Re¢ently

  1. Zen Micro, Searching, Javascript

    jake on 2005.06.27
    at 06:36 pm

    Just a new link list.

    • Black Creative Zen MicroCreative Zen Micro — Thank God my little brother doesn’t read these pages, at least I don’t think he does. In any event, he choose the Zen Micro over an iPod mini (just barely) so I ordered one from ZipZoomFly and spent a little time loading CD’s into it for him. Now he has a bunch of good albums and it gives me a chance to play with it ;).
    • I’m not sure what to do about searching around here. Currently we just use Google. Which isn’t too bad since Google loves us. Or at least we like to think so. I’m also looking into just using Full-Text Search like Textpattern does. Another possibility is using The Search Engine Project.
    • Thankfully Javascript is making a comeback as a method for embelishing web sites (From Tom) like Gmail and Basecamp. The nicest part of these developments is separating the Javascript from the html code. Just like CSS from a few years ago we can clean out a little more of the soup in our code.

    Posted in: Hardware · Standards · Web

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  2. Trying iFill on SomaFM

    brian on 2005.06.24
    at 02:51 pm

    I’m trying out Griffin Technology’s newest cool product, iFill right now. iFill allows you to record streaming audio from internet radio and drops it on your iPod for later listening, not unlike a TiVO. I’m still trying to understand how it works so far as the timeshifting they talk about at the site, but I’ve only been using it for 10 minutes.

    I’m sampling Secret Agent, from SomaFM, of whom I really need to send a donation to. Here’s hoping Apple will add aacPlus format to iTunes for streaming, because now there’s two stations I listen to who offer it. Luckily, Soma still overs all feeds on their mp3 format as well. But I could be listening to 48k aacPlus instead of 128k mp3, and the sound would be similar, if not better… then we’d just need iFill to understand it and your iPod as well. Maybe when we get iTunes 4.9 with podcasting! If iTunes 4.9 adds that awesome feature (podcasts) I can’t wait to see what 5.0 brings…

    Posted in: Music · Technology

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  3. Uberpost (random links and info)

    brian on 2005.06.24
    at 01:28 pm

    Things bouncing around my head that you should perhaps know about, in no particular order:

    • Camino 0.9a1 – I’m posting from this latest update, which has a lot of new goodness in it.
    • New music:
      • John Scofield That’s What I Say [ITMS] – Jazz guitar great’s tribute to the late genius Ray Charles, featuring other stars including John Mayer, Warren Hayes, Aaron Neville, Mavis Staples and Dr. John. OUTSTANDING Especially like What’d I Say featuring John Mayer, Hit the Road Jack, and I Don’t Need No Doctor.
      • Death Cab for Cutie Transatlanticism [ITMS] – To resist Ben Gibbard sticky bubblegum alt-pop rock is futile. Especially enjoying The New Year, Title and Registration, and We Looked Like Giants. Excellent. If you enjoyed The Postal Service, then don’t miss Ben’s regular gig with Death Cab. Not that this album, nor the band are new. In fact I have friends who have listened to Ben’s assorted works for a while, but I’ve just now bought in.
    • MIT Weblog Survey – Do participate if you are of the blogging persuasion. It’s fun, and very well made from a technical standpoint. Cam Marlow sez… “Thanks so much for the respect on the design, I did invest quite a bit of time into getting the AJAX to work” and work it does. Be sure to check thr results as well, when you’re done. Worth the effort. Cam’s behind Blogdex, as well.

    Posted in: Music · Standards · Web

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  4. Batman Begins

    jake on 2005.06.22
    at 06:14 pm

    Batman Begins PosterBatman Begins is a great movie. It’s doing pretty well, but the movie studios want it to save them.

    News flash for the film industry, you’re killing yourselves. When it costs $9 a ticket, and the average person doesn’t go by themself, your customers are going to be more selective. Especially when I can wait a few months and buy the thing on DVD for less than the price of two movie tickets. You guys need to clean up your act. You can still make crap loads of money if your customers save some money and can go to more movies.

    With all the bull out there you’d think they’d figure it out one of these years…

    Sorry about that, back to the movie.

    Christian Bale as BatmanThe feel is dark, like some of the Dark Knight’s better graphic novels. I enjoy Tim Burton’s work immensly, but his original Batman movies gave a totally different feel. It was dark more like a scary clown at a theme park. Batman Begins felt more real. Gotham was a living, breathing city, not a backdrop.

    Everyone who enjoys comics should enjoy this movie. And many people who enjoyed the Spider-Man movies should also enjoy this movie. Batman Begins is more interested in the characters than just blowing things up. Of course lots of things blow up too. I just didn’t find it excessive.

    The acting is also high quality. I’ve seen a couple other movies with Christian Bale, but my mind keeps floating back to Newsies. I think it might be linked to how my cousin Amy used to obssess over it. I think I’ll start thinking of him as Batman now. And Michael Caine as Alfred is a good fit too.

    If you’re interested in saving some money just do what I did, go to a matinee. But this movie is a must see on the big screen.

    Posted in: Movies

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  5. Link Dump #43.6727

    jake on 2005.06.22
    at 04:57 pm

    Well my PowerBook is back, my frisbee team isn’t doing too well and I got to see Batman Begins yesterday (my thoughts in a following post). But I haven’t posted in a few days, so let’s give anyone reading out there a little tidbit of what I’ve found interesting recently.

    Posted in: Movies · Recent Events · Web

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  6. Jobsian Commencement Speech

    brian on 2005.06.18
    at 09:03 pm

    You may have read bits and pieces of Steve Jobs’ commencement speech at Stanford University, but if you haven’t seen the full text, you really should. It’s much more interesting and inspiring than the soundbites reported by the media.

    Full-Text Transcript of Steve Jobs’ Speech at the 2005 Commencement of Stanford University, delivered on June 12, 2005.

    Posted in: Apple · Cool Info

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  7. Parkman Street Flowers

    brian on 2005.06.13
    at 07:30 pm

    One of the nicest thing about living in Brookline has been the great pride our neighborhood took in its landscaping. I missed an early opportunity to photograph some beautiful flowers early this spring, when we had spring for a few days, all the flowers bloomed, then we dove back into cold and then rain for two months.

    Today, I’ve captured some of the newest blooms on the street. I am unfortunately beyond useless when it comes to knowing the name of flowers. If you check out the page and know the names of the flowers you see, please leave a comment here and I’ll gladly put the proper names up. Please reference the flower by its file name, and if there are multiple pics of the same flower, do note that as well.

    We’ll miss our street when we move to Medford later this summer, but change is life’s only constant.

    [PS – don’t read too much into the fact that my last post was about a war and this one’s about flowers. Just a coincidence.]

    Posted in: Photography

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  8. Downing Street Memo

    brian on 2005.06.13
    at 05:14 pm

    Getting very little news coverage in the United States is this document called the Downing Street Memo. The DSM is a secret British government document detailing information gleaned from the United States during meetings prior to the Iraq War.

    The highlights include…

    The minutes detail how our government did not believe Iraq was a greater threat than other nations; how intelligence was “fixed” to sell the case for war to the American public; and how the Bush Administration’s public assurances of “war as a last resort” were at odds with their privately stated intentions.

    When asked, British officials “did not dispute the document’s authenticity.” and a senior American official has described it as “absolutely accurate.” Yet the Bush administration continues to simultaneously sidestep the issue while attempting to cast doubt on the memo’s authenticity.

    Go check it out.

    Posted in: Politics

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  9. Community Networks Under Attack

    brian on 2005.06.12
    at 09:54 pm

    A bill just introduced in Congress would take away the right of cities
    and towns across the country to provide citizens with universal,
    low-cost Internet access.

    Giant cable and telephone companies don’t want any competition — which
    might actually force them to offer lower prices, higher speeds and
    service to rural and urban areas.

    U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) — a former telephone company
    executive — has introduced a bill (HR 2726) that would let cable and
    telecom companies shut down municipal and community efforts to offer
    broadband services.

    You can stop this outrageous bill. Send a message to your representative now.

    Read More

    Posted in: Politics · Technology

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  10. Summer Mac Projects

    brian on 2005.06.12
    at 06:15 pm

    It’s summer time and that means summer projects! So grab your favorite Mac and head over to this swell collection of Mac OS X how-to’s for cool things to do on your Mac when the the sun is out and you should really be outside enjoying it.

    Or I suppose you could take your PowerBook outside with you… may I suggest a sun umbrella and or Universal Access’ Switch to Black on White mode for outdoor viewing.

    Posted in: Apple · Software · Technology · Web

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  11. Don't let them take Katie...

    jake on 2005.06.11
    at 12:45 am

    I find pop culture gossip to be interesting. What attracts us to it? And why the hell do we famous people who contribute nothing? Well right now I don’t really care. This is actually a post on Scientology. All the publicity around Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes got me thinking about the peculiar “church” and why so many celebrities join. And why the heck don’t they get that their religion doesn’t make much sense?

    I’m no expert on the subject so I will let my links do the talking. So far I’ve found out that it’s not really a religion at all. And you need to pay into it to gain status. Sounds perfect for celebrities. Quite simply it is a cult.

    The ongoing controversies involving the Church of Scientology and its critics include:

    • Scientology’s harassing and litigious actions against its critics and “enemies.”
    • Differing accounts of L. Ron Hubbard’s life, (critics charge Scientology with being a cult of personality, with much emphasis placed on the alleged accomplishments of its founder). Scientologists claim that government files, such as the FBI, are loaded with forgeries and other false documents detrimental to Scientology.
    • Deaths of Scientologists due to mistreatment by other members.
    • Scientology’s disconnection policy, in which members are encouraged to cut off all contact with friends or family members critical of the Church.
    • Criminal activities by some members of the Church of Scientology.
    • Claims of “brainwashing” and mind control.
    • Accounts of L. Ron Hubbard discussing his intent to start a religion to make money.

    I don’t wish to speak ill of anyone but Scientology really creeps me out. I’ll let you make up your own mind of their intentions. Let’s hope Ms. Holmes is careful and rationalizes what’s going on around her.

    Less ranty update: Maybe she’ll be strong enough to resist when they start talking about dead aliens.

    Posted in: Rant

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  12. Bargains in Music

    brian on 2005.06.10
    at 05:39 pm

    “I call it a bargain. The best I ever had!”

    Amanda has us on a kick watching CSI and CSI Miami. We generally enjoy CSI, but we find CSI:Miami utterly annoying and we mainly watch it so we can make fun of David Caruso’s character and his acting. Hello, he runs the crime lab, but spends most of his time leading the SWAT team and kicking down doors? Hello, artistic license! And why would a show that basically prays at the alter of science be sponsored by GM SUVs? (HUMMER on Miami, GMC on Vegas) Should people tuning in for their love of science know what these monstrosities are doing to the planet?

    One of the best parts about CSI is its use of music. Very good. Except the downtempo 2-minute music videos in the middle of each Miami episode. Club Chemistry! (UConn student TV reference).

    The theme music to the CSIs are all songs from hit The Who songs. They mostly get stuck in my head for days and I sing and air guitar along with them. So it was yesterday that I gave in an decided to head to the iTunes Music Store and invest in some classic The Who tracks for my iPod. { ITMS }

    When I was there, I found a bargain, the best I ever had. OK, maybe not the best, but damn good. One of the The Who‘s crowning achievements was the rock opera Tommy. { ITMS } You can buy the soundtrack/album for $7.99 24songs for 1.2hours of music. That’s an excellent deal. An honestly, the only reason I bought the whole album was the value. Otherwise I would have bought maybe four tracks. Instead I bought nearly two times as much (in dollars) because it was such a reasonable price. I was rewarded with the album-only track Underture which is more than 10 minutes long itself.

    I also picked up a few other hits, including the theme tracks to the CSI shows. I did not buy “Bargain”:http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?playlistId=1008537&selectedItemId=1008217 { ITMS } but I’m debating going back for more.

    On a related note, you can pick up even more music, with longer tracks at an even more impressive price: $0. Perhaps that should be £0. That’s because of a new project the BBC has launched.

    BBC Radio 3 has a new initiative where over the next weeks it will be broadcasting the BBC Philharmonic’s performances of the nine Beethoven symphonies. The radio broadcasts will then be followed by the release of the tracks on the BBCs website for free download. MP3 format, 128kbps quality, no copy protection. Excellent!

    I have downloaded a few of the tracks thus far, and a few more are in progress. Symphony 2 is nearly an hour in length. Each track has an introduction by the host comprised of a three minute background on the piece.

    Go forth and download.

    Posted in: Music

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  13. Our administration needs to stop screwing with science

    jake on 2005.06.08
    at 06:25 pm

    We’ve already heard a bunch of times about how our government is setting us back by manipulating facts. So much for our freedoms.

    Philip Cooney, chief of staff for the White House Council on Environmental Quality, made changes to descriptions of climate research that had already been approved by government scientists and their supervisors, the newspaper said, citing internal documents.

    Update: Wonkette has a little more on the subject. Accompanied with a lovely quote…

    Original scientist version: “Many scientific observations indicate that the Earth is undergoing a period of relatively rapid change.”

    Same version after a cool blast of Cooney: “Many scientific observations point to the conclusion that the Earth may be undergoing a period of relatively rapid change.”

    Posted in: Politics · Science

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  14. Hufu?

    jake on 2005.06.08
    at 05:46 pm

    I have no idea if this is a joke or not. I imagine it could be lots of fun around Halloween. I’m also not going to go out and buy some. But if you do let me know if it’s a scam or not.

    According to the web site, Hufu is a tofu alternative to eating real human flesh. If it’s true do you think this would be cathartic for serial killers?

    What does Hufu TM taste like? Does it taste like human flesh?
    HufuTM is designed to resemble, as humanly possible, the taste and texture of human flesh. If you’ve never had human flesh before, think of the taste and texture of beef, except a little sweeter in taste and a little softer in texture. Contrary to popular belief, people do not taste like pork or chicken.

    Posted in: Humor

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  15. Appearance is everything

    jake on 2005.06.08
    at 05:16 pm

    What you assumed was true all along, that people are discriminated for their looks, is actually true. As part of a social experiment Shannon Nichols dressed up in the “goth” style and went out with a friend to attempt to get jobs at Abercrombie & Fitch. Side note: Personally I’ve never bought a single article of clothing form that store. It’s the SUV of apparel. You’d think that perhaps the “goth” girl would be handed an application and not called while the “preppy” girl would be asked to apply and then accepted once they found out she wasn’t a habitual stealer or something.

    But then you’d be wrong. The “preppy” was basically hit on by the on-duty manager and didn’t even need to fill out an application. The “goth” girl was ignored and had a hard time just getting an application. It’s not crazy to think that the “preppy” girl would be hired if only because she already fits the model and presumably would shop at the store. But the polar treatment these two girls received is pretty atrocious.

    “(The manager) talked to me for a long time, and told me that it really didn’t matter that I didn’t have any experience in retail,” Adams says. “He asked what school I went to, and things like that. Then he asked for my phone number so he could call me about the interview.”

    Then, in the next few days, the store manager called her. And called her. And called her.

    “He called me three times before that Friday to remind me about the interview,” Adams says.

    It reminds me of when the Disney Store wouldn’t hire me because I’m male. I just wanted a discount for my brother who was 6 at the time, and I’ve always enjoyed going to the parks. Or this kid Nick from high school who couldn’t get a job at Friendly’s without cutting his hair short.

    From: Boing Boing

    Posted in: Rant

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  16. Brian Blogs Again!

    brian on 2005.06.08
    at 01:12 pm

    Hello. Sorry to be so MIA. Lately, I’ve been busy. Mainly buying a condo near Tufts in Medford. It’ll be nice. Just yesterday I set up a page on my free Backpack account to help us track stuff. Very useful.

    Jake and I also soft-launched a new blog on behalf of our friend Jess. I named it fish_epiphany which was sorta an inside joke, but it probably only makes sense to me. I told her she could change it, but right now, Jess seems so enamored by the site, that she’s yet to figure that it’s really her site and she can object to anything on it! Jake thought it’d be cool to purchase Jess’s somewhat rare last name as her URL. Not too many people in 2005 can buy their lastname(dot)com. Check out her site, it should be much more interesting than our own.

    I’ve also been working on another blog for myself and Amanda. The idea is that I could post stuff there of a personal nature that I wouldn’t want to muck this place up with. There’d be a combo blog (Amanda and I) that would be the front page, based on us putting the same category on the common interest post and then separate sections (defined by author) where we could put anything.

    What would I put there, that I wouldn’t put here? Well this blog is somewhat intended to be general (progressive geek) interest. We don’t do much personal posting about how our day went, or someone’s boss is a jerk, or the gory details about my surgery. For things that are borderline I would sway towards posting them on the other blog, then referencing them here. I’d love to set that to be automatic. If I could have a check box that said “cross-post excerpt to Recently” that would be way cool. I think that function’s going to be a full-manual mode unless Jake is so intrigued that he writes it up. That kid is amazing, not only did he write this place from scratch, but then just for kicks, he added reverse-engineered XML-RPC so we could post from blog writing software like MarsEdit or Ecto Incredible.

    A question I’m batting around is how public to make that other blog. I’ve wanted a place for information for my friends, for example should they be coming to visit they could have specialized directions to my pad. But that’s not information I’d want available to the general public. So I’d have to password protect it. I know Textpattern (generally the software we use to build sites when we don’t make them fully-custom) has the ability, but I’m going to have to figure out how to get it just right, so I can just have a post be categorized as private and it only appears in the protected site. It would not appear in public archives, etc. I’d love to have it be over SSL, too, but that’s a pain. I wish I could do that without having to pay for a certificate. I can create a cert, but then your browser will likely say “this proves nothing to me, since Brian isn’t a trusted source that I recognize.”

    Thanks for letting me think out loud. I’ll keep this site posted with updates on those developments. Maybe Jake will post with info on his bloggish side projects, for his friend and his band… and once we’re done with everyone else, maybe we’ll actually finish our professional services site.

    Posted in: Design · Web

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