Skip to main content


Showing posts from March, 2007

It's no iPhone...

But I couldn't wait. My venerable combination of the Palm TX and my Sony Ericsson Z520a has been falling down on the job. My TX is on it's last legs and, with a broken power button, there's no way to reset it to the original ROM. My Z520a has always been a little flaky (random restarts, laggy performance), but the capper was with my Jawbone : the Z520a kept dropping the Bluetooth. Not to mention that, as a GPRS phone, it doesn't even have the speed of EDGE, let alone HSDPA. So, my choices were: A) Stick it out until the iPhone hits. Sure, it's supposed to ship in June. And the Nintendo Wii shipped in December, yet they are still not on the shelves. Now, with the legendary fan appeal of Apple, a truly amazing phone, and over 1 million inquiries to AT&T/Cingular so far, what are the odds I get my grubby mitts on one before the end of the summer? Sigh. Pass. B) Pick up a Blackjack . I wanted to. I really did. The styling is great, the phone is slick. I just co

OSH becomes ash

Does this seem like a good combo of items to display together?

March Musings

Just a random post to share, of some great tidbits. - I always like to use this blog to share the new and cool online applications I find. Well, today I've found a blog that does nothing but this: I bring you MakeUseOf , a directory/blog of some of the coolest sites on the web for free things to make your life interesting. Although the visual style is closer to a wiki than a blog, it definitely offers a great, constantly updating collection of some of the more interesting sites that provide useful services to the consumer. Think Original Signal without the (ahem) noise. - Yahoo has released version 4 of Yahoo Widget Engine , promising less memory hogging, and new mini-docking, to allow your widgets to be displayed in an intuitive collection, for neatness. It also introduces a drag and drop upload widget for Flickr , as well as support for just about all old widgets. Seems like a worthy download, and is definitely sucking less of my precious resources. - Speaking of Flickr , they mi

Shared To Do Lists

We're in the process of moving, which means it's time to make lots of to do lists. Utilities to transfer, subscriptions to update, things to buy...all the property of the standard to do list. Yet we have different jobs, different schedules, so syncing two different lists to make sure we don't overlap is a pain. Surely, I asked, the web has a better way? Yup. From 37signals, the folks who make free to inexpensive purpose-based solutions for project management and scheduling, comes Backpack . Simple: create your to do list, using multiple categories, and the easiest Web 2.0 controls, and share with another Backpack user. One of you thinks of something to add? Log in to your Backpack page, and with a few clicks, done. Check one off the list? Done. Add some details to a previous to do? Easy to edit. 37 Signals focuses on delivering simple, purpose driven applications, and for this, it's ideal. With a paid account, you can add calendar links, images, and more, but for dealin

Hot Tub. Big Screen TV. Car. ZERO Emissions.

Ladies and gentlemen, have a look at the man on the left. Looks fairly unassuming, right? Hardly what you would think of as a revolutionary? Well, prepare to bow down before him: he has created a zero emission home and car ecosystem that he lives by. As the Christian Science Monitor says, "On sunny days, solar panels on the roof of Strizki's detached garage generate more than enough electricity to power his home. The excess electricity powers a device inside the garage called an electrolyzer, which transforms a tank of water into its base elements – oxygen and hydrogen. "The oxygen is released into the atmosphere, while the hydrogen is stored in 10 1,000-gallon propane tanks on Strizki's property. In the winter, when the solar panels collect less energy than the home needs, that hydrogen is piped to an air-conditioner-size fuel cell, located just outside the garage, which generates electricity." That's zero emissions, and as much power as you want. Better, h

Jawbone is on the way...

I could no longer resist. My Jawbone Bluetooth headset is on the way, courtesy of eBay. I'll post a review as soon as I can.

Cavernous subways

As long as I can remember, I've been fascinated with subways. In Boston, where I grew up, I was a virtual Charlie on the M(B)TA. Some of the stations, especially on the Red and Blue lines, were fascinating: - South Station had the oldest working escalator in the world: the steps were made from interlocking wooden dowels! - The Aquarium stop was so deep and steep, you could get vertigo from the ride down the escalators. - Porter Square in Cambridge was a twisting, turning rut that opened into a 2 story underground chamber. - Park Street? All glorious tile and inlay. The list goes on. I've always tried to ride subways in every city I go, from Montreal's famous rubber-tired trains, to the cool efficiency of the Metro in DC, to the classic "El" in Chicago, to the opulent carpets and couches of the Bay Area's BART. It's just an efficient, effective way to travel, and evokes the speed of rail with the convenience of in-town. However, some places take subways to

Alan Moore's Triumph?

If you know Alan Moore, you know that image to the left, and it chills you to think this might actually make it to the screen. Can it finally be that Alan Moore will get the Hollywood respect? Who the heck is Alan Moore? V for Vendetta is one of his. So is the original (not the Hollywood version) League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. His works are absolutely as influential as Frank Miller or Neil Gaiman in the world of graphic novels. Alan Moore wrote many of the most startling visions of the late 80's, and pretty much claimed the world of graphic novels. But nothing, nothing , defined Alan Moore's work better than the amazing series, Watchmen . It's uncompromising, unrelenting, utterly adult, and perfect for the medium. Alas, for Alan Moore fans, we've waited for his amazing writing to grace the silver screen. LXG was an abomination, making him so violently disgusted with Hollywood, he swore off any future participation. V was a triumph, but he even disavowed that. And

Hot Water, by Color

I've seen concepts of this on various tech blogs before, but never something real...and cheap! You want to know when the water gets hot, to wash your hands...why make your digits suffer hypothermia while you wait? Instead, let this LED faucet head give you a visual clue: cold water, blue; water above 89 degrees? Red. Simple, and even useful for those middle of the night sink runs! Plus the cool/geek factor cannot be beat. Oh, the price for this cutting edge gadget? Hang on to that Jackson: $19.99. Now we're talking!

Wireframes in the Real World

I've always loved wireframes, from the moment I played my first rounds of BattleZone and Star Castle . But this artist has taken them out of the Tron world and into the street, with his wireframe sculpture of a Subaru WRX. No, this ain't CG, folks: this is the real thing. Check out the additional photos in the link.

Flip Side of Corporate: NeoBedouins

If the Google corporate culture is one end of the spectrum, the ever-improving has a perspective on the other end : the "neo-nomad," or "Bedouins:" those that prefer to work out of a coffee shop. Seems unlikely? Add in WiFi (nearly a requirement for San Francisco), an atmosphere designed for small groups to be able to be together, some funky music, and power, and you've got an incubator for small companies and innovators. While I definitely prefer the comfort and focus of an office, I tend to make use of these while I am on the road. My favorite is Caribou Coffee : free WiFi that you need to renew every hour; makes you buy more coffee. Lodge-like atmosphere. BIG chairs, friendly staff. However, the idea of doing my work at one of these places is...bizarre. Now add in San Francisco's funky culture and passionate commitment to loud music. How the heck can you work? Suffice it to say, it's not for everyone, but it's a very interesting insight

Transit, by Google

What do you do when you need employees in a competitive environment, and stock options and salary are really not enough to distinguish you? Well, after you add free gourmet meals, onsite oil changes and car washes, and other lifestyle perks, you look at what the pain points for the Silicon Valley worker are: commuting. And then? If you're Google, you start a luxury bus line. Yes, the Goog is now one of the largest transit system operators in the Bay Area. This New York Times article describes what transit is like, Google style: " The company now ferries about 1,200 employees to and from Google daily — nearly one-fourth of its local work force — aboard 32 shuttle buses equipped with comfortable leather seats and wireless Internet access. Bicycles are allowed on exterior racks, and dogs on forward seats, or on their owners’ laps if the buses run full. Riders can sign up to receive alerts on their computers and cellphones when buses run late. They also get to burnish their green

Google Desktop 3.0: Ready Yet?

I'm a big fan of the Goog: fast, powerful, and accessible applications, all at the right price (FREE). When Google Desktop hit the scene, I was delighted: email search, and replace that crappy Microsoft search with a real power tool, PLUS Gadgets (widgets)? call me crazy, I thought we had a winner. Unfortunately, version 1 was VERY resource intensive, and slowed my computer to a crawl. Version 2 took the Gadgets up a notch, but the search was still too limiting: it could only search up to 100K emails (I have easily over 1 million), and had a few security risks. Now version 3 has hit the street , and it adds a whole lotta eye candy. Now, the ubiquitous Sidebar samples your desktop picture, and blends the Gadgets to match. It adds a dramatic touch with gradients and light text on dark backgrounds to the News and RSS modules. The Weather is very cool; the Notepad is cute. And, of course, it uses all of the Gadgets out there. So what's the verdict? Well, the self learning news and

Netflix Streaming: As Good As Advertised

If you haven't heard, Netflix has finally started to live up to their name by offering you the ability to stream movies over the web. Unlike iTunes, or other services, you can watch over 1000 movies via a live stream, included as part of your monthly subscription fee. Here's how it works: let's say you are on the Netflix $18 a month plan. In addition to your unlimited DVD's out per month, you get 18 hours of streaming per month. I saw that this was an option for me tonight in my account. As I type this, I'm watching Westworld , full screen, on my other monitor. What I was concerned about was the speed and quality of the streaming. Much to my surprise, the installation was fast and painless, and the streaming started immediately. No hiccups, no skips, no delays: just instant movie watching. Wow. No, you can't save the movies; too bad, as I'd love to watch them on my Palm. But, for a service that is included with your subscription, at no extra cost, it's

Samuel L. Jackson, Pulp Fiction, and Animated Text

I'm no huge fan of Pulp Fiction , but it's undeniable that this was the vehicle that made us understand Sam Jackson as the riveting screen influence he is. His speech and role in PF is constantly quoted as the meme, and this enterprising animated short shows how text, fonts, and animation can be combined to reflect the same power. Enjoy...but make sure you do not watch with the speakers turned up (language may...hell, will ...offend).

How much is your domain worth?

Yep, it's now here. dnScoop lets you type in whatever domain you want, and it will tell you how much it's worth, based on traffic, views, and links. The interesting part to me was the Yahoo feature that lets you see who's linking to your domain ; I had no idea I had so many links. While many were flattering and fun (Pete's blog, Lani's blog, Leslie's blog), a surprising amount were because of my post on the Jet Pack , some months ago. On the Blog Value side, dnScoop also helpfully tells me that the estimated value of a single link on is $5 /month, and that if I were to sell 8 spots on one page, I could generate $40/month in revenue for your website. Yeah, I'm retiring off of that . Oh, yes, the value? Get ready: My Site is worth $2,921 How much is your site worth?

Exercise in Honesty, An Error, or a Great Strategy?

This last week was an interesting one. After all the dust settles, I may well share some insight on it all, but the situation is still in flux. Suffice it to say, this week determined my career, my home, and my mental state. It's been a busy one, to say the least. One odd experience was with the power and peril of social networking on the web, and blogs. I am a passionate LinkedIn user, as it has always yielded me great results for professional networking and hiring. When you are a LinkedIn user, as you make updates to your profile, your linked contacts are notified of the changes, through email. I received one notification of a change, from someone I work with: he added a link to his blog. Curious, I checked it out. The first entry I saw? A time for change? It's been over 3 years that I've been at my current company. I have never stayed with one company this long, and I'm getting the itch for a change. I've got several reasons why I want to change, and several reas

Are we REALLY that short of attention span?

"Blog" is short for weblog. Weblogs started as short online journals, for people like me to post their thoughts, and share with several people at once. But now, we have short-form weblogs: Tumblelogs, courtesy of Tumblr . I feel like the old man I am for saying this, but has it really come down to this? No context, no setup, no storytelling: just brief excerpts of consciousness. For instance, have a look at this tumblelog. I love the formatting, and the visual treatment, but the content? It's like walking into a movie halfway through. I pride myself on keeping up with the latest web trends, but this one might take a while.

Set your Remote on Stun

In case you hadn't known, I'm kind of a Trek fan. I got hooked on rerun of The Original Series (TOS), then, after being skeptical, got completely pulled into The Next Generation (TNG); TNG is still exceptional, and I could watch an episode any day or time. Deep Space Nine (DS9) kind of lost me, but Leslie turned me on to just how great the last season was. Voyager (VOY) was a bit aimless, but rediscovered that TNG vibe towards the end. Enterprise? Oooh boy. They should have stuck with the movies. However, who has not wanted to point their remote at the TV and watch the bolt of energy fly out from it? Well, combine your TOS Star Trek Phaser and your boob tube control habits to get this killer remote. I actually have a TNG one from my old Sharper Image days, complete with sound effects, but this looks to be a bit more comprehensive. And be on the lookout for the new J.J. Abrams TOS movie prequel next year. Lost meets Star Trek? Count me in!