Mobile car-desk!

Okay, this thing is pretty neat. It’s a tubular frame for parking your laptop in the passenger seat of the car. It was reviewed on NewsForge, with a generally positive bent on it, but I have to admit it seems awfully expensive for a couple aluminum tubes and a plexiglass tray. On the other hand, it sure would be nice to be able to use my new real-battery-equipped laptop as my MP3 host while driving about.
Wonder if I can build my own? Hmmm.

Review: Sage RSS feed aggregator for Firefox

In the world of blogging, and increasingly on other sites with dynamic content, a mechanism has been developed to allow a person to review all or part of a site without actually logging into it. Article headlines and content is delivered via a ‘Syndicated Feed‘ to a news aggregator which, as the name implies, collects the feeds and displays them in an easy to review fashion. I’ve been looking for a good aggregator for a while, but haven’t found anything I liked… until now.

Continue reading “Review: Sage RSS feed aggregator for Firefox”

Satire at its best…

This is one of the funniest things I’ve read in a long time….

    FAFBLOG: Well Dr. James Dobson it has been a while since we had our last interview an in between the Ban Gay Marriage Amendment Amendment failed. How you been since then?
    JAMES DOBSON: Just terrible, Fafnir. Because of the weakness and corruption of the United States Senate, I have been forced to become gay.
    FB: Oh no!
    JD: I’m afraid it’s true, Fafnir. I now spend my nights in a ball gag and a chastity cage while Gary Bauer whips me from behind in his skintight leather bodice.
    FB: That is terrible news Doctor James Dobson! Not only has gay marriage forced you to become gay, it has made you a bottom!

Enter article available on Fafblog, link ourtesy of boingboing.

MyDoom and the ‘Liberal Media’

I’m pretty tired of hearing constant yammerings from the right about how ‘liberal’ the media is and that ‘the new york times is just the mouthpiece of the Democratic party’. What utter crap.
In a brilliant show about just how lopsided the media is, I refer my happy readers to this article from Reuters wherein it is reported that a ‘a new web worm spreads’. In the entirety of the article, where the writer talks to McAfee, Google, and Symantec, nowhere is it mentioned that this virus can ONLY infect MICROSOFT platforms. The only reason this is happening is because of Microsoft’s crap security model.
This is the ‘liberal media’? Gosh, we dont want to upset BIG BAD MICROSOFT now do we? Better plug the virus scanner companies though, they’re making money off this!

Review: Spout

I like finding cutesy little games that are fun to noodle around with. It’s particularly nice to find something you can play in a few minutes that doesn’t require a half hour of loading CD’s and selecting playing options.
I keep an eye on Happy Penguin to see what’s new in the Linux gaming world, and saw a few references to Spout, so decided to give it a go.
It’s a hyper-simplistic game. You fly an abstract little ‘ship’ that has a vicious exhaust. You’re trying to gain a maximum altitude by navigating up through simple obstacles. At any time, you can spin your ship around and use the exhaust to blast through things in your way.
The game was originally written for a small LCD display, so the resolution is gritty at best, not to mention black and white. Nonetheless, I find myself playing it a bunch. The animation of the exhaust is outstanding, and watching all the little particles flying around is just a load of fun.
For something to noodle with while on the phone or just to kill some time, give it a whirl.
Spout was originally written by Kuni. It was ported to Linux and is now hosted on mizzencode.

Bouncing off the bottom.

Boy, that’s how I feel. I think that business stuff hit bottom about a month ago, when I wasn’t sure if I could continue with things, or how we’d move ahead. Then a some good things started happening, and some of the stuff that has been annoying me and really making it hard to be positive began to change.
It sounds like a little thing, but aquiring new batteries for my laptop was a huge win. My laptop batteries were totally shot, holding onto charge for only about 20 minutes. Considering it takes 7-10 minutes from power on to get to a workable desktop, that doesnt’ leave much room for dillydallying.
My business partner found a set of batteries from one of his old laptops, and sent them up, and Lo! I now have 4 1/2 hours of battery time. Yippee! No more -requiring- a power supply to do anything. This, combined with setting up my wireless modem on my Kyocera, should make me Mighty Mobile Power Geek!
Course, last night, I did find out that my laptop ‘low power’ notification settings were out of wonk, as, in mid-type, the laptop just up and powered itself off, blinking the orange “LOW BATTERY!” light at me accusingly. “Nitwit, didn’t you SEE me blinking?”
Anyway, all is well, recharged, and ready to go.
Ain’t technology grand?
[Edit: 1:17pm – changed a few words to actually make sense. Sheesh 🙂 ]

Blogspam and Livejournal feed updates.

I got nailed 3 times in the last 24 hours with blogspam to Planet Geek Now, normally spam doesn’t bug me that much, It’s there, its’ a part of dealing with life on the net. A minor annoyance. But the way we had the LJ feed set up, anytime someone posted a comment, even in an old archive, the posting will show up on LiveJournal, because the RSS feed content changed (the ‘Comments (4)’ went to ‘Comments (5)’).
This is why folks are seeing old postings from me in their friends list. This drives me absolutely nuts, because I know it really annoys you all as well.
I’ve just altered the feed to take the ‘count’ portion of the comments out of the feed, so that even if someone adds a comment on the blog, it won’t update the feed (proper). The problem there is you never see if there are comments available, and there’s no way to avoid this using the mechanism that Livejournal provides.
Anyway, this change will most likely cause my entire feed to update, and everyone may get a pile of rehashed postings. My apologies, this should be the last time.

Sometimes I love the city.

This evening I had dinner in Davis Square with Rosa. Before heading out, I had a bunch of work to do, so we decided to hang out in the Diesel Cafe for 2 hours or so beforehand. Even though I knew it was a planned social night there, the sheer volume of people we ran into that we didn’t expect to see (and just happened to be noodling along) really blew me away. That doesn’t happen out in the sticks where we live.
Even better, after we left, we decided to take the T into town to have dinner at the Cambridge Brewing Company over in Kendall Square. While walking to the T station, I bumped into Steve Revilak who I worked with at my old employer. Interesting, I hadn’t seen him in 6+ months.
Ah well, onwards. Took the T to Kendall, then wandered into the restaurant. First person I see is Ben Hyde, also of former employer, having dinner with a friend. A casual “hey guy!” exchange ensued, and Rosa and I sat down to dinner. Not 10 minutes later, Avi wanders in to have dinner as well, and we do the “Fancy meeting you here!” hallos. Sheesh 🙂
An excellent dinner and much wonderful conversation followed, after which we headed back to Davis. In the Davis T-stop, I heard some music playing – not unusual in the T station, but this wasn’t a guitar, or harmonica, or someone singing. It was a clarinet. And occasional orchestral accompaniment. We tracked down the player, a middle aged fellow happily playing orchestral music on his clarinet, with a small stereo next to him. He was reading from sheet music, and was playing BEAUTIFULLY – a piece obviously arranged for a solo clarinet. There were 3-4 people around listening appreciatively, and he had the obligatory sheet laid out with a small pile of cash on it. This was not some bozo with an amp trying to panhandle. This was a guy who had talent and skill, who was obviously classically trained, who was just out playing beautiful music, to anyone who would listen, and might score some beer money in the process.
Rosa had to actively pull me away from listening, i was so moved hearing his beautiful playing. Gosh, isn’t that what music is for? Just expressing yourself with your music to whomever wants to listen, sharing with appreciative strangers.

I have the coolest brother in law.

Not only did this fellow buy Zach a new bicycle.
Not only did he buy me a new trail bike.
But tonight he finished aquiring the parts for, and together we installed, a new rack system on top of my car so I can carry my recumbent and Zach’s bike whenever we want to go somewhere.
All free of charge.

USB Pen drives

Today I picked up a SanDisk 256meg Flash pen drive at Costco for a measely $51. I had been wrestling with the concepts of how to easily back up data at conventions without the hassle of a CDROm burner. I’ve been copying data back to my laptop, but that requires the laptop be online and ready to go.
Now, I know these things are passe now. Heck, you can even get flash drives built into watches, but it’s always struck me as too expensive for not enough storage.
256meg seems like the most useable size, so since the price was so low, I picked it up.
Getting it working on the Linux laptop really was a matter of plugging it in and typing ‘mount /dev/sda1 /mnt’, and voila, I had a 256meg drive available. I decided to basically just copy my critical information I need onto it, as my own personal backup.
SO, my documents and text files directory tree. My source code trees for my products. A backup of my mailbox directory (which has years of email stored in it). And my addressbook and calendar from Evolution.
All that combined copied to the drive (very very quickly), took up about half of it. Yes, I still have half the drive empty.
I could learn to like this techy geeky stuff.