Blogger Problems

Well, for the second time Google lost my blog. If you've been seeing 404 Error messages for the last couple of days, I still don't have a cause. Requires several steps to kick Google's servers into finding the blog again. Perhaps time to consider a new host.


House Visit Overdue

Now experiencing House withdrawals! Please, please, please Fox, stop screwing around with the air date of the first episode after the Writer's Strike!

New Words

So Engadget was talking today about this amazing improvement to the ubiquitous sticky being developed by the MIT Ambient Intelligence Group and I jumped over there to drool. (Watch the video, you'll drool, too!) But what struck me was this sentence:

"This project is currently demoable."

What does that mean? Is a test version ready to be demonstrated to a potential commercial developer? Or was that video simply an elaborate 'Photoshop exercise' to show how these fabulous new stickies could be developed with current technology? What the heck does "demoable" mean in this context?

So, I hit the top 5 online dictionaries. No such word. Well, I supposed, maybe the dictionaries only list the root word. Nope, no "demoable" under "demo". Is "doable" in there? Check! So, it's not just the root words you can search against, ergo "demoable" is not a word!

That said, I've personally used "demo'd", because there's just something wrong about "demoed". ("Demoed" is the proper term according to those lovely folks at the Oxford English Dictionary.)

I guess MIT is not just on the bleeding of technology, but etymology too!



How Many Kindle Units Have Shipped?

The Amazon Kindle is finally available in regular stock! Amazon still isn't saying, but Digitimes reports that PVI, the maker of the 6-inch e-ink screen used in the Kindle and the Sony EBook Reader, claims to be shipping 60,000-80,000 units per month. Of those, PVI states that 60% go to Kindle, and 40% to Amazon. I find those numbers hard to swallow. The Kindle went on sale last November. At those rates, Amazon could have sold 180,000 units. Let's be conservative - there were shipment problems at several points with the Kindle - and round down to 100,000. That's not a number to sneeze at, so why isn't Bezos talking?

I desperately want an ebook reader. (I'd buy an iPhone yesterday if they weren't forbidden by the IT Security Gods at my office.) I occasionally ruin my eyes by reading ebooks on my Nokia E62, but it's a poor substitute for a dedicated device. Baen has a lovely ebook program - no DRM and they pass on their savings to their customers! - and even Amazon reduces ebook ook reader. A reader would even allow me to carry hundreds of books in my purse (and as the survivor of several international flights, let me add that there really are times you need that many). Sadly, I just can't bring myself to cough up $399 for the half-finished, DRM-crippled product that is the Kindle. (Despite arguably better features, no other ebook reader can really compete with the Kindle, since only Kindle delivers direct device sales.) The final nail? You can't read a Kindle format ebook on anything other than a Kindle - not even your PC.

So if an ebook reader/book addict/tech geek like me hasn't bought a Kindle, how on earth is PVI getting away with implying that Amazon has sold more than 100K units?



Look Who's Sucking Bandwidth Now

No it's not P2P and all those evil file pirates out there that are consuming the majority of internet bandwidth. It's regular users accessing streaming video sites like Netflix and YouTube. Wow. I bet Comcast feels stupid now for having paid all those bodies to attend the FCC Net Neutrality hearing! They should have just blocked YouTube! After all, if governments can do it, why shouldn't Comcast have the same rights?

But Comcast claims to have turned over a new leaf. Instead, they and other ISPs may now start looking at throttling the speed of these evil internet junkies. Only in America do we spend resources trying to punish people who are acting within the law and their contracts. The ISPs obviously feel entitled to act like the credit card companies and change user terms and conditions whenever they feel like it in their own favor. After all, consumers don't have rights, only money that corporations are entitled to take. But they should think twice before opening this can of worms.

If too many internet junkies go into speed withdrawal, we may end up with a DSM-IV condition for internet streaming media addiction. Since no one is responsible for their own behavior anymore, once we've identified this group of deviants/victims, someone will inevitably follow up with class action lawsuits against ISPs. Because surely the ISPs created web addictions in many of these users by providing unlimited data access accounts without clearly labeled warnings in the first place?

I'm still not clear how this all jives with the ISPs other plans to provide priority routing to traffic from commercial organizations that pay for the privilege. Surely YouTube and other major streaming media providers like them will pony up the dough?

Net Neutrality. It just makes sense. Go sign the petition already.

Links via Gizmodo Charles Stross.


Finding Comics to Read Online

I've found several sources of comics online recently. Image Comics offers the first issue of their commics, while FreakAngels publishes their comic via their website. More info to follow as I find it.

I'll definitely be putting the Tori Amos' "Comic Book Tatoo" on my wish list.

Link. (Image Comics)

Link. (Freak Angels)

Artistry on the Internet

One of my favorite things about the internet is the cool stuff I find that I never would have known about 20 years ago. This is one of the most amazing objects by a glass artist I've had the privilege to admire.


Image Generator

Through some unusual web meanderings, I ran across a great graphic generator that puts text across a duct tape image. Just as with duct tape, I'm sure you can find a million and one useful things to do with this.


What Do We Call This?

Everyone has heard a film with an emotional plot referred to as a "chick flick". So what's the terminology for a book written for a female audience? "Chick lit" has been bandied about recently. My husband and I are both heavy readers, and we both have favorites the other can't stand, but I've never noticed a gender-based reason for our differences. There's an interesting debate going on at NPR over just this point.


Typos and Grammatical Errors

Despite excellent scores on my SAT's many years ago, my school teacher husband continues to find it necessary to correct my spoken English. Threats of bodily harm have not produced any reduction in this most egregious habit. One annoying example is his assertion that I should feel "nauseated" and never "nauseous".

My pet peeve is for spelling errors and typos in publications that actually paid someone to edit them. Ever notice how "distrcating" a typo is when you're reading a book? I occasionally have an overwhelming urge to write the publisher and offer free proofreading in exchange for free reading material - a relationship from which we both could benefit.

As a legal secretary, I used to have heated arguments over punctuation with attorneys; for instance, was a comma before the "and" proper in a sequence? E.g., Bob, Mary, and Joe went to the store. Now that I work in business, I find improperly cited legal statutes unbelievably annoying.

I once received a form reply email from a software company's support group addressed "Dear Sir". My first name is rather obviously not male. When I complained, I wound up in an extended email battle over the proper use of gender in business correspondence.

Obviously I have too much time on my hands.

Despite all that, even I can't manufacture much feeling over improper typographical punctuation due to software limitations. Apparently there are those who can. So, if you want to stretch your abilities to criticize others' mistakes, take a look at this article on the "Ten typographical mistakes everyone makes". You really have to wonder about people who research their software and proper typography to the level of granularity required to avoid these common mistakes.


How to Handle Ridiculous Bills

I love Consumerist - I learn all sorts of fun ways to deal with big business. In this article, the consumer complains about receiving a $0.19 bill from AmEx and, in revenge, making the payment with multiple checks. As inevitably happens on Consumerist, all the initial posts are supportive, and all the latter posts completely bash the evil consumer. I have to come down in favor of the consumer here. Considering the number of places that I shop with signs saying that "due to the high cost of processing, they will no longer accept checks", then paying a $0.19 bill with multiple checks is a great silent protest in my book.



Can you tell the difference?

Not sure if it's my ears or my headphones, but I can't hear the difference between the 128kpbs and the 320kbps MP3.



Fish Tank PC Case Mod

Here's a truly impressive case mod idea - a PC fishtank. Scrap all those cheap screensavers, and just add rocks! I read the original Tom's Hardware article, and this is a great variation.


Taxes Filed

Ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow . . .


Silencing the Hard Drive

I hate noise - unexplained noises, road noise, humming, the whir of the cable box, crickets, noses sniffling - you name it, I'm super-sensitive to it and I want it silenced. I have to admit, however, I've never noticed any noise from hard drive vibration in my case. (Maybe I'm really good at putting hardware together!) But suspending your hard drive from cables instead of using extra screws to lock it into the slot sounds wonderful. (Itty bitty screws were invented by Satan.)


Software and Business Model Patents

Techdirt has another great article for us today on the Bilski case. I'm not going to restate it here, hit the link and checkout the detailed article instead. They also have links to the amicus curiae briefs of IBM, SAP, RedHat, and others. I haven't read all the briefs yet myself, but I'm going to hit the "lawbooks" later tonight.


Camera Traffic Lights Extra Unsafe

Here's a great little article about how some traffic lights with red light cameras have had their yellow light cycles lowered below the legal requirement to increase revenue to the cities using them. Two cities in Texas made the list! Ahhh, I see what you meant, Dallas City Council, when you said it was all about safety, not revenue!

If I ever get one of these, I'm going to fight it in court just in principle.



Small business beats Wal-Mart!

If you're any sort of geek, you have more than a passing knowledge of copyright laws, fair use, licensing agreements, Creative Commons licensing, and the like. Apparently, if you're a corporate giant like Wal-Mart, you've developed a feeling that the laws were written with your interests solely in mind, and you don't need to pay much attention, despite the large herd of lawyers on your payroll. This is a great "dog bites man" story, totally the opposite of what we're used to hearing nowadays when copyright rears it's ugly head. Wal-Mart apparently decided to stop using the services of the small production company that had taped their internal meetings for decades, and offered only a small sum (even to my untutored eye) for the library. To make ends meet, Flagler Productions is now offering that archive to all comers - plaintiffs attorneys in discrimination lawsuits, unions, you name it. You have to wonder how Wal-Mart didn't realize that Flagler owned the copyright and could pursue this route?


Bent Objects

All the greatest minds are a little bent, and Terry Border over at Bent Objects is no exception. His interesting creations often show surprising depth. As a bookaholic, this is one of my favorites.

Super Geek

i am a super geekI'm proud to announce that I am a "Super Geek". Head over to Innergeek and join us! We will soon conquer the world! Muahahaha!!!!!

(OK, it's contagious . . . )


Which actors could star in a live action Simpsons?

One look at the pick for Homer Simpson and I was rolling - this was truly inspired! Ned Flanders is also spot on. Take a look and pick your favorite match-up.


Interesting Website Design

I have a whole category of browser bookmarks for aesthetically pleasing websites that might give me ideas later. The design for GoodWaterMusic.com takes Flash-based design to a new level. Go wiggle your mouse around on the homepage. Take a look at the photos, and almost monochromatic design. A simple but lovely effort.

Dual monitor wallpapers

I love my dual monitors. After several years of having two monitors at work, I finally bit the bullet and bought a second monitor for my home PC last Christmas. Rooting around today, I found these great dual monitor wall papers at www.mandolux.com, with some help from Lifehacker.

Musicovery fits the mood you're in

I often find myself listening to music my husband purchased, instead of what I like best, because I have a terrible memory for names. Whenever I decide to buy some music, I can't remember who I want. The sales clerks get to giggle as I attempt to hum the song I'm searching for, but that seldom gives them a usable clue. (Maybe I should learn the harmonica . . . ) I occasionally manage to find things through lyrics websites, but generally, I just have to live without.

Thanks to StumbleUpon, I found the Musicovery service two days. It has a great interface for finding music that fits your mood, then purchasing it through major services like Amazon or iTunes if you so desire. I've started marking my favorites and blocking the songs I don't like, and I'll go back later to buy the mp3s I like best. Even better, I can start building a music collection that matches my tastes, instead of whatever happens to be in the house.

Firefox StumbleUpon Add-on

I've just start using the Firefox StumbleUpon add-on, and I can already tell this is going to be a terrible. I've found dozens of cool new web pages already. At this rate, I'll know all the best sites on the web by the end of the month.


Favicons on Blogger

I'm a bookmarkaholic, so in order to fit all of my regular websites in a single bar (despite the 22" wide), I just eliminate the text and leave the Favicons. So, a custom favicon for this blog was an absolute must. Well, Google could have made this easier. Luckily, someone over in the Forums posted some great instructions on how to make it work. Maybe one of these days I'll invest in a real graphic. Until then, my logo will be:

Now if only I could figure out Feedburner . . .


A post from long, long ago

So here's the post from a blog I started years ago, and then let rot on the internet. I wasn't actually much of a blog reader at that point, and didn't really have much to say. Now I' ve turned into one of those net addicts you ready about in those moldy magazines you find in your doctor's office, so I have a better idea of what to contribute. Let's see how it goes the second time around.

OK, so it's 2005 and everyone has a blog. We can learn deep and meaningful things, expose political misdoings, share great art, and generally do a bunch of other really important stuff, right? Well shucks, I probably don't have much to say about any of that. About all I've got is eclectic tastes, a weird sense of humor, and a couple of little monkeys.

Does that qualify me to comment on the state of American culture (or lack thereof, depending on your ideology)? No. Political animals and their husbandry? No. Postminimalism into Maximalism: American Art 1966-1989 (you can find everything at Amazon). No.

So what am I doing here? I don't know. I never got into keeping a diary back in school either (you remember those really stupid English assignments, don't you?) and isn't that what blogging is all about? As the infamous author of many overly lengthy emails, memos, and other esoteric workplace writings, my co-workers would greatly appreciate anything that might reduce my word count. So why not bleed ink in a blog instead? If I put all of my meaningless ramblings on the internet, the only people to suffer will be the masochists who voluntarily show up. So welcome to my blog and enjoy the pain.