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.



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.


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


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


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?