September 2002

September 29, 2002

You’re either in or you’re out.

Daring Fireball: “Sites which offer feeds are replacing sites that don’t on my reading list. For example, MacUpdate offers RSS feeds (one for OS X, one for OS 9); VersionTracker offers none.” This is what I’m talking about.

[Also: Dooce: “Who knew that aiming a cordless 14.4 volt DeWalt drill at your husband’s ass might not be as funny as you thought it would be?” Oh, but it is.]

September 29, 2002

North-South Friends

My weekends are usually pretty hectic these days but this one in particular took the taco. It was nice to have Nick in town hanging out and seeing the sights. Add to that an excellent party and a whole lot of heavy lifting. Finally, throw in some extremely late nights (by my new Tabithized bedtime standard) and you’ve got this weekend. Live fast and die young I say. (Yeah right.)

I wasn’t able to move from the couch for quite a while tonight and at the moment my eyelids are screaming at me to shut ‘em and let ‘em rest. But they’re not getting off the hook that easily. The eyes still need to scan all the RSS headlines, check out the new and improved Dooce, and absorb anything else I can think of before my brain completely shuts itself off.

[Later: I love it when jumping on the computer late at night actually fuels the brain and gets it spinning again. So much to read and go and see and do.]

September 27, 2002

Nick vs. Critical Mass

Nick is rolling into San Francisco this evening completely unaware that he’s going to land smack dab in the middle of the 10th Annual Critical Mass event. That’s hysterical. And unfortunate for Nick. I would have warned him if I’d known. The honking and yelling is floating up from Market Street as I write this.

I think you gotta be plumb nuts to ride a bike in this city. And flat-out crazy to ride a motorcycle. That being said, Critical Mass is a great idea. Drivers need to be reminded that the streets are for many forms of transportation. Which reminds me, I haven’t seen one single Segway yet. (Although I have seen a Megway.)

My lord, there is a river of bicycles on Market Street right now. I’d run downstairs and snap some photos if I weren’t waiting for Nick to call.

September 26, 2002

Bits of Tid

Rob points to a fellow Macromedian’s hints of a forthcomming edition of Director. For Mac OS X. Yum.

An Apple employee’s weblog rattles off obscure Jaguar feature after obscure Jaguar feature.

Someone responded to my inquiry about how to find the PHP version of the wireframe builder. It was not as robust as I was hoping for. Whah.

Steven, of Panic, pleads for sanity within his Documents folder. Hehehe.

September 23, 2002

Out With The Old

I’m so sick of VersionTracker. Their interface is so sloppy and annoying I can’t even stand to use it anymore. This was kind of a problem because I have a healthy addiction to always getting the latest software the instant it becomes available. So I was quite annoyed.

Until today, that is, when I discovered a fabulous piece of Mac OS X software. MacUpdate is a lot like VersionTracker but with a much slicker interface and this. It’s a Menu Extra which pulls a list of the latest software updates into your Mac OS X menu bar. In one click you can see what’s new, short descriptions of what they all do, and link directly to their source to begin the download.

Of course, Apple decided to be cute and cripple third party Menu Extras so you need a Haxie to make it work. But once it does, it’s completely slick.

September 23, 2002

The All New Google News

Google News: “No humans were harmed or even used in the creation of this page.”

September 22, 2002

I Want My M.I.T.

BBC: Learn For Free Online: “Over the next 10 years, MIT will move all its existing coursework on to the internet. There will be no online degrees for sale, however. Instead, it will offer thousands of pages of information, available to anyone around the globe at no cost, as well as hours and hours of streaming video lectures, seminars and experiments.” Nice!

September 21, 2002

Joy

It used to be that when I wanted to backup the iWalt.com database I had to open a web browser, launch the phpMyAdmin tool on the server, enter my username and password, scoll down the page, select all the tables I want to download, set a bunch of settings, select where to download the file, wait for the download to finish, open the file in BBEdit, convert the linebreaks to UNIX, save the file, launch the Terminal, launch mysql by entering the username, password and database, run the import command by specifying the file, wait for the import to finish, quit mysql, quit the Terminal, quit BBEdit, launch the phpMyAdmin tool on my laptop, and confirm that the tables have been updated.

This morning I wrote an AppleScript and put it in my Script Menu. I launch it, select which table or tables to transfer, enter my password, and I’m done. Booyeah.

September 20, 2002

The iWalt.com Forum RSS Feed

Now get the latest forum messages pushed to your favorite RSS reader. Just subscribe to this new feed. I already seriously dig it.

I started a new page to keep track of feeds. I look forward to any questions, feature requests or bug reports that anyone has.

September 20, 2002

Wireframe Builder

Part of my job is to design wireframes. Wireframes are what a web page would look like if you took a screenshot of it, ran the “Find Edges” Photoshop filter on the screenshot and cranked the contrast all the way up. They show the shape and contents of a page without trying to define the fonts, colors, images, and other so-called “creative” elements. Therefore, they can be developed and tweaked more rapidly than a set of fully-designed comps.

Once you’ve done about a thousand of these things you start to realize they’re all the same. Not exactly the same of course but they share a lot of rules and methodologies. So you think to yourself, “I could build a tool in PHP that would parse a human-editable XML file into an interactive set of wireframes, thus saving myself hours of monotonous drawing.” But the more you think about it, the more complex it seems. And it’s not like you have time to do it anyway.

The latest issue of A List Apart is about scope creep and using it to your advantage. One of the things it mentions is a Wireframe Builder which claims to do something similar to what I’m describing. I’m looking forward to checking it out.

[Later: Hm, not having much luck trying it out yet.]

September 19, 2002

No Dice

Apparently my not-so-typical “embarrassing” story didn’t meet the high standards of Derrick Story and his esteemed team of judges. The winners of the contest for tickets to the Mac OS X O’Reilly Conference were, in my opinion, pretty pathetic. Runny noses and porno seem to be their idea of quality embarrassment. How about rewarding a little original thinking? I’ll shut up now.

September 19, 2002

Enterprise

Enterprise

Voyager, I must say, was the worst series in the history of Star Trek. The cast wasn’t good, the plots were the same cookie cutter plots every week, and the mission was boring from day one. That, coupled with the fact that neither Adelphia Cable in San Diego nor Rob’s satellite service carries UPN led me to miss the first season of Enterprise. Not having a television didn’t help either. But times have changed and I caught a couple episodes. It’s not great, some of the characters bug me, there’s way too much sexual inuendo … but it’s better than Voyager by a long shot and it’s only now in its second season. So I’m watching it and trying to stay hopeful.

[By the way: The image is from the Iconfactory.]

September 19, 2002

Weblogs, Journalism, and The Panel

I’ve never seriously tried to practice journalism in my humble weblog but the potential exists in weblogs to redefine the way information is aggregated and distributed to the masses. Since the web enables anyone to publish their work to a worldwide audience (provided they can pay the various fees which have already been established) news formats such as weblogs have sprung up with abundance and the intellectual wealth of the internet is better (and at the same time, in some ways, worse) as the result.

Consider some of the great publishing tools and resources which have prospered as a result of web publishing: Slashdot, Kuro5hin, Metafilter, The Morning News, K10k, Blogger, Blogdex, Daypop … and many others.

As a result of this proliferation of web publishing there’s a huge new gray area of journalism. A lot of questions and legalities loom as professional journalists-turned-bloggers are being fired from their organizations for blogging about issues their editor disapproves of. Other bloggers have been sued for liable.

These were a few of the issues that were batted around at the panel discusion I attended at UC Berkeley the other night. More perspectives: J.D. Lassica, Dan Gillmore, Scott Rosenberg, Quasistoic, Radio Free Blogistan

September 18, 2002

Spiderbite

I’ve been bitten by spiders while I’ve been sleeping about three times in the last two years. All of these bites were on my face, the first of which left a bit of a scar. I vacuum, I kill every spider I see, I beg them to leave me alone, and still the buffet continues.

The latest installment of this saga started yesterday when I felt a burny itchiness around the toes on my left foot. I figured it would most likely go away like one of those 30-second cases of athlete’s foot but it didn’t. It got so uncomfortable that by the time I got home last night I’d been walking funny for so long, the whole left side of my body was feeling battered and tweaked.

It’s another spiderbite, right between my second and third toes on my left foot. It’s a bit of a doozy too. Much worse than the previous bites. I’ve been slathering it with cortisone and contemplating sawing my foot off but I think we’re into the waiting game phase at this point. I promise not to post any photos of it … for now. =-)

September 16, 2002

Blog For Blogging’s Sake

I’m planning on trying to make it to Weblogs: Challenging Mass Media and Society at UC Berkeley tomorrow night. It’s a panel discussion featuring an impressive collection of speakers including Meg Hourihan, Dan Gillmor, and Rebecca Blood. Hopefully it’ll be as interesting as the last semi-similar event I went to last March.

I wrote the author of NetNewsWire Lite to see if he wouldn’t be so kind as to include this humble weblog’s RSS feed in the 1.0 release of his snazzy aggregation software. In case you use the tool and want to know what sites I subscribe to, here’s an exported OPML file.

[Also: Finally! You can mount an FTP server (for read-only access, but still) right in the Finder. This is something that should have been around a long time ago and I can’t fathom why you can’t upload but still… sweet!]

September 15, 2002

Kablooie!

Ah, the joy of DSL subscribership. The old DSL modem imploded at some point in the last couple days. So we’re blogging at about 48000 bps right now. Earthlink will send a replacement, free of charge, but in the meantime I’m stuck in Slowville.

[Later: So I’m sitting here on dialup, waiting for pages to load, I flip on the AirPort card to see if there are any signals, and there is one. The name of the source is WSR-5000, so I Google it. It’s not encrypted, so I’m able to use it. Now I’m wondering who it belongs to and whether they’re making it available to others intentionally or accidentally. Here’s a feature request to the WiFi powers that be: How about including a tag in the information about the source which indicates whether the signal is free for anyone to use. I mean, the implication is that by not password-protecting the signal, you don’t care who uses it. But using that kind of logic would probably get me yelled at. =-)]

September 13, 2002

Happy Birthday Mom!

Tabitha and I will be off shortly to celebrate Mom’s birthday up in Santa Rosa. Whoo-hoo!

[Later: A good time was had by all. The birthday bash was much mingling, chatting, and munching of various foodstuffs. We went, we ate, we celebrated. We got back home late and promptly passed out.]

September 13, 2002

TMP:ID Mutual Admiration Society

Kris (benvolent master of all things interactiony) gives his blessing for Mark’s new blog. Makes me wonder: Who else at TMP (besides Rachelle of course) has a weblog?

September 12, 2002

Sigh.

Oh the depths I will sink to for $800.00+ worth of O’Reilly Mac OS X Conference… =-)

September 11, 2002

Our Home

Our home.

“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you’ve ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there — on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.”

Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot

September 10, 2002

Killer App

Oh man, iCal rules…

[Also: I always felt that WiFi would get to be like cable television in hotels, or air conditioning in a coffee shop, or even freakin’ electricity. The businesses supply these things for free because it pulls in the customers. Well, the WiFi-savvy customers anyway. And it works. I’d rather go to Cup-A-Joe on Leavenworth than any old Starbucks in the city purely based on the free WiFi. More and more businesses are starting to get it.]

September 9, 2002

You got Cocoa on my Gecko…

Chimera 0.5 was released today. For the Mac OS X bleeding-edge browsy-types, it’s good news. The interface is painfully simple and the feature set is weak but it’s fast as hell and beautiful to boot. I’m still holding out hope that Apple is branding their own version of Netscape’s open source goodness into a glowing Aqua masterpiece.

September 8, 2002

Futurelicious

Evil Robot: “Hey Red! You’re just in time to join the hostage situation! Which side you wanna be on?”

Fry: “The side that kicks your twisted metal ass.”

Hehehe…

September 7, 2002

Tweaky

There are a bunch of new photos in the Photos section today. The shots are from the baseball game, Tabitha’s and my walk around our neighborhood, and our hike over on Angel Island last weekend.

There are also a couple of little changes to the look and code structure of the weblog page and some tweaks to the Profiles page including more information in a new format.

[Also: Nick is tweaking away today as well. His archives are now available as well as the video section. Awesome.]

September 6, 2002

Share The Pain

Nick is feeling down. He broke up with his gf and isn’t in the highest of spirits right now. Maybe he needed to vent, maybe he wanted to get his thoughts in order, maybe he just needed people to know. He posted a very heartfelt and personal entry to his weblog over on überdesign. I read it, I gave him a call, I wished him well.

Today he’s blogging about the fact that some people are giving him shit about his choice to post his thoughts on his blog because the topic is so painful. I don’t know all the ins and outs and whathaveyous regarding why anyone would give someone a hard time about expressing their feelings in the way Nick has but for what it’s worth, I thought it was brave and touching.

September 5, 2002

Hooray For America!

I just bought what amounts to a birthday present for myself: two tickets to the live “Hooray For America” Mr. Show show at the Warfield. Bob and David and a couple of other guys from the old HBO sketch comedy show put together a live show and are touring the country a la Tenacious D.

The Bob and David website explains “Hooray For America” in more detail.

September 4, 2002

DSL vs. Cable

So, I’ve got Earthlink DSL. It’s reasonably fast, it’s an average price, dealing with their phone support makes me want to die…

AT&T Broadband has been running a promotion which features free installation and a free modem as well as only costing $20/month for the first six months. Which is a pretty good deal.

Moreover, CNET’s bandwidth tester tells me that my bandwidth is 1127 Kbps but that AT&T Broadband can do 1500 Kbps. (How it can accurately calculate my bandwidth I have no idea.)

So: Any recommendations? Endorsements? Warnings? Opinions? Much thanks.

September 4, 2002

Audioblogging

Today I came across a snazzy article about using a bunch of Apple technologies to facilitate a form of audioblogging. Audioblogging is the practice of including a bit of sound as part of your weblog. A handfull of bloggers have done some cool things with it so far.

The article is a little off the mark in that is shows out to automatically generate a computer-generated vocal transcript of the text of your blog, rather than a digitization of your own voice. I’d really like to take the script he provides to the next step, where the script would record both the information regarding the link you want to audioblog about and record your own verbal audio, digitize it and upload it to your website as part of your blog.

I discovered a couple days ago that there’s actually a built-in microphone hidden in the left-hand speaker in every PowerBook G4. Leonard Lin wrote a small piece on recording low-resolution audio on his PowerBook at OSCON. Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be an AppleScriptable audio digitizer app available for Mac OS X yet.

So for the time being I won’t be blathering away verbally on iWalt.com. (Although, Lin was using a command-line digitizer and AppleScript can issue commands to the Terminal…)

September 2, 2002

Feeding the Feed

I just added the RSS feed from Mark’s new weblog to my copy of NetNewsWire Lite. Awesome.

I’ve made some tweaks to my RSS feed recently. There are more entries, each entry contains all the paragraphs, and the links and other HTML are now included. Which is cool.

In other blog-related news, Brian is jamming on his own home-brewed publishing system. And packaging it up for the masses. Bold.

September 2, 2002

PhotoShare

We proudly present the new Photo section featuring the PhotoShare tool. Now, registered iWalt.com users can upload their digital photos to the site and share them with everyone. I started this a while ago and really haven’t been able to work on it since but I wanted to get it operational for our little upgrade. So check it out. There will be bugs and it’s certainly not finished. We’re hoping for the best and excited to see where it goes.

[Also: Thank goodness. The Moof lives!]

[Finally: What am I doing up so late? =-) Big day: shopping, driving, walking, carrying, assembling, and so forth. Bright side? We have a proper bed. No more sleeping on the floor for us. Nu-huh.]

September 1, 2002

Three Years Old

iWalt.com is three years old today. This may make you say, “What’s with the ‘1995-2002’ claim in the footer?” Well, I’ve been learning how to code and publish websites since I started college, and iWalt.com wouldn’t have come into being if not for the indefatigable walt.homepage.

Later today, if there’s time, we’ll put up a new feature. For now, here’s the original iWalt.com kick-off letter:

“On September 1st, the writer/producer/creator and star of walt.homepage is primed to deliver a World Wide Web experience so awash in narcissistic Waltiness, his family, friends, and the internet at large may never recover. The project, nearly four years in the making, utilizing hundreds of man-hours of preparation and drawing on a plethora of publishing disciplines will finally be unmasked this fall with the premiere of …

“… wait for it … iWalt.com!

“Yes, it’s horrifyingly self-centered and egotistical but disturbingly real. Finally, a complete informational source on the man, from the man. Photographs! Soundbites! Interactive multimedia projects! Every quantifiable piece of knowable human data digitized and electronically published for the globe’s consumption right down to the latest bowel movement. (Maybe not that much information.)

“They said it couldn’t be done, they said it shouldn’t be done, they said they wouldn’t speak to him for a while if he did it … he wasn’t paying attention.

“On September 1st, the World Wide Web is going to get a whole lot Waltier!”

I think we’ve done a pretty good job of sticking to our mission statement.

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