightful opinion.

Comments: 0 (Comments are now closed.)

• • •

Thursday, February 13, 2003

It’s Come to This

security.jpgThe picture speaks its own punditry.

Thanks, Jon.

Comments: 0 (Comments are now closed.)

• • •

The Tribe Has Spoken

Yeeehaa. I admit it. I’m a Survivor fan. But not just on my own. A gang of friends get together most weeks to watch, and we’ve done so since Survivor 2: The Australian Outback.

This sixth installment was shot in the Amazon and, for the first time, pits an all-female tribe (Jaburu) against an all-male tribe (Tambaqui). Personally, I believe the women are going to take it. Not just because women probably adapt to rough living conditions better than men do, but the female team looks to have several athletic, in-shape members who can probably hold their own against the men in challenges.

So, it’s about 6:30 now. I’m getting ready to head over to my friends’ house for food and fun (we’re having tamales for dinner).

Cue the theme chant!

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• • •

Monday, February 10, 2003

Dude, You’re Gettin’ a Record

Forgive me for plagiarizing CNN’s headline—I couldn’t think of a better one.

Might it actually be that Benjamin Curtis (better-known as Steve, the Dell dude) has been so immensely gung-ho about hawking those “other” machines because he was so immensely toked the whole time?

Comments: 1 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by Raena -- February 12, 2003 05:02 AM

<joke class="overdone">DUDE. You're gettin' a CELL!</joke>

We got our own Dell dude recently. He's sitting on a pier holding a fish. I'm not sure, because I was channel flicking, but I think he might have even kissed it. No joke.

• • •

Sunday, February 09, 2003

I Hate It When…

All during last week, I was laid up with an icky cold. The sore throat began Monday and by Tuesday morning I was achy, feverish, coughing, and just plain miserable. During the whole week as I battled symptoms, the weather outside was totally mocking me. Last week saw some absolutely gorgeous temperatures and calm breezes, but there I was, stuck in bed or on the couch, sick as a dog.

And then, just to twist the dagger in a little harder, I finally felt like getting back to work on Friday morning and was preparing to enjoy the weekend. Mother nature had entirely different plans. The whole weekend has been nippy, drizzly, and downright wintery. It doesn’t help that the sore throat I had apparently hasn’t completely gone away.

Such is life…or such is this past weekend, at least.

Comments: 1 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by Jon -- February 9, 2003 09:00 PM

I woke up to the pitter patter of rain, and a cool draft. Egh. This isn't what Florida should be like!

• • •

Saturday, February 08, 2003

Want an mLife?

You’ve probably seen the commercial and/or billboards. “What’s an mLife, and how do I get one?” Well, starting Monday, you may still not know exactly how (or not even want) to get one, but those who do will have fewer types to choose from. This may not be a bad thing.

As an AT&T Wireless customer, I did, admittedly, scratch my head for a bit deciding which plan to go with, and even changed a time or two after I’d signed up. A News.com article says AT&T Wireless “is trimming back its bloated lineup of rate plans and will offer about 25 choices.”

In related news, I recently stopped by an AT&T Wireless store and inquired about Palm-enabled phones. I was prepared to give them my rant that many of their competitors offer phones with built-in PalmOS and that they would probably start losing a lot of customers—myself included—if they didn’t offer one soon. I didn’t get to even begin my rant because the rep. gleefully informed me that I’d be able to choose a Tungsten-based phone in a few months. I’m looking forward to it.

Comments: 1 (Comments are now closed.)
Posted by Andy -- February 9, 2003 10:32 PM

I sure hope Bob Denver is getting mega royalties from MLife's "Gilligan's Island" TV ad rip-off.

• • •

Monday, February 03, 2003

Switch—Even if Not to an Apple

Is it just me, or are more and more people (and, more importantly, businesses) just getting entirely fed up with Microsoft? Thanks to tools such as OpenOffice, the ability to reduce—even eliminate—dependancy on Microsoft is becoming a reality.

News.com story.

Comments: 0 (Comments are now closed.)

• • •

Sunday, February 02, 2003

Pepsi Potency

My friend, Andy, has been drawing my attention to some of the listings that are among the ridiculously huge number of Space Shuttle-related things for sale on eBay. One item was for a pack of 1981-vintage Space Shuttle Columbia Pepsi Cans.

While this item, in and of itself, wasn’t of particularly special interest (unlike Andy, I think the cans are a fairly decent collector item and, consequently, a valid thing to sell on eBay), something the description mentioned caught my eye. File this in the “things that make you go, ‘hmm’” department:

“…All cans have been emptied, due to the Pepsi rotting the aluminum. Hmmmmm…what does it [the Pepsi] do to you???”
Comments: 0 (Comments are now closed.)

• • •

Tribute In Song

Last year, my friend and former Southern College classmate, Jennifer LaMountain, who is now a Morning Song artist, wrote a tribute song in collaboration with Kelly Mowrer.

Written in tribute to the September 11, 2001, tragedy, the tune feels very patriotic and the lyrics are powerful. Personally, I feel it is quite fitting to extend the tribute to include yesterday’s loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia and its seven crew members.

The lyrics, below, are also on a Morning Song page which includes the music video you can view in Quicktime or RealOne format.

Together We Will Stand
—by Kelly Mowrer and Jennifer LaMountain
In this darkest hour, freedom’s light still shines.
And in our hearts we find a hope to carry on.
Together still we dream our dreams
Through every trial still it seems
Our tears give brighter vision of a better day to come.
America is still the Promised Land.
With one heart and voice together we will stand.
Our flag still waves, reminding us again
That God will guide our way.
Take my hand, together we will stand.
Every opportunity - this legacy of liberty
A gift to you and me because a price was paid in blood.
Out of ashes heroes rise to show us by their sacrifice
Courage is the cornerstone our freedom’s built upon.
America is still a hero’s land.
With one heart and voice together we will stand
Freedom’s flag still waves, reminding us again
God will guide our way.
Take my hand, together we will stand.
Together we will stand.
© 2001 Kelly Mowrer (ASCAP) & Jennifer LaMountain/AM Music (ASCAP)
Comments: 0 (Comments are now closed.)

• • •

Thursday, January 30, 2003

Loving Osama

Little Melissa comes home from first grade and tells her father that they learned about the history of Valentine’s Day.

“Since Valentine’s Day is for a Christian saint and we’re Jewish,” she asks, “will God get mad at me for giving someone a valentine?”

Melissa’s father thinks a bit, then says “No, I don’t think God would get mad. Who do you want to give a valentine to?”

“Osama Bin Laden,” she says.

“Why Osama Bin Laden,” her father asks in shock.

“Well,” she says, “I thought that if a little American Jewish girl could have enough love to give Osama a valentine, he might start to think that maybe we’re not all bad, and maybe start loving people a little bit.

“And if other kids saw what I did and sent valentines to Osama, he’d love everyone a lot. And then he’d start going all over the place to tell everyone how much he loved them and how he didn’t hate anyone any more.”

Her father’s heart swells and he looks at his daughter with newfound pride.

“Melissa, that’s the most wonderful thing I’ve ever heard.”

“I know,” Melissa says, “and once that gets him out in the open, the Marines could blow the crap out of him.”

Thanks, Chris.

Comments: 0 (Comments are now closed.)

• • •

Wednesday, January 29, 2003

It’s Nice to be Appreciated

Every once in a while, those little things happen which most people perceive as passé when they happen to someone else. Yet when they happen to you, the reminder that you’re not just another automaton in the system is a great feeling.

Where am I going with this one? Two groups of sixth-graders (one group yesterday and another today) from Orlando Junior Academy visited the communication department where I work since their class has them learning some subjects relating to the field. Tasks that I do regularly and can seem mundane were rather exciting to these students—things like creating a mock newsletter cover with a full page photo of their respective groups posed outside the TV station they toured prior to visiting us and each of them receiving a color copy of the finished layout; seeing how I use Adobe Photoshop to perform curves adjustment, color correction, and retouching to that photo; or how I put a video together in Adobe Premiere. They were even impressed by the fact that I not only have a 21" CRT display on my Macintosh G4, but also a 15" Studio Display sitting next to it and could effortlessly move items back and forth from one screen to the other.

See what I mean? Rather mundane things to me and probably you. Gradeschoolers are really cool!

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Monday, January 27, 2003

Magic Number

Apparently, the number 27 is pretty significant for the Buccaneers. Tampa’s ABC affiliate, WTSP, Channel 10, posted a very interesting observation.

“It has taken the Bucs 27 years to get to the Super Bowl. The Bucs won last week with 27 points. Bucs return from the Super Bowl on the 27th. Bucs were the 27th team that entered the NFL.” —Mike Deeson
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Sunday, January 26, 2003

The Defense Rests!

OOOHHHH YEAAAHHHH!!! Not IF we win, but WHEN we win!

Unbelievable. Total shut out. My home team, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, has just CREAMED the Raiders with a well deserved final score of 48-21. Sure, there was a bit of worrying toward the end. My friend, Andy McConnell, asked me, “What are the Raiders doing?” I replied, “Catching up, it seems.”

Well, they didn’t. Cue “We Are the Champions … of the World!”

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SuperBowl Semantics

I’m really not a sports fan. However, when my home team which has been long known for poor performance plows through the playoffs as they have done and then actually creams the Eagles to secure a spot at SuperBowl XXXVII, I take notice!

Statistically, the Raiders are probably going to beat the Buccaneers, but then the Eagles were supposed to win last week, too. So, I can hope and be proud that they made it this far.

So I’m here at my parents’ house in Tampa for a long weekend. I’ve got a video projector set up and we’ll be watching the equivalent of a 72” screen with about 12 people coming over. There’ll be plenty of food and even more noise, I suspect. Should be fun.

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