aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Thursday, March 24, 2005
Hyundai & XM
Hyundai Motor plans to offer XM Satellite Radio as standard equipment on all U.S. models by 2007, the automaker said Wednesday. Hyundai will include the service on three models for 2006: the Sonata, the Alantra and the Santa Fe. “We’re the first car company” to make it available on all models, said Hyundai of America CEO Bob Cosmai.
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
More on the Google Toolbar
Earlier today I listened to the first edition of Sound Policy with Denise Howell - who’s got a great looking blog I just added to my blogroll. Denise hosted an excellent, fascinating, 50 minute conversation (available free through IT Conversations) on the controversy surrounding the auto-link feature of the new (3.0 beta version) Google Toolbar.
Joining Denise were Cory Doctrow (who’s got a great personal site besides co-editing BoingBoing, which pointed me to the conversation in the first place), Martin Schwimmer of The Trademark Blog, and Robert Scoble, “Microsoft’s best known blogger.”
There’s no small talk here, they take off like a rocket and keep at it. What a wonderful advocate Cory Doctrow is. I want him on my side and he is. He’s all for the auto-link feature. Martin Schwimmer was clear on the legal issues. And Robert Scoble defends the rights of the “content producers.”
Monday, March 21, 2005
Can TiVo buy the media?
TiVo sent an e-mail to journalists on Friday saying they could get a special $200 discount on the new TiVo-Humax Digital Video Recorder.
However, a TiVo spokesman told TVPredictions.com on Monday that the special price was not intended to influence the media’s coverage of the company.
My sense is the media loves them already, if not the business press and the occasional blogger (and even they love TiVO).
Via Thomas Hawk, who will be watching:
It will be interesting to see if/how the company responds to this one and it will be interesting to see if the blogosphere thinks that this is an important story or not.
Fiona Apple’s fans are downloading her music for free, then demanding that Sony release the album so they can pay for it. At least in the case of Fiona Apple, P2P isn’t hurting her CD sales. In fact, P2P appears to be Fiona’s only chance of actually getting her CD on store shelves at all.
Wednesday, March 16, 2005
A new Mac mouse?
Monday, March 14, 2005
David Ewing Duncan, who reported the first piece, has an article on the same topic, Implanting Hope, on TechnologyReview.com. Wired has the Mind Control story too. The brain-computer interface in the story is the BrainGate Neural Interface System developed by Dr. John Donoghue of Cyberkinetics, Inc.
I still don’t know which I’d prefer, to port my brain over to the Web, or have enough augmentation that I become more machine than man. Either is a brave new evolutionary frontier that suits me just fine.
Sunday, March 13, 2005
UPDATE 3/15/05: AOL fixed its Terms of Service and should be congratulated.
UPDATE 3/14/05: AOL says AIM conversations are safe.
In addition, by posting Content on an AIM Product, you grant AOL, its parent, affiliates, subsidiaries, assigns, agents and licensees the irrevocable, perpetual, worldwide right to reproduce, display, perform, distribute, adapt and promote this Content in any medium. You waive any right to privacy. You waive any right to inspect or approve uses of the Content or to be compensated for any such uses.
Switch to Windows Messenger? I bet most of us just keep on going, like clicking “I Accept” on every software license agreement. Meanwhile the legal rights of the commoner continue to wither away.
Monday, March 07, 2005
Aaron Spuler’s built bunches of custom themes.
Thursday, March 03, 2005
Thomas Hawk is in the midst of a 4 part interview with Microsoft’s Media Center bloggers. I like the goals of Media Center and its functionality is the future. Fortunately or unfortunately, this (from Part 1) is the present:
As an industry, we still have a lot of work to do. Setting up any DVR is still too complex and for a mainstream culture that still jokes about the blinking 12:00 on your VCR, we can and will do better.
In Part 3 (posted today) the topic is blogging. Microsoft encourages personal blogging by its employees. Charlie Owen, a Microsoft Program Manager, comments:
I would say the culture at Microsoft is encouraging to those who wish to blog, but it’s a bottom up thing rather than a top down thing. My manager definitely encourages me to blog, and many co-workers blog as well, so it’s nice to get a peek into their daily lives / jobs without so many meetings.
Not all companies are supportive. I’m reminded of this story about the consequences of blogging at work, which ends with the tale of the fired Google blogger. Via Joe Gandelman at Dean’s World, who reminds us all that words count.
Sunday, February 27, 2005
Boing Boing on the toolbar
I think I should be able to use a proxy that reformats my browsing sessions for viewing on a mobile phone; I think I should be able to use a proxy that finds every ISBN and links it to a comparison-shopping-engine’s best price for that book across ten vendors. I think I should be able to use a proxy that auto-links every proper noun to the corresponding Wikipedia entry.And so on—it’s my screen, and I should be able to control it; companies like Google and individuals should be able to provide tools and services to let me control it.
Friday, February 25, 2005
For my future reference
The Times has a great story on blogging resources. The future is video:
Vlog It, a $100 program from Serious Magic to be released in April, promises to simplify the video editing process; it is a pared-down version of Visual Communicator 2 Web ($190), available now.You’ll also have to find a place to store your video online. One option is to upload video to the Internet Archive, a nonprofit enterprise dedicated to preserving past Web pages as well as being a library for freely available digital content. Creative Commons, a nonprofit property rights management system, offers a free tool for Windows and Macintosh that lets you upload video to the Internet Archive called ccPublisher… Our Media, using storage space donated by the Internet Archive, plans to begin a free service this week that allows posting and viewing video within minutes. If your blog becomes a destination for a growing audience, you may be able to turn your hobby into a business, or at least a hobby that pays for itself, with ad placement from Google AdSense or BlogAds.com. With AdSense, each time a reader clicks on an ad placed on your site, you get a sliver of revenue. BlogAds, on the other hand, generate revenue based on the number of visits to your blog.
For a guy who spent a good part of his career working for all of us to have access to media production rather than just media consumption, this is manna from heaven.
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
The bottom line appears to be that Windows Media Player is a basic player with some baffling shortcomings masquerading as a full-featured media organizer; RealPlayer is a charlatan trying to be all things to all people, but failing to be anything to anybody; and QuickTime Player is a refined and velvet-smooth minimalist entrant with some jaw-droppingly awful defects of user-experience design preventing anyone from appreciating it on the basis of its strengths.
The defect he hates most is the “QuickTime Pro nag screen.” It’s the nag screen choices that bug me; I’m happy to hit “No” every time as the cost of my free player but “No” is not an option. Even after years of clicking I will still sometimes hit “Why Go Pro.” Now that makes me crazy.
Lessig: Why your broadband sucks
I do very much enjoy Larry Lessig. In Wired, after noting that the US ranks 13th in broadband deployment, he asks what almost $1 billion spent on lobbying state lawmakers gets you:
Governor Ed Rendell signed into law a bill prohibiting the Reds in local government from offering free Wi-Fi throughout their municipalities. The action came after Philadelphia, where more than 50 percent of neighborhoods don’t have access to broadband, embarked on a $10 million wireless Internet project. City leaders had stepped in where the free market had failed. Of course, it’s a slippery slope from free Internet access to Karl Marx. So Rendell, the telecom industry’s latest toady, even while exempting the City of Brotherly Love, acted to spare Pennsylvania from this grave threat to its economic freedom.Let’s hope this is just the first step. For if you look closely, you’ll see the communist menace has infiltrated governments everywhere. Ever notice those free photons as you walk the city at night? Ever think about the poor streetlamp companies, run out of business because municipalities deigned to do completely what private industry would do only incompletely? Or think about the scandal of public roads: How many tollbooth workers have lost their jobs because we no longer (since about the 18th century) fund all roads through private enterprise? Municipal buses compete with private taxis. City police departments hamper the growth at Pinkerton’s (now Securitas). It’s a national scandal.
The column is now available, read by Lessig, via podcast.
Monday, February 21, 2005
I’m on hold with TiVo and reading PVRblog. Good stuff: a plasma mounted Mac Mini and now you can browse Flickr from your TiVo. (The latter precipitated my TiVo service call; the feature requires system 7, I’m still at system 4. Why?)
What got me blogging is the discussion of how to save TiVo. Om Malik says give away two million machines, stop marketing and make like Apple. PVRblog says no to the giveaway and no to no marketing but likes the Apple idea:
Apple’s turnaround was launched with the iMac and...the iMac was an attempt to make Apple’s accessible to any home user - i.e. the “3 steps” commercial. I could imagine something similar to this for a Series 3 TiVo with cable card support: “Step 1: plug into TV, Step 2: plug in cable card, Step 3: Jeff Goldblum laughing.”
Note to the uninitiated: TiVo’s are hard to install.
RESULTS OF MY SERVICE CALL: I will go directly from system 4 to system 7.1. To get system 5 I would have had to have a specific Series 2 model. There is no system 6. Go figure. For a “priority upgrade” I went to TiVo.com/priority and entered my service number (which I got through my TiVo.com account). I’ll be updated within 3 days.
UPDATE 2/22/05: Wow! Less than 12 hours. I got the update overnight.
Ian Hogben discovered that his HP laptop stores a whitelist of allowed Mini-PCI cards in its BIOS. If the WiFi card you buy isn’t on the whitelist, your laptop won’t boot. The anticompetitive implications for this are stunning: if you don’t go to HP on bent knee before shipping your cards, they’ll lock them out of their hardware and none of their customers will be able to use your card.
Friday, February 18, 2005
Everyone’s getting down on Google
First I got a ”Very Important, please read!” email from three people telling me that Google has a “new feature” that let’s you type someone’s phone number in and get back a map to their home. Horrors! This from people in Manhattan, which is about the easiest place to get around without a map that I know of. (The feature doesn’t work where I live - and believe me, you need a map to find me here.)
...say you’re browsing a web page with numerous addresses on it. AutoLink will turn each of those addresses into direct links to the Google Maps database.
More horrors! I’m with A Bluegrass Blog, Autolink is good, not bad. (You can set it to Yahoo or Mapquest if you change a setting.) And while we’re on it, I wasn’t upset about Microsoft’s “Smart Tags” either.
Wednesday, February 16, 2005
Microsoft is updating its Internet Explorer browser, building its Windows AntiSpyware Beta tool free with it, according to remarks by Bill Gates, the software giant’s chairman at a security conference in San Fransisco.”We have a dialogue to make sure that we’re understanding exactly what people would like to have us do in Internet Explorer, and what we’ve decided to do is a new version of Internet Explorer, this is IE 7, and it adds a new level of security,” said Gates.
Oh, and, have you checked out Google Maps? Cool.
Tuesday, February 15, 2005
I fully expect in my lifetime to have friends who are what we now would refer to as “artificial life forms.”
Would it surprise you to know that I’m not a big fan of copyright law? It’s supposed to encourage artists to create, but the only beneficiaries I see are corporations and stars. How has it helped any struggling artist you know?
Over at BookForum, in an excellent article, ”Righting Copyright: Fair Use and ‘Digital Environmentalism’,” Robert S. Boynton writes:
While it was once believed that Marxism would overhaul notions of ownership, the combination of capitalism and the Internet has transformed our ideas of property to an extent far beyond the dreams of even the most fervent revolutionary. Which is not to say that anything resembling a collectivist utopia has come to pass. Quite the opposite. In fact, the laws regulating property-and intellectual property, in particular-have never before been so complex, onerous, and rigid.
Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution gives Congress the authority to “promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.” But what started as an incentive “has been overshadowed by the logic of reward, the thinking being that if my work continues to have value, why shouldn’t I profit from it for as long as I want?”
And there you have it, the stifling of creative expression through excessive duration and exorbitant fees for even minimal use. The failure to recognize the derivative nature of creative expression. And the erosion of Fair Use in favor of “pay per view” sales opportunities. We the people object! Here’s the proof…
Sunday, February 06, 2005
APRIL 2008 UPDATE: So much has happened since I wrote the post below I should really write an entirely new one. I will when I have the time! I invite you to email me and I will be happy to share my advice and experience. To review quickly, in 2006 I changed blog platforms from Movable Type to Expression Engine. If I had it to do over I WOULD NOT DO IT. I broke every single historical internal link (they remain broken to this day). I had built up traffic and have never recovered from that move.
I also switched web hosts because I was using so much bandwidth so I moved from ICDSoft to Network Solutions. Another HUGE MISTAKE!!! I would never do that again. I spent all of 2007 limping along. At the end of the year I hired E.Webscapes to help redesign the site and move back to ICDSoft. I think ICDSoft is the greatest and will never leave again. I have a half dozen sites there now. As for E.Webscapes, that disaster is chronicled here. Be forewarned. I genuinely think Lisa Sabin-Wilson acted negligently and in bad faith. After five months, a busted site with lost data, no new design and a designer missing in action she did refund my money with $50 extra.
I thoroughly enjoy blogging and have learned a great deal. It enriches my life and I have strategies for addressing my ongoing technical challenges, but they are many. I’ll try to update this post with more when I can.
ORIGINAL FEB 2005 POST: I’ve worked in and around technology for all of my professional career, but only recently have I been so hands on. Last spring I was asked to build a website for a friend in New York. Shortly thereafter I decided to build my own. I started with Front Page but moved quickly to Dreamweaver, and got some help from students and friends.
My web hosting service is icdSoft. Love them! They have great rates, great features and great customer service. Answers to service tickets within minutes, 24/7 (slower if you need an engineer, which has only happened to me once). I found them through a google search, checked out their ratings, and couldn’t be happier. I have four sites with them now.
When I started building my blog, I had no idea what I was getting into. I started with a Dreamweaver tutorial that was way too complicated and much more than I wanted. But I figured that I could adapt it once I built it. After a few days I learned quite a bit but threw in the towel and moved on. I found Movable Type through a Google search, vaguely recognizing the name from all the sites I read. If I were doing it now I might happen upon Blogger but I would recommend Typepad, just because of my fondness for parent company SixApart and all they do. But I wanted to build the site myself so Movable Type was the right sollution for me.
I’m now on my second Movable Type blog. I couldn’t be happier. I LOVE THEM! The Movable Type people. It’s free if you’re just doing a small blog. I like it’s features. The support forums are good. Be sure to join the Professional Network, it’s free (today) and a great resource. I find Learning Movable Type Tutorials and Tips for Beginners very helpful. I got my style from Blog Fashions free blog styles (I modified this one). My first blog used this one from MovableStyle.com.
I use Blogrolling for the blogroll on the left. I tried to upgrade but the form wouldn’t accept any of my credit cards, I wrote them several times and never heard back. I don’t know what’s going on with them but have read several high profile complainers. I used Sitewizard for the email page and am very pleased (even as I’ve yet to work out the error checking). And last and probably least though I get a great kick out of it, I built my Favicon using favicon.com’s beta online image editor. It is a very cool piece of online software.
I think that covers it. Now it’s on to blogging!