2006.02.28

Good Night, and Good Luck.

19.04.12 - Mark

I just got back from seeing Good Night, and Good Luck. and I'm not quite sure what to make of it.

It is unquestionably well written and edited, and it's sometimes hard to tell the difference between the archival footage and the freshly filmed material, and it flows wonderfully. Its not a typical story archetype, with introduction, conflict, more conflict, climax and resolution, it felt more like a debate in a way, point after point with slight transistions between them and a slow fading of the characters.

That might be a problem from some people, and I'm not quite sure why Clooney insists on staring in everything he works on. Its not that his performance was bad per say, but he's developing a case of Tom Cruise Syndrome (the apperaing in every film whether he needs to or not variety, not the jumping on the couch ranting lunitic variety)

I'm fairly confident I liked it, but I'm not sure what's hooked me more about the film, the ideas Murrow had about Journalism and Television as a medium, or the politicians he challeneged while on the air. In both cases its as relevent now as it was then, if not more. All of us seem to have a tendency towards treating televisions and computers as entertainment, and not to their full potential as social catalysts.

...those who say people wouldn't look; they wouldn't be interested; they're too complacent, indifferent and insulated, I can only reply: There is, in one reporter's opinion, considerable evidence against that contention. But even if they are right, what have they got to lose? Because if they are right, and this instrument is good for nothing but to entertain, amuse and insulate, then the tube is flickering now and we will soon see that the whole struggle is lost.

This instrument can teach, it can illuminate; yes, and it can even inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise it is merely wires and lights in a box. There is a great and perhaps decisive battle to be fought against ignorance, intolerance and indifference. This weapon of television could be useful. --Edward R. Murrow at the RTNDA Convention, October 15, 1958

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No Shows

13.53.10 - Mark

I've been watching MacRumors Live feed of the todays Apple announcement, and unfortunatly they didn't mention anything of laptops. Mac Mini has a boost and some sort of iPod stero, but nothing that benifits me today. Like most Apple products they sound cool, and I've been wanting to get my hands on a Mac Mini for almost as long as they've been out, but there was certainly nothing in the event that helps me make a decision about fixing/replacing my iBook, and I need a mobile system.

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2006.02.27

Cello, Cello, and More Cello

23.14.36 - Mark

I love the sound a cello produces, and it can produce a wide variety of sounds, as this video demonstraits.

37 parts, all played with a single cello then mixed together to create a neat song and an even neater video.

Almost makes me wish I had put some more effort into learning to play the Cello well.

via digg.com

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Spam Pizza?

14.53.53 - Mark

Shoot. I was partially hoping that my not using a standard blog engine would keep the spammers at bay. Maybe that's true of some scripts, but not all. Two months without spam isn't bad I suppose, considering how high I've been placed in Google anymore

Looks like I'll need to work out some way to manage spam. Probably needed to do that anyways, considering I'm recycling my blog engine's code base on a couple other sites.

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2006.02.26

Crossroads

23.26.37 - Mark

I took the iBook down to the my nearest Apple Store, Unfortunatly they pretty much confirmed what I already knew - dead logic board. The Genius at the Charlotte Apple Store was nice enough, but he ran mostly useless tests then explained to me how I managed to still liquid into my laptop (here's a hint, I haven't spilled any liquid onto my iBook, ever, period) He went ahead and priced a new logic board from Apple for me, something like $700 to $800. Shopping around eBay I can beat that by at least 50%, but I was already seriously cramped on it anyways SO right now I'm at a crossroads.

I'm either going to get the replacement parts, or I'll be upgrading to a new laptop. Not sure which yet, Apple is supposedly making an announcement on Tuesday and the Intel iBooks are supposed to be coming up soon...

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2006.02.25

Junkie

18.03.00 - Mark

I've often joked about how my computers are an extention of my body, until now I've never realized just how addictied I am. Last night when I posted the Doctor Who thing, my first thought was to grap my iBook and make the post, never mind the fact that I had the wireless keyboard for the linux box sitting in my lap. Today when I woke up, the first thing I wanted to do was check the time on my iBook and get my email, despite the fact there's a perfectly functional clock next to my bed.

I doubt it would be this bad if it was a desktop failure, but having a laptop really made it easy to take a computer with me everywhere.

Here's hoping for a quick repair...

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2006.02.24

Who?

22.25.54 - Mark

Doctor Who 2005 which originally wasn't going to get distributed in the US, now is. SciFi finally had the insight to pick it up. I may or may not have already seen this series, but I'm glad its getting distributed in the US.

I'm happy, noting is going to be able to make March 17th suck (St. Patrick's Day and the US airing of the New Doctor Who) Hopefully Scifi will be enlightened enought to pick up the second season when it starts airing this fall rather that wait a few months.

As a side note, I'm starting to go though iBook widthdrawl. I miss my laptop and its barely been 12 hours... :'(

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Backup, Backup, Backup

15.00.07 - Mark

Majority of my important files are backed up, An advantage of using networked storage. However its been a while since my last comprehensive backup from my laptop. And with it not booting at all, that maent taking it apart and pulling the hard rive. Just a note for iBook owners out there, its not a fun task. If you can afford to have your tech guy make the backup in his shop, do it. For me, I wasn't about to pay $150 for a backup I was just as capable of making (I had a laptop drive enclousre, the right tools, and some degree of comfort with taking apart delicate electronics).

I'm actually in the middle of the process. I've got a disassembled iBook on the kitchen table and I'm waiting as my linux box is zipping the whole drive. Once thats done I'll copy over my documents then go off and reassemble it so I can take it to some shop and it repaired, or at least be told whats wrong with it Unfortunatly I've got a nasty suspission that its the logic board, nothing looked loose as I was taking it apart, but hope strings eternal - or something like that.

This really is a misserable day for me, and its not just this iBook breakdown...

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Pissing off the electron gods again

13.15.27 - Mark

My iPod is without functional hard drive after 3 months, my Cell phone (Motorola v551) is a piece of shit with some of the worsst design and contruction ever put into production, my brothers Laptop, which was "fixed" last week wasn't, and was taken back to the shop Monday, which means its going into its 5th week of repairs, not to mention the extremely wonky car stereo I've got that may or may not produce sound while you are occupying the vehicle.

All that, I can handle.

But today is the last straw. The electron gods do not need to be screwing up my iBook.

We're nottlking softwae screw ups, or even a flaky drive. No the electron gods have felt the need to smite me by making the system not boot up at all. Too far!

I'm about to go into surgery with it to pull the hard drive and make a backup, then see about taking it in for repairs.

Don't woory about me I'm FINE (Freaked out, Insecure, Neurotic, and Emotional)

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2006.02.23

CVS Not So Disposable Camcorders

21.52.26 - Mark

While I'm not using it as much as my Canon SD300, I do like the CVS "Disposable" Camcorders, and have shot a few videos with it. Part of my facination with it is the sheer number of hacks being done to them, and I'm really tempted to grab another and do the night vision hack. I also might pick mine up a little more often since someone made an easy installer for the CVS Cam USB drive driver, as opposed to the original pureread app I have been using - I never could figure out how to install Ops for linux (which lets you have some more control over camera settings)

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LED Throwies

20.27.31 - Mark

I just put together an LED throwie. Ever since I first saw them last week I've been thinking about ordering up the parts and making myself a pile. Unfortunately I've got that student budget thing. However I'm a resourceful geek and managed to make one based on the things I had floating around the house (magnet from an old 40MB hard drive, backup battery from my graphing calculator, LEDs from a bulk lot of blue LEDs I got a while ago ) They are amazingly fun things, and pricing them I was able to beat the suggested price of $1 a throwie ($.80 for single LED, $1 for 2 LEDs) eBay is amazing. Even $80 is a little more than I really want to do on my own, but I'm letting one of my brothers take one to school. I might do it if I can get my final cost for tossable throwies under $.50 each.

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Backyard Biowar

00.46.16 - Mark

Every time I see an article on how the basement geneticist is on the horizon or I see something about biowar I think back to one of my favorite short stories, Gene Wars by Paul J. McAuley. It was written back in 1991, and I probably read it around 1996 in Hackers an anthology of cyberpunk and hard science scifi.

The reason I bring it up again is this really neat piece on Biowar for Dummies. I'm not going to say scary, I'm not terrorized by this, but its something to chew on.

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2006.02.22

So what's in it?

22.04.05 - Mark

There's a Google hack out there called "Google Cooking" where you punch in everything you've got to cook with, and Google spits out a recipe. As a mild food geek in a house where there's never everything I need to make what I want, I've resorted to Google cooking more than once, and usually to decent results.

Recently I've been thinking about a way to document recipes that I like while being able to use the idea of Google Cooking. A quick easy way to sort recipes I like by what I have.

Like all good ideas, it seems like I'm not the only one thinking along these lines. Dave Slusher tossed out essentially the same idea for discussion on the uplifter blog, but for MAKE and DIY projects.

Coding a single user blog engine is one thing, Building a community driven site is another, but then again, I didn't know anything more than some elementary BASIC 9 months ago...

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Fuck This

00.46.57 - Mark

Fuck this Book is fucking hilarious, especially as you give the images a closer look. There's one photo about 3/4th the way though of a gas pump that is absolutely genius.

Fuck can be a beautiful word sometimes...

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Good Day, Good Day

00.24.06 - Mark

Despite it looking like today was going to be miserable its turned out well. I had been expecting to get swamped with homework, and while repetitive text entry is No Fun(tm) some of the MySQL tools and experience I've acquired from building this blog made the commands easy enough to rattle off in Terminal (still like GUI front ends tho', but I needed to log everything)

Thanks to that delightfully easy assignment I was able to meet up with Bucket, an Author client/friend who's trying real hard to make the adult world child digestible in fiction form (his first work is online). I signed on last year just so I could bang out code, but I stayed on to expand my horizons and I probably know a bit more about the book industry than I really care to. Anyways, despite some of his bad luck he's managed to compensate me for some of my expenses plus some. Something to help keep the server on at night, plus some to do a small spending spree over at Geeks.com, some assorted electronics and a bit of dirt cheap audio gear. Should let me do a little hacking and MAKEing.

Wrapped it up with a good vegetable stir fry (metal chop sticks seem like a better idea than they really are) and a cold drink. Today hasn't been so bad, and hopefully tomorrow will be even better (crosses fingers for a good inexpensive laptop hard drive).

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2006.02.20

Linkage

23.18.50 - Mark

This story just makes you feel all warm and cuddly about human nature. Kid finds camera, parents find owner, owner gives them money for its return, parents can't bear to part kid from camera and therefore screw the owner. The 336+ comments the own has received from don't help. Everything from calls for mobs of people to harass the parents and kid, to cries of public humiliation, to calling the owner a liar, to offering to donate cameras to the kid and or former owner. There's an up and a down to being internet famous on any level. Up is it gets things done. The down is that more often than not its not the thing that needs to be done.

The other link is to guidelines for podcasters and is a few days old. I agree with nearly everything the author says, although like everything else in life there are plenty of exceptions. The one I disagree with the most has got to be the get a buddy / "couplecast". While there's a support staff behind a few of my favorites, most of my favorite podcasts have a single host. I'm also willing to more that time limit up. To me 40 minutes per feed per week is workable (not that I want all my shows to be eating that much time). More than that and you've got to be offering something really compelling to avoid slipping down my playlists.

Fortunately podcasts are flexible and I get to be my own network programmer.

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Two steps taken

22.44.27 - Mark

Going offline for the evening wasn't so bad. I got someone tolerable at the CompUSA tech desk (can't really say the same for the customer service) and snagged one of those $30AR 200 GB seagate drives. Guess we're honoring George and his fellow Commanders by making their green tinted portraits go a little farther than usual. Gotta love this consumer culture of ours. Not that I'm complaining about a $30 hard drive. This pushes me up past .75 TBs in my primary computers. I think this is when I'm usually supposed to date my inner geek by making some comment about how I never thought I would fill a 160MB hard drive, let alone contemplate measuring my network's storage capacity in terabytes

Also stumbled across Stainless Steel Chopsticks at another store. Part of them is for the sake of having decent chopsticks around the house for when I eat Asian cuisine, part of me likes the idea of being able to toss a pair or two into my camping kits and not need to worry about them breaking or finding whatever silverware I need. Kind of like my brothers obsession with metal sporks

Too bad tomorrow isn't looking that enjoyable...

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Somedays...

15.13.26 - Mark

This is not my day.

I've been stupefied on my blog. I'm actually starting to get a handful of hits from High School University's Network too, and its being passed around on the school email network, which annoys me a bit more more than the above comment. My last round of HSU readership let to some unwanted visitors.

And I still need to go and deal with CompUSA today too.

Somedays...

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2006.02.18

Dear Web,

01.27.20 - Mark

Please don't repeat to me the latest blathering of John Dovorak. He started writing about Apple's impending death, or Apple's adoption of Windows, or the impending buy of of Apple by XYZ Corp since the mid 90's. Hasn't happened yet.

Similarly, please stop hyping about the "First Mac Worm". First, this happens every 6 months. Some bored Media outlet finds some post by some dunce who thinks that file he may or may not have downloaded (he pleaded the 5th) may have caused his warez drive to magically loose its magic smoke. It is a) non-propagating, b) benign, and c) nothing new. So unless you are a real, honest to goodness Mac Programmer, or someone who has a bunch of mac programmers on your speed dial don't try and tell me its dangerous, or new.

About the stupidest comment I've seen about this Mac Worm is that "its much more completed that an Apple Script," one would hope thats a new user or at worse a clueless news agency, but that one was a a self claimed Mac journalist. Guess he didn't do that much fact checking since Applescript can be insanely powerful, so much so it used to be the most common code base for Mac viruses.

All you need to do is practice safe computing. Don't open attactments, trusted or otherwise, unless you are expecting it and verify it, and DON'T TELL ME TO RUN NORTON ANTIVIRUS, or any of its kin, except maybe ClamAV. If I wanted to run computers as slow and buggy as Windows, I would run Windows.

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2006.02.17

Quasi Zombie States of Being

12.48.43 - Mark

I'm slowly returning to the land of the living from the near death state I've been in since Monday. I'm not 100%, I'm probably not 66%, but I managed to drag my non corpse-ified body into class today. Didn't accomplish much. Didn't accomplish anything other than keeping some of my attendance numbers up. While I don't skip classes, its something schools mange to force you to worry about. I've been out since Tuesday (and should have stayed home Monday) but I've been telling myself I "need" to go to class since Wednesday for one reason or another. I "need" to take the test, or I "need" to make that lecture. It's really a sad comment on schools, and society as a whole.

You might be sick, you could give the entire class/office the flu, we might even manage to make you sicker, but take your pills and show up so we know you're not having fun.

I can't help but wonder how much that mentality contributes to the health and well-being problems around the world.

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2006.02.16

Hell just got a bit colder

19.10.54 - Mark

Who would have guessed it - Garfield can actually be funny. Just remove Garfield and/or his thoughts







Original thread
More at Something Awful

Not all of the remixed strips are funny, many just point out how sad Garfield strips really are, but the fact that I'm laughing at comics that were created by a group-think brand-oriented committee is amazing. Hurray for remix culture!

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2006.02.15

Cheney's got a gun?

22.24.17 - Mark

Just about everyone knows about Cheney's shotgun incident over the weekend, the horrible handling of the situation by the White House (in terms of transparency), and the zillion jokes about it circulating the interwebs, but Steve Berlin Johnson posted a thoughtful note on his blog, asking what the Secret Service's stance on hunting is. It's a really good question. Anymore if you simply mention the President or VP and a weapon in the same sentence you're probably tripping some secret service filter, but we're letting them go out in the wild with guns? I mean, how many gun and hunting related accidents happen in this country annually?

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In John They Trust

22.09.55 - Mark

Smithsonian Magazine has a really nice article on South Pacific Cargo Cults. Its a different perspective on life, and makes one wonder about how much harm American consumerism is doing, both home and abroad.

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Curling over in pain

19.16.01 - Mark

I'm getting pretty interested in curling, for an olympic sport it seems the most geek friendly - i.e. not overly athletic and very reliant on physics and strategy - kind of like pool on ice. Unlike some of the events, I could see myself trying curling (and kind of want to), but NBC's coverage of the Curling matches is abysmal.

Fred Roggin, NBC's curling anchorperson is almost spending more time talking about food and making bad puns than talking about the sport, not that he seems to have any clue about the sport. One night when he was talking to the president of one of the larger Curling clubs he threw out a handful of bad dates, contradicting his expert guest as well as verifiable sources, then after the very brief discussion on curling, he proceeded to hand his guest a ridiculously stupid loaf of bread with a crescent roll jammed into it (hee hee hee, it looks like a curling stone, hee hee hee) Then went into some segment on how those loafs of bread were being made. If I want to watch food TV, I'll watch food TV, if I want to watch Curling, I want to watch Curling.

Other times Fred has talked about pizza, and how the American men's skip (captain) is using his free time in Italy to eat as "research" (because he owns a small pizzera - which is getting so much free advertising from these clip its not funny)

And his puns are terrible. In the brief moments when Fred makes a sad attempt at explaining the sport he resorts to really, really bad jokes. When he talked about the brooms used, he mentioned hog hair pads as a type of pad many curlers like, "although" Fred quiped, "the Hogs feel differently". When talking about the modern brooms being used at the olympics, he talked about the synthetic pads and the carbon fiber handles, reminding his audience that "we can all use more Carbon Fiber in our diets".

Having seen some of his interviews with Curlers, and him giving them those stupid loafs of bread, its a wonder that no one has forced one of those Carbon Fiber rods down his throat.

Overall NBC has been doing a great job with their olympic coverage. The anchors they have for most events have been lively, energetic, and informative, even entertaining. I've even willing to give the Curling anchors a little bit of slack because Curling isn't exactly the most active and energizing, but there are zombies that could provide better Curling coverage than Fred.

As proof that you can derive entertainment from curling, check out Jonathan Coulton's 20th Thing - Curl, and to help gain some understanding of the sport , see Wikipedia's Curling article

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2006.02.13

Two things

23.26.58 - Mark

1) I hate being sick
2) I have got to get my hands on some Mexican Coke

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Big, Dumb, and Lazy

16.07.04 - Mark

C|Net is buzzing about the 60th anniversary of ENIAC's first public demonstration, the big chunk of iron most people associate with being the first digital computer. There's a whole lot wrong with the article, like the hand waving gives towards the Atanasoff-Berry Computer.

Of course there's also the table comparing ENIAC to a modern Intel chip



I didn't know that square millimeters was a measure of weight...

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2006.02.10

Olympics

22.55.18 - Mark

I'm passively watching NBC's coverage of the Opening Ceremonies of the Torino Olympics, and the commentary by NBC is a real nasty reflection of American culture. I mean there's stuff about hoping xyz Middle Eastern City isn't destroyed, mentions of the perceived tensions in the far east. China's politics, Hong Kong's independent march, The Koreas walking together - and how they might be competing together in 2008. Then there's the stuff about the Political cartoons and extra security for Denmark.

What ever happened to the Ancient Greek idea of calling for a peace for the duration of the Olympics? Every country in the world is represented in Torino, then some, and some of the best citizens each can offer as well. So why do we need to being petty politics and squabbles into something that tries to focus on human excellence and cooperation as the Olympics?

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In Awe

18.06.33 - Mark

I'm simply amazed by some of the stuff people are building, like this guy, who built an autonomous robot, or that anyone can describe installing MythTV as "easy" (I'm fighting with MythTV again, I'm still loosing).

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Capstone, try headstone

13.28.41 - Mark

I've spent 4.5 semesters at HSU, taking classes in an internet technology curriculum, studying things like XHTML standards, CSS, design, PHP and Javascript, even sever configuration and network security. And the capstone for this work, the zenith of my studies.

Reduced to using some shitty predesigned commercial templates and non-compliant html files exported from Microsoft Publisher to be hosted on a flaky Windows server.

Staring blankly at a ceiling fan feels more productive.

I'm glad its Friday. I won't have anything fresh to complain about for at least 2 days. Maybe more if we get the snow thats being forecast for this weekend.

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Oooh Oooh, I'm a Podfader, give me some attention!

01.10.26 - Mark

The idea of "podfading" is freaking ridiculous, and the article Wired cooked up for the term just adds to some insane notion that you can add "pod" as a prefix to any other word and start making money from it. Its iNaming all over again.

I mean I could probably claim that I'm a "podfader" since I did a podcast or two and dropped out. Of course now that I'm titling myself a podfader I'm sure someone will probably go digging around my archives trying to find it. Please don't, as its a horribly uncompelling audio file where I was doing a really bad job of mimicking Adam Curry.

The idea that podcasters stopping (gasp) their shows is to be expected. Its not even that big a deal since a number of shows I liked dropped off the web, Speechless is one (still worth checking out his archives, regardless of the potential for new shows). Besides with 50 gazillion podcasters out there I can always find something similar, or I could move onto some thing else entirely. Its not the end of the world, it's just a prefix.

Podcasting, Podjacking, Podcatching, Podfading, Podwhatever. I still think that podcasting is something that should be recognized as something entirely different from traditional media, I'm starting to agree with the said that says we don't need to rework the entire English language to do so, because frankly, we don't.

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2006.02.08

Down a Pint

16.16.13 - Mark

I donated blood today. If you haven't donated recently (and can), go and do it. There are too many good reasons to donate blood to not to. It saves lives, doesn't take that much time, and it makes you feel good.

Go donate.

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Lousy good for nothing server

09.26.49 - Mark

Last summer my PHP/MySQL class used a cruddy student server to host our scripts. Except it didn't work, and I ended up using a sandbox site on my server to test everything, then loaded it on to the always malfunctioning school server (because I wasn't allowed to use my iBook in there, something about it being an "unfair advange")

Anyways in this project class I'm being told to use the same flaky server. I'm objecting of course. I'm to the point where I consider the school network hostile, but despite that I'm making a bunch of points against its use, and am being told in effect, "You fix it".

That's infuriating in so many different ways. 1) I'm paying for this "education". I am not wrong in expecting that the tools the school provides are in working order (thats not true anywhere else on campus, but I'm not wrong in expecting it) 2) I charge for server work. I'll do some free work, but not for organiztions that have caused me as much grief as this place. Besides this school is broke, and more than likely bleeding money at an unacceptable rate. 3) They have techies, allegedly at least one competent one, and they have student techies who are working for a grade. I am not one of them. 4) I really don't have an interest in the school's server. I'm just being told to use it. 5) Last time I started pointing out problems with the school and offering solutions I got an unexpected and unwanted visitor.

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Ouch, stupid overhead

00.52.30 - Mark

I'm really growing attached to Fireant, and can see why the vlogging community has latched onto it. Like any software there's a learning curve to it (something I keep forgetting), and while there are a couple things I'm still getting used to, like some of the playback controls and the lack of an easy way to go to the site in a real browser, most of the time its quick, easy to use, and extremely easy to manage files (iTunes Delete file functions leave something to be desired).

Recently I've been watching clips from Apollo Pony ("Rocketboom's Newsroom"). I had it in my subscriptions, but I accidentally downloaded all of the clips (which happened to me with RB as well). I hate to waste that bandwidth so I've been watching what I download, and there are some real gems in there. No regrets.

Since my post (and correction) on pod-catcher clients, I've also been playing with iPodderX Lite, and I'm starting to get the religion. There's a whole lot to be said for set it and forget it downloading but one things iPodder Lemon had going for it was that it was extremely easy to see download queues, progress, and failures. So far I haven't seen that type of functionality in there, but that could be pro, or something coming out in Transistr. Furthermore its only ever a problem when I max out my iBooks HD (which unfortunately I do a lot, especially when I'm collecting video)

Between the two clients there are a few problems, nothing serious, and nothing on the scale of my iPodder pains. More like transition pains (which are always unpleasant)

Anyways, back to watching, deleting, and downloading.

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2006.02.06

Inane Unsanity

09.51.31 - Mark

I am in what I hope will be my last semester at High School Univesity (name changed to protect the guilty) and one of my classes to finish this 2 bit internet tech degree is a projects class.

The main project is to create a website for a student organization on campus, and make it easy for non-technical students to edit. To me that means "no more complicated than email". Not "no more complicated than raw xhtml in a text editor".

Supposedly we are allowed to use everything that has been covered in past classes which in terms of page creation include XHTML, CSS, PHP, MySQL, scraps of Perl, and an almost useless ammount of Javascript.

Except we're not. I'm now being told that using PHP and MySQL would make the site incompatible with the (school) server that the site is to be hosted on.

I could go in a number of directions here, but the vast majority of sites out there (70%) uses a Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP/Perl/Python configuration. That 70% also includes majority of the major sites out there, like Amazon and Google.

The minority use the Windows, IIS, ??? setup the school uses.

If they didn't want me using it, they shouldn't be teaching it. Then again, they haven't been teaching it that effectivly, so maybe I'm missing some subtle hints...

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Where's the Boardband?

00.10.06 - Mark

A book review of The $200 Billion Broadband Scandal, a book that takes a look into where the promise of true broadband in America went.

I hate to go on and on about bandwidth, and in terms of global perspective bandwidth issues are fairly trivial, but its a topic thats important to me. Not only do I want to be able to get more information, I think everyone will benefit from widely available, low cost, high speed broadband. Anything to narrow the digital divide.

Some people give me flack for thinking DSL is slow, but I remember dial-up, hell I remember dial-up when 14.4kbps over a long distance connection was high end consumer technology. I didn't like those connections either.

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2006.02.05

Ego Boost

01.17.12 - Mark

It's been a while since I've indulged myself with an ego surf, so I punched my name into google and for the first time ever my name popped up on top. I've been in the top 5 for a year or two, but I've always been below a Wake Forest Chemistry professor or a Linux Geek in Ohio (usually in battle with him for second)

Oh, and while writing this post I came across a web2.0 ego-surfing site, EgoSurf.org Here's my ego's history, looks like I'm a bland 1990 on Google I'm not too bad on the other search engines, except del.icio.us, no one seems to think I'm tasty ;)

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2006.02.04

Space Suit Satellites

00.55.30 - Mark

A few weeks ago I heard about a project called suitsat which was repurposing an old Russian Space suit for use as a satellite. They stuck in a Ham radio and a few extra batteries and shoved it out the airlock door sometime Friday afternoon.

It's a neat project with a lot of potential for allowing us to repurpose some of the junk we've launched into space at a cost of millions of dollars. Plus there was a secret message, and secret messages are always fun.

I had been hoping to listen but unfortunately after a couple orbits, both before it made any decent passes near NC, suitsat failed, which is a shame. NASA thinks the batteries froze, so I'm sure they'll cook up a solution and make another disposable satellite. I really wanted to try and listen in some time this weekend and make an attempt at decoding the picture. Of course I though I was magically going to listen on a radio set that didn't support the transmission, but failed hardware on their part means I don't have to admit my brain fart, wait a minute....

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2006.02.03

Podcast Woes

00.18.43 - Mark

I'm officially fed up with iPodder Lemon / Juice/ whatever they hell they're calling it, and NetNewsWire, while its a great RSS read is barely a solution for podcasts (at least to me), don't even think of suggesting I use iTunes, and who the hell knows where iPodderX/Transistr is (or if the new release will have bittorrent support?*). I originally didn't like FireAnt, but now that I'm subscribed to a few video blogs I'm going to see about using it some. It seems to have a much better interface for video than the iPodder / iTunes solution I'd using now, but even then looks like its a little lacking.

But that still leave me struggling for a decent pod-catcher. I'll willing to set up plenty of half baked, gum and bailing wire solutions, but enough is enough. After a year and a half someone should have come up with a solid solution, and even with as much praise as I've heard for the iPodderX/Transistr, I have a preference for shipping software (which throughout this name change, isn't)

I might be shooting my mouth off a little soon, but with the exception of iPodderX, I'm using all of the clients I mentioned (even if fireant is relatively new to my software heap)

*Edit : Oops. I guess iPodderX/Transistr has bittorrent support. I'm not sure where I got the idea that it doesn't, since it looks like its been in there since before I even started listening to podcasts. I'm going to take a better look at it, but I should probably buy a copy just because Ray took the time to correct me. Small developers rock, and I feel bad about my college student budget not allowing me to support more of them.

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2006.02.02

And now for a commercial break

20.20.09 - Mark

Last week one of my brothers was assigned to do some form of commercial for a book (The Kite Runner) for a class. Somehow he got it in his head to do an animated commercial and drop it to tape. Well with his laptops screwed, and a lack of A/V abilities on it anyways, he borrowed me and my iBook to help him do his video. I helped him figure out how to use photoshop, iMovie and Garageband, and did some of the editing, but it's mostly his work. However he did trick me into pulling a technically unnecessary all-nighters to finish it, and cause me a bit of pain when dropping it to VHS, so I'm taking out revenge by posting it onto the interweb.

The Kite Runner Commercial (9.3MB, 320x240 Quicktime, 2 minutes 11 seconds)

This is the same project that the photoshop doodles came from.

Don't mistake this for an endorsement. I haven't read it and his tastes are usually significantly different from mine. I'm only posting it because 1) revenge, and 2) I think I remember laughing the first time he pitched it. That was many many hours of work ago so who knows I still laugh at bits and pieces of it, but those could be memories from recording parts at 3 AM on a Sunday Morning...

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Twisted Video

00.19.09 - Mark

A few months ago I was in an Art Appreciation class with a not so great teacher (too much lecture and exceptionally bad powerpoint presentations, not enough discussion), and a worse than usual class (single camera /room teleconferencing on low bandwidth connections run by technophobes does not make for a good classroom discussion) Towards the end of the semester we were each assigned an Artist to do a presentation on. With a last name starting with W I got last pick of artists, and ended up with Nam Juke Paik.

Turns out it was a really good pick for me because I love electronics and I've been dinking around in computers forever, and I've got a long standing side interest in video. The main part of the project was research and write a report, but we had at one point been told to prepare a presentation, and after researching Paik some I though it would be neat to make a video rather than to put slides (did I mention we sat though a lot of bad powerpoint presentations in that class?)

Nothing came of it at the time, because his slow repeating lectures and technical inability to control the teleconference gear (did I mention technophobe?) and teach he had to commandeer the time he had set aside for presentations so he could finish the curriculum.

Anyways, Paik died a few days ago, and considering he predicted a freely distributed video market in the 60's I'm reinvestigating the idea of making a Paik mini-documentry. I've already got a report, and I saved most of my presentation materials, so the big thing becomes making a movie that looks good. I'll see about serious editing later, but I've been looking at iMovie plug-ins.

Wow. There are some amazing looking plugins out there that are either free or cheap (most are under $5 a piece, some more complex ones like video stabilization are more)

Part of me wants to go out and binge, the rest of me knows I've got that money earmarked for other purposes, but one thing I'm noticing is that the plug-in developers are very cool about providing product demos, both preprocessed videos as well as installable and usable plugins.

Maybe I won't go on a shopping spree, but I might have a lot of watermarked video on my hard drive...

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