1. How to Use a Gift-Credit Card at a Restaurant

    brian on 2009.03.14 at 01:39 am

    You’ve probably seen them by now, a gift card that’s not to a particular store or restaurant, but bears a credit card logo (like Visa or AMEX) and can be spent where ever credit cards are accepted. A strange new thing. Personally, I’d suggest giving cash or a check, because they don’t have the strings attached. But I’ll talk about the pluses and minuses of gift and gift/credit cards at the end.

    When you use one of these cards at a restaurant or a gas station, you could have big stumbling blocks. We did, this evening, with one. Here’s why. When you use a credit card at a restaurant, they first take the card, swipe it through their machine and put a hold on your account, then they bring you a receipt which you sign, add a gratuity, then hand over, and walk off with your card. The restaurant then reopens the bill in the machine, adjusts the total to accommodate your tip, and the sale completes after you’ve left the premises.

    This is where the problem arises. When the restaurant places a hold on your account, they do so for more than the total of your bill. Many times the machine puts a hold for 120% of your bill, to accommodate the possibility of a 20% tip. They’re effectively asking your bank, “Will this person be able to pay their bill plus whatever they’re going to leave us for a tip (an amount that we, the restaurant, don’t know at the moment)?”

    If you’re using a gift credit card, you have a hard limit. We had a $50 card. We had a $48 dinner. Sweet, perfectly paid for! We just have to leave a cash tip! Not so fast. When the card goes through, the machine isn’t asking for $48, it’s asking for closer to $60. Which you don’t have. So what happens? DECLINED.

    There’s much more to this story…

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  2. A bit of nostalgia: HBO's Intro from the eighties.

    jake on 2008.03.25 at 02:03 pm

    When I was growing up and couldn’t afford “instant video cassettes” there was always the VCR and movies on HBO. It enabled my brother and I to watch Spaceballs every day for months. For years there was the familiar orchestrated intro panning over a city.

    The following video is a behind the scenes look into how the intro was created. Enjoy the terrible 80’s music contrasting the original orchestra.

    Originally discovered at goldenfiddle.

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    Posted in: Art · Cool Info · Television

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  3. I wish you used Twitter

    brian on 2007.09.03 at 01:27 am


    It’s your friend Brian. Remember when we used know what each other was up to on a day-to-day basis? The good old days before we had jobs and lived in close proximity? Yes, life has lead us apart a little, as it does. Phone calls, email and even IMs dwindle unintentially. But, some geeks in San Francisco have made something that brings back a little of that day-to-day contact.

    I don’t want this to sound like an infomercial, but there’s this thing called Twitter, and its kinda wonderful. I’d love it if you signed up, and then you and I, and our common friends could all see what everyone else is up to. Its entirely free, and as simple as sending an instant message. 100s of 1000s are using it already, worldwide.

    What is Twitter?

    What is it? 
    Twitter is a community of friends and strangers from around the world sending updates about moments in their lives. Friends near or far can use Twitter to remain somewhat close while far away…

    Ok… so how does it work? You can send updates in three ways: send a text message from your mobile phone, type a message from the Twitter site, or instant message… (source: )

    Its a web service that asks you to simply type what you’re up to, in only 140 characters. Then the service sends your update (known as a “tweet”) to all your friends who you’ve let follow you on Twitter. Your tweet can be something profound or something random. Both are great!

    You can update and receive updates from the web site at, over an IM network (AIM, GTalk), over SMS (text message on your cell phone), and through other things like desktop widgets and plug ins on other websites, like Facebook.

    So, if you have a moment, sign up for Twitter. You won’t get spammed and its super easy to sign up and use. If you’re confused by anything I’ve talked about, email me and I’d be happy to entertain any questions, or send you a direct invite to Twitter. Here I am on Twitter: – my updates are public: anyone can see them and follow my updates. Many people choose to only let their friends follow.

    For the rest of this piece, I’m going to go a little more in depth on Twitter, especially on how to get the most out of it for the least effort.

    The very first thing to realize is that it may take a week or two to really get a lot out of Twitter, because you need to achieve critical mass. Stick with it! You probably need five friends or so to join up and post about three times a day to really get and enjoy Twitter immensely. So perhaps the first two things you should do are 1) commit to posting three times a day, 2) invite a bunch of your friends! You’re welcome to point them to this blog post if you need help explaining what Twitter is – its hard to explain, but easy to love!

    More important stuff is coming up, read on!

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    Posted in: Cool Info · Technology · Web

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  4. I hope you're having a Happy Halloween

    jake on 2006.10.31 at 03:38 pm

    It is very difficult figuring out if this is an awesome Halloween or a crappy one. I’m stuck at home sick today. This means I don’t get to dress up later and play Frisbee. It also means I get to watch scary movies all day and keep up the spirit in my Halloween pajama bottoms and a Halloweeny t-shirt.

    Being healthy and playing Frisbee is probably the optimum choice. Especially since it’s a typical cold that lends itself to being feverish and sporting a scratchy throat. If anything I write today sounds silly, just assume it’s the cold medicine.

    Here are some more Halloween themed links for any last minute preparations you might have.

    Have a Super Spooky Halloween!

    So everyone have a wonderful day. Now that The Price is Right is over I can concentrate on relaxing and trying to scare myself.

    Posted in: Art · Cool Info · Holiday · Recent Events · Web

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  5. Brian's New Job

    brian on 2006.10.06 at 01:37 pm

    Well, big news from my camp. I’m pleased to announce that I have accepted a job offer from User Interface Engineering. At UIE I look forward to working on some print design and layout, some website development, and some all-around general helping out, since they are a wonderfully small business where everyone has to help out with a little of everything. My first days with them will be helping out at their UI11 conference, which is starting this Monday 9-Oct (reception Sunday). I have no idea what I’ll be doing there, but I’ll be there! Logistics, I imagine.

    I met Jared Spool, the CEO/Founder of UIE, at PodCamp Boston 2006. I was excited to see he was on the presenter list and made sure to attend his session, which was one of the most interesting there. It’s clear why he’s such a popular speaker. Anyhow, I stalked him afterwards, and asked him “Where do you find employees?” He suggested I head over to their website, read a few things and email him with my thoughts. I did, and that’s turned out pretty well so far.

    I look forward to learning a great deal from my new co-workers. It will be great to get back to my roots of design, both digital and print. I look forward to the unknown factor as well… what else am I going to be a part of? I’m terribly excited.

    I looked at their website, and I have to say, I have no idea what they do there. -Dad

    There are downsides to the new position. One is that the office is in North Andover. OK, there’s nothing bad about that other than I have to drive from Medford to get there. Luckily it’s only about a 35 minute commute (I estimate), but I have to buy a car to get there. Now, personally, I love cars. But I’ll actually miss the public transit commute. Yes, believe it or not. I’ll also miss that I could ride my bike to work about 50% of the time. A lot. Most of my cycling was commuting. Now, I’ll have to find a new way to work that into my routine. But, now that I have my nights and weekends again, that remains a possibility. One major bonus is that my commute brings me right by the Harold Parker State Forest, which I hear is prime mountain biking terrain. I look forward to finding that out on my own. Clearly after I iron out the car, I’ll need to get a bike rack for it.

    On my other blog, I’m going to discuss the commute and the search for the new car, as well.

    Lastly, you might say What? Brian’s leaving Apple? Yes, I’m a pretty proud Apple employee. I look forward to continuing to use Apple products daily in my new job (still need to discuss this, but I have a good feeling about it). However, for the time being, I’ve mostly worked out staying on in a limited, part time role. So you’ll still be able to find me behind the Genius Bar. This is partly because I have such loyalty to my co-workers (they are truly great) and partly I have great deal of loyalty to Apple the company (they’ve earned it — I’m mostly leaving for family reasons [that is to say I need nights and weekends to see my wife and family]).

    Of course, Rain Hypertext is still alive and well.

    Posted in: Apple · Cool Info · Service Announcement · Web

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  6. Dollar Shirt

    jake on 2006.02.24 at 06:13 pm

    Final result of shirt made out of a dollar bill.The other day I got a little interested in a t-shirt after seeing an image on a post I can’t find again. Gotta love RSS overload. I sucessfully made the shirt displayed here. Now if I could just figure out the shirt and tie version without a book (Amazon).

    Some more dollar origami…

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  7. 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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  8. Syncing Hot Dogs and Buns

    jake on 2005.05.20 at 07:05 pm

    Sweet Jesus. The end is nigh. Equivalent quantities of hot dogs and buns. Start the hysteria!

    From: Boing Boing

    Posted in: Cool Info

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  9. Some interesting articles from the May issue of Wired

    jake on 2005.05.17 at 01:18 am

    I’ve been trying to keep my extraneous items out of my space. That means throwing away magazines I don’t really need anymore. If the subject matter is more technical, like how-to shoot a good portrait I’ll throw it into But sometimes it’s just an interesting article, and it makes more sense to share those here and archive them for posterity. This month’s issue of Wired falls into the later category.

    • Manhattan Map from 1609Destination: Manhattan, 1609 — A comparison of Manhattan in 1609 and today.
    • White People Can’t Text — I am not sure what they’re getting at here. It sounds like cell phone content providers, aka assholes, are going to target minorities. Personally I find all of that crap a rip off, remember everyone, they overcharge you for content, you don’t need to buy from them. Getting a ring tone or two for $2.99 is one thing. You don’t need to repurchase all the latest hits. It’s why the bastards don’t want the iTunes phone to be released.
    • Mega Player 522BT — If I don’t get a bare bones phone, it’ll have Bluetooth. Too bad more mp3 players don’t have features like this one. And too bad this one is not an iPod:.
    • Shopping Cart — If I was still in college I’m sure I could get some use out of the The Ring Thing.
    • Cracking the Real Estate Code — All the lingo surrounding real estate can be confusing, just like any other industry where you’re an outsider. This article tries to help level the playing field.

    So consider the terms in the box on the previous page: A “fantastic” house is surely fantastic enough to warrant a high price, right? What about a “charming” and “spacious” home in a “great neighborhood!”? No, no, no, no, and no.

    In fact, the terms that correlate with a higher sales price are physical descriptions of the home itself: granite, Corian, and maple. As information goes, such terms are specific and straightforward – and therefore pretty useful. If you like granite, you might like the house; but even if you don’t, “granite” certainly doesn’t connote a fixer-upper. Nor does “gourmet” or “state-of-the-art,” both of which seem to tell a buyer that a house is, on some level, fantastic.

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  10. NEMBAs Riding Land from Above

    brian on 2005.04.11 at 01:36 am

    If you’re a mountain biker and interested in the NEMBA purchase of the 47 acres in Milford, MA ‘commonly known as Vietnam’ you may be interested in Google’s Satellite Image of the land. Look slightly north of the I-495/Rt. 85 interchange and it’s that nice woodsy area to the east of 85.

    It’s much better than NEMBA’s own picture. I’m dying to get down there are check the place out. Except I’m between off-road bikes.

    Mmm, I like bikes.

    Posted in: Cool Info · Sports

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  11. Quoteable

    brian on 2005.04.03 at 01:57 pm

    “Fortune favors the prepared mind.”
    – Louis Pasteur

    Posted in: Cool Info

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  12. Holiday Update

    brian on 2004.12.28 at 03:33 pm

    Of course, posting traditionally lapses during the holidays. Mine thus far are going well, aside from having to sprint to southern New Jersey for a 24 hour visit before rushing back to work to deal with the 26th of December mobs. My back hasn’t yet recovered, and that’s partially due to the foot of snow dropped on us on the 27th.

    Recently, I’ve been playing with a few new acquisitions. I picked up an iSight camera , which I’ve temporarily deployed as a webcam in my front window. It’s running EvoCam from Amanda’s iBook, so when she returns from Connecticut after her extended stay, I imagine she’ll want to use it again. So be it noted, this link will break , rather it will still be there, but not updated as it is currently, starting by probably tomorrow. I’ll find another solution. BTW – you must refresh that image manually, since I’ve written no code for auto-refresh. It gets a new image every five minutes. They’re hardly ever anything interesting, and I apologize for the screen.

    Elsewhere, I have a new base-model G5 tower for our home server, and this is the first post from the new machine. I set it up just today, and I first wiped the drive and reinstalled the OS to make sure I have the bare minimum install (no extraneous foreign languages I’ll never use, for example) taking up the least space.

    I am currently backing up my life from my main PowerBook, via Target Disk Mode which is a fabulous invention. Recently, my PowerBook has been chirping and occasionally a clack can be heard as well. This worries me, thus, I have started the tower’s first purpose: backup vehicle. Soon, I will be adding a second SATA drive to the unit to improve upon the base storage (80GB), and some extra RAM as well. These will help me accomodate the second purpose of the tower: home media server, which will begin with hosting all of our iTunes and iPhoto needs. The third planned purpose is as in-house web server, and that’ll be the last thing I set up. I’ll likely start simple by adding controls for PHP, a little MySQL, and then probably in simple implementation of Instiki and lastly an install of TextPattern .

    More updates when time permits, but for now I’m off to work.

    Posted in: Apple · Cool Info · Hardware · Software · Technology · Web

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  13. Mind wandering back

    brian on 2004.12.15 at 06:27 pm

    Today I am off from the usual gig. Jake and I have been working on research to present in a proposal to a prospective client, which could be a very cool project. More on that when/if we have something to talk about publicly.

    I've been pondering the fact that I haven't been posting as much as I should, and if you're a regular reader, I do apologize. We've considered adding a quick "links we've read recently" section, a la Kottke's remaindered links. which would have helped during the recent dry spell. I'm still reading the web / NetNewsWire voraciously, but I've not been spurred to comment much about what I've read recently. The only thing I might point to is Lisa Rein's coverage of the Ohio/National voting debacle. Otherwise, I've been trying to hold back on my political commentary. It just makes me so angry, that I don't want this to become a rant log.

    But what has captured my mind over the last 24 hours has been weather, snow and webcams, and simultaneously thinking back to my cross country trip this summer. {Post One | Post Two} Someday we'll have more of a story about it. Maybe.

    Particularly, our favorite part of the trip was Montana. If you combine Montana with weather, and snow, you get Brian in wonderland. Just something about snow out there that calls to me. Working for the National Weather Service or Montana DOT dealing with snow out there is just so appealing to me. Why? Am I nuts? Certainly. I am certainly not qualified to be a weather person. (question: do some schools offer meteorology as a major? or do you study environmental science and move over?) Whatever it'd be, it'd certainly involve the web.

    So today I found a wonderfully simple way to transport myself out there, into the conditions... Montana webcams, many from the NWS and Montana DOT.

    Also, I've been trying to think up a project that would allow me to combine the NWS's new XML feeds, a webcam (likely an iSight + EvoCam, but possibly adding a Linksys WiFi camera if I were to go all out) and some sort of personal weather center that I could collect my own data from, when we get to our new abode, sometime later 2005. I'd love to run this all off the new, pending G5

    Till then, it's pure escapism. See you there.

    Posted in: Cool Info · Technology

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  14. News about News, Conclusion

    brian on 2004.12.08 at 04:15 pm

    Hello to our readers... few bits back I announced that there would be an announcement here, but then, didn't follow up on my promise. Here we are...

    I'm getting married to my girlfriend of six and a half wonderful years, Amanda. It should go down in Connecticut in 2006.

    No offense to our blog readers, but I had to notify all of our more personal friends first, since I didn't want to get any angry emails, "Hey, you blogged your engagement, but didn't contact me?" This may still happen...

    No plans for Amanda to start blogging here anytime soon, although she does partake in reading them from time to time.

    Posted in: Cool Info

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  15. Seen in Brighton

    brian on 2004.10.18 at 02:19 am

    Banner on Brighton Pharmacy.

    If our prices were any lower, Canadians would shop here.

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  16. Best ad of the Day

    brian on 2004.08.31 at 01:30 am

    Seen in a Boston bus stop:

    Guiness has only 125 calories. Not on purpose.

    Posted in: Cool Info

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  17. The Long Journey Begins

    brian on 2004.08.05 at 12:57 am

    It's vacation time! Tomorrow, we embark for a two week driving tour across the northern United States. Our goal is a wedding on the Pacific coast of Washington State mid way, and then a different route back. Be on the look out for pictures from the road, if or when we find WiFi!

    Posted in: Cool Info

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  18. Locating the "Great Brain"

    jake on 2004.06.13 at 03:30 am

    I was just reminded of these books while cleaning some junk out of my parents basement. I saw all “The Great Brain” books lined up. I used to love these stories when I was a kid. I bought and read the whole series.

    Apparently a family is going around and trying to locate and document the real places integrated into the books.

    From: Boing Boing

    Posted in: Books · Cool Info

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  19. Strawberry Shake Shootout

    brian on 2004.05.18 at 07:12 pm

    Here's two reviews of recent Strawberry Milkshakes I've consumed.

    JP Licks Strawberry Frappe.

    To start, if you don't know what a Frappe is, that's OK. It's New England for "thin milkshake." That's going to skew things in my review, I'll admit. I prefer shakes that are thick. But I won't penalize JPL on grounds of style, however, being thinner, the drink loses its cool faster. A factor when walking the three or so blocks home while enjoying your treat.

    The Frappe is made with JP's own ice cream, which is of famously high quality. From what I could tell, The ingredients of my frappe were one ladel of chunky strawberry topping (ostensibly made of actual stawberries and syrup) some unknown amount of hard ice cream (assumedly vanilla) and my choice of whole or skim milk (I chose skim). Fresh, high quality ice cream base is going to give JPL the lion's share of their points. Flavor was pretty much spot on. Not too much on the sweet side, not too much on the milky side. I did get chunks of strawberry up the straw. However, a section I will penalize on is the grounds of price. There's only one size on the menu. Luckily for me, this was the quantity I wanted. But it weighs in at $4.50 before tax ($4.73 after). Ouch. The "Extra-Thick Frappe" is $4.75 on the menu.

    Things that I don't factor into the score here are ambience of the shop (I visited my local Coolidge Corner location, very nice) or quality of the server (equally good). But I thought I'd add that in.

    I give JP Licks' Strawberry Frappe a 3.5 out of 5 asterisks. JP Licks has 7 locations throughout the Boston area. But no website to link to. Here's a link to a review of their Newbury Street location.

    {Totally unrelated, on my walk back from JP Licks, my iPod treated me to one of my favorite songs, Recently, by the Dave Matthews Band - off the 1993 self-released "Remember Two Things." This is where I got the inspiration for our weblog's name (although its entirely relevant on its own). }


    McDonald's Corp Strawberry Shake

    OK, now turning to an easier to find milkshake, we'll take a look at McD's. Here, the most points are scored right off the bat with a very good thickness. Just shy of "damn-near-impossible-to-sip." Also, McD's scores big points for value for your dollar. The medium size (16oz) is plenty big, and cost just less than $2. The flavor and ingredients are where McD's predictably slips. The flavor was surprisingly passable, but simply cannot compare to an actual ice cream shop. I've also had a vanilla shake once from McD's and thought it tasted like an oil slick, and promptly got a stomach ache from its unknown ingredients.

    Speaking of ingredients, one can only assume the shake is made of some form of McD's standard ice milk, which would save you a little on the fat side, but we don't make such considerations here. Additionally, the source of that dairy is likely very corporate in nature... surely not of ice cream shop quality, and the flavorings, colorings and thickening agents are partially of artificial nature. Big minuses in our book. However, in McDonald's defense, here are the actual ingredients from the shake I consumed. Surprisingly, strawberries are actually on the list. Unsurprisingly, there are preservatives.

    Again, ambience will not be factored in, as we stopped on the MassPike at 11pm on a Saturday night, that's good for McD's score. But it also does well in another unscored catagory of convenience.

    I give McD's Strawberry Shake a score of two asterisks out of five.

    Posted in: Cool Info

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  20. 3D Metroid Shockwave Game

    jake on 2004.05.09 at 03:47 am

    Screen from Metroid Cubed gameI couldn't resist linking to this isometric 3d Metroid game. Brings back memories...

    Posted in: Cool Info

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  21. Scale Siege Engines

    jake on 2004.04.21 at 07:36 pm

    small siege engineI sent this to my brother yesterday as he collects things like this. Small scale Siege Weapons. If I only had a few hundred bucks to blow, I'd love to get a F.A.Trebuchet, shown right.

    From Boing Boing

    Posted in: Cool Info

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  22. The Call of the West

    brian on 2004.02.09 at 12:45 pm

    I don't know what it was this morning, but hearing about the 129 mile closure of Interstate 80 on Sunday, and following a link at the bottom of the story to the Wyoming Highway Department which has web cameras of Wyoming by-ways, something just clicked. A desire that I've had for a long time to simply roam the big sky country. Yeah, it's 10° there. Yeah it's hundreds of miles of open land. Of course, none of this has ever been a bad thing to me.

    Hopefully, this summer, when we have a couple of friends getting married in Washington State, we'll be able to take a cross country road trip. Interstate 90 goes from Boston to Seattle. it would likely be our main route. Of course, we'd likely try lots of side roads, as well.

    Posted in: Cool Info

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  23. Disney Auctions Site

    jake on 2004.01.23 at 06:52 pm

    I had no idea they had a Disney Auction Site. I found this through Boing Boing and just wanted to archive the link for myself.

    Posted in: Cool Info

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  24. Save money by "downgrading" a Creative Nomad Muvo2

    jake on 2004.01.22 at 07:37 pm

    Creative Nomad Muvo2I found this link over at Gizmodo. Apparently you can strip out the microdrive from a Creative Nomad Muvo2 and replace it. Considering the price for a 4GB microdrive (what comes in the player) you actually save money by doing this.

    Posted in: Cool Info · Technology

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  25. Origami Creations

    jake on 2003.12.19 at 07:53 pm

    Wizard Origami sculptureBoing Boing showed me to a web site with cool origami sculptures.

    Posted in: Art · Cool Info

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  26. A Good Day

    brian on 2003.11.10 at 03:49 am

    Apologies to anyone who actually started reading our weblog, and then we disappeared on you. Jake and I have been terribly busy both with 40/week jobs and we've been working about 20 extra on the side with our little upstart studio (the key here is "upstart," which is full of optimism!). Two clients. Maybe one will pay us...

    Anyhow, today was my birthday, and my full-time employers gave me an iPod. OK, everyone else in the division got one, too, and I'd like to say that's for my birthday, as well. You're welcome. OK, and the company still owns it. But, hey, why look a gift horse in the mouth? If it can chew oats, who cares?

    Posted in: Cool Info · Apple

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  27. Maher rides again, uncensored.

    brian on 2003.08.10 at 05:15 pm

    Bill Maher has a weblog. Cool.

    Posted in: Cool Info · Web

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  28. Overseen

    brian on 2003.08.03 at 01:59 am

    Book title seen on the "T" ride home today...

    Clinical MicroBiology Made Ridiculously Easy.

    Posted in: Cool Info

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  29. Business Card Cubes

    jake on 2003.06.06 at 06:32 pm

    Nifty way to play with business cards. Fold six of them into a cube.

    Ned Batchelder [from Boing Boing]

    Posted in: Cool Info

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  30. Camworld

    brian on 2003.06.01 at 01:26 am

    Hey, for all of you blog readers out there, I just thought I might call your attention to the fact that Cameron Barrett is back and blogging it up at Camworld. He dissappeared for a while, and might again (although hopefully blogging it this time), but for the time being he's back and blogging.

    Posted in: Cool Info

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  31. Red vs. Blue

    jake on 2003.05.27 at 01:00 am

    Red vs. Blue is Halo video captures with some hillarious dubbing. [from Boing Boing]

    Posted in: Cool Info

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  32. Castlevania Name Generator

    jake on 2003.05.26 at 07:58 pm

    Blue's News posted this link recently. It's a script that randomly generates titles for Castlevania games. A few silly results...

    "Septet of Depression"
    "Hexagon of Destitution"
    "Square of Terror"

    Posted in: Cool Info

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  33. Random links

    brian on 2003.05.16 at 01:01 pm

    Been a little behind the posting this week, so I'll put both these links into one post:

    Posted in: Cool Info · Politics

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  34. eBay scammers stopped by Mac community

    brian on 2003.05.12 at 01:10 pm

    This story is a little out of date, and seeing how it got national press coverage (NYT, ABC, CNN) I'm not sure how I missed it. Never the less, the story is downright fascinating, and you should read how one angry Mac user turned to the Mac community for help when the FBI, Secret Service and Chicago PD turned their backs on him. Apparently the movie rights have been sold, so perhaps we'll see this on the silver screen soon...

    Posted in: Cool Info

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  35. Muppets are coming home

    jake on 2003.05.09 at 02:09 pm

    The family of Jim Henson has put in a successful bid to get back the rights to the majority of his creations. Sold to a German firm in 2000 called EM.TV the properties were threatened when the company began collapsing.

    article (from Boing Boing)

    Posted in: Art · Cool Info

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  36. Boing Boing on Disney or Disney on Boing Boing

    jake on 2003.04.16 at 06:10 pm

    Whichever you prefer

    In the past two days a couple interesting posts were put up at Boing Boing.

    Yesterday a link to an iCal calendar was put up. It features information about attractions that are being renovated/closed at Disneyland. The best part is that it works with the Mozilla Calendar app. That's good news for PC users like myself.

    Today an even bigger post involving a new attraction. Referred to as "Forbidden Mountain" it should open in 2005 at Animal Kingdom.

    Posted in: Cool Info

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  37. Connecticut Champions Again

    brian on 2003.04.09 at 02:58 am

    Back to back, the Connecticut Huskies have captured another NCAA Women's Basketball National Championship. After graduating one of the best recruiting classes in women's basketball history last year (including the 1st, 2nd and 4th picks in the WNBA draft), UConn has captured its fourth national championship in a rebuilding year. Interestingly, both the Women's and Men's champions this year hail from the Big East conference, and both did so starting many freshman. The Huskies didn't even have a senior on their roster.

    UConn also had someone named Diana Taurasi, who I will now say is (or perhaps, is going to be) the best female basketball player of all time. She is the future of women's basketball. Why? It may sound a little sexist, but frankly, because she's the first woman who plays like a man. She's easily as good as, say, Tyronn Lue. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of great women's players (Sue Bird, Chamique Holdsclaw, Sheryl Swoops, Lisa Lesile) but I think Taurasi is the first who would make an NBA squad.

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  38. Fusion Pictures

    brian on 2003.04.08 at 05:13 pm

    This isn't a picture of fusion. However, it is a picture of a device that Sandia National Laboratories is using to work on fusion, and it's pretty damn cool. (via Slashdot | article)

    Posted in: Cool Info · Science

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  39. Weblogs in Primetime

    brian on 2003.04.02 at 01:17 am

    Tonight's "Judging Amy" (10pm Tues. CBS) features one of its characters (Donna) writing for her weblog. It had 76 readers. I think that's more than we have here. If you're out there, drop us a line. (Hey, we have comments, you know?)

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  40. Creating Community Connections Project

    brian on 2003.02.24 at 05:15 pm

    Non-geek-centric Community Wireless It looks like Wi-Fi is attempting to bridge the Digital Divide (a theory that those with less income have less connectivity, etc). A housing project in Boston appears to be the first to roll-out a wireless connectivity plan to connect its residents to high-speed Internet service. Excellent.

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  41. A Typical Situation

    brian on 2003.02.07 at 02:48 am

    or a S-W-I-T-C-H-E-R-

    Perhaps you are wondering what types of things Jake and I, as former college roommates, send each other via email on a daily basis. Well, you probably aren't. But let's pretend you do. So here's a typical email "conversation."

    Brian: "So I got pointed to this guy's switcher tale. It's really long. It starts with some drawn out tale about getting old and fat. If you want to ingest the whole thing, turn to"
    Jake: "holy s***, that would be a switch ad longer than Braveheart woah!...."

    We're still waiting for Jake to write his own tale...

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  42. Insert pun about Ancient Chinese dynasties.

    brian on 2003.02.06 at 03:48 am

    Everyone near a TV in the last few months has noted that the Chinese Invasion has occurred. This isn't a rant about Chinese restaurants and the INS. No, this means ball. Basketball, and abnormally tall Chinese men, with extraordinary human athleticism. The man's name is Yao Ming (and if my understanding of Chinese naming customs are correct, Yao is his family name, Ming his common name, although Chinese coming to the States have been known to switch their name's order to mash with our customs, and to confuse me.). Never the less, he went from scoring a goose-egg in his first NBA appearance with the Houston Rockets to quickly being the leading vote-getter for the upcoming All-Star Game and shoe-in for Rookie of the Year (note: rookie in this context only means first year in the NBA, as many international players have other pro experience before reaching the NBA). Anyhow, we all know this. Now, go check out this story at Kuro5hin (if this name isn't familiar to you, it's said "corrosion" like rust, which is because it was started by a guy named Rusty Foster). None the less, read the article to learn a little more about Mr. Yao and his trip to the states, how he picks his endorsements, and assorted other related tid-bits about the business of international sport. A good, if meandering read. No mention to whether or not Ming's PowerBook is only 12" or if he ever got his check accepted.

    [Side note: Nothing to do with Yao here, except when I was gathering pertinent links for this post, I had my only real prolonged experience with Site-review-in-a-sentence: it's a royal mess. And that's being kind. Notice I didn't link to the rookie of the year ballot. That's because I couldn't find it. There's no search feature and every team site is apparently laid out by the same Cro-Magnon who is responsible for the slop at Apparently, no one told them they don't get cheaper hosting rates for having everything on the front page. They didn't save by skipping the IA, either.]

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  43. We'll miss you Columbia

    brian on 2003.02.02 at 01:39 am

    My thoughts today were with the crew of Columbia STS-107. As American's I think we totally ignore the absolutely amazing work NASA has done quietly, daily, since JFK lit the American wick of space exploration. And we just take it for granted, yap about the new season of Survivor, and drink Tang. Totally oblivious. Makes me wonder what the rest of the world thinks.

    I remember once hearing a story of an American telling rural Africans that man had stepped upon the moon, and they just laughed and laughed in disbelief.

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  44. Republican-based Intellegence

    brian on 2003.01.24 at 04:44 pm

    OK, most people reading this right now are just waiting for me to tear into some random Republican for something underhanded. Well sorry to disappoint, but I'm hear to sing the praises of Gov. Mitt Romney of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (no one here calls it a state). Well on this one issue at least. Read this Globe article detailing how Mitt and his crew have actually listened to environmentalists who continue to harp on how sustainibility makes sense economically.

    Yes! He wants to cut out SUVs from the state fleet, where they're 99% un-needed.

    "The price tag for SUVs is 50 percent more than regular cars and it's 50 percent more to operate,'' said Douglas Foy, the newly appointed coordinator of housing, transportation, environment, and energy under Governor Mitt Romney. ''Aside from the environmental issue, it's a budget issue in these austere times."

    He's also staying with an excise tax on SUVs mentioned during his campaign and looking into the placement of government offices in urban settings which are readily accessed by mass transit. Damn. I'm impressed. I disgree on many topics with Mitt, but I will be the first to say "Job well done" if this kind of progress makes it to reality.

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  45. Today

    brian on 2003.01.19 at 01:51 am

    Rode to work on the T. Saw three of my co-workers on board. Had a busy day at work. Finished work, picked up my first thing with the employee discount. Recommended if you are an early-adopter, like I am. Got home, on time (purposely) to catch the big game. Came back all game just in time for the grand disappointment when you learn your highly-talented, but young, team doesn't yet know exactly when to foul. Got over it, as there's a lot of time left in the season. I was made happy by the other news of the day.

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  46. SUVs: Cool vs Evil

    brian on 2003.01.17 at 03:23 pm

    I think some SUVs are very cool. The problem is that 99% of them are not, and 99% of their drivers would be ticked if their glorified truck touched dirt. That said, I tend to react with disgust when I see a SUV on the road. This leads me to recommend the reading of four things:

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  47. 1421- The Year China Discovered The World

    jake on 2003.01.14 at 03:26 pm

    Well, it seems that someone made a big discovery. That someone is Gavin Menzies. There is lots of information that supports his theories. Yet there are still skeptics.

    I say, who cares. If the Chinese discovered the Americas, that's great. More information to understanding our world. In the modern age we live in you think people would be a bit more open minded about concepts like this. While he may not have gone about it 100% perfect, I applaud his efforts.

    I attest the practice of teaching history to youths. Telling them one thing to "simplify it" and then five years later telling them what happened was completely different.

    I think I may have found a new coffee table book of course, since moving into a new apartment on Saturday, I have yet to own a coffee table.

    Home of the book

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  48. Antarctica

    brian on 2003.01.10 at 03:18 am

    Is it a Big Dead Place?

    "You're talking about the south polar region, the most inaccessible continent, a block of ice renowned as the most distant psychological space on the planet.

    Except by the IRS, who claims that Antarctica is part of the United States for tax purposes. This results in a paycut for an American at the South Pole who would otherwise be rewarded if he or she worked for NSF or Raytheon in Canada or the Bahamas or in Europe, none of which are the coldest, deadest, place in the world."

    Apparently Antarctica breeds sarcasm. Let's hope that certain Congressmen don't read and change their minds about certain raises in the NSF budget.

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  49. The Next Photography Revolution

    jake on 2003.01.09 at 06:47 pm

    I wish there were more of these...

    Well, in the wonderful world of digital photography there has been new technology looming on the horizon for a while now. It's a new sensor called the X3. It comes from a company called Foveon Inc.

    The X3 uses the properties of light waves to extract three colors. RGB. The technology used today pulls one color and then fudges the rest of the data. The X3 increases image quality immensly.

    This article discusses some of the technology and its creators. Headed by the "simple ideas" of Carver Mead.

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  50. Today

    brian on 2003.01.08 at 05:56 pm

    and commentary

    We all know there are lots of cool things I could be linking to from Apple's Keynote announcements from yesterday. But, today I'll focus on other good things.

    • Wireless Commons: Along the lines of Creative Commons Looks to establish interconnected Wireless nets that are free and accessible to everyone. I'm very much in support of this.
    • Pehaps I'll link more later?

    This post posted with Safari beta. That's great because it has spellchecking built right into text fields! [Too bad it doesn't yet display this blog correctly, but the bug has been reported! If you've come to check compatibility Safari team, welcome!]

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  51. A Switch Tale

    brian on 2003.01.06 at 04:05 am

    Many people know that I myself once Switched, and have been terribly happy with my tech life ever since. I even work part-time for the big A. This story has almost nothing to do with that, what-so-ever.

    The part that does have to do with it is parody. John Bender is a Switcher. He's an American who moved to Canada. He parodied Apple's ads with his own, based upon his experience moving north. His site is a great knock-off of Apple's and is full of interesting info and links on The State's Great White neighbor. Of course, his switch has a great deal to do with meeting a Canadian who would become his wife, but he seems quite happy with the move, none the less.

    I'm not endorsing leaving The States. No matter how many times I've thought of it when W. has opened his mouth without thinking first, I couldn't give up on the US of A, despite the fact that I'm quite fond of Canada, the North and snow, snow, snow! I'm quite proud to be an American, and a Yankee/ native-New Englander. Side note: Jake and I both have matching Team-USA Hockey Jerseys.

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  52. Dow gets low

    brian on 2003.01.04 at 12:49 am

    and we

    Dow Chemical, how low can they go? Here's a hint:
    On December 2nd a peaceful march of 200 women survivors from Bhopal (India, 1984) delivered toxic waste from the abandoned Union Carbide (recently acquired by Dow) factory back to Dow's Indian headquarters in Bombay with the demand that Dow take responsibility for the disaster and clean up the site. Dow obviously has other ideas because they are suing survivors for about US$10,000 for "loss of work". Hmm, funny because only one Dow employee came to speak with the protestors, but thousands lost their lives in this incident. Who should sue whom?

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  53. (Un)Wiring Laos

    brian on 2003.01.03 at 02:44 am

    This is the incredible story of Lee Felsenstein one of the founders of the HomeBrew Computer Club, which basically led to The founding of Silicon Valley and such heavies as Apple Computer (Lee actually introduced Steve Wozniak to Steve Jobs). Anyhow, Lee has basically designed a rugged computer system, powered by Linux (localized into the Lao language) and a bicycle (seriously!), that would allow rural farming communities in Laos to communicate wirelessly (WiFi) with each other and the market where they sell their crop. Here's his story. Here's his story told by another. You see, he needs funding to get it put into place. He'd normally get the funding through grants, but they won't come through until during Laos' monsoon/typhoon season, greatly delaying their deployment. If you can donate, click here, and do so through the Jhai Foundation's site. And of course, spread the word!

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  54. I hate yearly reviews

    brian on 2003.01.02 at 01:57 pm

    As much as anyone, I can't stand the recaps of the previous year when January rolls around. That said, I got a good laugh out of Dave Barry's 2002 year in review. Well worth the read.

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  55. LOTR2

    brian on 2003.01.01 at 12:37 am

    The good and the bad.

    Saw LOTR 2 last night. Quality flick, in the vein of the first one. However, I do have a bone to pick. I had to pay $9 to see the movie, while sitting in a 70's green upholstered seat and suffered through (at least) 10 minutes of commercials, followed by a half hour of previews. What exactly did I pay the nine dollars for? I think the damn movie was paid for before I ever bought my ticket. I for one will never return to "The Circle."

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  56. Blog worthy

    brian on 2002.12.27 at 01:51 am

    from the past week or so

    Tech link of note: NetNewsWire(Pro) Beta now available. This is the pay version being developed from what may be the best XML news reader on any platform, NetNewsWire Lite, but both will only work on Mac OS X 10.2.

    Non tech quick links:

    "Bill of Rights Pared Down to a Manageable Six," from the Onion.

    National Do Not Call List.
    You won't see many links to MSNBC from me, as I don't much care for them.

    Cities thumb nose at Ashcroft. As do I.

    Tax Shift. Different people will interpret this article different ways.

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  57. Fascinating

    brian on 2002.12.17 at 01:18 pm

    Diary from Uzbekistan is a fascinating look into the life of an Atlanta-native American journalist, Marika Olsen, who has recently traveled to Uzbekistan to assist in the establishment of independent media and news services. Recommended reading.

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  58. XML :: RSS

    jake on 2002.12.12 at 04:52 pm

    Coming soon!

    I have been playing with a RSS news feed. Hooray for syndication.

    It has come to my attention, I was using simple teasers, when I should have been using the whole posts. Thanks B for pointing out my lack of understanding of the word "syndication." ;)

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  59. Adaptation

    brian on 2002.12.12 at 12:01 am

    of a book

    I've been awaiting the release of the the movie "Adaptation," a movie based loosely on the book The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean. Before she penned the book, she developed the thesis in a short story in the New Yorker. I first learned of it from Jason Kottke via his weblog, as he built Ms. Orlean's website, and subsequently, a weblog about the movie rendition of Orchid.

    Confused yet? Well, if you don't enjoy confusion, perhaps avoid the movie. You see the screenplay was written by Charlie Kaufman, and directed by Spike Jonze, both of Being John Malkovich fame. So, what's confusing about that? Nothing. But the plot of the movie is roughly "An account" of screenwriter Charlie Kaufman's (played by Nicolas Cage) attempt to adapt Susan Orlean's (played by Meryl Streep) non-fiction book The Orchid Thief, about a plant dealer who clones rare orchids then sells them to collectors. We see the book playout while Charlie writes the screenplay adaptation of the book, interactions with the book's author, and Donald, Charlie's twin brother (also played by Cage). Yeah, pretty cool.

    Problem: it wasn't playing in the Boston area this weekend. Me: bummed, waiting.

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  60. My First Day at Apple

    brian on 2002.11.28 at 09:55 pm

    whistle while you work

    Today was my first day working for Apple, my computing heros. I will login later tonight and report how my day went.

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  61. Classes have begun...

    jake on 2002.10.22 at 01:48 pm

    of the php variety

    Well after a long hiatus I have been enjoying working on this site some more. I have some other things to try and finish up, so right now I can't work on it 100%. But what else is new.

    Hopefully in the future we'll have everything all set up, and we can blog to our hearts content...

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  62. The HuskyNation Rejoices!

    brian on 2002.04.01 at 02:37 am

    Another National Championship - another undefeated season.

    Congrats to our UConn Husky women’s basketball team, once again National Champions, 39-0, tying the best final record of all time, with the second undefeated season in UC history. UConn is the first women’s team to repeat undefeated efforts under the NCAA’s bookkeeping.

    Also congrats specifically to Geno Auriemma, who joins only UCLA’s legendary Coach Wooten as the only college basketball coaches to ever have more than one undefeated season in their career.

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  63. Yeah

    brian on 2002.02.01 at 03:10 pm


    Jake: “once I’m settled and my body adjusts to waking up at 6am

    Brian: “That’ll be the day…”

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  64. Job!

    jake on 2002.02.01 at 11:19 am

    Boo Yah!

    Woah, too many exclamation points.

    In any event, I finally got a job. Amphenol liked my work I guess. :)

    Now I just gotta keep it, after I'm settled in and I clean up my messy room, the blog will be in full production. Basically I have nothing to do when I get home from work at night, once I'm settled and my body adjusts to waking up at 6am I should be ready to continue production. I've already got half a class that displays forms from queries to a database. Hopefully this blog will go live soon and you can actually read what I'm writing right now.

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  65. The Wait is On

    brian on 2002.01.16 at 09:10 pm

    or, are these guys nuts?

    Their Official Site

    Yup, two guys in Seattle are officially the first in line to see Star Wars, Episode II. It comes out in May. They claim it’s both an attempt at a world record for “waiting in line for an event.”

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  66. Q: Who are "Overland Experts?"

    brian on 2001.12.23 at 02:40 pm

    or, "Look what I found in my backyard."

    A: They’re how National Geographic gets to the “Geographic” in a given “Nation”
    So while working with the fam at the hardware store, one of my favorite diversions is watching out our giant front windows which view the parking lot and Halls Road (US rt1) at the multitudes of passing cars. Anyone reading this who knows me knows I’m a bit of a automobile enthusiast. They also know I have issues with the hordes of SUVs on America’s roadways. The more informed ones know I am also fascinated by real-life off-highway vehicles, like the ones that reside off road with the purpose of getting people to remote areas. On paved roads in the hands of soccer moms they are a down right danger. Off highway, on unpaved roads and trails, in the hands of experts, they are an invaluable tool.

    Thus, when I saw two Rovers outfitted for expedition on two different days in our lot (one Land-, one Range-), I was more than curious. Seeing the second one, I noticed a URL,, I wrote it down as fast as I could. Today I visited the Overland Experts and found out that a world-class expedition trainer, outfitter, and leader resides only a few short miles north of here, in Hadlyme, CT. Sweet.

    I’ve always been elured by backcountry expeditions. These guys actually do this stuff. They recently took NatGeo to the north of Vietnam. I think it’d be fascinating and thoroughly entertaining to be the driver of part of a wilderness expedition. Well these guys do that for a living. I hope they come back to the store soon, so I can pick their brains…

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  67. Job

    jake on 2001.12.17 at 09:02 pm

    Boo yah!

    Well, after a bit of searching and a few interviews I was offerred a job today from Amphenol. While it's not solidified yet I am under the impression that they want me. I just have to wait till January when things calm down from the end of the year junk.

    Hopefully I'm not just getting yanked around.

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  68. we're going live soon

    brian on 2001.12.13 at 12:42 pm

    as soon as we can make this place presentable

    So maybe we'll actually start getting some traffic now...

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  69. Make this place spiffy

    brian on 2001.11.21 at 06:45 pm

    The dairy industry is simply out of control.

    So today I’m half working selling nuts and bolts, half handcoding, so that this website can get a pretty face to show the world. Oh the possibilities! Thanks, BBEdit for OS X…

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  70. Finished!

    jake on 2001.11.20 at 11:26 pm

    Now what next?

    Well, after 6 CD's and a few weeks of squeezing in "training" time I have finished my ASP junk. I have now learned the basics of ASP 3.0 and using VB/Interdev/whatever.

    Now I can code in two scripting languages! :)

    Hopefully this will help me land the job I'm interviewing for next week. Otherwise I'll be out gettin' a part time job to stay off the hand of debt.

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  71. Word up from Beantown...

    brian on 2001.11.17 at 09:05 pm

    From the Ministry of Remote Access.

    Greetings from chilly Boston

    So, I checked my email, and got into the website. In news, last night I was in Boston’s north end, the Italian section, and down the street was a sweet stretched ‘57 Chevy limo.

    That’s all for now. Say goodnight, Alice…

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  72. First Post

    jake on 2001.11.16 at 12:23 am

    congrats to us!

    Well after some work, and a lot of patience we have the first, very basic, version of our blog. It is built on a modular base with PHP. It uses the local MySQL database and in the future we hope to archive all of our information in XML files, to keep the database clean and easy to manage.

    Welcome, and I'm sure you'll get a post from my compadre Brian soon…

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