Morals, Ethics, and Phone Calls from God

16.55.20 - Mark

"You never hear about an Atheist going on a cross country shooting spree because No God didn't call to tell him not to"

Not that I really need another podcast, especially from a commercial radio station with a miserable RSS feed and exceptionally vague track names and nearly impossible to navigate websites, but I'm loving the snippets that are being podcast from Penn Jillette's Radio Show

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Incomplete thought of the day

22.54.21 - Mark

While I was writing my rant about online video distribution I started thinking about how much money networks get from commercials compared to selling content online (since we all know they don't put the commercials into the videos). I've been doing some research, but TV finances are a deep dark hole of uncertainty. Especially when you don't want to sign up for Nielsen Reports.

Then I realized I messed up some numbers, and that I didn't have the time to fix those and write it up properly. It's probably for the better that I draft it for a day or two. I'm not sure what my final point is.

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Get a Real Server.

15.33.20 - Mark

Am I the only person who gets annoyed when I'm directed to YouTube.com and Google Video? Its not that they're well poorly constructed services, they've useable, but I have a strong dislike of streaming of all varieties. While it doesn't help I'm on the lowend of what the FCC allows ISPs to hoc as broadband, I like to flip between half a dozen tabs and a couple applications. When I'm ready to sit down and watch video, that's all I want to do so I usually watch in full screen mode. I want it to be there on my hard drive for local access when I have complete and total control over the video playback. No lag, no dropped frames, no weird browser quirks that crash my system or worse - "forbid" me from watching a video with my browser/OS combination in the first place. Hell I want to be able to watch it without needing to hook up to the interwebs (face it, Wifi might be popular but it still doesn't exactly have the strongest showing in NWNC).

Sure I could screen cap it a couple times and edit over the dropped parts, but that takes time I shouldn't have to waste.

Of course there's also Google's New video store deal, which looks like one huge rip off. 1 Day, windows only streaming video that. While I might (emphasis on might) be convinced to pay a couple dollars for a favorite star trek episode for that $2 I want to download it and play it offline when ever I want. Demanding that I pay $2 for a 24 hour viewing window for a single TV show is proof enough for me that someone at Google/CBS is drinking the Kool-aid.

Anyways, if you're doing video online, get a real server and let me download the stuff.

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Mark's Technology Hit List

01.31.17 - Mark

Technologies that have caused me undue pain in the Last 72 hours

Microsoft Windows (I don't like dealing with CompUSA Tech Goons - unrelated to other items)
VHS Tapes (And those who still accept them as a useful media)
VCDs and MiniDVDs (The whole stinking standard - or lack of compliance)
iDVD 4 (For not letting me write to a disc image)

I'm sure I'm forgetting something.

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What on Earth can you possibly say about this one?

22.42.02 - Mark

From the slime balls who brought you Girls Gone Wild (and the 30,000 variations that have come since) comes, Guys Gone Wild.

I can't believe people buy most of the junk they advertise on late night television, but this one takes the cake.

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Some People Get it.

01.15.45 - Mark

I'm not big on IM. I used to be then I started to need to have umpteen thousand different logins in half a dozen clients and I don't have enough screen space for my browser, let along half a dozen IM clients. However I've heard a lot of good things about Audium, a Free and Open Source Software IM Client for OS X. I haven't formed an opinion of it yet, but while I was installing it a little while ago, I realized its a perfect example of how much FOSS developers care about usability

In the disc image, while most developers will simply tell you to copy the application to your Applications folder, the team behind Adium make an alias (shortcut for the unenlightened Windows Users in the audience) to the Application. No opening other folders, no navigating directories, just click, hold, and drag the icon a screen inch or so and it's installed. Geeks care about usability. Just another reason why open source is better than proprietary software

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Site Feed Improvements

17.42.04 - Mark

The default site feed should have enclosures now. I also fixed the bug mentioned earlier. Stupid Ampersands.

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Blog Engine Code Updates

15.11.50 - Mark

I'm squashing some bugs in the blog code right now. Specifically the one for my categories where items with non alphanumeric characters screwed it up. This wouldn't have been a problem except I've tagged a few things with spaces. I mainly did that one for myself. I got tired of seeing spaced categories making up my error reports.

The next major changes are going to be to the RSS feed. I've made 4 links in the last 20 posts that mucked it up (which is why all my feed is showing up as raw HTML) I've found the 4 responsible URLs, so I'll start working out a fix. Depending on how complex that gets, I'll probably get around to putting in enclosures on the main feed, as well as a separate media enclosed feed.

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Photoshop Doodles

01.44.01 - Mark

My brother needed some scans and light photoshop work done on a couple drawings he pencil traced / inked from photos he found online, and while I don't care about pop culture figures like Paris Hilton and Joan Rivers, I started doing some colorization on the scans. I spent about an hour kicking them around photoshop colorizing and smoothing the edges. I think they turned out extremely well. I might need to try my hand at some more.

Redrawn Celebrities

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Penn and Teller: Walmart Subversives

19.49.27 - Mark

Penn and Teller would be proud of the stunt they're pulling off in Walmarts across the country.

My Brother is 17, doesn't drive, and the only photo ID in his wallet is a school ID that doesn't have his age on it. But he has money and likes movies. Tonight while running some other errands he tagged along to buy The Aristocrats, (wikipedia article on the joke). While we're there we also see Million Dollar Baby and The Aviator as a packaged deal for $20. Since we liked both movies he decides to get them as well.

I grab and pay for my things, and he's behind me with the movies. The walmart clerk passed the movies over the scanner and about the time the thing beeps for age verification we remember that Million Dollar Baby is rated R. Well, he doesn't have an ID, and I've gone though so I can't show my ID and have him (or me) pay, and none of our other tricks to deal with some of Walmart's Minor Protection Program thing will work other than come back later (its really not an efficient program).

However, The Aristocrats goes though. Turns out it's unrated, as in not R. So he forks over his $20 and we walk out of Walmart with it in all its obscene glory, but not things that were up for dozens of Academy Awards, and (typing this as I'm watching the Aristocrats) are far more "family friendly".

BTW, go watch the Aristocrats. If you don't mind filth, its funny as hell. If you do mind filth, go watch it anyways. You anal-retentive types need to loosen up. Life is a sick, disgusting, perverted world, but it's a hell of a journey.

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Things we're not supposed to do.

00.36.40 - Mark

I made good on a threat I made a couple weeks ago - I went flying. Very neat experience, and really reinforced the idea that I want to have my pilot's license.

While I did a good job of picking a 60 degree blue sky day, it was a little windy for an introductory flight (some strong gusts). I'll admit my mind was kind of elsewhere for stretches of the flight, I wanted to be paying attention to the flying part (throttle, steering and controls, bits and pieces of the flight checks I can remember), but I kept finding myself gazing over the landscape. Not really a surreal experience, but it was distracting, especially on a short introductory flight.

When you're on the ground the blue ridge mountains in the distance make for a spectacular horizon, a few hundred feet up in a small plane, they are something else. If you ever get a chance to fly near the Blue Ridge in a small plane (or probably any mountains really) take it.

I'll get there though, I've been thinking about this too long not to.

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What do you want to learn today?

14.35.33 - Mark

"so by the time they get to 12th grade, they come to college, ahh - now I'm free, I don't have this curriculum shoved down my throat, I'm going to take things that are 'interesting' " -- David Helfand discussing Science Education (Emphasis mine) on Science Firday, Dec 30th 2005

Of the many podcasts I listen to Science Friday and some of the other radio based shows tend not to rank up real high in my listening queue, but they tend to stay in the list. So today one of the ~20 minute ones that coincide with commute to and from school was on What Scientists Owe the Public, with a strong focus on education.

Like nearly all of the similar interviews it takes its shots at No Child Left Behind, the lack of science funding, the need to teach critical thinking, and all the usual suspects, but the above quote about 13 minutes in really hit. As in I listened the clip 5 times, hit me.

As a student, I think most students are aware of the curriculums imposed on them during high school, I certainly was. Curriculums are dry boring documents issued by fat white balding bureaucrats hundreds or thousands of miles away. Most of them probably grew up in an era where enforcing discipline took precedence over all else in the classroom.

It's a document designed to manipulate students. I don't think anyone likes being manipulated, in any way, but certainly not by unknown persons with no real connection to them. I'm sure if you need the obvious explained to you, there are plenty of psychologists out there who will explain how that's even truer when dealing with teenagers trying to assert their individuality.

I'm not going to turn this into an anti-centralization post, that's too vague a solution. I'm not even going to say you should completely overthrow curriculums. No I think educators need to have a very basic list of skills students need to walk away from the class with (ie identify good science and bad science, be able to summarize a novel) but have the flexibility to tailor the lesson plan around to goals to create something that students enjoy.

I don't think its too far fetched. Ask a class what they want to learn. Chances are, they'll always be able to tell you.

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I had a rant, it died, it died

14.56.51 - Mark

I was going to go off about how online content producers who serialize their content should edit it together after all episodes have been released.

Then I realized the way I was writing it was only making for a lousy argument that was allowing for too many exceptions for it to be valid anyways. The gist was that with bandwidth so cheap, there's no reason not to release an uncut version of your video/audio/text work when it's finished. It just pisses off the users who don't want to waste clicks. For those who don't like big bites, its easy to segment it in your favorite audio, video, or text editor.

Instructables is a perfect example of a hybrid system.

So reader, you've been spared a rant.

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Disney to Buy Pixar

13.02.52 - Mark

Disney to Buy Pixar for $7 Billion. If it's approved tomorrow, I can only see bad things happening.

Disney's problem hasn't been with animation, its been with lackluster story telling and inability to base a movie on something other than fart jokes. Storytelling is where Pixar's Strength has always been. Sure the all CGI nature of Toy Story helped them bring people in, but Pixar wouldn't have the success they've had if it was all in the animation, that type of novelty wears after one or two movies.

If the deal goes though, Steve Jobs will have $3.5 Billion in Disney Stock, making him the single largest shareholder of Disney. The article doesn't speculate on how that buy out will effect the operations of Disney Pixar, nor does it talk about what Steve Job's roll will be with the company. I hope Disney lets Pixar run itself, and that the this buy out is just a measure they're taking to prevent Pixar from partnering up with another distributer, but considering how much Disney has been hurting, I doubt it.

Via Boing Boing

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Comments on Categories

03.25.19 - Mark

I figured I should make a comment about the way I'm handling categories on this site for two reasons. First, its a new feature to the blog since the move from Blogger, and secondly, because its not really structured.

Because I made this move after several hundred posts, its not very practical to implement a category system retroactively, so I've trying a free form approach. There are some categories that are very quickly coming forward, like video, computers, school, life, and stuff. However most things aren't, and as I've been making new posts here I've been treating my categories more as web2.0 tags, phrases, and slashdot like department jokes.

The links to my "category" pages have the tag relationship for the benefit of Technorati (which produces a nice tag cloud on my profile page), even the forms for the posting engine refer to my categories as "tags".
Engine's Tag form
Running though my logs I can see where it seems to confuse users, and part of that is my odd implementation. I really need to make a distinction between key onsite categories, and the tags used for web 2.0ish things. I should also fix the way links are made, since a number of categories I've make result in messy URLs, which break some of my engine's inner-workings.

I think some higher logic will emerge, but for now I think I'll keep up the odd tag/category system. Just one more thing for users of this site to be aware of. Anyways, it's late, I'm going to bed.

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Second Life

02.41.19 - Mark

As if I didn't have enough stuff to do in my real life, I've set up a Second Life Account. Second Life is one of those things that I keep hearing about, and in tonight's little fit on insomnia, I bit the bullet and signed up. I'm not sure I'll be posting my user info anytime soon. I'm usually not big on online gaming. A bit part of that is the laughable excuse of an internet connection the FCC allows Sprint to call "broadband" I use, another part is that I'm not the most social of creatures.

But there are always exceptions, and recently I have been a bit more social that I usually consider myself to be. As I understand it, and one of the reasons people seem to love it, Second Life is very user centric, with a wide variety of tools for users to make things with. When I was playing the Sims, not that I played that much, one of the big things for me was building the house. So I might take to second life. However its late, and I just finished the orientation. I'll have to wait and see if Second Life passes the Second Launch test. Most of the online games I've tried have never passed that test.

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50,000 Gallons of Fun

21.40.06 - Mark

Some people have some deliciously weird hobbies, and though the wonder of the internet we can all share them.

Like Building 50,000 gallon fish tanks, building Bars out of Books, which would go lovely with some other book projects I've mentioned, building a table out of a pinball playfield, or wilderness engineering (which will be added to my feed collection shortly) I've done some good sized lashing projects (wish I had some photos), but that blog puts some of what I've worked on to shame.

While I'm not all that interested in building a monster fish tank, the book based furniture, table, and the rope and pole engineering are all fun.

Most of the Stuff found via MAKE, Extreme Fishtank, Rope and Pole Engineering, Book Bar, and Pinball Playfield Table

I really need to build something.

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Boom Boom

13.19.25 - Mark

The unofficial Mount Airy Bomb Threat Count is up to 6 threats in ~10-12 weeks (depends on how you want to count the winter break).

2 at the High School
3 at the Middle School
1 at the Upper Elementary

While I've heard that people in the district administration like the idea of a distributed evacuation, they haven't built it into their existing plans. From what I've heard, all of the evacuations have been handled in the same way with the schools following existing procedure. I think it's good that they're attempting to follow a set protocol, each and every event despite how inane it must be getting, but if you feel the same way I do about large group evacuations, it is very, very disturbing.

If you have people willing to call in bomb threats, how long before people stop being vigilant and/or someone builds up the courage to do the real thing?

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I hate Windows

11.54.24 - Mark

Hate it, hate it, hate it, hate it.

Hate it

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Frequency Modulation

23.13.05 - Mark

I'm one of those people who saw Global Frequency back during the summer, and I loved it I even made it a point to buy the first set of Global Frequency Graphic Novels, (and I'm waiting for money so I can buy the other set) Its not just because it never aired on TV, instead only getting distributed though bittorrent, its because I think it was a great work.

It kind of pops into my head once in a while, and I should probably watch it again. But it occurred to me that when the WB does a deal with Apple to show up on the iTunes Music Store, they should really release it.

I could very well be forgetting some of the details of how its managed, and I'm certainly not aware of the business behind it, but people were begging to pay for it when it leaked on bittorrent. The iTMS model is certainly suited to single episode and short film distribution.

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That's $5.50 and your SSN please.

15.08.44 - Mark

I'm not a major privacy nut, if I was I'd off trying to be an ungoogleable rather than write on a blog at a vanity domain, but I tend to take the same approach to identity issues that I do with security. I try to be aware of it, and while I won't go out of my way to practice it to an extreme, I know better than to haphazardly blow it off, and I try to follow sane practices, and will even change some of my habits to be a bit above average.

That's why I'm really pissed off about the way my school is throwing around Social Security Numbers. It's bad enough that the school uses the only 4 really unique digits in the SSN in student passwords. But when I can walk into an office and be told to sign my full name and SSN to get a folder full of information it takes the step from scary to outright dangerous. If I was evil, I could have very easily taken a picture of the log, and walked out of that office with 30+ names and SSNs resting in my pocket, almost all of them belonging to people with clean credit reports.

Maybe I should have, maybe then they'd have to change their policy about acceptable use of student SSNs.

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Fun with Loose Change Pt. 1

16.59.33 - Mark

I was taking a quick look at Boing Boing this morning during class and noticed building bridges with pennies (and the Boing Boing Link). I was a) bored b) looking for something to do a time lapse video of and c) holding on to a few dollars worth of pennies for no reason other than to have a cup full of loose change. So mix in a little time and a steady hand and about 160 some pennies latter you get Pennies. (150kb 320x240 Quicktime)

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 License.

I would have done some more with it but my camera battery died and while it was recharging someone bumped into the table something fierce and knocked it over. I like the idea of small time lapse type videos so I'll probably do another on at some point.

Just as a side note for anyone getting my videos though RSS, the markw.us/rss feed does not currently support enclosures, it's main purpose is to provide the source for the feedburner feed (which does provide enclosures). Unlike some 'casters I don't have preference for which feed you use, but just be aware that RSS enclosures in the on-site feed will be added on a when-it-happens basis.

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Comics Code

00.56.11 - Mark

I like my comics, and with a not so great comics page in the local paper on top of my general avoidance of newspapers in general the web has kind of come to my rescue here. Thanks to some great RSS feeds like the ones listed (or created by) Tapestry Comics and other similar services like Comic Alert.com and Interglacial's RSS feeds Unfortunately to read all my comics I might need to open up one to two dozen tabs in whatever browser I'm using. Now add in the fact I haven't been checking all of my feeds daily.

So I'm working on a personal page generator that pulls up the images and none of the extra code around it. Some places this is trivial, because they use a standard Year/Month/Day scheme. ucomics (Universal Press Syndicate's Comic Site) is one of them, and most webcomics also follow that scheme (or at least something similar). Some webcomics use a sequential counter, which presents a slight challenge, but nothing impossible.

Unfortunately, a few of my favorite comics rest at United Media's comic site, Comics.com, which, likely because of others like me, doesn't use a regular numbering scheme for the comics (the URLs are a different matter) I think that's doable, but I'll need to learn about scraping webpages (which wouldn't be the worse thing). I'm much more frustrated with King Features, who have the strictest regulations for their comics, making you pay to access their site (DailyINK.com) or require the people publishing them to really lock up the pages displaying them (javascript and blocking offsite referrals.)

Anyways, I guess I need to figure out the numbering system or learn how to page scrape. I suppose the plus side is these self motivated programming projects are teaching me a lot more about programming and development that some of my classes have. Plus, its fun. Fun is good.

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Recommended: Why?

14.44.37 - Mark

This is recommended
I wasn't a fan of the Course Technologies Books my school likes to begin with, but when Amazon starts recommending them over higher rated books, its a little concerning.

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Wiki, what's a word for repitition

23.30.55 - Mark

Recently I've been finding myself wander around Wikipedia and other wiki-based sites. Despite some of the criticisms of the open source document and user-changeable model that lets wikis thrive I like using wikis. For the articles of relative unimportance (ie I don't need this for a report), but where people love the topic and want to do right by it, its fun to go though.

But there are a couple problem when you start looking at them. The big one is one Jimmy Wales talks about regularly, some of the articles out there border on unreadable. Some can be filled with typos and obvious grammatical errors, or worse, lack any sense of continuity or purpose.

Those are bad. What's worse, and something I've been noticing more recently, is that a phrase, or even a whole paragraph of text will be repeated several times on the same page. On similar pages that can be understandable, and seems to be a fairly common practice, but on the same page its annoying.

I can't recall any single wikipedia article to cite here, but its pretty common most of the wiki based sites I've visited, and I remember seeing a lot of this in-article and cross article repetition at Memory Alpha (Star Trek Wiki Site).

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Unsymthathtic Jerks

15.46.04 - Mark

I wish I knew how podcasters/vloggers deal with jerks who make noise when they want to record something. Because I sure don't. I was playing with some video ideas this afternoon and the effort was quickly lost when people decided to rush in and then not leave me alone despite my asking. They left, eventually, but they sure as hell weren't happy about it.

In public spaces it's one thing. In a smaller area where they really don't need to be, it's another.

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Flipping the Switch

19.55.24 - Mark

When I started writing my own blogging engine a few months ago, I had three very clear goals.

Get off Blogger.
Keep my Content.
Keep the links working.

I met the first and second goals back in December when I flipped the switch here. The last goal has been sitting on the bench waiting to see if anything failed horribly here. Fortunately it hasn't, even if things need occasional fixing, so I just switched on my Blogger Redirect Engine.

Because I coded everything, it was really easy to set up a redirect engine by putting a HTML Refresh in my blogger template that points to the look up script. With the refering URL, it can instantly figure out where the user needs, no matter if it's my index page, an archive file, or a post and it moves them there. Nice and simple with no demand on the visitor.

It might have been possible with wordpress, but it would have been a lot more work, and I liked the challenge of coding my own blog engine. Control is good.

So long Blogger. You're great for beginners, but you gotta do something for your serious users.

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Podcastercon Video

16.39.29 - Mark

I've been working on this on and off during my free time all week (with a surprising amount of time taken to make room on my laptop's hard drive) I've finished my Podcastercon 2006 Video (48.3MB 320x240 Quicktime). There are other (higher quality) videos out there, thanks for taking the time to watch this one.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License.

Other Thanks to
Steve Eley - Escape Pod
Barbara Sawhill - Language Lab Unleashed
David Ranii from the News and Observer (his article on the event)
Brian Russell - Audio Activisum
Chris MacDonald - IndieFeed
Ed Cone
Corey Pudhorodsky - 501c3cast
Kevin Lewis and Beau Wright - Attack of the Nerds
Joseph Nilo and Daniel Judson - Macpropodcast
David Warlick - Connect Learning
Lynn Eades

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Should have...

17.36.13 - Mark

North Carolina Weather is a very, very confusing critter. Yesterday London might have been envious of the fog, which then froze overnight, but quickly thawed in the clear, mid-50 degree weather than was upon us by 10AM.

A little sad that I wasted it sitting at home. I've playing with the idea of taking ground school for a pilot's license, but I'm not sure how much I enjoy flying. I've only been up in a couple of private planes and those were years ago, so before I commit all of my Saturdays for 3 months I'd like to go up in a plane. Today would have been perfect. Oops. But I'm resolving myself. I'm going to fly this month.

Afternote - This post was prompted by the 5th or 6th small plane that's flown over today.

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What's an Intel Chip Doing in a Mac

14.21.51 - Mark

I've been lusting over the iMac G5's for a while now. It's not that my iBook is old and beaten, its just that I've been pressing it a little hard for what it is. Portables, especially consumer portables aren't exactly up to the challenges that major geeks pup on them. That's not a complaint, as the thing is a does really well for most things, but I could do with some more drive space and some more power to kick around for video and the like.

With today's announcement of Intel iMacs and MacBookPro (what a horrible name - it sounds like accounting software) the drooling was kicked up a notch. I don't need another portable, since I'm making do with the one I've got, but after I replace my iPod, I might be giving some serious though into getting an iMac. They're a hell of a deal, and of corse by the time I can afford one, they might have those famous first version kinks worked out.

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The Day After

23.16.46 - Mark

I had a great time at Podcastercon yesterday. I think Brian Russell and all of the other people behind it did a great job putting it together and the 200+ people in attendance made it a great environment to learn, talk, share, and create.

I think a lot of people would have benefited from workshops, specifically for the Introduction to Podcasting session. There's just no way you can do that well in a large group sessions, even though Rob W and Steve Eley make a great attempt.

The Podcasting in Education session was wonderful. With so many teachers and administrators (at least the ones I've dealt with) who just don't get it's good to know there are a lot of people out there that either get it, or are willing to go out of their way to try and understand new trends.

The Video Blogging Session / Integration with Traditional Media Session was good, but it didn't live up to its potential. There were a lot of geeks and technology-aware people at the conference, but I don't think that means we should have a 45 minute discussion on formats, bit-rates and delivery. I would have liked more focus on content which is where it eventually moved, and creation which is what some people seemed to be interested in.

What really made the conference worth going to was the people. I spent most of the in-between session time and Lunch time shooting video, quick little one to two minute interviews and just about everyone was happy to answer some questions, of corse many of the podcasters I talked with asked their own questions back.

The after conference had a couple odd moments. On the way to the book giveaway one of the people in the walking group overheard me say Mount Airy and instantly started asking me if I was serious, which is usually the opening to "Oh Cool, Mayberry" discussions, except as it turned out it was the couple behind PodcastRant.com, which is based in/near Mount Airy and does Local's Only which highlights some music groups in the area.

Just a note on the video I was shooting, I've looked over what I shot and most of it looks (and more importantly, sounds) usable, so once I find a few GB's of space on my hard drive I'll start editing (tomorrow). Not sure when I'll have something, but if you're desperate for a Podcastercon video check out The Mac Pro Podcast. They were shooting with some high end gear and they say they'll have a video out tomorrow. There's going to be some overlap but I'm looking forward to seeing what they put out.

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At Podcastercon Now

09.17.20 - Mark

I'm posting this from Podcastercon. I made great time coming in from Mount Airy, real easy trip with next to no traffic. The in town directions provided by the conference page were great, and it didn't take anything to get a parking spot.

Like at the past conferences the people managing it seem to be doing a great job, my wifi account hadn't been setup but we got that taken care of quickly.

Also, and no promises here, I'm shooting some video. If there's enought, and if its any good I'll scrape together the drive space to do some editing. Of course, pre-announcing intentions is well known as a way to turn good intentions into public failure. I'll try not to screw up ;)

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That's Decided

14.35.59 - Mark

I just registered for Podcastercon '06. I'm a little curious about what I'll get out of it since I'm mainly a consumer of podcasts, aside from a video or two. I really should to put up some more, but then again its hard to edit video when you've got a chronic lack of drive space.

That aside, it should be fun to meet some of the podcaster's I've been listening to for up to (and over) a year. The last two blogger conferences have been fun, I doubt this one will be any different.

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14.00.07 - Mark

Should I be concerned when my American Government teacher mentions Pat Robertson and The Christian Science Monitor on the first day of class?

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What a bunch of muck...

16.34.45 - Mark

I'm glad I'm coming off of a long holiday break, because otherwise today would be unmistakably classifiable as painfully depressing and psychotic as opposed to the mild benign inanity I'm really feeling.

Classes went well enough, considering that one technically shouldn't have formed, and the teacher is supposedly doing it "pro bono" so a couple of of can finish on the degree on track. Of course, he also walked into class with the wrong book (something 2 editions old), and told us pretty much straight up that he wasn't sure how he was going to teach it. I'm looking forward to seeing what sort of improvisation he's going to concoct tomorrow for the other class that shouldn't have come together. I doubt I'll like what I hear but at least it should prove to be amusing.

There's also the little thing about the school thinking I had dropped my enrollment. I have no idea why and lack the inclination to root out this one little problem in the sea of all the other grievances with the school. I'd only turn up blank stares, half truths, and vague comments about why I was "purged from the system." (their actual words) I wasn't happy about running all over campus for an hour to get one person to do punch a few keys to get me un-purged, so I could then give them money. Whatever, it was the easiest resolution. Stupid and mundane, but a resolution none the less.

I only wish enrolling at another community college was as easy. I've spent the better part of an afternoon trying to figure out how the hell I'm supposed to enroll as a distance education student at another college to make up the classes the local school cancelled. It's nice that the local HSU is willing to make exemptions to its typical cancellation hobbies for two or three students who still won't be able to graduate because they're still missing classes from other rounds of cancellations.

I think they're reusing some of the flawed "critical thinking" practices they used on me last October.

Plus my linux box is acting up. I probably should update it with a clean install of the latest Ubuntu distro and rework my way though a MythTV installation with my more linux friendly card but, well, umm err I guess I don't really have a good excuse, especially with the Spring TV lineup starting soon.

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Open Sourced R&D

13.09.19 - Mark

Lego's adoption of Citizen Designers for the next version of Mindstorm Robotics kits (Bluetooth enabled Legos, I'm drooling already)

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Cycling in Comfort

09.23.21 - Mark

I love tales like the couch bike. Smiles and wanderlust all around.

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.er Domain Hacks

15.03.36 - Mark

I'm sure lots of other geeks would love to have access to the .er ccTLD, for domain hacks too bad Eritrea isn't opening it's TLD registry, they're probably make a killing in geeks like me trying to get a nice web2.0 domain name.

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Small Screen, Big Display, No Show

13.12.40 - Mark

A number of sites I watch are buzzing about an article on "EyeBuds", a head mounted display and how HMDS are going to become common place thanks to portable video devices and other shrinking screens. While some of it seems to be hype, I think this is going to be the future, but not as they're presenting it. I could write a paper on why that's the case, but the short version is that to become as common and accepted as Bluetooth headsets, video headsets need to become multifunctional, easy to use, and unimposing.

I can leave a bluetooth headset on all day, share it between several devices fairly easily, and not have to worry about it getting in the way while I'm not using it. The current generations of HMDs just aren't there, and its going to take a few generations with significant progress in several fields before they come close.

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Something Borrowed From Tomorrow

16.48.29 - Mark

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. gave a speech to the Sierra Club back in September 2005 and having read over the transcripts and I'd say its one of those things that everyone should set aside some time to read and think about. While it is a little thin on evidence, and I wish there was a good reference list at the bottom of the transcript, I don't have a problem accepting most of the statements.

Like anything else relating to the environment and today's world, it takes its swings at George W. Bush, and for some that's reason enough to read it, but it also makes some great points about corporations, politics, the press, and more.

One item that really struck me was his comments about how there isn't a great ideological difference between the red and blue states, I think anyone who heard of purple states during the last election is aware of that, but that there is a huge difference in awareness, with red states suffering from a lack of it. Of corse, that can be a problem with both parties.

Anyways, go and chew your way though the speech. It's easily worth a few minutes of your time.

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New Year, New Challenges

02.04.49 - Mark

While I'm not really into celebrating New Year's (or any of the late December holidays), it's hard not to look at the upcoming year and the challenges I'll have to face in it.

Probably the most significant is how I'll be handling my education in the coming months. With luck (and a heavy course load) I should be finishing up my Internet Technology Degree at the community college this spring, which means I'll need to decide what I'll be doing next fall.

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