Last night we were playing the “let’s find the most obnoxious, strangest sounds to play on the jukebox, clear out this place and enjoy it by ourselves and kick the jams proper” game. The best one was Splish Splash by Bobbie Darin. I was trying to find the tribute to my friend Rory and play The Allman Brother’s Mountain Jam which clocks in around 45 minutes — a trick he used to pull at “Our House” aka the greatest bar in Boston.
But the real point of this post is this god-awful Little Richard cover. Not quite up there with some of the greats, but still bad. Link to Museum of bad album covers top ten list.
Walking up the block today, the “grinding guy” was ringing his bell. Noticing a marked decrease in knife sharpness the other day, it seemed like a good time to take him up on the offer. I brought down two big knives, one steak knife, a pair of scissors and some old wire snips. The wire snips were rejected for some kind of structural reason that wasn’t fully explained, but he set right to work on the others. Note to self: next time wear heavy boots instead of sandals while carrying many long knives down the block — nothing happened, but it was testing the nerves somewhat.
I had my wad of singles out ready to pay but had to reach back into the money clip for 35 bones! I had figured maybe eight bucks. Oh well, it was pretty entertaining and those knives are really sharp. And if anyone needs anything scissored precisely, let me know.
My electric bill comes in about $80 during the winter and $115 during the summer. I’d love to lower it.
I’m wondering blog-loud if I should get one of those wattage meters that you can hook up inline with a device and see what the culprits are. Do I stand there in my underwear with the fridge open for too long? Is it my server farm?
MetaEfficient posted these really neat LED light replacements that only draw 1W, but are equivalent to a 25 W incandescent bulb. The only problem is they are still specialty items that run $18.95, but should last at least ten years. I just convinced myself to try it out, maybe on my bedroom reading lamp that I keep knocking over and breaking the bulbs.
Here is a picture of a fabulous piece of art I have hanging in my entry way gallery.
Whitney Pre-Crack by Sara Woster.
Also note: Dirty Does It: Andrew James, Ludwig Schwarz & Sara Woster
May 27 - June 25, 2005
Reception: Friday, May 27, 6-8 PM
My previous verbal attempts to describe RSS to non-technical folks usually fail. Vic informed me yesterday that he read this piece in Time Magazine and it all became clear.
Let RSS Go Fetch
By CHRIS TAYLOR
Posted Monday, May. 30, 2005
If you're a regular reader of blogs, or indeed of any kind of news website, you've probably been frustrated from time to time by information overload: the blogosphere creates way too much material for any human being to comfortably digest. Plus, there's no way of knowing when your favorite sites are updated. Some of the best blog writers publish once a week or less, and who has time to keep visiting these sites in the hope of finding a fresh item?
But there's a solution to these problems, and it's simple. Actually, it's called Real Simple Syndication, or RSS. You start by downloading free software called a newsreader. For PC users, we recommend Bloglines (bloglines.com) NewsGator (newsgator.com) or You (yousoftware.com) which plug into Microsoft Outlook. If you're using Mac OS X, try NetNewsWire Lite ranchero.com/netnewswire/) Each of these has a pay version, generally about $30, with more features, but beginners won't need them.
Then head over to your favorite websites and subscribe to their RSS feeds by clicking on any button that says RSS or XML (the computer language RSS uses). Your newsreader does the rest, a sort of e-dog that fetches new headlines as soon as they're available. All this happens in a single window that looks like an e-mail program.
Depending on the source, RSS will deliver the entire text of the story to your newsreader, or just the first paragraph or just the headline. In any case, clicking on a headline will take you straight to the full story via your web browser. Almost every major newspaper and news website has an RSS feed these days. (The Los Angeles Times and Denver Post are probably the most significant exceptions, and that's because they are working on advertising-driven newsreader software.)
RSS allows you to play news editor and zero in on the information you really need, even as you expand the number of sites you sample. You can subscribe to just the parts of the Seattle Times, for example, that cover biotech and the Mariners. Or you can go even deeper: instead of looking through all the new apartment-rental ads on Craigslist, say, you can enter your price range and your preferred neighborhoods, and save that search result as an RSS feed. The appropriate listings pop up in your newsreader every day, just as if you'd hired a real estate agent to do the legwork.
RSS is so easy to use, you might be surprised by how much more productive you become. Before I installed RSS, I was perusing some 20 websites a day. Now the figure is more like 70--yet the information is so targeted, I'm getting more of what I really want. Instead of inefficiently searching, I never have to worry if I'm wasting my time. Problem solved, simply. •
I use Virtual PC and VMWare extensively.
Here’s my work VPC Console.
Most of them are self-explanatory, but here’s a couple more words about them.
- Biztalk – Biztalk installations are pretty specialized and you need a whole bunch of software installed and installed in the proper order.
- Windows XP Trials – Where I install all the stuff first. I don’t install any little utility on my main workstations. I use these images (I have one at home too) to do all the install tests. I have all kinds of third party tools loaded here. They get messy quick.
- Korean XP – I needed to test an application at work under Korean XP builds. Fortunately I’ve built XP machines so many times, I was able to get it all done and not have any clue what the text was.
- Longhorn – Next generation windows. This is the last available MSDN build.
- Mandrake linux – install was easy, but I can’t get the auto-updater to work with our proxy server and it craps out badly.
- PC-BSD – I really like the feel of this distribution, but the app support is really a huge pain.
- ubuntu linux – needs these fixes under Virtual PC
- Win2003 vpc – similar to #2 except using Windows 2003 Server. SQL 2005 is on here at the moment.
- (Not shown) Gentoo linux – I actually have this image stored on another workstation and I do emerge -u world compiles monthly on that (since they can take as much as 48 hours to complete), but if I want to use X windows I open the image over the network directly and work that way. Strangely enough it works reasonably well this way.
This is a knock-off Duracell battery that was being sold on the subway. This pic is taken in the Times Square stop. It is a) funny b) a test of flickr/blog integration.
Let’s take a moment to appreciate music videos. Maybe everyone doesn’t share my experience totally, but I don’t watch many anymore — but I used to. MTV and sadly even MTV2 is mostly about 30 minute shows that get more advertising dollars. I can instantly recall hundreds and could storyboard them for you. I guess iTunes is experimenting with some bonus video materials but these seem to be of the buy the album, get a free bonus video variety. One some old 40 gig harddrives I have a boatload of videos that I procured on Usenet that I haven’t bothered to connect and download with my new computer.
Today from Boing Boing:
Xeni Jardin: RES hosts another edition of their periodic digital screenings Tuesday night in LA. Included: the West Coast premiere of Chris Cunningham's new short film Rubber Johnny, as well as new music videos for Basement Jaxx, Quasimoto, Aesop Rock, Amon Tobin and more. Cunningham is a brilliant filmmaker.
I’m a huge Aesop Rock fan and I can’t wait to see what C.Cunningham’s video for him looks like.
Every morning starts out with Slate’s Today’s Papers. The seventh paragraph:
The Post, alone, fronts about 60 Iraqis killed in mostly terrorist attacks around the country. (The other papers reefer the bombings.) Ten Iraqis were killed and roughly 100 wounded by the bombing of a popular falafel restaurant in Baghdad. Another 20 to 30 people were killed by two car bombs outside a Shiite community center near Mosul. Late last night another car bomb outside a Shiite mosque south of Baghdad killed 10. Also, a top Iraqi national security official was assassinated. And the military announced that five American soldiers had died over the weekend.
Just imagine for a second that the same exact bolded situation occurred in Brooklyn instead of Baghdad. What would the front cover of the NY Post say? The local news would run a story “Is your family safe from falafel?”. Nobody would be able to eat falafel for a year without crying (Crying, while eating). A month later we’d be talking about falafel places closing down or converting to Kennedy Fried Chickens. But legitimately-sadly this is just a throw away sentence in a 7th paragraph recap of the news that almost nobody in America will be aware of.
I’m just going to put this out there because I had always thought about the same thing and I hope you can appreciate my finally getting some closure.
“Travelling through hyperspace ain’t like dusting crops, boy…without precise calculations you could fly right through a star or bounce too close to a supernova, and that would end your trip real quick, wouldn’t it?”
– Han Solo, Captain, Millenium Falcon
I was folding my laundry the other day, and had the audio commentary for Episode IV on in the background (I get bored with radio, and don’t have cable at the moment). I like audio commentaries because every so often you learn something you didn’t know before.
True Star Wars geeks will know recognize the Millenium Falcon as “the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs.” I never really understood this line, because a parsec is a measure of distance, not of time. It’s never really explained, but the Kessel Run sure sounds like some sort of race and as such the terms “parsec” seemed out of place. I always wrote this off to George Lucas munging his technical jargon and didn’t think much of it until I actually listened to the Episode IV commentary track where he talks about this a little bit.
It turns out that (at least in Star Wars), getting from Point A to Point B in the shortest possible amount of time is rarely what you really want to do. Sure, it’s really easy to just plot a straight-line course and jump to lightspeed. But if you do that, you’ll more often than not incur some sort of intergalactic trauma along the way and end up at your destination in a bajillion pieces. So the real trick is to minimize the distance you have to travel while steering around all the obstacles that sit between where you are and where you’re trying to go. Doing this in a really efficient way requires a very good navacomputer to do all those “precise calculations” that prevent you from being pulverized. Thus, Han Solo’s boast about being able to make the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs was more of a statement about the capabilities of his navacomputer than the size of his engines. I found this to be a very interesting
Another one while I'm at it, 20,000 Leagues under the Sea is really 70,000 miles, which is clean through the earth (7,926 miles) and ~26% of the way to the moon.