Archive for the 'tech' Category

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Google Romance

Google RomanceHey, sin­gle peo­ple! Find your soul mate, with Google Romance:

Google Romance is a place where you can post all types of roman­tic infor­ma­tion and, using our Soul­mate Search®, see search results that could, in the­o­ry, include the love of your life. Then we’ll send you both on a Con­tex­tu­al Date, which we’ll pay for while deliv­er­ing to you rel­e­vant ads that we and our adver­tis­ing part­ners think will help pro­duce the dat­ing results you’re look­ing for.

Be sure to take the tour, and read the FAQ.

Hosted Gmail

Hosted GmailThis is fan­tas­tic — I’ve set­up Host­ed Gmail for our old domain,, and it’s work­ing fan­tas­tic. I wish that I could use this at work, rather than Exchange/Outlook.

There are some nice account man­ange­ment func­tions, and you can cre­ate 25 accounts for free. They even allow you to upload a cus­tom logo in place of the stan­dard Gmail logo. Go sign up.


lockdownThanks Zooomer & OpenID… I signed up for you this morn­ing, and Google sus­pend­ed my Gmail access:

Lock­down in sec­tor 4!

Our sys­tem indi­cates unusu­al usage of your account. In order to pro­tect Gmail users from poten­tial­ly harm­ful use of Gmail, this account has been dis­abled for up to 24 hours.

If you are using any third par­ty soft­ware that inter­acts with your Gmail account, please dis­able it or adjust it so that its use com­plies with the Gmail Terms of Use. If you feel that you have been using your Gmail account accord­ing to the Terms of Use or oth­er­wise nor­mal­ly, please con­tact us using this form to report this problem.

Fan­tas­tic… I fail to see how Flickr has some catch­ing up to do, if Zooomer can’t man­age to authen­ti­cate me with­out frack­ing up my email!

Now, it’s a wait­ing game. Any­body else have this problem?

UPDATE: 2 hours lat­er, and I’m back in business…

UPDATE 2: Well, I’m pret­ty sure that Zooomer is the cul­prit. I tried to login to the ser­vice, using my Google (Gmail) account, and I was imme­di­ate­ly locked out again. Frack you, Zooomer!


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?

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.

Google Kwanzaa

google kwanzaaHap­py Hol­i­days, from Google. If you search for cer­tain end-of-the year hol­i­days, you get fes­tive bor­ders on the Google results page, (look between the results and text ads)

Are there more?

AT&T Wireless -> Cingular -> AT&T?

new AT&T logo So, hav­ing been forcibly con­vert­ed from AT&T Wire­less to Cin­gu­lar, I read this today:

Well, you can say good­bye to Cin­gu­lar. SBC, which closed its merg­er with AT&T last week, decid­ed that after spend­ing untold mil­lions pro­mot­ing the Cin­gu­lar brand for its joint ven­ture with Bell­South, that they’re going to drop the name and start sell­ing wire­less ser­vice under the AT&T brand name.

Why? On the day we read about GM shed­ding 30,000 Amer­i­can jobs, I’m hav­ing a hard time under­stand­ing just what the hell U.S. Big-Busi­ness is up to. Some­body is mak­ing mon­ey on all these shenani­gans, but I’m not con­vinced that work­ers and con­sumers share in the party.

UPDATE: Won­der­ing about that new AT&T logo? It’s weak, right? Well, Rus­sell Beat­tie has a nice put-down review.

UPDATE 2: Design­wee­nie also feels uncom­fort­able with the new AT&T mark.

Google Reader, revisited

Google Read­er is now my only RSS read­er. Sure, it was slow and clunky when it first launched. But, there has been some per­for­mance improve­ment, and the adddi­tion of some new functionality.

For instance, you can use your mouse’s scroll wheel to quick­ly skip through the list of posts. Also, they’ve added some addi­tion­al key­board short­cuts — “v” opens the source page, (although you can’t hold down CTRL to open in a new tab), while “n” and “p” allow you to scroll through items with­out load­ing the con­tent, which speeds things up considerably.

Mapped FTP drive

mapped ftpThere was a great “how-to” arti­cle on Engad­get yes­ter­day: Map a dri­ve to your FTP serv­er.

Now, tweak­ing that CSS file is as easy as right-click, and Edit.


Flock has indeed land­ed, today — they released a Devel­op­er Pre­view this after­noon. In fact, I’m pub­lish­ing this very post from with­in the browser.

Ini­tial impres­sions — why can’t I select Mov­able Type text for­mat­ting?  I know this is a beta and all, but this is kind of a deal break­er for me… appar­ent­ly MT is giv­ing them some trou­bles:

Word­Press and Blog­ger work pret­ty well. There are some prob­lems still with Mov­able Type. We haven’t test­ed any oth­er blog­ging platforms

I haven’t done much with the inte­gra­tion yet, but so far this does­n’t seem very rev­o­lu­tion­ary. John Oxton agrees.

Wow, I just checked the code that Flock wrote to my entry… hard cod­ed <p>s and <br>s, no line-breaks… yikes. I won­der if it defaults to what­ev­er your default text for­mat­ting is?

The Poisoning of BitTorrent

O’Reilly Radar is report­ing that HBO is “poi­son­ing” Bit­Tor­rent down­loads of their hour-long dra­ma Rome:

HBO is now obstruct­ing the down­loads offered by oth­er peo­ple. Bit­Tor­rent down­loads are peer-to-peer, but the peers are intro­duced to each oth­er by a track­er (“you’re look­ing for Rome Sea­son 1 Episode 2, talk to”). HBO runs peers that tell the track­er they have all the chunks of the show, but then send garbage data when a down­loader requests a chunk. The down­load­ing client can detect that it’s garbage and will try anoth­er peer for the chunk, but the end result is that it takes much much longer to down­load shows.

I would care more if I did­n’t have TiVo.

iTrip LCD

I’ve had the iTrip LCD for a cou­ple of weeks now, and I am very frus­trat­ed with it. I’ve used the reg­u­lar iTrip for a cou­ple of years, and it per­fomed about as well as can be expect­ed from an FM transmitter.

How­ev­er, when I recent­ly broke it, (the con­nec­tor some­how bent and detached, caus­ing some wires to dis­con­nect), I decid­ed to buy a new one. When I saw the LCD ver­sion, I ordered this instead.

My set­up in my car is exact­ly as it was with the orig­i­nal iTrip, (2000 Saab 9–3, 3rd-Gen iPod, with flat EQ and broad­cast to 88.7), but the result is sim­ply mad­den­ing.

With the old iTrip, the iPod vol­ume was set to about 90%, and caused very lit­tle dis­tor­tion. But, with the new iTrip LCD, the sound is heav­i­ly dis­tort­ed at 90% vol­ume, and the unit auto­mat­i­cal­ly reduces the vol­ume to about 50–60% for most music. This of course ampli­fies the sta­t­ic and back­ground noise. To make mat­ters worse, even then the music is still dis­tort­ed. DX-mode makes only a mar­gin­al difference.

I hate to rain on the parade, but I had the old one, and it worked fine. I sub­mit­ted a help tick­et to Grif­fin 12 hours ago, and have yet to receive a response… per­haps their ser­vice techs are busy draft­ing the pro­duc­t’s sup­port web site?

Internet Explorer Developer Toolbar

It’s a pain to build web sites that behave prop­er­ly in Inter­net Explor­er — and, if my IE7 beta any idi­ca­tion, it will con­tin­ue to be a pain.

But, Microsoft just released the Inter­net Explor­er Devel­op­er Tool­bar Beta.

Some of the many fea­tures are:

  • View HTML object class names, ID’s, and details such as link paths, tab index val­ues, and access keys.
  • Out­line tables, table cells, images, or select­ed tags.
  • Val­i­date HTML, CSS, WAI, and RSS web feed links.
  • Dis­play image dimen­sions, file sizes, path infor­ma­tion, and alter­nate (ALT) text.
  • Imme­di­ate­ly resize the brows­er win­dow to 800×600 or a cus­tom size.
  • Dis­play a ful­ly fea­tured design ruler to help accu­rate­ly align objects on your pages.

But of course, I still love the Web Devel­op­er Exten­sion for Fire­fox. It’s just that some­times you have to work with IE.

Google Secure Access client

Jeez, Google is branch­ing out in to all kinds of new busi­ness­es… the lat­est is a ven­ture to pro­vide the world with a secure WiFi con­nec­tion, espe­cial­ly use­fule in pub­lic places.

Dubbed Google Secure Access, it pro­vides a free VPN con­nec­tion to Google. Some observers are already ques­tion­ing Google’s com­mit­ment to user pri­va­cy, which gives pause — but, I for one, would love such a ser­vice. Too bad the down­load is avail­able only for WIndows.

Stef in Norway

I noticed that Stef some pho­tos of her Euro­pean trip. I won­der if she’s back yet?

Norwegian flag on Ulriken
Norwegian flag on Ulriken, by Mystera
Preikestolen, just about at the top!
Preikestolen, just about at the top!, by Mystera

Office 12

Microsoft unveiled its new user inter­face for Office 12 ear­li­er this week, and they seem to have depart­ed rad­i­cal­ly from past releases:

…we set about rethink­ing the UI from the user’s per­spec­tive, which is “results-ori­ent­ed,” rather than from the devel­op­er’s per­spec­tive, which tends to be “fea­ture-ori­ent­ed” or “com­mand-ori­ent­ed”… instead of hav­ing to learn how to make some­thing shad­owed, or what the aspect ratio is or the per­cent gray, you just say, “Oh, I like that one,” and you pick it, you click it and get it in your doc­u­ment. It’s more visual.

outlook12 outlook12-2

Word, Excel, Pow­er­Point, and Access are due to get the face lift, but Out­look (the one Office appli­ca­tion that I use con­stant­ly, and which piss­es me off the most), will remain large­ly the same, accord­ing to the press release.

(Although odd­ly enough, xBe­tas has a cou­ple of screen shots of a sim­i­lar­ly engi­neered Outlook.)

My ini­tial reac­tion is very wait-and-see… True, it looks like an aqua rip-off, but con­sid­er­ing I use the suite every day on my work PC, any­thing new will peak my interest.


Rol­lyo is cool — sign up to beta test.


Not to be out­done by Apple yes­ter­day, I saw that Sony is once again rethink­ing it’s Walk­man brand.

I admit that the design is far more com­pelling than Sony’s pre­vi­ous offer­ings, but a monocra­mat­ic, low-res screen? C’mon Sony!

Have a Mint

I just ordered and installed the new site stats pack­age Mint, which was launched today by Shaun Inman.

It’s been eons since I had a reli­able site stat track­er, and this pack­age looks as good as the hype. RIP, Refer.

Gmail Notifier

Rejoice! Google released a OS X ver­sion of their Gmail Noti­fi­er application.

GCount was great, but often broke when Google made changes to the Gmail ser­vice. Since then, I’ve tried Dash­board wid­gets like GPeek, but it’s annoy­ing hav­ing to hit F12 to check for mail.

Can’t wait to install it and check it out.

UPDATE 9/12/2005: Appar­ent­ly Google did build the mac appli­ca­tion with sup­port for plug-ins… To get Growl noti­fi­ca­tions, check out this Gmail+Growl script

Google Desktop Beta

I’m on vaca­tion this week, but here I am on mon­day morn­ing, remot­ing into my work com­put­er to install and test out the new Google Desk­top Beta.

It includes a Dashboard/Konfabulator wid­get func­tion­al­i­ty called Side­bar — which puts infor­ma­tion on your desk­top — Gmail, local weath­er, news, and even rec­om­mends cool links based on your own brows­ing habits.

Also, I’m excit­ed for Quick Find, a Spot­light/Quick­sil­ver-like launch­er func­tion­al­i­ty. I’ve been using AppRock­et on my work PC for some time now, but it always seemed slug­gish. Time to unin­stall that app.

Then there are the search improve­ments… the new ver­sion comes with a con­ve­nient Out­look search tool­bar that is light-years faster than Microsoft­’s own built-in search. I’ve want­ed some­thing like this for years — i just always assumed that it would have to come from Microsoft.

Meteor Showers this Weekend

Stef passed on this infor­ma­tion about mete­or show­ers this weekend:

The 12 th and 13th of August is the best time that you can see mete­or show­er this year.

They are called Per­sei­ds, and you can expect to see at least 60 mete­ors per hour.

Accord­ing to NASA, the best time to see the Per­sei­ds this year is “between 2 a.m. and dawn on August 12th, if you get away from city lights, you could see hun­dreds of mete­ors. This is a good time to go camping!”


Mar­ci was in town for a job inter­view at Har­vard, so we took wednes­day off from work, and head­ed for the beach in Gloucester.

not crowded
So much less crowded on weekdays…


Having just finished Tipping Point, I dug into a couple
hundred pages of Malcolm Gladwell’s new book, Blink


…and, we enjoyed a big jug of homemade Sangria.


Tattoo”, posted by nedward

Pres­ley’s new tat­too, done by Cus­tom Claire, of Fat Ram’s Pump­kin Tat­too, Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts.