July 2002

July 31, 2002

Phone Scams

I can’t help but feel like I’m being targeted for some kind of credit card scam. Yesterday I get home to find a message from some forgettably named agency who’s “been trying to reach me” (this was the first I’d heard about it, I’m not hard to reach) to tell me I’d been entered in a drawing to win a car (as if someone else submitted my phone number) and requesting I call them back. I deleted the message.

Then today at work I get a call and this guy just starts spewing this vacation deal at me. Disneyworld, Ft. Lauderdale, kids under 18 are cheaper, blah, blah, blah… I hung up on him. It was clear he wasn’t going to be inhaling any time soon. I wonder if they get oxygen deprivation to their brains. Probably why they keep their jobs.

Point being: I’m wondering how my numbers have fallen into the hands of these dickheads. If you’re signing me up for contests, knock it the hell off.

[Also: This is reminding me that I routinely get called by fax machines and an AT&T representative with a heavy Asian accent. (The last time she called I very politely informed her that she’s called several times and that I’d like to be taken off their list.) My new phone line sucks.]

July 30, 2002


No more Sprint PCS.

“The party you are trying to reach is too cheap to pay for cell phone service for the time being.”

It’s shocking but true. I’ve decided to quit coughing up my hard-earned dough to Sprint PCS for a while. The reasons: I mainly used the cell phone to talk to Tabitha every night long-distance which isn’t an issue now. It’s nice to have it when you’re trying to meet up with people in the city some evening, but not $50/mo nice. It adds up quick.

So if you need to reach me you’ve still got email, instant messaging, the home phone, the work phone, and carrier pigeon. Delicious carrier pigeons.

And speaking of delicious, I’ve also switched my long-distance service (back) to Working Assets. Check it out. It’s socially-conscious long-distance meets delicious Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream. Yum.

July 28, 2002

A Weekend of My Own

My neighborhood.

I spent all day inside yesterday. I played Warcraft, I tweaked the site, I watched Deep Space Nine and a PBS show about UN weapons inspectors in Iraq, washed all the dishes and paid all the bills. It was nice.

I was tempted to do the same today but another part of me is yelling for me to at least walk around the neighborhood a bit and get a little exercise. Which is what I’ll be doing momentarily. Really I will.

[Also: Todd Dominey is right on the money with his endorsement of LiteSwitch. A slick app-switching tool from Protereon. Makes keyboard app-switching a very smooth process.]

[Later: Whew. My walk was warm, busy, and annoying. I snapped a couple of photos of the nicer bits. I was hoping to find three-cent stamps. The only place I found that sold them were charging a dollar. For two. Two three-cent stamps. There’s something basically wrong with that.]

July 26, 2002

Onward and Upward

In a couple days we’ll start rolling out the new features I was blathering about a couple months ago. Things will no doubt be buggy for a while and I’m sure it won’t all be finished before September 1st as planned. So it goes. I’m really liking some of the changes though.

For example, the blog images on the posts for the past few days were attached using the new Blogizer 2. I improved the encoding of “special” characters and added a new tab for attaching images to blogs. Very slick.

July 25, 2002

Of Journalism and Orcish Hordes

Warcraft III

Rob came over last night to recreate those good ol’ days of high school journalism class whence we found ourselves up until all hours of the night fiddling with QuarkXPress trying to wield various texts, images, and graphics into a dense, informative package. We were up pretty late but Rob paid well. He left a copy of Warcraft III here.

And it’s running on my machine. “Mortar combat!”

[Later: Despite the game being playable, I can see why Blizzard states you must have a graphics processor with at least 16 MB of video RAM. Large battles even in the lower levels of the game can make the refresh rate painstakingly sluggish. Nevertheless, I’m enjoying it thoroughly.]

July 24, 2002

Off and Running

This morning I dropped Tabitha off at SFO for her three-week inter-continental extravaganza. I only got to see her for four incredibly short days. Despite the short time she was here she did an amazing job of getting her stuff moved in.

Tonight, I unplugged the antenna from the television and plugged it into the EyeTV. I plugged the USB cable into the back of the Powerbook, installled and ran an app from the included CD-ROM, ran through a brief set-up, and was watching TV in no time. Even digitally recording it and skipping the commercials. Amazing. Where was this product two years ago?

July 22, 2002

So Much Moving

Sunset in the central valley.

So I flew to San Diego on Friday night, rented a truck the next morning, helped Tabitha move her stuff out, packed the truck, drove from San Diego to Santa Rosa (~540 miles), collapsed in a bed in a heap. Woke up early, stuck my folks with the as-yet-unsold bed, drove from Santa Rosa to Berkeley (~60 miles), unloaded the truck for Tabitha to move her stuff in, dropped the truck off, walked home, and collapsed on the floor in a heap. Woke up early, went to work, came home, washed a ton of dishes and helped Tabitha move in.

Next: I’m planning on collapsing in a heap on the floor. =-)

[Photo: One nice moment on the drive up was the sun setting over the central valley. We were a little too busy freaking out about our busted headlights (which turned out not to be busted) and our busted rearview mirrors (which were fixed with a six dollar monkey wrench from a nearby gas station) to really enjoy the sunset. I snapped this shot so I could enjoy it later.]

July 19, 2002

Going, Going, Going, Going… Gone.

This weekend I’m taking the trip down to San Diego for the last time. Unless it’s a vacation or I move back. Neither of which seem very likely at this point. I lived down there for six years and spent another year flying back and forth every month or so. This time it’s a one-way flight followed by a half-day U-Haul. I’ll miss the beaches and the weather, the school and the city, and the friends and the friends-of-friends.

But I won’t be missing Tabitha anymore. =-)

[Also: What in the sweet hell is going on with the stock market? I sure hope Greenspan’s right. If so, if it can’t go much lower and the economy is healthier than the scandals-ridden market would lead you to believe, if you’re not scared out of your wits, it could be getting close to the right time to buy.]

July 18, 2002

Surf Different

David Hyatt (of Chimera fame) has started working for Apple. Booyeah. “iWeb” here we come. Please, please, please…

The sad part is that even if Apple could wrestle itself away from Microsoft Internet Explorer by developing a Gecko-powered Apple-branded web browser to install as the default on all Mac OS X systems (wipes the drool away) it would never be able to get out from under the shadow of Office. Office is the 800-pound gorilla of Macintosh business software.

July 18, 2002

Instant Messenger

Rob: “Greetings, Earthling.”

Me: “State your name and business strangeone…”

Rob: “I am from the planet Vortex 239 and I have come to rescue you from the evil Bazkzkar race that will soon be invading your small, blue planet.”

Me: “The Bazkzkarians have come and gone my large, furry, orange friend. I defeated them with a Krelp blaster which came from time-traveling humans from the future.”

Rob: “No, I believe you are mistaken, MY green, fuzzy, purple striped friend. Yes, you did succeed in killing the Bazkzkarians, but they have a mutated race that has time traveled back in time to eliminate you - the soon to be leader of a holy, intergalactic war between the Qxyzar quadrant.”

Me: “From my appearance you must have realized by now that I am no Earthling. At least, no Earthling indigenous to this world. I too come from the Qxyzar quadrant to defend the Earth peoples from those evil mutated Bazkzkarians (which call themselves the Nulgax). My race is the Flangoon, and we will stop at nothing to defeat them. No matter which temporal node they hail from.”

[Back In Reality: Amazon Light is a Google-like tool, based on the new Amazon Web Services API, for searching Amazon’s database. “Your got Google on my Yahoo!” “You got Yahoo on my Google” And so forth.]

July 17, 2002

Macworld Expo NY 2002

First thoughts: Apple’s not handing out freebies anymore. I may have to let my Mac.com email address expire. I hope they announce some sort of upgrade price for Mac OS X 10.2. I really like the look of the “Jaguar” pages. I’m happy that iTunes 3 is out. The new iPods and iMacs are nice too although I can’t say I’m inspired to run out and buy one. Although I did get my hands on a copy of Warcraft III running on a Power Mac G4 with a Cinema Display… and damn.

[ü: Nick is pissed about .mac pricing.]

I’m loving all the refinements in the new iTunes. The tag editing screens look much slicker than before. The “smart” playlists were a smart addition. And the XML-exporting feature, I’m not sure if it was in the previous version or not, but it’s cool.

July 16, 2002

Amazon, Panic and El Gato

Audion 3

Amazon has released their own web services platform today. Very cool. I’m tempted to write some little gizmo to try it out but I’ve been spending my evenings crafting a snazzier iWalt.com instead. Lots of good stuff going on behind the scenes.

Yesterday, Audion 3 was released by the friendly folk over at Panic. They’ve also got a little app called Desktastic that looks like fun. And, between the Macworld discount, the 30-day money back guarantee, and numerous other factors, I bought the EyeTV gizmo. Review to follow.

July 15, 2002

Thirty Cookies In Thirty Minutes

There is a phenomenal feature being presented at the new and soon-to-be-improved überdesign right now. I love it when Nick and Co. get together to do something that nutty, and then share it with the world.

Ooh, QuickTime 6 is out. That can’t be a coincidence. =-)

[Awesome: I need to read the whole article but this little gizmo sounds right up my alley.]

[Spooky: “The US will have a higher percentage of citizen informants than the former East Germany through the infamous Stasi secret police.” Yikes. (How’s my spying? Call 1-800-US-Stasi.)]

July 15, 2002

Springy Clean

I spent some time trying to get all my books and clothes and dishes squared away this weekend in anticipation of Tabitha’s arrival next weekend. Then, hopefully, she can move in without the Waltmess to contend with.

I’ve also gotten a bunch of work done on iWalt.com though it’s not visible yet. My understanding of CSS has become considerably clearer and I’ve got something cool that seems to render well in Mozilla (and thereby Netscape 6) and Internet Explorer 5 for Mac. So I’m pretty happy about that. Just a bit more tweaking to be done.

And finally I had a frustrating time setting up an old computer I was hoping to use as another way to browse the web and watch DVDs and possibly other types of video through its a/v jacks. The video is coming through squished, purple and fuzzy, and the CD-ROM drive isn’t reading disks at all. Bummer.

[Also: I managed to pack in a 24 hour trip up to the folks’ place to visit with them and Art and Nani. Very nice to be able to zip up there and see everybody.]

July 12, 2002

Been There

Wow! Just like iTunes! Yawn! Why is this cool? For people who don’t have a computer? For people who don’t want to take the extra step of handling all your digital media from your computer? Weak I say. [Via Scripting.com. Free registration required.]

Mozilla, btw, seriously needs to get some “View Page Source in New Tab” functionality going. Please.

July 11, 2002

Breakfast for Dinner

A pig.

Here’s what I was thinking about while I made my dinner (which consisted of eggs, ham and orange juice btw): what if we got to the point where we could “grow” chickens and pigs and other animals like plants. Not to say they would grow in the ground and photosynthesize or anything, but rather that they had no eyes, or ears, or mouth nor the ability to feel pain or be capable of other forms of thought and feeling. Humans have no qualms about pulling off ears of corn, but the corn doesn’t scream like a pig would. So what if we made the pig as senseless as the corn?

Or, conversely, what the hell am I talking about? =-)

July 10, 2002

The Tip Jar

Ken Kennedy writes about how to be an artist and still get paid in the 21st century. How? Voluntary micropayments. Interesting stuff. Seems like it would work. [Via Doc.]

[Completely unrelated: You know what would be good for doing screen schematics, or navigation prototpyes, or wireframes, or whatever you want to call them? HyperCard. Why isn’t there a tool like this around anymore? I know: the Internet. But HyperCard had simple drawing tools and the ability to hyperlink between cards. And a scripting language if I remember correctly. That would make a great environment for rapidly developing site mockups. Oh well.]

[Later: Holy crap, you can still buy HyperCard. That’s amazing. Something tells me it’s not Carbonized and never will be. We need an open source HyperCard movement.]

July 9, 2002

Maui and the Aquarium

There are two new additions in the Photos section. Check ‘em out.

[Also: iWalt.com regulars Brian and Derek have both started fresh weblogs. Check them out as well. They’ve been added to the Links section and sidebar.]

July 9, 2002

Downright Toasty

Mr. Seal

Man it’s hot in Berkeley today. It was even plesantly warm in the city, as well as yesterday. And I have to say that a warm San Francisco can just about win out over a warm San Diego. Unfortunately, I suspect that these past few days consist of about 20% of San Francisco’s so-called summer. =-)

So let’s see: I spent my Fourth of July weekend down in San Diego. Wasn’t able to get to everything I’d hoped to (apologies to the BBQ crew) but I got around as much as possible and had a very nice weekend. Highlights include: Trattoria Acqua, La Jolla Cove, Men In Black 2 (more of a way to kill time than a highlight), California Pizza Kitchen with Jess and Mitch, finishing Sick Puppy, and finally the Birch Aquarium at Scripps. And, of course, anything I’ve left out.

My last trip to San Diego is coming up soon and I’m thinking that maybe I should suggest that if any of the remaining San Diegans want to see Tabitha and I off finally we could all meet up at Poor Boy around noon on the 20th. Let me know what you think about that.

[Photo: The seal is actually from the previous trip to San Diego but he really wanted to be in the blog…]

July 3, 2002

Sounds Good To Me

If the U.S. can’t indescriminately kill anyone we want… maybe we won’t kill anyone at all!

Honestly, arguing that U.S. “peacekeeping” forces should be outside the jurisdiction of the new International Criminal Court is just insane. I mean, the fear that politics might influence the ICC is understandable but it seems pretty clear that this is just another ploy to keep the U.S. above the law.

July 2, 2002

Working for Apple

Mark says one of his dream jobs is to work at Apple. You sure that’s what you want?

(Granted: Note the source of this opinion.) (Mark needs permalinks. Bloggerize!)

[Unrelated: Another excellent Mozilla-related tip. Tabbed browsing rules.]

July 1, 2002

And… we’re back.

A hundred and nine email messages.

Yeah, one hundred and nine email messages. It’s mostly junk mail but I got a ton of stock tips, a slew of “enhancement” offers, a zillion opportunities to list iWalt.com on a variety of search engines, and dozens of other friendly messages from people and organizations I pray I never hear from again. And I got a couple of actual messages from friendly folk like you. =-)

Delightfully, I got home and found that instead of the DSL being activated as EarthLink had indicated it should be, my phone line had gone dead. A couple of calls to PacBell magically righted the situation and after a brief negotiation between the PowerBook, the router, the DSL modem, and the PPPoE server, I’m happily back up and running. Now coming to you live from Berkeley.

First stop was Apple’s Movie Trailers where I happily watched the Star Trek Nemesis and The Two Towers trailers. Very nice.

[Tidbits: Kottke, fresh off his upgrade to MovableType, has made some changes to his blog. It looks nice. Speaking of MovableType, Todd Dominey points out the improvements in the new version as well as the freshly redesigned site. Rachelle has joined the slew of friends who have recently purchased a Canon digital camera. I highly recommend them and everyone I know who’s bought one would (I think) agree. Both Rachelle and Jessyca are blogging about the “Under God” issue. I say take it out. And while you’re at it, quit printing “In God We Trust” on the money. Yeesh.]

Previous Month
Next Month