Monthly Archives: August 2005

Software Roundup 8/31

* Kiko — an ajax calendar. looks nice. Walt reviewed two others today — it’s an explosion of web calendars, it’s 1998 all over again. Not sure I understand why people will migrate to this new generation. I guess people are more trained to use web services now, and in broadband households, it is easy to always have the calendar live.
* Via furrygoat, No-install.com — apps that you can put on usb keys.
* Monad and WMI — cool.
* Greasemonkeyed.com has like a jillion greasemonkey scripts to install. Playing around with book burro at the moment.
* I am easily bought — I use a9.com frequently now. Not because it is great, but because i get another pi/2 percent discount on my amazon purchases. Same reason i got an Amazon Visa card.
* Via cpumag I found Free-codecs.com and the K-lite mega codec pak — every freakin’ codec you could ever want. Videozilla looks interesting in this vein as well.
* I should try viceversa to manage backups in the house.
* I’m tempted to renew my MSDN sub so that I can get winfs beta — because who needs a stable filesystem?
* Via geekman I found myprogs. Given my appetite for software, a community ranking site for software seems great.
* also given all the software i install, why doesn’t windows have something as nice as ppm in perl for downloading addons/packages/etc? ppm is so easy.
* Movable type style generator seems cool
* JK on the run talks about something that i thought was just me — the impossiblity of doing system restores for tablet pcs
. I have a tablet pc collecting dust for exactly this reason — after struggling through 2 system restores i gave up.

Keeping up with Rich

As usual Rich has been a posting machine during the last month. Some of the highlights I’ve noted:

* Iceland travel. I hear they have some fantastic river rafting there. I’m ready to go. Just added to my 43places goals.
* Grilling resource — I can always use grilling tips.
* Rich’s small camera recos. I’m about due.
* Tips on HT PC setup — sounds like zoomplayer is essential.
* NTFS resizing tips. I am sure I will need these some day.
* Rich is playing FEAR. I think I need a new PC.
* Rich on Gaming PCs. Having bought 3 and bult 2 others, I am inclined to buy from Falcon Northwest for my next. Debugging the assembly of a high end machine with 2 SLI cards, 10K sata drives, raid arrays, fast dvd/cd drives — well it is just a lot easier to let the Falcon guys burn their time.

Judy's Book in the NY Times

Very remiss in noting some of the good press that Judy’s Book got in the NY Times — happened when I was travelling. Nice work guys. Number of postings is growing quickly. (Ignition is an investor in the company)

My favorite Judy’s Book game — be the first to post in a city or area. I’ve staked out Salt Lake City. Love the maps feature.

Recent Books

From my road trip last week:

* “Century rain by alistair reynolds”:amazon — Modern nanotech-infused space opera. A fine read but not memorable
* “Saving faith by david baldacci”:amazon — a great pageturner.

Blog changeover

I’ve upgraded to MT3.2 and decided to blow away all my templates in the process. Because they were old and funky and corrupted and it was just easier to start fresh. In fact I completely blew away my old blog, and reimported all my postings into this one. And just republished over the old one. I am sure there are old files left around from the old blog, that is probably good for google indexing and searching purposes.

Over the next few weeks I’ll start selectively adding back features to the template like my Judy’s Book posts, Ohio State football status, blogroll, etc.

Random observations on the road from Seattle to Phoenix

* What is up with the speed limits in Oregon? Vast stretches of empty country in the eastern part of the state, and speed limits set at 65. No other state in the west is stuck back at this level.
* I didn’t expect the bars in Salt Lake City to be so rockin’ on a Saturday night. They are wilder than Seattle bars.
* Littering is illegal, but trucks are allowed to leave huge horking pieces of blown tires all over the highway?
* The security at the parking garage at the Bellagio in LV was tighter than the security for driving over Hoover Dam.
* Prescott is a very nice town. Has to be my favorite spot in Arizona so far. The granite dells are beautiful.
* Phoenix on the other hand — LA, only hotter and without the ocean.

Gearing up for football

Can’t wait for the season to start.

To put a little damper on my enthusiasm tho — The buckeyes are already #3 — in football revenue. The Sports Economist points out that expenditures don’t seem to correlate strongly with success though. But they don’t negatively correlate with success either.

Either way, about 85 kids are generating $46M in revenue for the school, which is getting used up to support other sports, build nice facilities, and pay some big salaries to adults. I still have a problem with the morality of this, more of the money should flow to the benefit of the players on the team. Some small suggestions — give the players 8 years of free tuition so that they can realistically get an education and play football. Or underwrite the tuition for the children of former players. Fund a modest disability insurance program for the players.

Anyway, kickoff is 17 days away…

Software roundup 8/16

* Yahoo Widgets (the software formerly known as konfabulator) is nice, what Active Desktop should have been. We were just too early, ahead of the hardware and ahead of the software. And I was too big a fan of Active Desktop, I learned lots of painful lessons from this experience — just because you want something to be great, doesn’t mean it is great; listen to your team, the truth is there.
* Fanblogs pointed me to a great widget — team schedules. Nice. Can’t wait for September.
* Who needs powerpoint when S5 is around.
* Phil recommends NVU for site authoring
* Monad continues to impress — bulk image rotating and scaling
* Rich summarizes some good photo tools
* Walt reviewed evernote while i was out. Sounds cool but…i use 5 machines regularly…I want it server-based…basically I want my blog to work this way.
* Technorati mobile — nice effort. For me tho technorati has not yet become an essential tool, for my searches it doesn’t provide materially better results than existing search engines.

August vacation reading

* “What’s My Name, Fool?”:amazon is a great collection of writings on sports by Dave Zirin. Zirin writes about the dirty underside of sports — the exploitation of poor uneducated young athletes; racism, sexism, and homophobia; the exploitation of sports by media and by politicians; the grotesque amounts of public monies spent on professional sports. Great great stuff. The histories of Ali, Jackie Robinson, Curt Flood, and others who fought for reform and for justice are illuminating. A very worthy read.
* “Cheaper by the Dozen”:amazon — What a wonderful book. The father is an amazing character, the stories are fabulous. A very bittersweet ending, but that serves to make the story more human and authentic. Don’t know how I missed this growing up.
* “The Ginger Man”:amazon by J P Donleavy — Horrid. Couldn’t finish. Brutish character, I learned nothing from him. The “Nicholas Baker”:amazon of 40 years ago — horrid little story that doesn’t need to be told.
* “Gravity’s Rainbow”:amazon — A lot of interesting references and construction. But ultimately I didn’t care about anything happening in the book and put it down after 100 pages. If you want a farcical wartime book, read Catch-22.
* “Keeping Watch”:amazon and “Folly”:amazon by Laurie R King. Wow, great pageturners. Great mysteries, great twists (especially keeping watch), really great characters who you care about. I like these much better than her period mysteries.

Hiking on Lopez Island

Just back from Lopez, great time. Some tips on hiking up there:

Stop by the chamber of commerce office in the village. Get their list of hikes and current directions — it is quite accurate. Many hikes on the island are on DNR land, accessible only by easement over private property — it can be a little tricky. The Chamber of Commerce directions are great.

The best hikes in my view:

* Shark reef. Short. But nice coastline and sealions. Very busy.
* Otis Perkins Park. Go at low tide. A long expanse of beach. Probably safe to ignore private property signs.
* Chadwick hill. Definitely need those instructions, accessing the trail head is tricky. No one goes here — Trail is rough, rough. But more vertical than most the trails on the island
* Iceberg point. Again you need those instructions, tricky to find the trail. Not strenuous but a gorgeous piece of property, sealions, great views, some vertical gain. Lots of sun. This is the best on the island.