Archive for category Internet

Smooth / Not Smooth

  1. I lost my TiVo remote this morning. Not smooth.¬†Ifound it wrapped up in the bedsheets I threw into the laundry earlier. Good thing it didn’t get washed, because whatever would I have done then?
  2. The transition to GMail is done. Smooth. Apple cider diarrhea smooth. There were some issues with it not correctly filing some of my sent mail, but overall I’m very pleased. Now if Google would add a “download as archive/mbox/whatever” option, I wouldn’t be so paranoid about leaving all my junk dangling out there. Maybe it’s time to download more than just headers…

Update: See the first comment on this post for a method of backing up Google mail. That definitely looks like something worth setting up. Also, I was able to move around all my mis-filed sent mail with Thunderbird. Thank gootness GMail exposes their special folders (archive, spam, sent) through IMAP – that’s mui handy. Also, each label shows up as its own virtual IMAP folder, with multi-tagged messages properly duplicated across folders. That’s two extra thumbs up from me. ūüėé


Changing the circumference of my webisphere

My hobby sites make me sad. They’re a lot of fun and give me a good place to dig around in my PHP and Ruby sandboxes, but they’re a tremendous amount of effort to maintain.¬†They were¬†well worth it to me 14 years ago, when not many¬†people in my little set of concentric circles had the hutzpa to register, set up and administer their own domains. Network Solutions charged about $75 per year then, too, and that was just for the registry. The hosting fees and all the other constant nibbles at my wallet kept me motivitated to stay active with it and do good enough stuff to justify all the various expenses and aggravations involved.

These days things are a ton cheaper. I moved to PairLite last December, and that costs about half of what I was paying each month for my regular Pair account. Plus, since I made the switch not long after they began the new service, I was able to take advantage of the two-for-one offer they had at the time and wound up getting two years of service for $99. Plus, domain registrations at PairNIC are only $16 or $17 per year, and they often have $10 specials for long-term pricing. I bought a 4 year renewal on¬†two of my domains not too long ago for that price. I know there are cut-rate places like GoDaddy that always have the cheaper rates, but saving a couple of dollars isn’t worth what I’d be giving up with PairNIC (yes, I’m quite pleased with Pair and all their offerings… how could you tell?). Anyway, there are so many crappy little cheap hosting providers around now that, coupled with the¬†current bottom-drawer domain pricing and the trend toward effortless (but crummy) website-in-a-box templates that providers supply, there’s really no reason why a person of mediocre intelligence and disposable income couldn’t have his own site, complete with vanity email address. And from some of the stuff out there, it’s apparent that the intelligence level need not even rank as high as mediocre.

Anymore it seems harder and harder to justify the effort of keeping all my webtoys active. The cost isn’t a big factor anymore, like I said, but I¬†currently¬†have neither the time or patience to develop and maintain all the tools and sites and whatnot that have been occupying the bulk of my mental wishlist for many years now. And right now, with my little son demanding as much attention as he does, even having to maintain the simple stuff keeps me peeved most of the time.

I’m working on some things right now that should help reduce some frustrations, and also give me a sense of accomplishment. Big Carter probably thinks there should be ten of them so it’d be a proper list, but unfortunately there are only two. I should probably¬†make the numbers really big so the list will appear longer, but I think I’ll just handle it the way I do everything else: talk about it for a while and not actually do it.

  1. Move all mail handling for from PairLite to GMail.
    Mail storage is eating up two-thirds of my disk quota at PairLite, plus I’m just about sick to pieces of struggling with spam. Switching to GMail will help tremendously on both counts, plus our email addresses won’t have to change.
  2. Use this guy’s thing to merge the file structures of the four WordPress blogs I maintain.
    I almost deleted the word “maintain” there, because what I mostly do is stress about how out-of-date most of them are all the time. With the low traffic they all have, in terms of viewers and active posting, it¬†never¬†really seems worth my time to meddle with them.

And, hey, if these things don’t work out, they’ll probably at least give me something good to bitch about here.

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Real Men on Pillows

When Lynn told me about Daddy Dolls, I thought it sounded pretty silly. They basically take full-body shots of servicemen (and women) and print them on roughly body-shaped pillows, thereby creating “dolls” in the not-so-near likeness of their subjects. It was obvious to me right off that such a poorly executed idea would never catch on.

Except… I started looking at pictures of kids clutching their dolls, sleeping with them, dragging them around all over the place… and it sort of got to me. You realize that, based on biological odds, a lot of the folks serving overseas have children. But maybe (like me) you never stop to really think about those kids. It’s easy to think that their parents aren’t real people, but rather figures for the gloating political opportunists. They’re easily tabulated and moved from one column to the next, and from the “see, I told you this was a bad idea” box to the “let’s support our troops because it looks good to do so” box. But their kids don’t see it that way. There’s nothing special about military brats that endows them with the extraordinary ability to not miss a parent… they’re just kids, and maybe these dolls help a little. God bless them if they do.

And God bless free enterprise. This isn’t something you’d see spontaneously happening in China.

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No Cash for the Devil!

I’ve completely lost interest (interest here being my forced servitude in the past) in paying AT&T for any service whatsoever.

That means no Cingular-cum-AT&T for cell service, no BellSouth-cum-AT&T for local phone service or [sadly] DSL, and no evil-AT&T-cum-eviler-AT&T for long distance!

About a week ago I got a $25 bill out of the blue from AT&T. What for? For long distance service I never authorized, and of which I was never notified prior to the $25 pocketbook-grab I got in the mail.

So I switched to Vonage.

Or I’m in the process of.

It’s been 12 days, and apparently my number change request fell through the cracks somewhere.

I got another notice from AT&T today that said in ALL CAPS (really) that if I didn’t call my local service provider and tell them I wished to have no long distance service at all, then they would resume billing me (again, against my wishes). Of course, doing that would likely screw up my Vonage transfer, as long distance is one of the 4 components of phone service they’re transferring.

I’m so glad for government regulations. They’ve really made the world a wonderful, happy, butterfly-and-lollipop-infested place.


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To Podcast or Not to Podcast?

Wayne and I have had some great ideas for a couple of semi-regular podcasts. Okay, they were mostly Wayne’s ideas, but I’d like to think I helped.

Anyway, it’s something I’ve been putting off looking into for months because I’ve been trying my best to get back into Project One full swing, and my immediate thoughts were always that I didn’t need yet another distraction to keep me off task.

And I still think that’s true, mostly.

But I get bored and frustrated when I don’t get to switch gears now and then–just ask all the bosses I’ve ever had or my wife (is that redundant?)–so having other things to work on when I would otherwise just be sitting around playing Civ IV instead of pumping out crappy Sci-Fi might not be a bad idea at all. How’s that for a messed up sentence?

I’ve got some great ideas I really want to work on as far as recurring guests and themes and whatnot. We’re talking about a spoof of an old-timey radio program (probably a variety hour thing) with lots of singing and music and interviews and what have you, but we haven’t nailed down a specific historical time period for the sucker. I’m actually of the mind that we should leave it like that, and sort of float the actual decade around as it suits us. Or just leave it vague, and allow the inevitable inaccuracies (assuming we even talk about “current” events) to accumulate as they will.

It would surely all be before Dubya Dubya Two, so there would be plenty of room to make fun of the wannabe world powers that were all shuffling into better positions to pee down each other’s neck holes (and of the wieners who weren’t concerned by said shuffling). A German choir might be an interesting choice, singing in English, of course, with plenty of ominous references that foreshadow their “adventures” to come. And lots of stuff about the puny little agrarian society known as Japan, etc. Plus, since nothing really should be sacred in such a venue, there were plenty of ridiculous domestic issues before the war that could be exploited.

Less obvious but at least as important as the state of the world (at least from a writer’s standpoint) was the writing style from back in the day. There was an odd mixture of formality and innocence in correspondence back then, and marketing certainly wasn’t the beast it is now. It would take a whole lot of research and effort to duplicate the style, but–man!–there are about a zillion and 9 different directions we could go with it.

So, anyway, I’m cyclical about stuff like this, but I think I’ve cycled back around to the “excited” setting for the time being. I just hope Wayne hasn’t given up on me like he usually does, cause he needs to write the stinkin’ music.

Oh, and, yeah… to podcast. For sure.

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Live from the Punjab

Well (or walmer ūüôā ), Jott does seem to be able to correctly transcribe some messages, but I’ll be very conscious of diction and slang (both of which are addressed by the hints gives on maximizing accuracy) in the future. I’ve not been able to find any definitive answer on how the service works, but I’ve read a few things that lead me to believe that the decisioning process might be two-tiered with software taking point and human cognition handling backup when that fails (or at least when confidence is low). The details of when a living person actually interferes with the process may not be as easy to pin down as all that, but the logic remains: something happens after something else happens. Prove me wrong if you can.

If this thinking is correct, the next logical assumption would be that the human contingent would cost as little as possible. And, of course, that leads to other assumptions… and explains why phrases like “Freaked out cats” might be eliminated and others might get turned into words like “walmer.” Of course, some of the results have been absolutely brilliant, with certain expletives spelled out as if by native English speakers. The resulting text of one test message I left myself ended with “who-ha, who-hoo,” which was actually a pretty good representation of the jovial nonsense sounds I recorded. The whole text of that particular message was absolutely perfect, and that lends reinforcement to my thinking. Some people are just more intuitive than others, and some definitely speak and understand spoken English better than others.

Like my friends Perry and Wayne. One of them is way better at most things than the other one.

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A Savage Breast

It needs soothing.

  1. I’ve been listening to Phantom 105.2, in Dublin, quite a bit lately. I find they feature a lot of artists the typical American consumer doesn’t have much access to.
  2. Free/lazytime browsing finds me going back to Jonathan Coulton’s site again and again to sample all his killa nerd folk tracks. I think I’m just going to have to buy some of his albums. I’ve been busy picking out anthems for my good buddies, too: Mr. Fancy Pants for Perry (don’t you think?) and Re: Your Brains for Wayne. Others, too, but they’re too rude to post…

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Out of Context

Danny: I like being surprised from behind
Lynn: it just burns on the right side.
Lynn: I don’t want to be beaten or mutilated
Joe: it crashed when it saw me naked
Eugene: we can get the beans off the wall too

I love instant messaging. These are actual snippets from conversations of which I’ve been either part or privy. Three fish tacos authenticos to whoever can correctly identify the contexts from which each were taken.

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