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Showing posts from November, 2006

Who should be our next president?

Now that the Democrats are back in charge in Congress, and ready to screw things up as they are wont to do, we can cast our eyes to the next election that matters: 2008. For the first time in many years, the President will not be running for re-election, nor will his Vice-President be running. The top candidates for the Democrats? Two rising stars: Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama; a woman and a black man, neither of which have yet to be elected to the highest office in the land. This is not to say they are not the best of the best, but there are added obstacles to overcome. On the Republican side, John McCain is the only good bet (though he's a warhawk and seriously damaged his "straight-talk" reputation by pandering to the religious Right). Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, is often mentioned: a Mormon and a sitting Republican Governor when his state legalized gay marriage. Yeah, that'll work. It's time for a fresh new approach. In the last elec

The Ultimate sight?

The ultimate smartphone/entertainment device is getting closer and closer. Palm's new Treo 680 hit the streets last week: smaller, sleeker, but still not quite there. The price ($199) is very appetizing, but not the out of the park hit it would have been at $99. And those cool colors? Only if you buy the unlocked version ($400). Thanks, Cingular. But, aside from that, it's not quite the ultimate device I'm waiting for. My Palm TX still is the closest to it. Here’s what the ultimate device needs, in my humble opinion: - Palm OS. Pipe down, you Windows Mobile folks. Palm OS is still the easiest OS to use, and offers literally thousands of programs. Yes, it could use a refresh…and it is not getting one ( ALP? ), but neither Windows Mobile or Symbian are making a compelling enough case to knock it out. Why was the Treo 680 introduced with Palm OS instead of Windows Mobile, hmm? - At least 64MB of RAM, and an SD card slot that supports up to 4GB cards. My TX does this; I w

James Kim: have you seen him?

I know, this seems like a geek/blogger version of an Amber Alert...and it is. James Kim of CNET and his family are missing. Perhaps it's simply a case of being caught in the unseasonable Seattle snow; I hope so. His friends and employers are worried. If you've seen him, please contact the SFPD at 415-558-5508 during normal business hours, and 415-553-1071 after hours. James was one of my favorite hosts on TechTV's programs. He has an unabashed enthusiasm that was just great on TV. One of the hosts of my new favorite podcast, Buzz Out Loud , Veronica, does another podcast with James and talks about him often. Here's to hoping James and his family are just fine.

More than meets the eye

I leave it to Pete to cover most cars on blogs; he does a much better job than I. For me, like most things, I like to see new takes on old designs. The photo on the left is of the 2007 Chevrolet Camaro, the brand that has been off the market for a while. With the revival of Ford's Mustang, with it's retro styling, and the Dodge Charger, Chevy clearly felt it was time to join the race. For me, the only cars I truly covet are Aston Martin's (which I will never own) and the Pontiac Solstice (which will be my next car). I really like the Mustang, and this muscle-car heritage Camaro looks like a prime contender for an instant classic. Look how they matched the compact form of the 1960's Camaro, and the low roofline with the high engine. It just reeks of power to spare. I hope it's a hit! By the way, the pictures come from some behind the scenes photos of Michael Bay's upcoming live-action summer spectacular adaption of the Transformers . Yes, those loveable robot/c

Right place, right time, and a cameraphone

Think of the ludicrousness of combining a camera with a phone. What a seemingly arbitrary combination! Why not a music player, or a video game, or even a newspaper reader? Nope, for whatever reason, just about every phone is a cameraphone, and usually, like mine, not great quality. Yet, maybe those phone designers have more forethought. How many times have I been someplace and said, "If only I had a camera." Now, albeit a really poor excuse for a camera, I find myself in just that place, with the tool in hand. And sometimes, you get lucky. For instance: The full moon, rising over the Bay Bridge, as seen from the Golden Gate Ferry during the last full moon. Sure, with a real camera, I could have had a masterpiece. But at least I got enough to make you understand the sheer impact. Better, consider this: The view from the top of the lighthouse on Forbes Island, a man made island/restaurant, just off the edge of Pier 39 in San Francisco. The lighthouse gives the best view on the

A Low(er) Carb Thanksgiving

Yesterday was the annual tradition, complete with the 20 lb. bird. As I have moved to a much lower carb lifestyle, I decided to try my luck with some traditional Thanksgiving treats, low-carb style. See, normally I just get tortured by the massive great gourmet food, and end up relenting, then feeling terrible. This year, not on my watch. First up, dessert. I love Pumpkin Pie, but the crust and filler is a carb-killer. A few years ago, I tried a mix and a Pecan crust, but that was WAY too advanced for me. This year, I made the pumpkin pie filling from scratch, and decided to skip the crust. In essence, a pumpkin custard. Of course, had I known a food processor is not the best for liquids, I might have had more. Sigh. After cleaning the mess, the blender did the job, and the result was surprisingly good! Add some Cool Whip Lite, and it was damned impressive. Next, one of my other major vices: cranberry sauce. Maybe it's because I was raised in the cranberry capital of the world, but

Kevin egos?

As long as Kevin Smith has been around, I've been an unadulterated fan. The boy's got talent. Say what you want about Jersey Girl , but Clerks and Dogma are simply perfect films. But put the work aside, and focus on the man for a moment: his in-person appearances are hands-down the best entertainment, ever. Now, as long as he's been famous, people have commented that we look way too much alike, especially before I dropped about 40 lbs. and still had the full beard. I've even had relatives call up and ask if I was on TV the previous night, because they saw Kevin being interviewed, and had the sound off. Of course, the gig's up when Sir speaks: I could never be that hip or fast. But no question, more than one person has dropped the "separated at birth" comment on it, to me. An Evening With Kevin Smith 2: Evening Harder captures the man's talent and genius, like the previous DVD of his live performances. And, oh yes, note in the promo pic when it drops:

Astra is almost here

Trillian is my IM lifesaver. I'm on AOL, MSN, Yahoo, Google Talk, Skype...the list goes on. It's an invaluable tool for communicating with my clients, co-workers, and friends. The only downside of IM is that everyone is on different networks. Trillian has always filled that need, with an incredibly powerful, sexy, and ultimately great muti-service IM client. I'm an addict. So, what's the next best thing to Trillian? How about Trillian Astra , the next generation client. All of what is good about Trillian, with fixes for the slight bad things...and a passel of new features. Suffice it to say, this is one of the few pieces of software I look forward to paying for. Before you get on me about the other IM clients, I've tried them all; trust me, none compare to Trillian. And web based IM? Forget it; I live in the real world. Astra will be my new favorite application. Count on it.

State Quarters, Presidential Dollars

What is it about currency modifications that fascinates us? As a youth, I remember the excitement over the Bicentennial Quarter: nothing like that had ever been seen. The religious awe of a JFK $0.50 piece. The absolute Bizarro-world of the $2 bill. As an adult, I've been swept up in the passion on the State Quarters (yes, I have them all, so far), and loved the Sacagawea dollar coin. Now, the US Mint has figured out how to get Americans off our unwillingness to treat a dollar as a coin, despite many tries (Dwight Eisenhower, Susan B. Anthony, etc.): take what's made the State Quarters successful and expand it. Presenting the Presidential Dollar Coins, coming your way: collect them all!

When the Emperor has no clothes

I've been in this position in Corporate America many times. Leadership is lacking; the passionate people are frustrated that there is no movement, and the rest of the employees are disgruntled at the tension. It becomes a situation that needs radical change, or the change happens without the company's involvement (see Inktomi). At Yahoo, this seems to be the case today, and one man has decided to do something about it. Bard Garlinghouse, the SVP who is key to the company, has published a letter with startlingly frank critique and recommendations for change that has had an electrifying effect on the company. He will either be villified, pilloried, or heralded, but one thing is for sure: he will not be forgotten. Read his refreshingly great comments, as well as TechCrunch's analysis to get a rare peek inside a company on the change wavefront.


'Tis the holiday season, and the video game console wars are in full swing. Last year, Microsoft made a savvy move and released the XBox 360, the next-generation platform. There were no other new consoles out, so the Market was theirs. And, as it takes about a year for software to start taking advantage of the new hardware, this holiday their game Gears Of War is set to be a smash. And in this corner...weighing in a 600 lbs., the Champion, the Monster, the Overpriced Sensation...Sony's PlayStation 3. Yes, inspiring fanboys to riot at the short supply and spend thousands on eBay (of over $700, if you wait for it to actually be in stock next year), the new PS3 is the sound of Sony going All In for their claim to the #1 console. Packed to the gills with every gadget and technology possible, it is clearly the most advanced console...and possibly too advanced. At $600 to start, only the elite will want it. The surprise? The Nintendo Wii. Under $300, it does not blaze new graphics p

How 'Bout The Cowboys?

Just had to point out that the last undefeated team in the NFL fell to none other than my Dallas Cowboys today, as Tony Romo continues his Cinderella season, upstaging the 2 time MVP, Peyton Manning, in a shootout. Yes, the 'Boys are finally 2 games over .500, but, with their schedule, there's a good chance they are headed back to the playoffs. Which reminds me: if you have not been watching Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip , you should be: great Aaron Sorkin writing, good chemistry among the cast, and Matthew Perry continues to shine. Why do I mention it? In an episode earlier this season, Ed Asner makes the statement, "If you want her to cook the dinner, you have to let her buy the groceries." When asked by Amanda Peet who said that, Steven Weber replies: "Bill Parcells. "Who's he?" asks Peet. "He's a football coach who hasn't won a playoff game in 9 years." Makes you think of the Cowboys coach in a whole different way. Well, here&

Your music is on FIRE!

Ok, so, I'm a bit fascinated with fire. In reality, who isn't? But did you know fire can be used as a graphic equalizer? Yes, you read that correctly, and, thanks to the miracle of the Internet and YouTube, you can see it for real. I want one of THESE above my stereo!

Michael Moore rubs it in

In the wake of the Democratic retaking of the Congress, Michael Moore decided to rub it in this week: "In fact, those of us on the other side of the fence don't really know what it's like to win, so if we seem a bit awkward right now (were we supposed to vote for the majority leader the speaker said to vote for, or stick to our promise to the other guy?), forgive us." I used to really like Moore's work. I found him slightly grating. But when I watched Michael Moore Hates America , it opened up a whole other side for me. He's been using the same deceptive tactics as he decried for years. Worse, he does not live by the ideals he espouses. Hopefully the Democrats will distance themselves from him, and let him get back to just being a filmmaker.

Cigars...auctions...color me happy!

I like good, cheap cigars. Sure, I love my Zino's, but as a startup guy, it's hard to justify dropping $100 a month on such class. Instead, I've made it a passion to search for good cheapies. I'm talking a buck a stick kinda cheapies. In the past, Cigars International has been my 1 stop shop for this. They have amazing weekly specials, and I try them frequently. They've turned me on to some nice cheap brands that won't leave you thinkign you've just smoked "floor sweepings." But now, I discovered Cigar Bid : an auction site for cigars. I think it might be owned by CI, as it features many of their products and brands, but the prices...WOW. I've got three bids in now...we'll see how it goes!

Night Rider

Well, after 2 weeks of not riding the bike, thanks to two bike accidents and the time change, I'm back at it. Tonight was my first night ride...well, technically, my first with lights. And not crashing. :-) It's a different experience: much more deliberate and careful, but still fun, and, after 2 weeks, I've lost a little of my wind. Hopefully, I'll be back to more regular riding. I've got the lights, so we're set there. Everyone warned me it would be so cold, but it actually was pretty darn warm; at least as warm as this summer's riding. The rain will be...interesting. I got fenders, but they don't seem to fit my bike. I've got a great rain jacket, and a long sleeve shirt and long pants (sigh...tights) on the way. Should be interesting! Note for Pete: the image to the right is from your ancestral home: a New Zealand biking website. :-)

What's up with the archives & comments?

Some of you have pinged me to note that comments are not working, and that the Archives are 404'ing. You can thank Blogger for that: as part of the purchase of Blogger by Google, they are migrating people to the new Blogger Beta. And, as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. I've got help tickets in with Google; hopefully they'll be able to assist. I've also taken advantage of the switchover to revamp my template a little, making it blend with the site's navigation more. I've had to learn about CSS, but I like the effect. I've also revised the Index page, so when you go to now, it will go directly to the Blog. Don't worry: the old homepage is still one click away by clicking the Home button. :-) Thanks for hanging in there!

Rube Goldberg Toys!

Who could ask for anything more than Rube Goldberg toys that work on the side of the fridge (or any metallic surface)?

Network TV reimagined

Imagine a world of network TV with quality shows like LOST or 24...that don't go stale. This New York Magazine article makes a compelling argument for just that, and it's hard to refute. My coworkers are getting tired of the mysteries of LOST this season, and 24 has clearly jumped the shark. With competition from Netflix, HBO, Showtime, and the web, it's time to start thinking this way.

Flashback: Band-Aid

The holidays are coming, and you know what that means? Endless repetition of Christmas songs in the stores and on the streets. One of the "classics" is Band-Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas?" Right out of the "it could only be the 1980's," this was a seminal moment that, 20 years later, is still trying to be imitated. Thanks to YouTube, you can relive the horror/amazement all over again. Bill Simmons says it best: "For some reason, I hadn't seen the video in ages and forgot the lineup of singers other than Bono (who has the headscratching, "Well, tonight thank God it's them, instead of you!" line that I've never been able to figure out). In the video, that line works even better because it follows the duet with Simon LeBon and Sting, and suddenly there's a young Bono standing behind them and wearing Uncle Jessie's haircut from "Full House" ... and the three of them share one mike as Bono belts his

Coffee instructions

Sigh. Starbucks has ruined it for everyone else. As seen in the Fort Lauderdale Airport, Saturday, 11/11/06
Not so SMART. Turns out the train measure I blogged about needs a 2/3 majority to pass. Over 60 percent said yes, but that's not enough. Embarassing. [Posted with hblogger 2.0]

Civil Liberties: we have not learned a THING

Out of character, Amy insisted I blog this, as I am so frustrated, I can't contain it. Maybe it's because I listen to so much Penn Jillette. Maybe it's because of my experience at seeing my neighbors do unspeakable things to a locally registered sex offender. Maybe it's because I am a student of history, and have seen time and time again Americans handing over their freedoms, without understanding they did not have to. Yet tonight, we Californians have gone and done it again. Tonight, we passed Proposition 83, heaping a ton of penalties on sex offenders. Why, you are asking, is a man of reasonable intellect stupidly arguing AGAINST a proposition that punishes violent sex offenders? Many reasons: these are penalties put on them AFTER they are released from prison, and they are attempting to somehow dissuade these sick individuals from offending again, even though we all acknowledge they have a sickness, not a choice, and penalties will not dissuade that. But the real r

"Hacking Democracy" HBO Special on Google Video

I caught the tail end of this, this morning on HBO. For those of us who thought the 2000 and 2004 elections had more than a few discrepancies, this documentary is an amazing eye opener about the supposed security of voting machines...including those that are used in the elections today. Your vote...may not count. Absolutely amazing to watch. read more  |  digg story.

Now that's SMART.

In addition to the overwhelming victory of the Democrats in the House elections tonight, a more local victory was won. I live in Marin County, CA: one of the most desirable places to live on the planet. Yet the public transportation we have here is next to none. Want to go to San Francisco? Hop on a Ferry (which, while decadently enjoyable, is completely focused on commuters only and is expensive) or grab a bus (if you are lucky to find one that runs the time you want...and it's a bus). Yet our neighbors in the East Bay have one of the most luxurious train systems in the world, BART. Peninsula? Hop on the Baby Bullet Train on CalTrain, or drive up to the airport for BART. Marin? Sad. And Sonoma county? NOTHING. Not after tonight. The SMART train, from Northern Sonoma to Larkspur (where the aforementioned ferry leaves from) passed this evening. In typical Marin style, Larkspur is fighting the last, most key station in the plan. With such a resounding victory tonight, I hope Larkspu

FolderShare - MS Kinder & Gentler?

How have I missed this? In Microsoft's attempt to finally "get" the web, they have been doing a great overhaul of their Live family of services. One of them is FolderShare, a File Transfer & Remote File Access system. Now, get this: - You can share any folder on your hard drive with another computer, and have them automatically kept in sync, over the web. - You can share files and folders with friends, and they can be automatically kept in sync. - It works on Windows or Mac. - It supports files up to 2GB. Ok. Wait for it.... IT'S FREE. No adware, spyware: nothing. It just WORKS. Wow: this is something I would have expected from Google, not Microsoft. I'm impressed .

Mendocino: Weekend Heaven

Our favorite respite for recharging for a weekend is Mendocino. Only a few hours away, and blissfully out of cell and wifi range, it's an enforced relaxation that almost always becomes just what the doctor ordered for relief.With work so crazy, 2 bike accidents in two weeks caused from fatigue from said job, and a general burning out, we headed up the coast for some rejuvenation. Instead of heading up 101, we chose to go the more leisurely Highway 1 route this time. Sure, it took 4 hours, but we had no traffic, stunning scenery and small towns, and watched the sun dip into the Pacific for a sunset that lasted hours. And we still got to Mendocino in time for a patented sumptuous meal. This time, we stayed at the Mendocino Farmhouse , a B&B deep in the Redwoods. Usually, we stay at one of the fine inns in town, but this was too good to be true, and it didn't disappoint. Our own converted Barn (the Cedar Room), with exposed stone fireplace, and the snugness of a personal lodge

LOST: characters of color?

Look, I know LOST is all about conspiracy theories and puzzles but the new season has me asking an unexpected set of questions: what is it about characters of color that the writers don't like? Michael? Gone, along with his son. Michelle Rodriguez? Killed, after an absurdly short arc. And now, one of the best actors (an fellow OZ alumni to the aforementioned MIA Michael, Harold Perrineau Jr.) and characters on the show, Mr. Eko (played by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) has been killed. Yes, I was happy to see the sense of menace back to the island. But you can't tell me that we could not have killed a few of the extra white people? Seems we've got plenty of those on the island. Heck, get rid of Sayid, Jin and Sun, and it's practically a milk farm. C'mon, guys. I like watching the show, and love the storyline, but the big mystery this season is why, with an expanding cast, the characters of darker complexions are being eliminated. Not cool.

Make a ringtone from any MP3

I've been doing this for a while, but the increasingly improving Lifehacker makes a good step by step on how to make a ringtone from any MP3. For instance, the V for Vendetta one I posted earlier was made in this fashion. As have Amy's "Sex and the City" one, as well as my several movie quotes ones. Now, don't need to ask me: here you go!

I'm not condoning it...but I understand it

Cryptic policies, unfair practices, and a virtual monopoly are not ways to engender customer goodwill....something PayPal found out today when a bomb exploded at PayPal HQ. No one hurt, thank (what is the Atheist version of "God" in that sentence, Penn ?) {insert belief deity here}. I'm not saying it was as obvious as "Hey, if we invade Iraq, we'll start a civil war and lose thousands of American lives needlessly," but it was pretty easy to see it coming.