Monthly Archive for January, 2006

Microsoft Live Betas

Windows Live mail I was just sort­ing through the 500 spam mes­sages in my Hot­mail inbox, and noticed that I received both a Mail Beta and a Mes­sen­ger Beta invi­ta­tion.

Mail looks nice and sim­ple, and the drag-and-drop func­tion­al­i­ty is showy. But, it only works in IE6/PC, and it’s slug­gish as hell. I wasn’t able to select & delete more than 10–15 spam mes­sages at a time with­out it tim­ing-out. SIGN UP HERE

Windows Live Messenger Beta Mes­sen­ger got a face lift, and they added some VOIP func­tion­al­i­ty. The “Shared Fold­er” fea­ture sounds inter­est­ing, but I don’t know any­body else with the Beta, so I haven’t test­ed it.

SIGN UP HERE

FeedLounge

FeedLounge Casey was talk­ing about Feed­Lounge a while back, so when the beta final­ly launched, I plunked down $5 for a month sub­scrip­tion, most­ly out of curios­i­ty.

They seem to promise you the world, but I’ve found FL deliv­ers what it promis­es — a host­ed, Ajaxed-up RSS read­er, com­plete with Google Read­er-esque key­board short­cuts.

Inci­den­tal­ly, I’m a big fan of Google Read­er, because it facil­i­tates speedy con­sump­tion of a lot infor­ma­tion… learn a cou­ple of key­board short­cuts, and you can quick­ly read through your favorite web­sites on your lunch-hour. How­ev­er, it’s near­ly impos­si­ble to man­age sub­scrip­tions once you’ve import­ed that OPML.

Feed­lounge rec­ti­fies this by using a Rojo-like tag­ging func­tion, to orga­nize feeds into cat­e­gories, with­out the pain of hav­ing to actu­al­ly cre­ate and set cat­e­gories, like Blog­lines. All you need to do is add or remove tags from any giv­en post, and the sub­scrip­tion struc­ture will auto­mat­i­cal­ly adjust. Cool.

One gripe I have is the three-col­umn lay­out — I know it is a cool sell­ing-point, but I found it to be a bit of a pain… kind of bug­gy, espe­cial­ly when nav­i­gat­ing via key­board. Plus, I don’t real­ly want to read my feeds by tag (cat­e­go­ry) — I’d much rather just read the lat­est posts, in what they call the “riv­er of news” view. Nice that they pro­vide users with a choice.

Bot­tom-line, if you’re still using a desk­top client to read RSS/Atom feeds because you think all of the online ser­vices suck, give Feed­lounge a try, m’kay?

Waitin’ Tables

Can’t help but pass along this Remain­der from Jason Kot­tke — NY Times food crit­ic Frank Bruni spends a week “under­cov­er” as a wait­er at a [Cam­bridge] restau­rant. In the end, he real­izes the hell that is being a wait­er:

try­ing to be flu­ent in the menu and the food, calm in the face of chaos, patient in the pres­ence of rude­ness, avail­able when din­ers want that, invis­i­ble when they don’t. It’s a lot, and I should remem­ber that.

Does this real­iza­tion damp­en his din­ing expec­ta­tions? Nope:

I’d still like fre­quent water refills. And a mar­ti­ni from hell. Straight up.

It reminds me of the polite lit­tle argu­ments Pres­ley & I have on whether or not to leave 20%, even when receiv­ing shit­ty ser­vice. Though I nev­er advo­cate leav­ing less than 15%, I also think that the bonus tip should be reserved for com­pe­tent, polite servers. What’s wrong with that?

9 years

cardThe years are just fly­ing by, I can’t believe it… on mon­day, the girl and I cel­e­brat­ed 9 years togeth­er, in the best way we know how: shar­ing a tasty meal.

And what bet­ter place to have a nice din­ner, than a 4-star restau­rant in a con­vert­ed Burg­er King? Seri­ous­ly.

Ren­dezvous just opened up in Cen­tral Square, in the old Burg­er King, and it is real­ly real­ly good. The Phoenix loves it. So does the Globe. And we do, too.

Birthdays

A cou­ple of Jan­u­ary birth­days help con­tin­ue my trend of post­ing to Flickr only pho­tos of my friends drink­ing…

toast

Stef’s 31st Birthday – More on Flickr »

birthday girl

Nobuko’s 33rd Birthday – More on Flickr »

links for 2006-01-20

Pre-mature Upgrades

Damn… I’ve got a bunch of pho­tos of somebody’s birth­day cel­e­bra­tion, but no way of export­ing them eas­i­ly to Flickr. I upgrad­ed to iPho­to 6, before I real­ized that Frasi­er Spiers hasn’t yet made his indis­pen­si­ble Flickr Export plu­g­in com­pat­i­ble with the new ver­sion. Oops.

So, I just made a small dona­tion to Frasi­er… You should too, if you rely on this plu­g­in as much as I do.

Music for a Cold Sunday Afternoon

  • Depeche Mode’s Pre­cious The per­fect track – I want this played at my wed­ding, should that day ever come.
  • The Sun­days’ Wild Hors­es I like this bet­ter than the Rolling Stones’ orig­i­nal… Harriet’s voice is haunt­ing… As a kid grow­ing up in Buf­fa­lo, I used to sit in my base­ment and teach myself to play gui­tar. I had a Bea­t­les song book, some records to play along to, and print­ed-out tab­la­ture.
  • Matisyahu’s King With­out A Crown The only hasidic reg­gae star I know of… incred­i­ble live per­for­mance.
  • La Laque’s La Sirène dort I’m still wait­ing for a prop­er­ly-record­ed LP, but their live show is awe­some. These girls (and guys) are on to some­thing here.

links for 2006-01-15

links for 2006-01-13

Eff Sirius

Still wait­ing… Thank god for Bit­tor­rent, or I’d be bored out of my mind at work.

In fact, I think a lot of peo­ple at work are lis­ten­ing to my shared iTunes library — I hear my boss laugh­ing every once in a while.

Saabs Don’t Age Well

One of the smartest things I’ve ever done, was to pay a lit­tle extra for Cer­ti­fied Pre-Owned sta­tus on my used 9–3, which more or less just extends the war­ran­ty. For an extra $1500 or so, I’ve received more than dou­ble that amount in parts and labor over the past 2 years.

So, on thurs­day, I dropped the 9–3 off in Fram­ing­ham so they could replace the Water Pump, which was going bad. Look at the piece of crap they gave me as a loan­er:

chevy aveo

Lat­er that after­noon, I received a call from the ser­vice depart­ment, say­ing that I also had a blown head gas­ket… great. That’s not good. So, they keep it overnight, and I don’t hear any­thing all day fri­day… so, I call them up, and they ask to keep it until mon­day, because they hadn’t fin­ished up the job. All the while, I’m rid­ing around in a tin-can amer­i­can car, with no pow­er-win­dows, no Fast-Lane, and it’s bright-cher­ry-fuck­ing-red.

So, today (mon­day), I call them up, and they tell me that they can’t get good oil pres­sure. WTF? And they want to replace the engine’s short block… which is a huge job. I can’t fig­ure out what the hell hap­pened, but I’m get­ting to the point where I can’t wait until the day when I don’t have to rely on a car every day of my life.

Mr. Yovanoff sold his 9–3 on eBay this week… but, he now gets to walk to work.

links for 2006-01-09

Airfoil 2

Airfoil 2Rogue Amoe­ba released ver­sion 2.0 of Air­foil, one of my absolute essen­tial mac appli­ca­tions. If you own an Air­port Express, and are less than impressed by iTunes’ trans­mit­ting capa­bil­i­ties, plunk down $25 now.

The first ver­sion of Air­foil let you trans­mit audio from any appli­ca­tion, but this new ver­sion has some great new fea­tures:

  • Sup­port For Mul­ti­ple Air­Port Express Units – Send audio to mul­ti­ple units
  • Audio Effects – New effects built into Air­foil allow for enhanc­ing audio with a 10 band equal­iz­er, vol­ume adjust­ment includ­ing vol­ume over­drive and bal­ance con­trols
  • Full Apple­script­abil­i­ty – Con­trol Air­foil with Apple­Scripts

And, to top it off, the UI has been much sim­pli­fied. Nice job!

UPDATE: Ver­sion 3.2 was released in May 2008. See Rogue Amoeba’s web­site for more infor­ma­tion.

Letterman’s Politics

I still love Dave… he stood up to Bill O’Reil­ly on his pro­gram this week, (video here). There were two main points of con­tention… first, O’Reilly’s imag­ined “War on Christ­mas”, and then his calous attacks on Cindy Shee­han. Dave wasn’t as thought­ful or inteligent-sound­ing as he can be on polit­i­cal top­ics, but I love the way he sums up O’Reil­ly:

Let­ter­man: “I’m not smart enough to debate you point to point on this, but I have the feel­ing, I have the feel­ing about 60 per­cent of what you say is crap.” (empha­sis added)

Indeed. Oh, and get your Tshirts.

Damn Sirius

Sirius Sportster ReplayWell, it’s going on damn near a week since I final­ly ordered my Sir­ius radio, direct­ly from their online shop, and I still haven’t heard boo. My order sta­tus has been set to “checked-out” since last Fri­day, but I’ve received no ship­ping con­fir­ma­tion.

I decid­ed to order direct­ly from Sir­ius because every retail out­let that I checked were sold out the day after Christ­mas… I guess a lot of us didn’t get what we want­ed under the tree, (I’m look­ing at you, mom).

And, I’m con­vinced their cus­tomer ser­vice rep­re­sen­ta­tives’ job is to bla­tant­ly lie to their cus­tomers, in order to cov­er up defi­cien­cies in order ful­fill­ment. When I called up the hot­line, the man on the oth­er end couldn’t tell me any­thing more than the web site could, how­ev­er he added that I would “prob­a­bly get the ship­ping con­fir­ma­tion in a day or two”… when I asked him how he knew this, he replied that it usu­al­ly takes 4–5 days to ship. Nev­er­mind that Howard Stern is going on-air next mon­day! (I sus­pect that they are back-ordered.)

Of course, con­sid­er­ing that every retail out­let (both online and tra­di­tion­al) are sold out of this mod­el, I’m not cross­ing my fin­gers. Good thing I paid extra for Overnight ship­ping!

links for 2006-01-04

links for 2006-01-03

Resolution

shaken
Martini anyone?

Hap­py New Year, every­body! I’m back at work today, after a (I think) deserved rest. New Year’s Eve was a bit more restrained than years past, but it was a nice cap to a great year.

My only real res­o­lu­tion is for us to final­ly cut the cord on Boston, and move to NYC. Pres­ley fin­ish­es Grad school in Sep­tem­ber, and I need to think more seri­ous­ly about my career, grad school, and the future in gen­er­al.

A lot of things could hap­pen, but that remains my #1 goal for 2006. What’s yours?