Another Day, Another Article

I was quoted in the San Jose Mercury News. If you don’t have a login, use cypherpunk/cypherpunk. That’s what I do with them

I guess the article is OK. I’m a bad judge of such things. I’m a little bugged by the fact that I had a 30 minute conversation with Dawn the reporter, talking about all kinds of deep things and the one pull quote she used from me was this:

“When people start quoting me, not things I had written, but things I had spoken aloud, I was like `Wow,’ ” he said.

Sigh. I really wish I had taped the original unedited conversation and podcast it, ala David Berlind. It sure does bug me that the one part in that article where I’m represented by my words has me sounding like a refugee from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Que sera, such is life in dealing with these things. As Paulie Walnuts says on The Sopranos, “Welcome to the NFL.”

Dunn Been Said

Mike Dunn got the drop on me by pointing out some of the problems with the most recent Gillmor Gang. I wasn’t actually going to say anything about this because the problems I had with this are the same ones I’ve already mentioned before, particularly with Mike Vizard. Brother Dunn actually flatters me greatly when he suggests me as a potential Gillmor Gang panelist. I can’t see that happening, but crazy things do occur in this world.

Screwed by Audacity

This morning I recorded my long promised audio essay and because of an Audacity problem it is all gone. Audacity said it saved, but there were no files there. This is the last time I will ever use it for recording initial audio. I’m not sure if I’ll be moving to Wiretap or Audio Hijack, but I’ve got to have something that records realtime to an AIFF or WAV or some other format that will still be there and usable if the computer crashes or the disk gets full or something. This is downright heartbreaking to have lost all that work.

Busy Times

Much working, a little eating and drinking, and occasionally some sleeping. Luckily, there isn’t as much shivering and thawing as I was expecting. I’m still looking forward to getting back to SC, even though I’m getting out to fun parts of Chicago I’ve never been in.

EGC Stuff Update

Just a quick update on additions to the package at the EGC store. By popular demand, white shirts have been added. I would hate to let my fellow bretheren from Kansas sweat their asses off because of me. Also, you now have the option to order XXL or XXXL shirts. Those cost $2 and $3 respectively more than the standard price, because that’s what it costs me to buy those sizes. Particularly if you want the two biggest sizes, please get those orders in during the preorder period (which ends Monday morning) so that I can be sure to have enough printed for you. Because those cost more moolah, there won’t be too many extras printed in those sizes.

Thanks again for everyone who has ordered so far. Get those orders in now, because like I say the pre-order special price ends Monday morning. Time’s awasting, the train is rolling, procrastinating ain’t helping nobody.

Don’t forget – if you want to order more than one shirt, email me and we’ll work out a special price for a multiple shirt + CD combo package. Step lively, and don’t be the last on your block to join the “Axis of Evil Genius”(TM).

I Am The Ugly Lover

Lately I’m getting bugged by the ugliness of this blog as a website. I need to start over from the ground up, I think. It would be pretty easy to pull off technically by just writing a new blosxom flavor since the test ones can happily coexist with the current one. I want to get rid of the tables I have and do all the formatting in CSS. Unfortunately, pretty website creation is a skill that I lack aptitude for. I can’t imagine this becoming a high enough priority to get done anytime soon but if you think this site is ugly, be aware that I agree with you.

Flying

I’m on a United flight from Charlotte to Chicago and I have achieved my holy grail – an entire row to myself! As it got late in boarding and no one was yet here, I tried to avoid getting too worked up. The last few times I thought I had a HG situation some latecomer came in at the last minute and harshed my empty row mellow. I have crap strewn through all three seats, all the armrests up, my legs stretched out and the laptop deployed. Aaaaahhh.

Another of the multitudinous fabulously wonderful things about living in the Grand Strand is flying out of Myrtle Beach International. I live about 10 miles from the airport, and had a 6:20 AM flight out. I left the house at 5:20 AM (?!), parked at 5:40, the shuttle bus drove straight to me and carried me straight to the terminal, I was checked in by 5:45 and at the gate at 5:50 AM. I lived 10 miles from Hartsfield in Atlanta, and I always left 3 hours before a flight. I’m a nervous flyer but I’m only nervous about making the plane. Once I board, I’m happy as a clam but I live in constant fear of missing flights. This was actually closer than I meant to cut it, but it turned out fine. Since there is free wifi at the gates in MBI, getting there early just means you can dork around as you wait. Next time I plan to leave earlier but it is nice to know that you aren’t screwed if you don’t. If I was still in the house one hour before a flight out of Hartsfield, I’d be on the phone changing my tickets because there would be no point in trying to get there.

EGC Clambake Episode for Jan 25, 2005

Here is the Bittorrent link and direct MP3 download for the EGC clambake for January 25, 2005.

In this episode, I talk about the Harlan Ellison vs AOL case and an old post that has gotten a lot of traffic lately; I talk about John Perry Barlow and his statement “There’s a lot more emotional bandwidth in the human voice”; I play the Joi Ito/Eric Haller song “Starting the Car”; I give a real world example of why I’m expecting the iPod Shuffle to be good for listening to podcasts; I talk a little more about the EGC store and the stuff people have implored me to add; I play a song by DQE and then it is “good night, Irene.”

This episode is sponsored in part by the fine folks at iPodderX!

Links mentioned in this episode:

Karma

My karma has caught up with me. I talked about unseasonably warm weather and last night it was 10 degrees Fahrenheit. I talked about resisting comment spam and then this weekend I got hit pretty hard. I should have it noted here and now how I really would prefer to never win the lottery and retire to the coast of Ibiza. That would suck.

Comment Spam

Since Sunday morning, this blog has had just shy of 3000 comment spam attempts. Thanks to the defenses I put up, exactly 0 of these went through. I hope this onslaught doesn’t cause people to start pulling the comments sections from their weblogs. It does really suck. I hope that whoever is behind this gets busted or is forced to stop. I saw someone posting the suspicion that someone in charge of a legion of zombified computers is doing this. Does anyone have any confirmation of that? And, any guesses to the OS being run on the preponderance of these machines? I have my pet picks.

Update: I spoke too soon. Of course, while I was out of town and offline one of them got through the defenses a few thousand times. Oh well, at least blog-grep makes it easy to clean up afterwards.

Birding

Author Poppy Z. Brite is about the same age as me and seems to be tracking well with my progression through life. On her weblog she sometimes talks about her conversion to a birdwatcher. She’s waaaay more into it than I am, as she’s willing to traipse around marshes with binoculars. I’m much more passive, but I too have developed a fascination with them as I grow older.

When I first telecommuted, I got a XMas present of a bird feeder, which gave me something interesting to watch outside my window as I worked. In practice, it didn’t end up where I could see it except from the bedroom but I was fascinated anyway. That one got torn up and did not make the trip from Evanston to here, but this year my wife got me (us, really) a badass new one, a “squirrel proof” serious joker. The perch the birds land on has a motor, and a weight sensitive switch. If something the weight of a squirrel is put on it, it spins like a mother and sends them ass over tea kettle. It must be working, because it’s been up for four weeks and I have yet to ever see a squirrel on it. Squirrels tore up the previous ones as well as scared off most of the birds, so I’m pleased with this.

It hangs in this area off the lanai, where it is near a tree and a bush, and viewable from the living room (but not from my office, again.) I’ve found that I can really get in to just sitting and watching. I even checked out birding books from the library, so I can begin to identify what I am looking at. I get excited when we get cardinals, and in the last few days we’ve had a woodpecker and mourning doves arrive. When I was 19, I doubt I would have believed the day would come when I’d be excited by a bird flying into my yard, but that day is here. Truth can indeed be stranger than fiction.

EGC Clambake Episode for Jan 20, 2005

Here is the Bittorrent link and direct MP3 download for the EGC clambake for January 20, 2005.

In this episode, I talk about David Berlind and play a clip from his transparency experiment; I talk about Tom Dowd and Dogtown and play an audio clip from the former; I play a song by Camper Van Beethoven; I talk about Brett Fausett, Ross Rader and our possible discussion on podcasting and music; I talk about Reality Break’s imminent return to the radio airwaves; I play some audio feedback about the EGC store and a few changes we need to make in the program; I play a song by the Gentle Readers and talk how much I dig Susan Fitzsimmon’s voice; I explain how I’m doing an experiment with a new recording setup and then call it good.

This episode is sponsored in part by the fine folks at iPodderX!

Links mentioned in this episode:

New and Reproved

Sometime recently they have changed the local forecast page at the Weather Channel’s Weather.com. Whatever visionary was in charge of the project managed to convert it from simple and useful to nearly unusable in one swell foop. Now when I search on my zipcode, I am presented with a page on which the important information is many page lengths down, underneath a bunch of shockwave bullshit and – at least on Mozilla on the Mac – a giant expanse of blank whitespace. I just counted and I had to page down 5 times to see the information I was there for – what is the weather going to be like today?

This is a giant leap backwards for this page. Is no one learning the Google lesson? Give me a simple, clean, useful web interface and lose all the bells and whistles that are in my way. I’m not trying to run a nuclear power plant here, I want to know how heavy a coat to take. I’ve been using this page for years as one of my default things I visit every day, and they’ve finally shaken me up to dig around for an alternative that isn’t such a pain in the ass. Bravo, nicely done, Weather Channel web team!

Ah, I found my alternative. Time to update the bookmarks.

EGC Clambake Episode for Jan 18, 2005

Here is the Bittorrent link and direct MP3 download for the EGC clambake for January 18, 2005.

In this episode, I talk about getting permission to play music from Camper van Beethoven (!!) and then get right on it; I talk about sad songs and losing touch with your friends; I talk about Jon Kincaid and Personality Crisis; I play my absolute favorite song from the CVB discography; I discuss why I think the people making an effort to “get legal” with the music in their podcasts might not be as legal as they think they are; I talk about Magnatune Records a little more and I play a song by Grayson Wray, after which I put the chairs on the tables. Good night, friends.

This episode is sponsored in part by the fine folks at iPodderX!

Links mentioned in this episode:

Hardy Time

Today Mark Evanier commemorates the 113th anniversary of the birth of Oliver Hardy. Over the XMas holiday, my mom loaded us in the car and drove us to Harlem GA to visit the Laurel and Hardy museum. It was definitely worth the trip, even if it wasn’t quite the facility or had quite the exhibits (or website for that matter) of the Ava Gardner museum, which we visited while up at my father-in-law’s a few years ago. If you find yourself in the Augusta GA area, drive the 20 minutes to the museum and give it a look.

With Your Permission

I got permission from another biggish band to play their music in the clambake. I’m going to keep it a secret until I do, but I’m highly highly excited about it. It might not be the biggest band in terms of “units shifted”, but this is a group that means a lot to me. I played them in college, saw them live a number of times and really dig them.

Here’s a few hints that might just give the game away. The band was really big in college radio in the 80s. Key members formed another band that had hits in the 90’s and now the band is reformed in mostly its original configuration. Guess away in the comments!

Earwig

Since playing it on the podcast I recorded Sunday morning, I’ve had that Rocket City Riot song “Hypodermic” running through my head. I can’t get it out. 48 hours and counting. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. I’m playing it now.

Confluence

Here’s a cool confluence of events that work out to a good eventuality:

  1. I found the external USB CD burner that was packed in a weird box for the last year and a half so that I can hook it up to my linux box which doesn’t have an internal burner
  2. I ran across the linux tools for etree archives
  3. I found the list of etree full show downloads on archive.org, in particular this list of over 30 Camper van Beethoven shows

In other words, cowabunga! Find me a coupon for blank CDs, will you?

iPod Shuffle Part 2

A few further thoughts on the iPod Shuffle. As I was leafing through the sale flyers in the Sunday paper I noticed that the standard retail prices for 512 Mb USB thumb drives is around $60 or $65, judging by the ones that were on sale with rebates. I don’t already have a thumb drive and have been in the market for one if I saw one at a good price. So then the question becomes would I pay $30 or $40 over the cost of the thumb drive to have the MP3 player that integrates transparently with my iTunes? Hell yeah!

I saw a reference to my Shuffle post in this discussion. I think this dude radically misses my point by about as much as he missed my name when he says

But I got really irritated by Dave Schlesser’s comments on it at

Like he couldn’t have done what he wanted to do with any other MP3 player on the market up until now. And what does “optimized for not needing the display mean”?

Um, I was talking about the iPod Shuffle, that’s why I didn’t mention any others. Many people are saying that the Shuffle seems poor for podcasting, a small number of people think it will be fine or even good. My statement didn’t say anything about the abilities of any other player. Simmer down, dude. There are indeed plenty of players that will play podcsts just fine. Now educate me – how many of them will sync transparently with my iTunes playlists that iPodderX fills up every night? I know the Shuffle will. There might be others, but unless they are also usable as thumb drives and available at the same or better price, I’m not interested in them. So please don’t be pissy, just constructively tell me what the alternatives are.