Superbowl

Here’s what the Superbowl means to me.

1. – For one day out of the year, we can go anywhere we want without a crowd or a wait for a table.

2. – Eleven more days until pitchers and catchers report.

Beautiful Morning

These are pretty much not good times around my house. Everyone is stressed and busy and exhausted, and it’s a time of the year that is the anniversary of very bad times not counting the brand new bad times being minted every day lately. Despite all that, I just had a moment.

I’ve been up and coding and testing for many hours, and on the way to the bathroom I stopped and looked out at the patio. The sun was shining just so that everything was bright and golden, birds were singing their hearts out all over the feeder and trees and bush, my dog is lying on the couch snoring and all is right in this tiny corner of the world. It’s good to be alive, and I’m glad I’m here.

EGC Clambake for January 29, 2006

Here is the Bittorrent link and direct MP3 download for the EGC clambake for January 29, 2006.

I say goodbye to GoDaddy and give you the complete rundown on the coupon situation; I talk about the one year anniversary of my God episode; I play a song from the Arts and Sciences; I play a found clip bashing Rocketboom and talk about the hating; I play a song by Cagey House; I talk a little more about Uplifters; why is the TailRank robot so poorly behaved; I play a song by the Decemberists and … scene.

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This episode is sponsored in part by GoDaddy. To sponsor the show, contact BackBeat Media.

Don’t forget, you can fly your EGC flag by buying the stuff package. For the time being, $25 of your purchase goes to the Mercy Corps.

This show as a whole is Creative Commons licensed Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5.

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Poppy Brite on New Orleans +5 months

Poppy Z. Brite lets rip a little of how she feels on the 5 month anniversary of Katrina landfall.

Of course I am mad as hell: at the Army Corps of Engineers who lied to us, at the White House and Congress who want our resources but don’t want to pay for them, at our local and state politicians and FEMA who left us to die, at other Americans who make cracks about the stupidity of living in a flood zone as they burn oil processed here and suck up the bounty of our waters and ports.

I loved her two newest novels, Liquor and Prime both of which are set in the New Orleans restaurant world.

Train Keeps Rolling

Man, the thing between me and Steve Gillmor just won’t die. Steve talked about it for a looooooong time in this week’s Gillmor Gang, and even Dan Farber mentions it on ZDNet. Steve’s outlook seems to be as long as people talk about you and link to you, it doesn’t matter if they think you are brilliant or an idiot, so I guess I’ll take some of each thank you. I believe I am now the tail wagging the dog, and it is either terrible or fantastic and I can’t tell which.

For the record, I find it unbelievable that anyone is pushing back on my outlook. All I am saying is “if you are going to pitch me, tell me more about your products not less.” Isn’t saying “tell me more about what you have to sell me” an advertiser’s wet dream? To respond with “No, we prefer to keep it cryptic” is really missing an opportunity.

Ruby on Rails Scaffolding Hint

For those of you who ever have to do Rails work with an older database that was not created according to RoR naming specs and to which other things have been coded such that you can’t just rename everything, here’s something I found out the hard way. I created my model and used set_table_name to point to the correct table in the DB. I could do a :scaffold in the controller and everything worked fine. However, if I tried to generate the scaffolding so I could modify it, I’d get the dreaded “Before updating scaffolding from new DB schema, try creating a table for your model” error. I was befuddled why a scaffolding that was working would give such an error on generate.

After much googling, I found out that the scaffold generator ignores your existing model, and only has the capacity to create from the tablename it expects based on your model and controller names. To get around this, I renamed the table to what Rails expected, generated the scaffold, named the table back to the original and then used the set_table_name to point to the original table name. I think it’s kind of a pain this way, but the workaround is to temporarily make the name what RoR wants just long enough for the generation, and then set it back. It beats copying the scaffolding from a different class and changing everything by hand, which is what I did the last time this came up.

EGC Clambake for January 26, 2006

Here is the Bittorrent link and direct MP3 download for the EGC clambake for January 26, 2006.

I profess my appreciation for the Deliberate Noise podcast and I play a song by the Strange; I am available for interviews on AmigoFish and Uplifter issues; I talk about the effort of solidifying the Uplifter philosophy; I play a song by Borrowed Time; I play a clip from Robert Rodriguez; I talk about jokes and play a clip of Gilbert Gottfried from DVD Talk Radio; I play a quote from an interview with Kirby Dick and Evan Shapiro conducted by Dave Navarro; I play a song by Elliott Smith and go away.

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This episode is sponsored in part by GoDaddy. To sponsor the show, contact BackBeat Media.

Don’t forget, you can fly your EGC flag by buying the stuff package. For the time being, $25 of your purchase goes to the Mercy Corps.

This show as a whole is Creative Commons licensed Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5.

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WordPress 2

When I set up the Uplifter weblog I downloaded the current WordPress and went to work. That happens to be version 2.0, and I have to say it is quite sweet. I love the live preview of themes that lets you “try before you buy.” It sure beats the old method of changing them in public, and deciding which one you like on your live site. All in all, I pretty much like ever single aspect of it. I’ve been avoiding upgrading the existing sites because I’ve heard reports of it being hairy and I’m not in any particular hurry. Still, I’m highly impressed with the improvements from 1.5.X to 2.0. Nice work, WordPress folks!

One thing I have done is installed and/or activated Akismet on every blog I control. I think it is included by default with the 2.0 download. Very nice, I haven’t had to moderated a comment spam on any blog since I started. I had been doing between 30 and 100 every single day, and since flipping that switch across 3 blogs there has been a 0% false positives and 0% false negatives. I’ve been using Razor on my email spam for years highly effectively and now this brings that same technique to comment spam. Sweet day in the sunshine, it’s about time.

Attention: Steve Gillmor

Steve Gillmor continues to discuss the Earthlink advertising spot in his show (and name check me as well). Let me boil down my issue, since Steve continues to play a three card monte game with his audience’s concerns. We tell him that we are bored and that the spot sucks. He then shows us a card of “they support us and are mainstream, so isn’t that wonderful?” and goes to throwing the cards. He then characterizes the issue people have as that “the spot isn’t special to the podosphere.” My problem isn’t that it is mainstream advertising in the podosphere, my problem is that it is bad, useless, ineffectual advertising in any medium and any context.

In his recent Gillmor Dailies, Steve entreats us to listen to the spot. Now I’ve skipped it dozens of times because I feel it makes me temporarily dumber when I hear it, and I fear repeated exposure may make it permanent. Nonetheless I gave it a shot, and even typed up the text verbatim. Here is the transcript of that spot:

Do you believe anything is possible? We do. We’re Earthlink. We believe in an internet that is safe from viruses and scammers. We’re Earthlink. We believe your personal information should be just that — personal. And we believe your internet should be a friend not a foe. We’re Earthlink. Make the smart choice. Visit earthlink.net and discover what our internet experts can do for you. Earthlink – we revolve around you.

Now read that copy carefully. See a problem? How about this – we don’t know what the fucking product is! We’re told to go to their website and find out more information, and as far as I can tell the thing they have to offer is a care-free internet. Fantastic. For those who already have that or don’t buy into the vague fear-mongering, there ain’t much else to hang our hat on.

I’m not really in the market for dialup. Is that what they are selling? I don’t know. Now the question on the floor is “why should I care?” If they can’t be bothered to tell me that in their allotted time and sublet attention, no chance I’m going to pursue this.

Steve, I’ve been listening to you talk about the importance of attention for over a year now. To hear you ignore the clearest metadata you can get — being directly told that your audience hates something you play — I really wonder what the whole deal is about anymore. Why is some widget collecting my clicks going to mean anything more to you than what I communicate to you directly? If you ignore that, what is any of it good for?

I’m happy Earthlink supports you and the deal is good for you. Now, fill that 30 seconds with something worthy of the time of your audience and the storybook closes with “happily ever after.” The one kind of advertising I absolutely can’t stomach is that kind that when it’s done, I don’t know what I’m being sold. That’s exactly what this is. At least when the CGI polar bears cavort, they hold up a bottle of Coca-Cola so I know what I’m being asked to buy. We aren’t even getting that much. What a waste of good attention.

WP-Cache

The dangers of having a weblog and podcast that have some traction bit me today. The webserver box was starting to run away earlier today. I logged in and the server load was over 20. I turned the WP-Cache plugin back on. I had tried it before and don’t remember exactly why I turned it off a while ago. It might have had to do with the dynamic referrals list or something like that. I think I might see about only caching the RSS and not anything else. That might be sufficient to keep the box from getting so hammered.

Uplifter Lives!

The basic framework of the Uplifter stuff exists. There is now a wiki and a group blog. Anyone that is interested should feel free to contribute to either or both. The one thing about both is that they require registration to participate. I thought about this and think that for this particular deal, it makes sense that contributors shouldn’t be anonymous. Let me know if anyone has any different thinking on that.

For now, I remain as busy as the recent baseline so I set up the framework but probably won’t be contributing heavily as of yet. If you want to join the blog as a contributor, let me know and we’ll get that set up. This is all pretty fluid and I’m letting the movement discover its own identity as we go, so things are pretty general. Like any good garage band, we’ll tune up as we play. Onward, uplifters!

Wild Bunch

I’ve had The Wild Bunch taped on my DVR since June and I frequently think about sitting down and watching it. The only thing is that I want to give it my full attention, and most of my TV watching is about 60% attention with my laptop in hand. Lately, there is no chance so I’ve just been thinking about watching but skipping, over and over. This morning, I heard on Reel Reviews that his next cinephile series show will be on The Wild Bunch. Sometime in the next few weeks I need to find 2 and a half hours of uninterrupted attention to dump into that movie so I’m prepared for Mikey G’s insight.

Computer Geek Score


My computer geek score is greater than 91% of all people in the world! How do you compare? Click here to find out!

I think having a pretty wife and being asleep at 3 AM cost me a few points. I probably correctly answered all of the technical questions, and I know for sure I identified the photo of the computer because that was actually part of one of my grad school classes. If anything, I think this quiz is tilted towards old farts by asking them to identify ancient stuff. If I was a 16 year old hacker who lived and breathed computers, I wouldn’t have known half of this crap and wouldn’t have messed with C-64s or low baud modems. That I have is a quirk of my age more than anything else.

EGC Clambake for January 20, 2006

Here is the Bittorrent link and direct MP3 download for the EGC clambake for January 20, 2006.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have the return of an old friend! I interview John Mark King and we premiere a new Rocket City Riot song; I play a promo for the Balticon Podcast; I talk about Kevin Smith and the Clerks 2 videoblog; I play a song from Neon Christ and talk about my younger days in Atlanta; I play a quote from Tiffany Schlain on Tech Nation; I play a quote from Monty Roberts via the Authors on Tour podcast; I play a new Michelle Malone song; I entreat people to join my Frappr map and we head on out.

You can subscribe to this feed via RSS.

This episode is sponsored in part by GoDaddy. To sponsor the show, contact BackBeat Media.

Don’t forget, you can fly your EGC flag by buying the stuff package. For the time being, $25 of your purchase goes to the Mercy Corps.

This show as a whole is Creative Commons licensed Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5.

Links mentioned in this episode:

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