EGC Clambake for June 29, 2008 – “Reality Break Lives”

Here is the direct MP3 download for the EGC clambake for June 29, 2008. I play a song from Chris Christensen and Mark Schultz; I talk about the Reality Break podcast and tell some tales from the radio show that preceded it; I mention a little bit about the class I taught and what the proceeds are going to buy; I play a song from the incredible Gentle Readers and then gamble into the sunset.

You can subscribe to this podcast feed via RSS. To sponsor the show, contact BackBeat Media. Don’t forget, you can fly your EGC flag by buying the stuff package. This show as a whole is Creative Commons licensed Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5. Bandwidth for this episode is provided by Cachefly.

Links mentioned in this episode:

Epic Fail Whale

I hope this to be my last post about Twitter and FriendFeed for some time. My migration has finished and now I am completely on FriendFeed and completely off of Twitter. My Twitter social network has been completely disassembled. As I added people on FriendFeed I unfollowed them on Twitter and then as I added imaginary friends for those not yet on I did the same. At this point, I follow no one on Twitter although in true Twitter fashion it tells me my count is 2 as it shows me 0 friends.

An interesting development is that Steve Gillmor seems to be coming around. He has truly freaked me out in recent weeks by being such a staunch defender of Twitter even as the service gets worse and worse. Metaphors I have used or seen in recent days include:

  • Twitter dealing with their scaling problems being like the colonial marines in Aliens, sealing off room after room and falling back into smaller and smaller perimeters and still getting overran.
  • I’ve compared Twitter to having an alcoholic uncle that promises over and over again to give you a ride but never shows up.
  • Aron Michalski compared it to a car that you once loved that now you have to crawl in from the passenger side and use hand signals because the door is stuck and the electrical system shot.

I’ve heard that help is on the way to Twitter in the form of this SWAT team of bad ass developers. Good for them, but if they unveiled a system Monday morning that involved every bit of functionality turned back on at full nominal baseline, I still wouldn’t care. It’s too late for me. Twitter got me in to believing this form of communication was valuable, and then it convinced me it was too valuable to let them handle it. That’s why I’m completely done with it now. It now exists as a vestigial remnant of something that was, a third class shadow cache of data I originate other places. I have no network on it, I don’t care what happens to it. It was fun while it lasted and now it is done for me. Bye.

Twitter Migration Tweak

I updated my original post on how to leave Twitter to include this information, but I thought I’d make a new post as well so people see it. If you are pushing your FriendFeed entries to Twitter via TwitterFeed, you might want to use the feed of this format as the source to TwitterFeed: . That will only push your original FriendFeed messages, not any of your other services. That can keep from overwhelming your Twitter account with things like Google Reader shares and such. The other beneficial bit is that it will prevent those loops when your Twitter account feeds FF and FF pushes back to Twitter.

Levelator Oddness

I needed to redownload the Levelator to stay current, and I noticed something odd. In the download statistics, it says that the OS X version was downloaded 3186 time and the Windows version 66 times. First, can the numbers really be that low? They must have been reset at some point. Second, is the OS X version really being downloaded at a 50 to 1 ratio against Windows?

I’m not sure of the cause of this discrepancy if it is real. OS X users care more about the quality of their audio and want it leveled better? Windows users don’t podcast as much as Mac users? I’ll avoid overinterpreting this data unless and until I know it is real but it struck me as very unusual indeed.

Myrtle Beach’s War on Tourism

I’m reposting verbatim some text from commentor Dennis. I personally think the city government of Myrtle Beach has recently gone insane in their efforts to get rid of the bike weeks in May. Let’s see, during Black Bike Week one local resident shot another local resident, neither one of which were participating in the rally. I strongly believe that a lot of this is motivated by the fact that the killer was black and it was during the Atlantic Beach rally week. If a white guy shot a black kid during the Harley week, they wouldn’t be in such a hurry to commit civic financial suicide.

I’ve seen this happen before. If Myrtle Beach gets rid of the few hundred thousand bikers from May, they will also get rid of the extra trips from those people when they come back later with their families. Tourism isn’t surgical, it is viral. If you get people in for any reason and they like it, they keep coming back. If you send them away for any reason, they stay away. I like this area, I’m a local and I want businesses I frequent year around to stay in business so they are there in January when I need them. I suspect if the rallies magically disappear next year, there would be a chain reaction of business failures and a toilet bowl swirl in the local economy. There are certainly problems with the bike weeks but taxing the residents extra to make them go away is completely insane.

Now, here is the information from Dennis:

Bike Week Update….WE NEED YOUR HELP

Here is the schedule for the next city council meeting:

If you will be negatively affected by the attempts by the City and County to eliminate the Bike Weeks, we need you to attend a meeting at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, June 25th at Revolutions in Celebrity Square at Broadway at the Beach.

The next County Council Meeting is July 1 at 6 p.m. at the Courthouse in Conway.

The next City Council date is Tuesday, July 8. The workshop begins at 9:00 a.m. here at City Hall. The regular meeting begins at 2:00 p.m. at the Collins Law Enforcement Center.

If you are impacted in the least as a business, an employee, whatever it might be. We can’t afford to have government selectively decide what tourists are good and which ones are bad.

And, even if you aren’t impacted, the following statement appeared on-line at yesterday afternoon and should be very concerning. It is not in today’s print section of The Sun News.

Mr. Martino wants to decide which tourists come to town! And, I thought the 3 mills was to get rid of bikers, not to replace lost revenue. I would be worried that your taxes are going to go even higher!

Councilmembers said they hope to see a concerted effort among everyone who’s affected — hoteliers, merchants and the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce — because they will all play their parts in replacing bike-rally visitors with other types of tourists.

“We’re going to have to displace them with the tourists we want,” Councilman Chuck Martino said at Tuesday’s workshop discussion. “Then when the bikers want to come, the hotel rooms are already full.

“But if we don’t replace them, I don’t think three mills is going to make up for the lost revenue.”

RIP George Carlin

Sadly, George Carlin has died at age 71. I’ve referenced him on this blog many times. He has been my favorite comedian for something like 25 years or so. I still have one of his day calendars sitting to the right of my desk. His odd outlook on life has affected the way I think, and even my father referenced him in his suicide note. On hearing the news that he had died, the expletive that ran through my head was “shit piss fuck cunt cocksucker mother fucker tits.” Plus “fart turd and twat.”

Goodbye George. You will be missed.

Super Secret Project X is Live!

So I’ve been hinting about Super Secret Project X for a very long time. At this point it has been over a year. The delays were many and for reasons too boring to think about but now everything is straightened out and ready to be revealed. SSPX is actually the return in podcast form of my radio show Reality Break. In order to make kind of a splash and get some attention here at the beginning, I opted to go straight for a big guest for the first episode so I am starting off with my 1998 interview with Will Eisner. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Rather than the freeform chaos of EGC, the whole Reality Break program is designed to run like a machine. Every two weeks on Saturday night I will post new episodes, beginning on June 29th. It is more sponsorship friendly than EGC, so if you want to sponsor the show or may know someone that does, drop me a line. This should be a lot of fun. I have over 200 interviews on tape from the 1992 – 1998 time frame with science fiction writers, fantasy writers, comic book writers and artists and more. My plan is to alternate newly produced episodes with ones from the archives although that may not be a hard and fast rule. The mix may change but there is a huge boatload of material I want to get back in the public sphere.

Many thanks to a few people behind the scenes who helped out. One is actor, writer and musician Bill Mumy, who was kind enough to license me the Reality Break theme music. That’s another reason to sponsor the show – Bill has a piece of the action too so help some brothers out! Bill is a great musician and songwriter, and from the first moment I heard the Reality Break song at the Heroes Convention in 1991 where Seduction of the Innocent played, I knew I one day wanted that as a theme for a show. It sets a fun happy tone that just makes everything great.

Another person I must thank is my long time friend Mike Fisher, who did the CGI logo. I’ve known Mike since I was a teenager working in a comic shop in Augusta GA. Mike did the original Reality Break logo and as the state of the art advances, he did another fantastic updated one for this incarnation of the show. Mike does great videos so I really encourage you to go to his site and get his comics or his DVD. I have it and it is a real hoot, fun for the whole family.

I’m very excited and very nervous to finally unveil this project. Everything is not perfect yet and the timing could be better but I’ve been delaying so long for so many different details that I just opted to go with it. It’s now or never, so let’s make it now! I have an audio promo available for the show, and I’d really appreciate if you would play it in your programs. Whatever karma I may have built up in this world so far, I need to draw on some of it now. I’ve been involved in this project in one way or another for the last 15 years and I’m delighted to be able to give this material a new airing and to get back in the studio and do new interviews with my favorite people. As I always said on the show, “Who can’t use a Reality Break now and then?” Come take one with me.

There Must Be 50 Ways to Leave Your Twitter

Here are details on how you too can get the hell away from Twitter, increase the functionality available to you and still not lose your whole social network. I hope at this point I have some credibility as a late adopter and as a person who does not jump at every new service that comes along. It took 9 months of nagging for me to join Twitter in the first place and I’ve still never joined Facebook. I have the same process as the Amish about adopting technologies: I stay away until I see some evidence it will make my life better. It is with that idea that I have adopted FriendFeed.

I avoided FriendFeed as well for some time. The whole thing with 41 services that it integrates actually put me off. It gave me panic attacks. However, I knew that Twhirl had some integration with it so finally I said WTF and just did it. Right away – I mean within minutes – I knew it was at least at parity with Twitter and within a day I had no doubts as to its far superiority. Twitter is the basic proof of concept prototype that should have been thrown away, and FriendFeed is the real product that comes after. Even if Twitter’s downtime problems weren’t so pronounced, I’ve gotten tired of even how it works nominally. The 140 character limit around SMS, a technology that I have never once used, rankles me. Its very best feature is track and that has been turned off for a month, so at this point I’m pissed off enough to leave and motivated enough to do it.

Because of the very nature of FriendFeed, it contains in itself a nice way to taper down from Twitter (and Pownce and Jaiku too) into using FriendFeed exclusively, without losing your social network and without doing quite so much “new SNS busy work” (although there is some.) Here are some steps I have taken, and I’m serious as a myocardial infarction about turning Twitter off when the tipping point has been hit.

You just slip out the back, Jack

First, create yourself a FriendFeed account. If you can, get the same username as you had on Twitter. If you can’t we will all survive. When asked to hook other services up to it, you might be tempted to add Twitter but don’t. We’re actually going to go the other way.

Make a new plan, Stan

If you don’t have it already, download Twhirl. It was already the best front end to Twitter. I knew it had integration with FriendFeed and frankly the ease of using the two is part of what tipped me. In the accounts tab add in the information for your FriendFeed account. You can add in your Twitter too if you want to as a transitional strategy but eventually that is coming out. That’s what this is all about, Jack. Or Stan. Or Gus.

You don’t need to be coy, Roy

Update: There is an alternative to the steps below. Kreg Steppe has written a PHP script that will search on the same username and give either a link to that FF page or a convience link to search on that name. It’s still somewhat manual, but much easier with Kreg’s script than doing it by hand.

This step is the shakiest of all, I admit, and I wish there were better alternatives. I’m half thinking about trying to build that myself. Go get Internet Duct Tape’s Twitter to FriendFeed utility. Now this is a Windows console app which really sucks, so those of you who don’t have a PC or VMware or Parallels are left out of this one. I swear, by next weekend I will really try to code up the equivalent in a more portable solution. Worst of all, this step didn’t work for me but it does have a workaround.

When you run it, you give your FF and Twitter credentials. It logs into each and gets your lists of friends/followed. It uses the Google Social Graph API to map the two together which sounded crazy to me but works alarmingly well. It is supposed to add your contacts to FriendFeed but in my case, all it did was give me three results: “is already your friend on Friend Feed”, “Not on Friend Feed”, and “Unable to subscribe”. I don’t know what is happening with the last (API change?) but as it is doing all this, it is writing a log file and that log file includes the FriendFeed account name that couldn’t be added. This allows you to still add the person, although it is much more of a pain in the ass than it should be. If they fix this tool it will help or if I can write an act-alike clone, that will help. Either way or the manual way, when you are done as much of your existing Twitter network as possible will instantly be set up on FriendFeed. In my case, I’d say about 40% were already there, and even in a few days that number is climbing.

The last bit is that you can create what FriendFeed calls “imaginary friends.” Even before someone signs up you can create a dummy account and add in their Twitter feed to it. Do that for all your friends whose tweets you can’t live without and then even without using Twitter you will continue to get their updates. This touch is the brilliant bit that really makes the whole exit plan work, in my opinion. Unfortunately, imaginary friends don’t seem to automatically convert to contacts. Maybe FriendFeed can fix this shortly or better yet, build in this important functionality so we don’t have to do ridiculous hacks to get more users into their system. You know?

Anyone that knows of or can create a better solution for this step let me know and I’ll replace this information with your upgrade. I fear this part is where we will lose people, particularly those with really large networks they currently follow.

Hop on the bus, Gus

The whole purpose of this stuff is that you are going to stop originating any messages in Twitter. In my case, the only ones that will ever go straight to Twitter again are ones to let people know that I’m leaving and how to keep up with me. In order to let the people that follow you ramp down, you will create a way that your FriendFeed posts will get set to Twitter. Create an account at TwitterFeed but rather than giving it your blog you will give it your FriendFeed atom feed: In my case it is but you will just substitute your username in there. Now your FriendFeed messages will post back to Twitter. You can add in a step of scrubbing that feed with a clone of my friend Paul’s Yahoo Pipe but I chose to just skip that step. It means that some extraneous stuff will end up in my Twitter updates but what do I care? I want to goad all my followers to leave the service anyway. This is why you didn’t add Twitter into your FriendFeed services. If you do, your original FF messages get retweeted and then your tweet comes back into FF and pushes back out (unless you remove it with the Pipe.)

You don’t need to discuss much

At this point, you can post messages to FriendFeed. People can comment directly on them which is a model 100X more sensible than Twitter’s fractured and fragmented @reply semantics. Twitter is getting your messages via TwitterFeed. The maximum of 5 in 30 minutes is the most the service will post, so you might lose some. However Twitter already loses my updates about 1 in 6 times so most Twitter users should be used to this by now.

Just drop off the key, Lee

The beautiful thing about all this is that the experience gets better, I have found. The only thing that Twitter has to offer anymore is the user base, and with a little effort you can take the user base with you. In my case, I’m now becoming an evangelist for the Twitter Exodus and urging everyone that follows me to follow my FriendFeed instead. I seldom link whore but if you could spread this meme around, I would love it. Of course the FriendFeed guys will also love it and the Twitter guys will hate it. On the bright side, if most people do bail on Twitter and only the hardcore lovers of it stick around, maybe the service will be usable for those who remain.

And get yourself free

And that my friends is how to extricate yourself from the Twitter hairball without losing your whole network and all the energy you put into it. The one detail that I haven’t yet figured out is what to do with Twitter @replies during the transition. Unless I figure out a solution for that, I’ll check them every day or three and reply back in FriendFeed with my own @reply. My last Tweet will one day just be a pointer over to FF and a notice that I won’t see anything in Twitter anymore.

When you get to FriendFeed you can join the Twitter room and commiserate with other expatriates from that service. At first you’ll be a little sad and then you’ll think “Holy crap, FriendFeed has rooms!” and you’ll get happy again.

Trust me on this, our lives will be better. Of course if FF takes a Twitter-style performance dump after a mass migration I’ll look like an ass but I’m willing to risk it. I’m a poker player and on this I’m willing to go all in. Who’s willing to call that bet?

Update: This post seems to have lit a number of firecrackers, which is, like, awesome. Scoble pointed out that when using the FriendFeed comment box on a post that was originally from Twitter, you can check a box and have it posted back to Twitter. Also, I have found out there is this WordPress plugin to show FriendFeed comments on posts. I have now installed it on this blog, so if you look at any post with FF comments you should see them. Steve Gillmor, how does this fit in with your definition of “silo”?

James Slusher’s WSOP Run

If you look at the coverage of Day 1 of Event 27 of the World Series of Poker, one of the last entries of the day is below.

Sun, 15 Jun 2008 00:58:30

When You’re Hot You’re Hot

Bernard Lee has just sucked out on another player to eliminate him and extend his lead. He reraised a player all in preflop with 99 who was holding AA. The inevitable 9 fell on turn to send the pot his way. He’s up to 167,500 now.

What is it to me? The guy with the aces against Bernard Lee was my brother. It sent him out in something like 230th place, but his initial $1500 buy-in netted him over $3000, better than doubling that money. Not bad for a days work. My jealousy continues, but this gives me that much more incentive to step it up so I can go next year.

Congratulations James!

My Brother The Gambler

My brother is in Las Vegas right now, playing in a World Series of Poker event. He’s been calling me all day with status updates at every break. While I was in the office with my team working on a Saturday, he was phoning me with his adventures in his first ever big time tournament. As he’s been on the phone with me, he’s been joking with the likes of Steve Zolotow. At the last check-in, the field had shrunk from 2700 to 600 and Jim had about an average stack. Something like the top 270 will get paid, so he was getting awfully close to the money. He hasn’t called lately so that has to be good news.

I’m incredibly jealous because I wish I was out there with him. I still need to build up my poker bankroll before I can go. By next year I need to turn the $300 or so I have online into a few thousand. I’m more or less on a freeroll with all of that. I started as a poker site beta tester which ended up garnering me some actual cash which I ended up transferring to other site. I’ve only ever put about $20 of my own cash into the online poker world, and that was just to round up a transfer to get the maximum of a 100% match bonus. If I can parlay this into a WSOP entry, it’s very much like winning in on a $1 super satellite ticket.

Good luck James. May you go deep, cash out for much, and knock them dead.

FriendFeed Waxes as Twitter Wanes For Me

I’ve hit the point where I’m really just totally sick and tired of Twitter. Long ago, I thought it was too frivolous to care about and last fall I gave in and joined. Over time I changed my mind and decided that I generally liked the concept behind it while still not being happy with large parts of its implementation. That it has three entirely different interfaces for interacting whether you are talking to everyone, one person publicly or one person privately is ridiculous. The threading model is non-existent and having functionality like track that existed via IM but not elsewhere was just nonsense.

Similarly I’ve been fighting FriendFeed as well. It seemed too busy and overwhelming for me to want to be a part of it. I hate the “new SNS busy work” effect where you have to duplicate all the crap you’ve done on every other SNS. I had a few burbles with it but it seemed OK. When I hooked it up to Twhirl it really came alive though. I like the way conversations stay together and don’t spread out into an illegible mess like on Twitter. I’m less enamored with the FriendFeed default of showing me stuff by “friends of friends.” If I cared about those people, they’d be my friends. That was the very first thing I hid. I also like being able to hide categories globally, categories by person, etc.

So my Twitter account while it still exists is deprecated. I expect that whether or not I eventually leave, I’ll be moving slowly over to my FriendFeed account for this sort of interaction. I also have a Pownce account as well, although at the moment it really is only a backup of my Twitter. It has only ever received duplicates of my Twitter posts and probably that won’t change anytime soon.

Overall, I’m happy with FriendFeed after a few hours, in a way that took me months to get with Twitter. At this point I think absolutely the only thing Twitter has to offer is the user base. At its best, most of its model and interface sucks and lately you take the sucky baseline and add on much downtime. I honestly don’t care if it disappears, now that we all have a better alternative.

Insignia Sport, My Best Podcast Player So Far

My Creative Zen V Plus has been getting flakier and flakier lately, requiring hard resets and just acting funky. Under the best circumstances it never has been a perfect device for podcast listening – acceptable at best. When my boss told me that he got an Insignia Sport 4Gb player from Best Buy for $60 on clearance, I looked at the specs and reviews online and basically jumped up and drove to Best Buy to buy one for myself. I’ve been using it for a few weeks now and can say that it is the best portable MP3 player for listening to mostly or exclusively for podcasts that I have ever owned.

Running down the list I have owned in order: an original 512 Gb iPod Shuffle; a 512 Gb mobiBLU cube; a 4 Gb Creative Zen V Plus; and now the 4 Gb Insignia Sport. I’ve also had the Zune but I’m not counting it in this list partly because it is big and in a different niche than all these, but also because their attempts to add value to podcasts actually make it unusable for the task. All the rest of these were about the same price, in the high $90s at the time of purchase.

Here’s a rundown of the pros and cons of each device as I found the experience of trying to use them as dedicated podcast playing devices.

Original Gumstick 512 Mb iPod Shuffle

Pros: Easy to use; small and light; very easy syncing with iTunes combined with smart playlists made for the best file handling I’ve seen; remembered the spot in long MP3s without bookmarking

Cons: No display made it impossible to identify timestamps of shows for later quoting on EGC; both the original and replacement went DOA after 9 months

512 MB mobiBLU Cube

Pros: Tiny device; mounted as an external device for use with Macs; remembered the spot in long MP3s without bookmarking

Cons: Playlist feature too cumbersome to use so I always listened in alphabetical order; weird nonstandard USB connector that went in through the headphone jack; built in headphones in the lanyard broke early on

4 GB Creative Zen V Plus

Pros: Large storage space for an inexpensive player; attractive display; theoretically plays video

Cons: Is MTP so it requires Windows to sync the device; forgets the position in file when it powers down so you have to remember to bookmark; playlist function is really cumbersome; the only format of video it plays is ridiculous and converting to it is a pain

4 GB Insignia Sport

Pros: Large storage space; cheapest of the lot at $60 on clearance; contains a microSD slot; theoretically plays video; mounts as standard external drive so usable with OS X; imports M3U files for playlists; remembers position in long files without bookmarking; has Bluetooth audio out; plays OGG files!!

Cons: Bluetooth is only for audio, you can’t move files with it; Weird conversion required to play video and it frequently fails; when twirling the wheel to change volume it is possible to be recognized as a “Next file” click; when going from file to file with different bitrates it freaks out until you stop and restart playing

Overall, I’m quite happy with the Insignia Sport. This is provisional as I’ve only had a few weeks of burn in time and the really annoying issues tend to show up after months or when your annoyance level rises to a boil for some functionality that isn’t quite right. I didn’t list it as a pro, but I like how the LED around the wheel on the Insignia Sport looks a lot like the fusion reactor in Iron Man’s chest. I wrote simple scripts to handle the moving of files from my podcatcher directory to the device and then write an M3U file to create a playlist of oldest to newest file. Since there are a couple of shows I always bump to the top of the list, I fudge the dates to make them earlier before I do the whole procedure. Just in not having to futz with the playlist like I did with the Creative Zen, thats a huge win. Over time, I really grew to hate that process. Now, I plug up the Insignia, call my sync script and a few minutes later it is done with no further intervention on my part. I dig it.

If you can find one of these on clearance, I say it’s an automatic buy. At the original price of $139 or so, it’s a marginal call. When an MP3 player gets down in the mid 2 figures some magic happens and you can take risks knowing that if the device sucks or you drop it in a lake you won’t be heartbroken. I’m glad I took the risk with this one.

Check Your Recordings Early

Today I listened to Indie Spinner Rack podcast #127 which was basically a tale of woe about sending a portable audio recorder to Stumptown with some correspondents. Charlie tells of having the recorder in his jacket pocket and a few days later when he went to get the audio off of it, the device was lost. I too have learned the hard way this lesson: when you do field recordings, get them off of your device absolutely at the earliest possible opportunity. Don’t wait a few days to sync up to your computer, do it in the first minute you can. It can avoid disaster in some cases, and if your field recordings were already ruined it gives you longer to get over it.

Return to the Gym

I’ve gotten sick of my own weight and generally poor level of fitness lately, so week before last we rejoined the gym. The local hospital has a gym on its premises and it is a pretty good one. It has all the equipment and weights you would expect plus a swimming pool. I’ve started on three day rotation of lifting weights and cardio that goes like this:

Day 1: Cardio warmup; lifting for chest, shoulders, biceps, triceps

Day 2: Cardio warmup; lifting for back and legs

Day 3: Serious cardio, mostly swimming

Today is about my second week in and for my swimming I did 13 laps or 650 yards total. I don’t know if that’s good bad or indifferent but it feels good to me. I haven’t noticed dramatic changes but I do feel better and more energetic overall. I’m starting to add more sets into the weight lifting now that I’m past the initial starting back soreness.

Truth be told, I missed the gym when I wasn’t going. While I’ve never been a super serious body builder, I like gyms and like being in them. I enjoy farting with the equipment and the free weights, I like the atmosphere and just generally enjoy my time when I am there. It feels good to be back. Now if I drop a few pounds (like, 70 would not be crazy) and get my fitness level back where it should be, all is well.

Rough Weekend in Grand Strand Baseball

This weekend we were visiting my father-in-law in Goldsboro NC and we ended up having to get a hotel in Kinston since Goldsboro was full up. As it happened, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans were playing Kinston so we decided to all go to the baseball game. It was fun and despite getting down 8-1 by the second inning, the Pelicans came back to lead it 9-8 in the top of the ninth. An error at first left it tied after nine, and it was getting late so we had to leave. The Pelicans ended up losing 10-9. Funnily enough, they were staying in the same hotel as us and I saw a few of them at the breakfast buffet on Sunday morning.

The same weekend, the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers dropped their two games in the Super Regional to North Carolina. These best of three formats are rough, because whoever loses the first game is in desperate straights no matter how you do it. It’s bittersweet with CCU. On the one hand, losing and ending the season is never anyones first choice. It is the best season in the team’s history though so it is hard to be too upset about that. Oh well, we’ll get them next year.

Piggly Wiggly, Home of Free but Not Open WiFi

I’m sitting in the Piggly Wiggly at Carolina Forest. Part of the reason I ate lunch over this way is that I had a few things to do on my own stuff over lunch, and I prefer not to do those from the company network, even though I’m at lunch and theoretically on my own time. Piggly Wiggly has free internet via wifi in their cafe, and I have used it before. So, I had lunch at the Grand China Buffet and stopped in here. First thing that was different, I was met with a login page. I had to register for an account, which I think is new. It was free and relatively quick, but not something I had seen before.

It went downhill from there. I logged in and could load web pages, but nothing else. I can’t get my email via SMTP, I can’t connect to my home server or my hosted web server via SSH, I can’t connect to my IM services. So Piggly Wiggly has free internet service, if you define that as access to the Web and not one other kind of service.

I’m not trying to grouse about getting something for free that isn’t what I expected, but pointing out that this is a bait and switch. I came here specifically to do some internet work. I bought a coffee from the Starbucks stand I wouldn’t have gone out of my way for. Now that I’m here, I can’t do the work I want to do because I don’t have access to any of the services I need. Presumably the free wifi is offered to attract people in to buy groceries and Starbucks drinks. This was the last time I fall for this. I’m pissed off enough about the half-assed offering that I would have been less bothered by the wifi being down than being crippled. If you are going to have open internet connectivity, open it up please. Otherwise you bring me in for a promise you aren’t willing to fulfill. Web access is great, but it is a portion of the internet not the totality of it.

Update: To add insult to injury, posting this failed the first time. Apparently this login has a 5 minute timeout or something like that. In the time it took to compose this entry, my login was invalid and I had to reauthenticate to make it go. This truly bites.

Listen to Me on Good Clean Fun

I very seldom put external files in the feed here. In fact I’m not sure if I’ve ever done it before. I want to for this one. As far as I’m concerned this was part of the EGC canon. I really enjoyed being on Good Clean Fun with Butler and Jasper. Balls were busted, jokes told, people were ragged on and we discussed how none of us were excited by Blood Feast.

Here is the link to the MP3 file itself. If all works as it should, this will show up in the RSS feed and with a little player in this post just like any episode of my show. Thanks again to Michael and Jasper for letting me play in their sandbox. I’ll do it at least one more time, when I come back on to discuss my favorite film of all time,

George A. Romero’s Knightriders. I can’t wait! Let me know what you thought of the episode, and if you are a Butler or Jasper fan following me back to here, welcome.

Me on Good Clean Fun

My favorite podcast to come along in some time is Good Clean Fun with Butler and Jasper. I weaseled a little and now I’m going to be on the show tonight. We are scheduled to record at 7 PM PDT/ 10 PM EDT and their will be a live stream available here. It would be great if there was at least one chatter from people that are friendly to me. I think the last time I was on the Rock and Roll Geek Show the consensus was that they hate me. I don’t really care, I think it will be fun and I even sat down and watched Blood Feast to get read for this. My game face is on!

Tan Tan Noodles Simple Spam Filter for WordPress

I’m experimenting with a new feature on the site that puts in a second level of protection on comment spam. It’s this WordPress plugin from Tan Tan Noodles (your guess is as good as mine on the name.) The thing I like best is the idea that should a legitamite comment by a real person get flagged as spam, they have a second chance to enter the captcha. Once in a very blue moon I will get a legitamite comment trapped but it is really prohibitive to go and look for comments in the Akismet trap page. Right now, I have 1600 in there from the last 14 days. Life is too short to weed through that.

If folks could do me a favor and just leave a test comment on this post, I’d appreciate it. Upgrading to WordPress 2.5 broke comments and I’d like to not do that again. Thanks!