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Bye Bye Blogger, Bye Bye…

Posted on Saturday, April 19th, 2003

Dave!When Apple released Safari, the elegant interface and quick rendering speed quickly promoted it to my default web browser. And now that they've added tabbed browsing, I don't find myself missing Camino (the Netscape Navigator spin-off) so much, and internet Explorer is just a bad memory. Unfortunately, some sites have compatibility issues with non-Explorer browsers, which I find contrary to the entire concept of the World Wide Web (not to mention really, really stupid). One such site is Pyra's Blogger, which has been the technology powering my Hard Rock blog for the past two years. And so I've patiently waited for Pyra (now owned by Google) to get off their asses and allow Safari to use their service. Well, my patience has finally worn thin, and I've decided to scrap my Blogger site and start over with the highly recommended Moveable Type. Not only was it shockingly easy to set up, the wealth of features and cool options have me wondering why in the heck I was messing around with Blogger for so long! We'll see how it goes.

   

Kung-Foo Blogging

Posted on Saturday, April 19th, 2003

Dave!Since my blog is starting over, I thought I'd check into the latest blogging technology available for MacOS X. Much to my surprise, there's actually quite a lot to choose from at VersionTracker. But the app that really stood out was 5-star Kung-Log, which had a feature list that seemed too good to be true, and testimonials to match (apparently, people are switching to Moveable Type just to be using this app!). After playing around with it for a bit, I've discovered that, amazingly enough, it lives up to the hype. As a side-bonus, author Adriaan Tijsseling has a nifty blog at kung-foo.tv that's an interesting mix of life in Japan, MacOS X coding, and Cognitive Neural Science! In any event, Kung-Log makes blogging a breeze, so thanks Adriaan (and since this is "donationware" I'll definitely be making a contribution!).

   

Kung-Foo Redux

Posted on Sunday, April 20th, 2003

Dave!Okay, now that I've had a chance to mess around with Kung-Log a bit more, I'm kind of freaking out over the nifty stuff that's built into it. One of the more intriguing features is the ability to look at what's playing on iTunes and insert it into your post with one click, just like this: To Let You Win from the album "Minor Earth Major Sky" by a-ha. And, yes, the Google search link for the artist is created automatically as well. Frighteningly good stuff! If only you could add your own HTML tags... oh crap... wait a second... yes, you can do that too (and create shortcut keys for them as well!). Sigh. I just set up hot keys for all of Meagan's little photo booth images that preceed my posts, and it took about 2 minutes. Heaven only knows what other features are hiding in here... I suppose I should read the documentation!

   

Apple iMusic

Posted on Monday, April 21st, 2003

Dave!The rumors have been mounting for months that Apple would be creating it's own online music service, and now it seems the day has finally arrived (as announced in an invitation sent to the press). Apple claims the news will be "music to your ears," and I remain hopeful that it's true... nobody could be happier than me if Mac users finally have a way to purchase music online. The big question on everybody's mind is "what will the selection be like?" Are we getting entire back-catalogs, or just current hits? Because I don't really care about buying current, easy-to-find music online... convenient as that may be. No, what I want is to be able to purchase obscure music that you just can't get without purchasing pricy imports or dropping a small fortune on eBay. As a for instance: not so long ago I was wanting to purchase the long-out-of-print album "Living In The Background" by Baltimora (which most people might recognize for the "Tarzan Boy" hit from the 80's). Problem is, I couldn't find it anywhere to purchase it. I eventually bid on a copy that was being sold on eBay, but dropped out when it got to $40, which was $35 more than I wanted to pay in the first place. Frustrated that I had done everything I could resonably do to purchase a copy legally, I eventually started up LimeWire and managed to get a few of the tracks illegally. What I don't understand is why the record companies make it so damn difficult in the first place to purchase music you want!! If you have to go to eBay, neither the record company nor the artist is making money. Selling digitally is the perfect solution... resonably priced music for the masses, without the expense of having to print out-of-date CDs that aren't going to get big sales anyway. Here's hoping that Apple gets it right.

   

Die Microsoft, Die!!

Posted on Tuesday, April 22nd, 2003

Dave!Just found out from a Windows user that my style sheets "break" under Microsoft internet Explorer on Windows XP (and probably all the other MSWin flavors as well). Oddly enough, things work just fine when I use the Mac browsers: Opera, Safari, Chimera/Camino, Mozilla, and even MS internet Explorer Mac... so apparently this must be a Windows thing (though I haven't heard from any Linux/Unix users yet). What to do? Well, the only thing I can think of right now is to spoil my beloved table-free layout with a table across the top to hold the header graphics and have them flush out to the left and right margins. Crap. Yet another example of Microsoft making my life "better."

   

Mac Essentials

Posted on Thursday, April 24th, 2003

Dave!If you are using a Mac running OS X (lucky bastard!) there are a few utility programs you should know about. Things so essential that they should be built into your Mac in the first place! My list begins with DragThing, an amazing utility that allows you to create tabbed docks to organize apps, URLs, and anything else you need easy access to. Next is LaunchBar which miraculously (and instantly) finds files, bookmarks, apps, e-mail addresses, whatever... as if by magic... wherever they may be hiding on your Mac. I've always loved being able to grab a snapshot of the screen with Apple-Shift-3, but Ambrosia Software's Snapz Pro X is screen capture on steroids, adding dozens of options (including movie capture!). A more recent addition to my arsenal of must-haves is Konfabulator, which allows you to run "widgets" on your desktop to do whatever you want... you really have to see it to understand it. One utility you won't be able to live without once you've experienced it is Default Folder, which eliminated the failings of save/open dialogue boxes and makes them work the way they should have all along. Other handy add-ons you'll love... X-Tunes (adds fingertip control to iTunes from any app), and iAddressX (ditto, but for your Address Book), R-Name (batch file renamer), Quick Change (file attributes editor), BookIt (browser bookmark manager), and of course NetNewswire & Kung-Log (essential blogging tools I have recommended many, many times before).

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My New Research Assistant

Posted on Saturday, April 26th, 2003

Dave!In organizing research for my new book, I've collected hundreds of snippets of research... text, photos, web site URLs, maps, drawings, just about anything you can think of... and it's all crammed into a folder on my hard drive in a big, disorganized mess. A couple of weeks ago, I bought an organizational tool called "NoteTaker 2003" and eventually side-graded to a similar, but streamlined alternative called "Circus Ponies Notebook." Either program is a revolutionary way to organize your thoughts, because they automatically index every word you put in them. Just turn to the index an instantly find whatever you are looking for. Collecting data from a variety of sources is simple thanks to a "service" that will insert text into your notebook (open or closed) from within any application. Find a snippet while surfing the internet? Pop it into your notebook without leaving your web browser. Both programs have a 30 day free trial, and any Mac user who collect information will wonder how they lived without it!

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Apple Music Debut

Posted on Monday, April 28th, 2003

Dave!Okay then, the day Mac fanatics have been waiting for has arrived... Apple's music store has finally debuted! Is it all I had hoped for? Yes and no. I mean, I've already dropped $50 on music, so they must be doing something right!

PROS: Catalog is fairly deep and growing daily (according to Steve Jobs). Very, very easy to shop (too easy!) and beautiful to look at. Nice feature update to iTunes. ACC encoding supported on the iPod (finally!). Exclusive Apple tracks by top artists like U2, Eminem, and more. Price is fairly reasonable (99 cents per song, $9.99 per album).

CONS: Catalog limited to US releases from what I can tell... all of the domestic releases by a-ha are there, but none of their later releases are there. And there's no International section to purchase tunes from Germany, Japan, etc. Many albums are not complete, but seem to be missing tracks for some reason (Bananarama has ONE track from ONE album as the entirety of their listing??). Albums that ARE complete on the service, are not sold as complete albums (like John Mayer's Room for Squares). Several of the artists I was wanting to purchase are not there yet (Baltimora, Paul Oakenfold, and about 10 others).

Overall, a good effort on Apple's part. I enjoy the service immensely, and look forward to buying more music in the future (assuming the stuff I am looking for ever makes it to their service!). If you are a Mac user, you owe it to yourself to check this out... Windows users have to wait a while, because Apple won't release iTunes/Apple Music for those poor unfortunate souls until the end of the year.

   

iSight Outta Sight!

Posted on Friday, June 27th, 2003

Dave!Minutes after Apple announced its new iChat AV software and accompanying iSight camera, I was online placing my order. I had tried video conferencing before, but it never really lived up to its promise, with crummy video and sound quality, rediculous hoops to jump through with IP addresses, link negotiation, and other nonsense... it just wasn't worth it. Leave it to Apple to get it right! So far, only one of my friends has iSight, so I've only done limited testing with it, but I like what I see so far.

Set-up involves sticking the camera to the back of my Cinema Display and plugging it in. That's it. It took a total of two minutes, and iChat AV popped up the instant the camera was activated. I saw Meagan was online and had her iSight on (thanks to little icons next to your buddies that let you know if the person has audio or audio/video capability). One click and a window came up that allows you to see yourself, check camera position, comb your hair (well, not mine, but whatever!), and you're off.

Audio quality is excellent and video quality is likewise very impressive (especially considering you can blow the image up to rediculous sizes and still have a pretty good picture, thanks to Apple's Quartz display rendering engine). The only problem seems to be with the camera white balance, which tends to run a little dark (or green under fluorescent light), but I'm sure Apple will fix this eventually (iChat AV is in beta and won't be finalized until later this year when MacOS X 1.3 Panther is released).

I've now ordered another couple of cameras for my home G4 Cube and my PowerBook, so I can be connected wherever I am with NO long distance charges! It's like something out of Star Trek! I highly recommend that anybody with a Mac and a broadband connection grab an iSight and see why e-mail is going to become obsolete for personal communications in the future. I just hope that spammers don't figure out a way to ruin iSight like they've done e-mail.

   

Kung-Log 1.5

Posted on Saturday, June 28th, 2003

Dave!Well, Adriaan Tijsseling has done it again... His amazing Kung-Log blog posting app is now at version 1.5 and is ever so dreamy! We now get to preview entries using Apple's WebKit, which makes all the difference for me (as previews have never worked before for some reason). I can honestly say that this blog would not be possible if it weren't for this excellent app. Any MacOS X user who is even thinking about keeping a blog owes it to themself to take a look (and, for you poor Windows-using bastards, this is yet another good reason to make the switch to a Mac!). My donation is on the way... thanks Adriaan!

   

Be My Buddy

Posted on Saturday, June 28th, 2003

Dave!Hey now... people are actually reading this blog! Well, two of you at least. So, for Matt and Carol (and anybody else wanting to play around with iChat AV that doesn't mind looking at my face) my "buddy name" is daveweb@mac.com. The "mac.com" addresses for .Mac users can also work with AOL Instant Messenger, but you have to get the latest software, because earlier versions won't recognize iChat buddy names.

Helpful iChat AV Hint: Yes, it is a bit disorienting that you can't actually look each other in the eye when chatting (the camera would have to be in the middle of your display for that!), but you can make the shift slightly less annoying by putting the iChat window at the very top of your screen, as close to the camera as possible. I've kind of developed an "iChat-Head-Bob," whereas I look up directly into the camera on occasion so that the person I am iChatting with has more of an illusion that I am talking to them. After a while, I notice them doing it as well. It kind of becomes automatic when you have something particularly important or poignant to say, and makes the conversation all that more personable.

Boy do I love Apple for this new toy!

   

Soundtrack

Posted on Tuesday, August 12th, 2003

Dave!When the upgrade to Apple's Final Cut 4.0 arrived, I was pretty impressed with some of the latest feature additions... then I stumbled upon the included Soundtrack application and was completely blown away! This amazing tool allows musically challenged videographers (like myself) to create complex, lush, brilliant musical scores with very little effort. It's just a matter of selecting various instrument loops from the included (and impressive) library and putting it all together. Start with a funky drum beat, add a synthesizer or two and some strings, and you're done! Even more impressive is that Soundtrack handles all the timing, so you can lengthen or compress the tracks to match cues in your video effortlessly. I was able to create a complete musical score for a 5 minute video that contains 27 tracks in just under an hour, and it sounds amazing. Yet another coupe for Apple that makes me so very glad I own a Mac. If you create video content, and don't have the luxury of hiring a composer to arrange a score for your project, then you need this incredible app!

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Adobe Illustrator Foolishness

Posted on Sunday, September 14th, 2003

Dave!I am Adobe's biggest fan... really I am. I cannot imagine how difficult my job would be if I didn't have Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesgin, GoLive, and the rest. But, all things considered, Adobe's response to technical issues sucks ass. Problems I have been begging to have fixed since Illustrator version 5 are still unresolved. And now I read that Illustrator version 11 is just about to be released, and find myself dreading what new problems will pop up (or still be unresolved from previous versions) that will make me want to open a can of whup-ass on the programming team (hey, they put their names on the start-up splash screen, so they're just begging for a beating!). Here's my top-six list of most irritating problems (a full list would fill this blog for days!)...

Allow me to turn off clipboard export. For years now I have been begging to be able to turn off clipboard export like you can in Photoshop.

Remember the print area and page size. Adobe will probably blame OS X for this, but I am really tired of opening a document, printing it, then finding out that it's been cut off because Illustrator "forgets" the page size.

Stop hanging from an app-switch. How much time have I wasted because every time I come into Illustrator from another app, Illustrator gives me the "spinning beach ball" cursor for up to two full minutes? I don't know, but considering every time you print a page, you have to temporarily switch from Illustrator, it adds up to a lot.

Fix the pen tool to remember path ends. This drives me insane... in Photoshop, if you place a point in the wrong spot and nudge it with the cursor, you can continue on as if nothing happened. In Illustrator, you place a new point after doing that and you start a new path. That's just dumb.

Fix the flattening engine. Now, I know that Illustrator has grown into a very complicated program with transparency modes, multi-node gradients, and such... but it's really a pisser to never know when you send to the printer exactly what's going to come out.

Give me the option of having Apple-H hide the program. This command-key shortcut should work like all the other Mac apps out there (Adobe programs excluded).

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I’m Ready

Posted on Tuesday, September 16th, 2003

Dave!So what do you do when your competition (Apple) releases a cool new 64 bit RISC chip and you (Intel) are still addling along with yesterday's CISC technology at 32 bits? Why that's easy... have your Chief Technology Officer come out and say that people aren't ready for 64 bits yet! If you think that makes Intel sound like a whiny bitch, I'd have to agree... and so does AMD, who already has their CISC stuff running at 64 bits. The really stupid thing is that Intel would have been better served by not saying anything... their Windows-using customers should be used to running crappy, outdated technology.

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The Dave Desktop

Posted on Thursday, October 9th, 2003

Dave!I've never really been interested in how other people set up their desktop but, since I had somebody ask, I thought I'd put up a snapshot of mine just in case there's anybody reading this that is curious for some reason (I've got a 23" display, so I had to shrink it quite a lot... sorry!).

Everything is pretty basic, but I do have quite a lot of Konfabulator Widgets stuck here and there... I've got "Calendar," "What To Do?" list, "Where is It?" search bar, "easyKal" appointment lister, "Picture Frame," and seven copies of "The Weather" set for various cities around the globe (currently: Cashmere, Seattle, San Francisco, New York, Edinburgh, Paris, and Tokyo). I've also got DragThing running along the left-hand side (it's a "must-have"), and LaunchBar going in the upper-right corner.

I used to have my desktop cycle through my photo album, but eventually gave that up as too distracting (preferring the less annoying Konfabulator widget instead). My current screensaver of choice is SereneScreen Marine Aquarium which is pretty darn special.

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Hell Freezes Over

Posted on Thursday, October 16th, 2003

Dave!Today deluded Windows users got a taste of Apple goodness when iTunes was released for the Wintel monopoly. It actually works really well and, in a surprise move, has complete functional parity with the Macintosh version. You can shop the Music Store, use AAC encoding, share your music over a network with Rendezvous, and even mix Macs and PCs in your shared computer list for purchased music on either platform... pretty cool. And if that wasn't enough, Apple has struck up a deal with Audible.com to sell audio books and will be giving away 100 million free songs in a cross-promotional deal with Pepsi come February (sounds like a great way to sell more iPods!).

   

More Revisionist Microsoft History

Posted on Thursday, October 16th, 2003

Dave!Wouldn't it be nice if Bill Gates would just shut up? It seems every time I read an interview with him, he is either lying or revising history. In an article I just read at The Register, he's at it again:

"Gates is optimistic about meeting the challenge of the new security threats, he told reporters. "We have to. We invented personal computing. It is the best tool of empowerment there has ever been. If there is anything that clouds that picture, we need to fix it."

Excuse me? Microsoft invented personal computing? There can be a lot of answers to this question, depending on your definition of "personal computing," but it's pretty crazy that Microsoft would appear on anybody's list as the "inventor." I have always felt that everything that came before the Apple ][ (including the Microsoft-driven MITS Altair, which didn't even have a keyboard) wasn't really what we would call a "personal computer" today (perhaps "micro computing device" is a better term?), but I'm an Apple whore, so take that as you like it... most historians go all the way back to the Heathkit/Minivac/Simon era from the 50's & 60's when Microsoft didn't even exist (and neither did Bill Gates until 1955!). If Microsoft wants to take credit for inventing something in the industry... how about vaporware?

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Die Spam, Die!

Posted on Wednesday, October 22nd, 2003

Dave!For a couple of years now, I've relied on SpamCop to keep my mailbox relatively free from unwanted e-mails. Unfortunately, spammers must be getting smarter, because SpamCop is having a difficult time flagging spam anymore, and I get at least twenty in my inbox every day (to say nothing of the HUNDREDS I get each day that SpamCop manages to stop!). If this keeps up, I'm going to be forced to shut down my e-mail accounts and start from scratch. When is somebody going to start hunting down these asswipe spammers and killing them? Laws and threats don't seem to work, but perhaps knowing you might be murdered for sending spam would be a good enough deterrent to keep my inbox clean?

   

Panther, Baby!

Posted on Friday, October 24th, 2003

Dave!I've been using the "gold master" build of MacOS X 10.3 "Panther" for the last couple of weeks, but became "official" today when my three copies arrived for my home, laptop, and work computers. "Sweet" doesn't even begin to cover how much I am loving this latest version of the MacOS!

Now for some people, the changes in Panther may seem mostly cosmetic and not worth the $129 upgrade cost... but that is hardly the case for me, I'd gladly pay that money just for being able to color-code my files again (a feature missing since I abandoned OS 9). Mark Pilgrim has a nifty overview of all things Panther from his blog that shows all you non-Panther-using Mac addicts what you are missing, and all you poor Windows-using suckers what you'll be getting in 2006 when Microsoft once again rips off Macintosh features for their next Windows release (which has the dippy code-name of "Longhorn").

Watching Apple's MacOS X progress in usability and elegance year after year just has me dumbfounded at why people are still clinging to the tragedy that is Microsoft Windows (which seems to get worse with each new bug-filled, virus-ridden version).

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Adobe CS

Posted on Sunday, November 2nd, 2003

Dave!Adobe tells you that "CS" stands for "Creative Suite," and is the coming together of Photoshop, Illustrator, GoLive, InDesign, and Acrobat 6 in a single bundle. After receiving my copy and playing with it for a while, I prefer to think of "CS" as standing for "Crappy Swindle."

First of all, I had already upgraded Acrobat 6 months ago for $149 so, when added to the $749 for CS, I've sunk a total of $898 into upgrades. The four non-Acrobat products can be upgraded for $169 each, plus the $149 for Acrobat, totaling $825... which means that Adobe owes me $73. Don't ask me where the money went, but I want either a refund or some kind of credit (odds are that somebody will be firing up a class action lawsuit, so that day may yet come).

And what do you get for the outrageous cash outlay? Well, the apps seem a bit more responsive under OS X, which is nice... and there's a few more features to be found (the 3-D stuff in Illustrator is especially welcome since Adobe has discontinued Dimensions). But overall, I am not impressed. The expanded Cascading Style Sheet functionality in GoLive is woefully inadequate, making it impossible to layout web page structure with CSS. What the hell? Macromedia Dreamweaver has done this for quite a while, so I just can't figure out why Adobe is so stupid not to add it. CSS is the future of the web, and Adobe is oblivious? This was the one big thing I was waiting for, and ends up being the biggest disappointment. I mean, sure you can style text, but that's all we get for $169? Photoshop doesn't offer many new features at all, but can now open RAW file formats which is kind of sweet (and, to me at least, is worth the upgrade cost).

There are numerous small problems I've run into already, which I've come to expect from Adobe upgrades, but nothing so major as to cause me to want to kill somebody (like the Illustrator 9 fiasco). Illustrator STILL doesn't have a way of disabling clipboard export (dumbasses, that's FIVE versions now!) or reconfiguring the "Apple-H" key to hide the app like EVERY OTHER APPLE OS X PROGRAM (okay, maybe I want to kill somebody for that one), but oh well.

When you register online, you get a free gift... I was hoping that it would be the MISSING f#@%ING MANUALS... but alas, it was not to be. Adobe has taken the Microsoft route, and stopped including them. Amazing that upgrades cost $40 more than last year, but you don't even get a printed manual anymore. Guess I'll be dashing off to Amazon in the hopes that Deke McClelland has written a book about the new CS apps.

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Pictures of You

Posted on Monday, November 3rd, 2003

Dave!I had a lot of work to catch up on tonight because I didn't put in as many hours as I should have over the weekend. As always, I have the television on as background noise, which helps me ignore the distractions that come from apartment living. Anyway, I was working along when all of a sudden I hear Pictures of You by The Cure playing... I look up and see that it's a commercial for HP's new ink-jet printers... one of the rare times that the music being played actually fits the product being sold.

Flash forward. It's now after midnight, and I can't get that song out of my head. The Cure was never one of my favorite 80's bands but there were a few songs by them that I really liked... Pictures of You being my favorite. Knowing that I'm never going to be able to sleep until I hear the complete song, I grab my PowerBook, go to the iTunes Music Store, then buy the song and listen to it three times so I can get it out of my system and get some sleep.

It suddenly occurs to me that this kind of instant gratification is exactly what the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) doesn't seem to understand. If the iTunes Music Store did not have the song I wanted, I would have started up LimeWire and downloaded it for free... NOT because I wanted to steal music (I absolutely do not), but because I've been given no choice in the matter. I live in a rural community where we don't have a Tower Records open 24 hours to go by a CD (not that I would have at 12:30am). Far better to offer entire music catalogs online for purchase than holding out in the hopes that online music will disappear.

Oh well. Luckily I could buy what I wanted and get a nice reminder of the 80's music I love without breaking the law and invoking bad karma! If you have iTunes (it's free!), and want a great song that typifies the sound of the 80's, go grab a copy of Pictures of You, which is well worth the 99¢ price tag.

   

Instant Art

Posted on Wednesday, November 12th, 2003

Dave!I got a couple of e-mails asking me where I got the art for my Veteran's Day post yesterday. "Did you paint that?" Well, yes and no... I created it by altering a photo I took. It's really easy if you have a copy of Adobe Photoshop. All you have to do is find an image with good contrast (I like to zoom in close) and apply the "Dry Brush" and "Paint Daubs" artistic filters...

Mini Me Art

It takes seconds, and the results are pretty cool depending on how much (or how little) you intensify the filters. To see how it works, just click on the images below to have them open up in a new window as "Instant Art."

DaveArt DaveArt DaveArt DaveArt DaveArt

DaveArt DaveArt DaveArt DaveArt DaveArt

From left to right, top row: Me in Reykjavik, Cherub in the Vatican, Detroit Airport Corridor, Rome Tourist, Royal Guard. Bottom row: La Pieta, Dave's Foosball Table, Mini-Me, Rain in Gamla Stan, Venus.

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At Home in Tokyo

Posted on Saturday, December 6th, 2003

Dave!Maybe its because I've been here a number of times before, or perhaps I was Japanese in a past life or something... because every time I come back to Tokyo, I feel very much at home. Within minutes of arriving at my regular hotel in Akasaka, I was running off to see what's new in the area.

The first thing I noticed while on the limousine bus ride in from Narita, was that there is a BMW Motorcycle dealership just around the corner from Tameike-Sanno station (exit 9), so that was my first stop. It's a nicely appointed shop with a good selection of models (including a blue version of my beautiful F650-GS!), and about a dozen bikes in stock. Due to the insane Tokyo traffic, motorcycles are everywhere, and it's nice to know that pricey BMW motorcycles can make a home here given the massive number of Japanese bikes on the street.

BMW Tokyo.

Next I'm off to the very, very cool Apple Store Tokyo. Surprisingly, this store is not located in Akihabara, which is the electronics and computer district. It is instead located in Ginza, which is the high-fashion district. This makes it very clear that Apple is positioning Macs and iPods here not as electronic gizmos, but as fashion accessories that compliment your lifestyle. Given the high cost of real estate in the Ginza, I shudder to think how expensive this store must have been.

Apple Store Ginza.

When I arrived, the store was jam-packed... apparently Japan doesn't have the fire codes we have in the States! The first floor is computers, the second is digital lifestyle apps and the Genius Bar, the third is a cool presentation theater, the fourth is software and accessories with an internet Bar, and the fifth is a training center (which you can only see if you pay for one of Apple's hands-on classes). All the floors are connected via two nifty glass elevators at the back of the store, for which there was quite a line-up to access.

The Ginza.

In the above shot, you can see how the huge rotating Apple sign at the top makes the building stand out, even when you're down the street. Compared to some of the key stores in the US (like L.A.'s Galleria and New York's Soho stores), this is not a very big property. But for Japan, it's monster-sized, and easily one of the most impressive shopping experiences in the entire city. The wide-open spaces and minimalist decor is almost unheard of in space-impaired Tokyo, but since every available square foot is packed with people, I suppose it's probably a good thing. I really, really hope that the store's instant popularity translates into brisk sales, because this is a flagship Apple Store that deserves every success.

   

I Worship Steve Jobs

Posted on Tuesday, January 6th, 2004

Dave!Whenever MacWorld rolls around, I find myself giddy with excitement as Steve Jobs takes the stage and proceeds to blow everybody away with the new stuff Apple's got going on. I then find myself filled with pity... pity... for anybody stuck with a crappy Windows PC. This time was no different. One of the major highlights was a nifty re-working of Apple's "Soundtrack" app into a cooler (and much more accessible) tool called "Garage Band." To demo the product, Steve trotted out John Mayer to perform live over a composition he had constructed with sampled loops included with the program...

Then here comes a video with Sheryl Crow saying how Garage Band will help her be more creative in her song-writing because she can conjure up a temporary back-up band to play with as she works. Can't get a much better endorsement than that! Even better is the fact that this cool new tool is bundled together with the rest of Apple's jaw-dropping iApps for just $49. FORTY-NINE DOLLARS!

Macs kick ass.

   

Snapz

Posted on Wednesday, January 7th, 2004

Dave!First of all, thanks to everyone who sent such wonderful ego-stroking e-mails assuring me that I am cute, sexy, adorable, hot, lovable, and generally not so bad to look at (well, I really could have done without such assurances from you Roger, but thanks just the same). I had to re-read my post from a few days ago to make sure that I wasn't threatening to kill myself or something, because the response was unexpected.

Anyway, some had asked how I got pictures from my web cam in the first place, and so I should explain that the images I had up were cropped from the original window snapshot which looks like this:

A friend gave me an AppleScript that allows me to use an app called Snapz Pro to save out a series of snapshots from Apple's iChat A/V using an iSight camera on my Mac. Snapz Pro is a really amazing program, because it has many powerful features and can be AppleScripted to do just about anything. The resulting snapshots can then be saved to a folder with an AppleScript Action attached for automated processing/cropping/color correction/whatever. Some people are having snapshots automatically uploaded to the web at regular intervals, others use it to monitor their homes when they are away. Just a testament to the astounding things you can do with a Mac and very little effort.

Hmmm... before anyone asks, that slash on my cheek is from an accident that occurred on New Years Eve involving alcohol and an Uno Attack game. Fair warning: having a game machine fling cards at you when your reflexes are diminished is just asking for trouble.

   

For Meagan

Posted on Wednesday, January 7th, 2004

Dave!Meagan got excited by me using her scripts and ideas to take photographs with my web cam, and forwarded an interesting script that photographs you at regular intervals while you work. From her notes:

... I always take a quick look through the thumbnails and pull the shots with my eyes closed or I'm doing something embarrassing.

Uhhh... problem is that I am really tired, so I have my eyes closed or am doing something embarrassing in almost every shot (or they are blurry because of movement). Oh well. I never realized that I moved around so much while staring at a computer screen for hours-on-end each day.

   

More MS BS

Posted on Saturday, January 10th, 2004

Dave!Nothing is more amusing than when Microsoft cries "foul play" and starts whining about "freedom of choice" for computer users. It happens every single time that a company offers them any competition and, as Microsoft's monopoly grows bigger and stronger every day, gets funnier every time. Microsoft was hilarious when it did this as Apple's QuickTime started being adopted as a "standard" by industry groups like 3GPP. And it's downright hysterical that Microsoft is whining yet again now that HP has decided to bypass their crappy Windows Media Player in favor of Apple's iTunes and iPod. The guys over at As the Apple Turns sums it up perfectly:

Check it out, this was the best a company spokesperson could muster to undercut the announcement: "Windows is all about choice... we believe you should have the same choice when it comes to music services." Translation: "Use any service you want as long as it sells Windows Media, buy any player out there as long as it plays Windows Media-- but for heaven's sake, don't buy one of those wretched iPod thingies or we'll be completely boned with our whole plan to monopolize digital media commerce and then we might actually have to start innovating for our paychecks for a change."

So now HP has signed an agreement with Apple to create their own version of the iPod and to bundle iTunes on every PC they make. They wanted the best for their customers, saw that it was a non-Microsoft solution, and made the choice to go with Apple. But here's the interesting part... since HP computers run Windows, the Windows Media Player is included as well... so HP customers have the ULTIMATE in choice. They can go with iTunes/QuickTime or they can pick Windows Media. If Microsoft was truly about choice, they would encourage ALL Windows PC manufacturers to do the same.

Microsoft will undoubtedly clarify their statement and say that iPod/iTunes allows you to shop for music ONLY at Apple's music store, whereas Windows Media solutions allow you to shop at a number of different vendors, which is fine. But shouldn't that choice be left up to the consumer you whiny Microsoft bitches?

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f#@% you cnet

Posted on Monday, January 19th, 2004

Dave!Just when I think that I have finally reached a point where I can safely ignore cnet, whose take on "journalism" isn't fit to wipe my ass, they sink to even newer lows of being Microsoft-stroking, Apple-bashing morons. True, they've been against all things Macintosh from the very beginning, but now they are to the point where their constant attacks aren't just sniping at Apple with editorial ramblings and blowing actual problems out of proportion, oh no... now they are actually inventing bad news.

Lately, Apple has been promoting the use of their PowerMac G5 by Virginia Tech to create the word's third-fastest super computer. With off-the shelf Apple G5 computers, InfiniBand network cards, a lot of cable, and open-source software, Dr. Varadarajan and his team did the unthinkable: created a world-class supercomputer for a rock-bottom price of 5.2 million dollars... magnitudes less than solutions costing hundreds of millions with far less power.

But then along comes cnet to yet again do their best to smear Apple with shit. In an article charmingly called "A grain of salt with your Apple," they have decided to "warn" businesses that Apple's price tag is not accurate, and that using Macs involves all kinds of hidden costs. Naturally, nobody signed their name to the article... which is typical cnet bullshit... and none of the "facts" they trot out are verified, but who cares about that? Let's take a look, shall we:

The $5.2 million doesn't include hundreds of volunteer hours work. That's because volunteers are not paid you stupid jackass! The implication is that a business would have to pay for their Macs to be set-up, adding additional cost... which is true... but if you bought Dell or Sun computers, they somehow magically unpack themselves from their boxes, install their own network cards, and hop on the shelf and plug themselves in? Bitch, please. Even if you had to pay a team for 500 man hours at $20 an hour (unpacking a computer from a box @ $20 an hour is great work if you can get it), that adds just $10,000 to the bottom line. Whoopee. Even if you spent $100,000, that's a pimple on the ass of a $5.2 million project.

Virginia Tech had plenty of graduate students on hand to figure out how to best set-up the network and translate software to the Mac platform. Yes, but what you forgot to mention was that the software they used is open source you moronic prick. It was free for the translating! It's not as if they purchased 5 million dollars worth of software and then had to re-work it to the Mac... oh no, thanks to MacOS X's Unix architecture, Dr. Varadarajan tweaked existing open source code and compiled it to run on the Mac. While I am sure he probably had some help, the entire project was completed in less than 3 months, so even if you decided not to use the freely available technologies waiting and available for the Mac (like Apple's own X-Grid), how bad could it be? Again, the implication here is that this stuff adds millions of dollars in hidden costs which is far from the truth.

Since apple only has one computer in the top 500, it's just an experiment, and businesses should pay experts to design their clusters and not rely on Macs. Well somebody had to be first you condescending turd. Let me get this straight: Just because the solution is from Apple, it doesn't matter that it was far, far, far cheaper and exceeded every expectation... it still sucks because nobody else is using it? If that moronic logic was applied to all new technology that was released, we'd still be banging rocks together to make fire. What a complete dumbass! What excuse will cnet come up with when Apple has 20 computers in the top 500 and the software has been perfected, optimized, and is free for the download?

What's so stupid here is that people continue to rely on cnet for "news." They are clearly biased and inaccurate... how could you possibly trust anything that they say? Hell, their editorials aren't even signed! For all we know, this new bash against Apple was written by the president of Intel. The facts speak for themselves: you can buy a supercomputer cluster from Apple that is world-class in terms of speed, University-tested in terms of reliability, and much less expensive than anything else out there. Who are you going to trust... Virginia Tech who actually built the damn thing, or cnet who probably doesn't even know what a super computer is.

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A Second Opinion on CNET Dumbasses

Posted on Monday, January 19th, 2004

Dave!Wow, I just finish posting my rant against cnet in my previous entry, and now find this article on O'Reilly which does an even better job than I did of dissecting cnet's latest attack on Apple. At least Alex Graham and myself have the balls to put our name on what we write you cnet pussies.

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Happy 20th Birthday Mac!

Posted on Saturday, January 24th, 2004

Dave!Computers started out as a fascinating hobby for me and nothing more. My first PC was an Atari 800 that featured a whopping 48K of memory, a real keyboard, and pretty slick graphics (for the time) with a max res of 320 x 192. My parents bought it for me in 1980 along with a 5-1/4-inch disk drive for around $1200. I pretty much stuck with Atari for the next several years, graduating to an Atari 800XL(1982) and an Atari 1040ST (in 1986).

Atari 800

My loyalty to Atari ended in 1992 when I purchased a new scanner for my 1040ST which came with a free copy of Adobe Photoshop. The program didn't work on the Atari, only on a Mac, so I went out and bought a Macintosh Performa 600CD so I could use it.

Since that time, I have been a die-hard Mac user and have never looked back. I've upgraded a number of times over the years, including a Power Macintosh 8100, a PowerBook 2400, the PowerMac G3, an iBook G3... and finally landing with a Titanium PowerBook G4 1Ghz and the amazing G4 Cube (which is showing it's age, but is so damn cool that I cannot bring myself to part with it... it is undeniably the most beautiful computer yet made).

Macintosh G4 Cube

So Happy 20th Birthday to the Apple Macintosh, which revolutionized computers in 1984 and is still revolutionizing the computer world in 2004. I am profoundly grateful to have been using a Mac all these years (as opposed to the heinous Windows alternative) and look forward to my next 20 years as a Mac user.

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Ecto!

Posted on Saturday, January 31st, 2004

Dave!The successor to "Kung-Log" has finally been release from beta and is now called "ecto." This is essential software for anybody running a Mac with OS X and keeping a blog. Thanks Adriaan!

   

Partial

Posted on Tuesday, February 3rd, 2004

Dave!So I'm working away when I get an e-mail from a friend who reminded me of something that made me feel like listening to music by the Pet Shop Boys (no, I don't know why). I own a lot of their stuff, but have some gaping holes in my collection that need filling, so it's off to the iTunes Music Store I go. My first purchase is their album Release, which I never got around to buying (despite having guitar work by Johhny Marr!!). So far so good. But then I decide to pick up the "Further Listening" albums which feature remixes and additional material to some of their most popular works...

Partial!

... and oh crap, we've entered the dreaded "PARTIAL ALBUM ZONE."

What the f#@%??

It seems that more and more often when I want to pick up something from iTMS, I can only get parts of it. This is utter crap! I can only guess that some of the songs on these albums are covers of other people's songs or written by somebody who won't hand over the rights to sell the song online. Whatever. I guess I will buy what I can and then try borrow the albums from friends so that I can steal the rest. Do I feel bad about having stealing music? Not in the least. Not even the tiniest bit. Because, obviously, I would gladly purchase the songs online if I were able to. I am not going to purchase half the stuff online, then pay for that exact same material again (assuming I somehow manage to find the CDs available for purchase in the first place, since some of them are out of print).

Yes, I sympathize with artists who are getting a raw deal because music companies are taking most of the profits of online sales. But you sleep in the bed you make, and I'm not going to cry over a contract that somebody else was foolish enough to sign. Musicians need to wake up, drop f#@%king recording companies altogether, take control of their own music, sell their own product directly using iTMS and other online/CD distribution methods, and then keep all the profits for their labors (which they deserve). So what if their sales drop, they would probably make more money in the long run because nobody would be taking the majority of the profits they would be earning. It's only a matter of time before our antiquated recording industry dies off, and if it means I'll be able to purchase entire albums online, I won't be sorry when they are gone.

   

Thirty-Eight

Posted on Wednesday, March 24th, 2004

Dave!So today I am thirty-eight years old. Wheeee. Probably more interesting than my birthday today are the others who share it with me... famous magician Harry Houdini, really cool designer William Morris, actor Steve McQueen, entertainer Fatty Arbuckle, Whale Rider girl Keisha Castle-Hughes, bizarro lawyer/talk-show host/shoe salesman Star Jones, Vice President & official dancing monkey-boy for Microsoft Steve Ballmer, and Comedian Louie Anderson.

Most important of all birthdays is MacOS X, which turns three years old today. If it weren't for the Mac, I'd be forced to use the virus-ridden, bug-filled, security-challenged crap-fest known as "Microsoft Windows" and for that I am eternally grateful.

Dave is thirty-eight

Anyway, thanks to everybody who was kind enough to send me birthday greetings today (some of which were certainly more uhhhh... "unique" than others). Here's hoping I live to see thirty-nine.

UPDATE: Apparently there is an even more famous birthday today than either me, Star Jones, or MacOS X: Ore-Ida Tater Tots turn fifty years old today! How cool is that?

   

Big in L.A.

Posted on Monday, May 17th, 2004

Dave!Apple has spent loads of money making sure that L.A. is saturated with advertising for their amazing iPod music player. Everywhere you look, you see posters, billboards, bus stop signage... just about everything you could think of. Then I am driving down Santa Monica Boulevard and happen across the biggest advertisement I've ever seen. Forget about how much this thing cost to print... how much did Apple have to pay these people to cover their entire building?!?

iPod Building

Now that's impressive.

   

XboX

Posted on Tuesday, June 1st, 2004

Dave!I am not a big video game fan... I never really have been because I just don't have the time to play them. But every once in a while I see a game that I want quite badly to play. For almost a year now, that game has been Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. Problem is, in order to play it you have to either own a Windows PC or an XboX... both of which are spawns of the great Microsoft Evil Empire. Sure a Macintosh version has been promised for a while now, but it's going to cost $60 and who knows when it's going to be released or if it will even be any good.

So a quandary develops. I would sooner gouge out my liver with a rusty spoon before I ever purchase a Windows PC, so I guess the XboX would be the lesser of two evils.

But it's still Microsoft, a company which I loathe supporting... even with the $115 it costs to get an XboX (which is less than the cost of buying a copy of Windows isn't it?).

Unfortunately, that doesn't change the fact that I want to run around with a light saber like Samuel L. Jackson and take care of a little business...

Star Wars Game

Or hang out with Wookies...

Star Wars Game

Or open up a can of Jedi whoop-ass...

Star Wars Game

I mean, come on!! How sweet is that?!? This game looks better than the moronic movies George Lucas has been crapping out lately. And, unlike watching the films, if I run across Jar Jar Binks I can whip out my light saber and go all Darth Vader on his lame ass.

Arrrgh! I'm probably going to end up buying an XboX now that the price has dropped so low. How will I ever be able to live with myself?

   

Express

Posted on Monday, June 7th, 2004

Dave!Windows users are forever asking me why it is that I am such a Macintosh fanatic. The answer is: "because Apple makes it so easy to love everything they do." Of course, a lot of the cool stuff that Apple has been doing lately has directly benefitted Windows sufferers, so I guess even non-Mac users are loving Apple now-a-days. A perfect example is their new "Airport Express" wireless device that was just released today...

Airport Express

This is phenomenal. I have been dreaming of something just like ever since Apple ignited the wireless revolution (well ahead of Windows machines, which are only just now getting standard wireless connectivity with that Centrino crap), and now Apple delivers.

Whenever I travel, I try to find hotels that have wireless... but, more often than not, they don't. Now it doesn't matter. I take an Airport Express with me, plug the hotel's ethernet cable into it, and I've got wireless. When I work at a studio that doesn't have wireless, I can have it there too. Going to a meeting room where they don't have wireless, doesn't matter... I'll just bring it with me. This is amazingly cool. No more stringing ethernet cables everywhere just so I can access the internet when I'm away from the office or my apartment.

And, even though I would have been thrilled to have the wireless stuff all by itself at an amazing $129, Apple didn't stop there (they never do). They also included a USB port and an audio port. Now I can stream my entire iTunes library to my stereo and give any USB printer a wireless connection... instantly... whenever I need it.

I'll take two please.

Why am I a Macintosh fanatic? The better question is "why isn't everybody?" That way you don't have to wait a year or two for Microsoft to "create" an inferior copy... you can have the superior original now (well, in mid-July actually). Of course, the unit is said to be "Windows compatible," so I suppose if you are intent on using a crappy OS and still want to have Airport Express, you still can (if you can keep Windows from getting a virus or from crashing long enough to do anything with it in the first place).

Oh look... just one day without candy and ice cream and I'm already a whiny little bitch! Go me.

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MS Mac = MS

Posted on Saturday, June 19th, 2004

Dave!If there was a single redeeming quality to Microsoft, it was that they manage to churn out some pretty good Macintosh software. Yes, they've had some problems along the way (MS Word for Mac version 6 was one of the single worst software applications ever) but, for the most part, MS Office for the Macintosh was always a step above anything that came out for Windows. Sure MS Office apps are bloated with unneeded features that slow down the programs on older machines, but I look on the bright side that at least I don't have to use Windows in order to run them.

Microsoft recently released Office:mac 2004 which updates their excellent Office:mac X suite. Fool that I am, I assumed it would be an improvement.

I was wrong. The latest version is such a huge step backwards, that I've just uninstalled it.

I'm left wondering if anybody at Microsoft bothered to test this product before release. Furthermore, I am wondering why they bothered to release it at all (the new feature set is hardly compelling or useful). In the two days I attempted to use it, I ran into numerous problems. My favorite is the fact that the installer allows you to skip installation of "Visual Basic for Applications," yet the programs complain constantly if it's not installed... if it's required, why allow us to skip installing it? There's more, of course, but I'm trying my best to forget about Office:mac 2004. I can only hope that they work up some patches so that one day it's actually useable.

UPDATE: Okay, there is something by Microsoft that I think is really cool... their TerraServer site. It's a mapping tool that lets you zoom in on any area of the United States to a ridiculous degree. Some urban areas even zoom in color, and you can get so close that people become visible! Here's a few shots as I descend on the Seattle Center and the Space Needle...

TerraServe

TerraServe2

Originally created in 1998 as a showcase for Microsoft SQL Server, TerraServer creates map views based on U.S. Geological Surveys satellite data, and is a great way to kill some time.

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Tiger

Posted on Monday, June 28th, 2004

Dave!Every once in a while, usually after being forced to use Microsoft Windows for some reason or another, I happily return to the serenity of my Macintosh and ponder... "Does Apple ever get tired of completely ruling over Microsoft when it comes to just how cool a computer can be?"

Apparently, the answer is "no." Apple just released some information on the next version of their OS that's coming out early next year: MacOS X v10.4 Tiger...

Tiger Preview

Naturally, I want it right now.

All the features are incredible, and will make their already superior operating system even better. I am particularly looking forward to "Spotlight" (global search tool that's a little bit reminiscent of LaunchBar on steroids), iChat AV (now you can video chat with three other people at the same time!), and "Automator" (a automation tool that I've been wanting for a long time).

There is a puzzling new feature, however, called "Dashboard." It's kind of a bunch of tools that you can have pop-up anytime you want without having to open anything new or disrupt your work...

Tiger Preview

Sure it looks cool, but there's a product that already allows you to do all that and more called "Konfabulator." At first I thought that perhaps Apple had bought out the app and integrated it into the OS... but, after visiting the Konfabulator site and seeing their rather humorous response, I guess that's not it...

Tiger Preview

I love my Mac. Knowing what's coming up, I love it even more.

UPDATE: There is a really good take on the entire "Dashboard vs. Konfabulator" controversy over at Daring Fireball. It would seem that "under the hood" there is more going on than meets the eye, and I do support the idea that Desk Accessories in the original MacOS are the inspiration for both. In the end, I think there is probably room for both. I like Dashboard for tools (like calculators) which I only need from time to time... and I like Konfabulator for things I want available all the time (like weather forecasts and world clocks and such).

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Norman = Moron

Posted on Friday, July 23rd, 2004

Dave!It seems like every other day some "industry insider" is writing some lame-ass article about how Apple should just give it up and quit making Macs. Since Apple's demise has been greatly exaggerated for years, it's been pretty easy to ignore this crap. But now you have the former design head of Apple, Don Norman, saying " Apple should quit the mainstream PC market and concentrate instead on multimedia production and entertainment."

Of course, Norman is working for Microsoft now, so when he says dumbass things like "the world wants compatibility now. It wants to communicate, and this means one brand dominating," I can't help but laugh my ass off. Can this idiot actually be this clueless? I guess when the Borg assimilated him, they did a thorough job of it!

ATTENTION DON NORMAN: YOU DO NOT SPEAK FOR THE ENTIRE WORLD, SO SHUT THE f#@% UP YOU MORONIC MICROSOFT PUPPET!!

  • The world does not want one brand dominating. Competition drives innovation, which makes all products better. If your idiotic statement were actually true, we'd all still be using DOS. Besides, Microsoft seems to copy everything Apple does, so now Windows is getting more and more like a Mac with every release you worthless turd.
  • Macs can communicate. I access the internet over TCP/IP, read web pages with HTML, can view graphics with JPEG or GIF, have no problem sending and receiving e-mail, and trade MS Office documents and Adobe Creative Suite files with other platforms every day. There is nothing you can do on your bug-ridden OS that I can't do better on my Mac you asinine dipshit.
  • Apple is making money on the Mac. Why would it make any sense whatsoever for Apple to discontinue the Macintosh when they make money on it? Sure it's not the mega-billions that Microsoft pulls in from the Windows monopoly, but it's still a profit you inane asshat.
  • Macs are superior. I am not some Apple-loving zombie... trust me when I say that if Windows were a better and more productive experience, I would have no problem at all dumping my Mac and making the switch to Microsoft. Since I am using both platforms all the time, I can say without hesitation that I find the Macintosh to be superior in every way to the bloated, bug-ridden pile of crap that is Microsoft Windows. Why in the hell would I want to give up a better OS just because the alternative is more popular you mindless prat?
  • Where is Longhorn anyway? The next version of Windows "Longhorn" won't be released until 2006 (unless Microsoft delays it yet again), meanwhile Apple has steadily been releasing amazing updates that have made MacOS X the most advanced consumer OS on the planet. In early 2005, we get "Tiger," with technologies like "Spotlight" that will give Mac users the ability to manage hundreds of thousands of files effortlessly. This is the stuff that's the future of the personal computer, and Mac users always seem to be getting there first. Heaven only knows where Apple will be in 2006 when your Windows retread is trotted out you stupid prick.

Bravado like this makes Microsoft look like frightened little pussies that have to constantly verbally attack the Mac or Linux because they don't have a superior product that can speak for itself. When are they going to realize that actions speak louder than words, and they should put up or shut up? Will the Mac always be new OS hotness while Windows will remain old and busted... doomed to forever trying to catch up? Go ahead and prove me wrong, but talk like this just makes me even more confident that "Longhorn" is going to be yet another inferior Mac clone. Well no thanks, I'll stick with the superior original.

Gee I love it when arrogant Microsoft idiots like Don Norman presume to speak for the world. It just makes them look all the more laughable and irrelevant to where the world is actually heading (not to mention giving me something to rant about here in my blog).

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News

Posted on Tuesday, August 31st, 2004

Dave!iMac: Apple announced their new G5 iMac at the AppleExpo Paris today. It's pretty sweet, though I wish that the bus was faster and it came with more than 256MB of memory. As always when Apple has something new, I want one even though I don't need one. My G4 Cube I use at home is still the most beautiful computer ever made, even though I admit the idea of an elegant, all-in-one computer that's only 2-inches thick (along with that speedy G5 processor) is tempting. Oh well, I think I'll keep saving my pennies for a G5 PowerBook when they (hopefully) debut next year.

iMac G5

iMac G5

Skype: Also announced at MacExpo Paris is that a beta of Skype has just been released for MacOS X. In case you've been living in a box for the past year or so, this program allows you to make free phone calls over the Internet to any other Skype user, and even allows you to call any phone in 22 countries at just 2¢ a minute. I have at least a dozen friends around the world that keep after me to "just buy a cheap Windows PC so we can Skype" (as if!) and it's a bit of a relief to know I won't have to worry about that anymore. UPDATE: Skype ain't no Apple iChat A/V... but the quality is very good, and seems to work great so far.

News: A note to the New York Times and any other news service which requires registration to view your crap: Unless you have photos of a UFOs invading the earth or Elizabeth Hurley naked, I'm not going to bother. When are you people going to get a clue?

Sharona: A television show I really like is Monk on USA Network. It's a series about an obsessive-compulsive detective (played by the always excellent Tony Shaloub) who solves crimes from a rather unique perspective. The problem is that sometimes the show goes too far, and the obsessive-compulsive bit gets annoying. The only thing that saves Monk at those moments is his nurse/assistant Sharona (played by Bitty Schram). But now Bitty is leaving the show. Something tells me Monk has just jumped the shark.

Rock: Finally got around to watching the Never Scared HBO Special from Chris Rock (from his Black Ambition tour). It never ceases to amaze me what that guy can get away with on stage. He truly is fearless, which makes him that much more of a genius in his work. Some of his observations are so brilliant that I wish he would film a G-rated version of the show so that more people could hear what he has to say. Sure such a show would be only 10 minutes long once the R-rated material was cut, but it would be a very important 10 minutes to watch.

   

Seoulong!

Posted on Saturday, September 18th, 2004

Dave!Turns out I had a bit of extra time this morning before catching the airport shuttle, so my friend decided to brave the rain and take me to Bongeunsa, which is a Buddhist temple in the city. Sadly, most of the temple was destroyed during the Korean War (along with many other ancient structures and historic places) but it managed to survive, and is still being restored and expanded to this day. A courtyard featuring a giant stone Buddha is set away from the main temple and is surrounded by trees. This is kind of cool, because Buddha appears to be floating out of a small forest as you make your way there. As with most all statues of the Enlightened One, I am always moved by the look of calm and peacefulness depicted on his face (even with the rain pouring down around him!)...

Buddha Seoul

Across the street from Bongeunsa is the Coex Mall complex, which has an "Apple Experience Center" in the middle...

Apple Experience

Everything about the place (both inside and out) looks exactly like an official Apple Store, so I can only guess that it is sponsored by Apple in some part. Seems kind of silly that they don't just call it "The Apple Store" since that's obviously what it is. Sadly, they did not have a new model iMac to look at, nor the new aluminum wide-screen display (which was funny, because they had a poster advertising it hanging in the window).

   

Cowbell

Posted on Friday, October 8th, 2004

Dave!This morning I went to burn a CD of the work I completed last night only to find that I didn't have enough disk space. Since I had just flushed all of my completed projects before my trip to Korea, I couldn't figure it out. What could be taking up all that space? Ultimately, I found out it was a couple of episodes of Cupid (the best television show ever made) which I had digitized for the trip (when are they going to release this show on DVD?).

Anyway, it wasn't the missing hard disk space that turned out to be the biggest surprise... along the way I discovered several musical scores I had written in Garage Band quite a long time ago. For anybody not familiar with this miraculous program by Apple, it's part of their $49 "iLife Suite" which allows you to create amazing music with absolutely no musical talent. Just use the music loops provided, arrange them as you wish, edit and adjust volumes, then mix and enjoy listening to the results. If you actually have musical talent, you can compose music with guitars, keyboards, drums, or any other MIDI compliant instrument. It's all very, very cool.

In fact, I suggest going to your local Apple Store right now and asking for a Garage Band demo. Just play around with it for a few minutes and don't be surprised if you end up buying a new Macintosh (if you don't already have one) just to be able to goof around with this one program.

But I digress.

As I listened to the tracks I created... everything from synth-pop tunes to beautiful mandolin-infused melodies... I realized something was missing. Sure they were all terrific songs that are fun to listen to, but there's an element absent from my compositions that kept them from greatness. Something profound and haunting that was needed to elevate my works from the mundane to immortality. But what was it? After a second listen, it suddenly occurred to me:

Where's the cowbell? I NEED MORE COWBELL!

Cowbell Mix

YEAH BABY! Now we are rockin' the house! Nothing like a little cowbell cranked up to 11 to make even the worst songs worth listening to. So now I am adding cowbell to all my tracks and loving it! I hope that Apple comes out with a Jam Pack extension that contains nothing but funky cowbell riffs. Because, in a world of confusion and uncertain times, a little cowbell is all we need to feel good again.

   

Firefox

Posted on Monday, October 11th, 2004

Dave!For a long time now I've wanted to convert my Hard Rock site, DaveCafe, over to a database so that it would be easier to maintain and update. I had played around with using PHP and MySQL to do this, but I'm just not talented enough to figure it out. Then it occurred to me that I might be able to use my blogging system, Movable Type, to run the site. It ended up working out amazingly well. The development curve went something like this:

10 MINUTES: Approximate time it took to figure out how to store variables in my blog by using a terrific Movable Type plugin called KeywordVariable.

20 MINUTES: Approximate time it took to convert the seven templates required for the site over to Movable Type and test all of them.

30 MINUTES: Approximate time it took to automate and convert the 100 Hard Rock Cafe reviews from an Excel spreadsheet to MT blog entries, thanks to the delicious scriptability of ecto (the blogging software I use). That's astoundingly fast... AppleScript rules!

And that was it! Thanks to Movable Type, ecto, AppleScript, and my Mac, I was able to completely create a database-driven web site in one hour with no database ability! Amazing. Simply amazing. At least it was, until the final step...

THREE HOURS AND COUNTING: Amount of time it's taking me to figure out why the pages will display perfectly in every browser I can find EXCEPT Internet Explorer in Microsoft Windows.

WHAT THE f#@%?!?

Seriously. This is stupid, STUPID, STUPID!!! I just don't get it. Why doesn't Microsoft feel any obligation whatsoever to fix rendering bugs that ONLY appear in their browser? I'll tell you why... they don't give a shit. And why should they? 90% of the people on earth are using their shitty software, so web designers have no choice but to grab their ankles and waste hours and hours of time trying to make sites compatible with a bug-ridden pile of crap browser. Microsoft is law unto itself and is apparently not accountable to their customers, web standards, the US government, or anybody else.

What this boils down to is that if you are using Internet Explorer, odds are that many of the web sites you visit are not looking as they were intended to be displayed. That defeats the entire purpose of the web, and is just wrong. Not only that, but the security holes in Explorer are opening your computer up to all kinds of spyware, nasty viruses and other problems. Microsoft sucks total ass, and I can only hope that one day in the near-future people will wake up and start refusing to put up with their crap.

So do yourself (and the entire web-using universe) a favor... dump Internet Explorer if you are still using it and get a real browser. Go grab yourself a copy of Firefox right now and be amazed at how a browser is supposed to work. You might just be surprised, and web designers will thank you.

   

InDesign

Posted on Friday, November 12th, 2004

Dave!Adobe makes some of the most astoundingly useful software on the planet, but doesn't seem to listen to their customers. For nearly a decade I have begged them to allow turning off the clipboard export in Illustrator. Six versions later (and a move to MacOS X), and they still haven't done it. So if there's something in your clipboard and you shut down your computer, Illustrator will cancel the shut down. Too many times I've come into work in the morning to find my computer's power still on and sporting a dumbass dialogue box that says: "Do you want to leave the clipboard data for other applications?"

Clipper?

That's about the time everybody in the office has to listen to me go: AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!! FOR THE MILLIONTH TIME... I DON'T EVER WANT TO EXPORT THE CLIPBOARD YOU MORONS!! DIE YOU EVIL ADOBE BASTARDS! DIE! DIIIIIIIIEEEEE!!!!

Ahem.

The clipboard thing is irritating, but not fatal. I live with it because Adobe Illustrator is the cat's meow when it comes to vector illustration software.

But here's something new. Every time I run their Adobe InDesign program, some of the text in several applications mysteriously turns to gibberish...

InDesign

This is a big problem, and I haven't been able to fix it. I've even gone so far as to do a fresh install of MacOS X (I have to do a clean re-install on Windows machines all the time but, on a Mac, this is a truly rare event). It doesn't work. Nothing I try works, and I can't find anything on their forums or support section about it.

And here's where the rant sets in: when I call tech support, they want to charge me for the call.

Uhhh... say what? This is obviously some kind of bug in THEIR software, yet I am supposed to PAY to get help in solving it? Lovely. Given that logic, when am I going to start getting paid for using other people's toilets?

Categories: Apple Stuff 2004Click To It: Permalink  0 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Elsewhere

Posted on Thursday, November 18th, 2004

Dave!Apple! I wish I were in London right now. Not just because I love the city and have a number of friends living "over the pond," but because Europe's first Apple Store is opening up there this weekend on Regent Street (in a pretty cool location just off Oxford Circus). Sure it looks to be much like the stores in Chicago, New York, L.A., and Tokyo that I've already been to, but these "flagship" Apple Stores are all so cool that I'd like to keep up with them as they open up if I can.

London Apple

Ze! It's always cool when one of my favorite sites gets a little notice, and this time it's a really good one. Ze Frank's latest triumph: "Punctuation Substitution for Passive Aggressive Communication Solutions" is making its way around the blogosphere, and is too funny. If you like it, be sure to check out all of the other crazy and cool things he's made for ZeFrank.com ("How to Dance Properly" is what he's most known for, and is still one of his best).

Berg! The site for Blade: Trinity seems to have been updated with more images and information. While I enjoyed the previous Blade films, this one has me really anxious because it has one of the funniest guys on the planet in it... RYAN RENOLDS!! First coming to prominence as "Berg" in Two Guys, A Girl, and A Pizza Place Renolds then drifted through a number of guest appearances in films (like Dick) and TV shows (like Scrubs) before hitting the big time in Van Wilder. Now he's got a primo part in the latest Blade film, and seems to have really buffed up in a bid to become an action hero...

Blade Ryan

Of course, it doesn't hurt that hottie Jessica Biel is along for the ride playing Whistler's daughter...

Blade Jessica

Porn! My workload is so overwhelming just now that I can't really take on anything more, but every once in a while an offer of work comes my way that I'm sorely tempted to take anyway. This morning I got a rather serious email wanting me to develop an e-commerce site for porn! I've accumulated a pretty diverse body of work over the years, but haven't done any work involving pornography before. Sadly, I don't have any time available before Spring of next year, so I had to decline. Such a shame, because having porn in my portfolio would certainly spice things up a bit!

Rated! Also in my email box was a request from a "concerned parent" to add ratings to my blog so that it can be properly identified as "adult content." Apparently, her 14-year-old son was searching for cartoons on the internet, stumbled across the "DaveToons" here on Blogography, saw a cartoon image of me being Janet Jackson at the SuperBowl, then became "traumatized." To this I can only reply: what the f#@%?!? I assume this is the image in question:

Dave Boobie

Well, whatever. I certainly don't want to be in the business of "traumatizing" any kids. But then I took a look at the RSACi web site to figure out exactly how I am supposed to rate my site, and am even more dumbfounded. I mean, take a look at what your options are! How am I supposed to choose?

In all honesty, I think this is pretty ridiculous, and have to wonder what the ramifications of adding a rating to your site might be. I mean, if I rate my site as "Mild expletives" and somebody comes along and decides that "crap" isn't "mild" can I be sued? Will Google refuse to index my site if I have ratings in place? Does it really matter anyway? Geez. Maybe I'll just forget about it and instead request that parents monitor their kid's activities on the internet rather than asking me to babysit for them.

   

DavePod

Posted on Tuesday, November 30th, 2004

Dave!I worship Steve Jobs (head of both Apple Computer and Pixar). Everything he touches turns to gold, and he has this magnetic personality when you meet him that is so powerful you have to do a heterosexuality-check once you leave his presence just to be sure you are in love with him for the right reasons. At least, guys do. Well, I do. I don't know about any other guys. Maybe it's a genetic defect in my DNA or something.

Anyway, given my love of all things Steve Jobs, it pains me to say that I totally disagree with his view that there should be no video iPod. He says something like "who would want to watch video on such a tiny screen?" to which I have to answer... "me." And probably a lot of other people too.

Sure I can watch DVDs on my PowerBook or a portable DVD player... but, by the same token, I can also listen to music on my PowerBook or a portable CD player. The thing that's so remarkable about the iPod is the stylish way that you can access digital content for music in such a compact, easy-to-manage device. Why wouldn't I want to do the same thing with video content? No need to boot up the PowerBook (especially, heaven forbid, if I am flying coach) in order to have something to watch - just turn on your Video iPod which you've synced with your TiVo, and you can take the latest round of television shows and movies with you in a convenient, pocket-PDA-sized, easy-to use player.

Ever since I started flying Alaska Airlines and renting their DigePlayer, I'm enraptured at the thought of being able to sync content with my TiVo and catch up with all the TV shows I like on the go. I think about it A LOT. On my long, long, flight home last night I thought about it while sketching on my PowerBook.

Inspired by the iPod Mini, this is what it looks like on the front, featuring a hi-res, 4-1/2 inch diagonal widescreen display (click on image to see the full-size version)...

DavePod Movie

It would flip open to display the controls if you should need to access them. Volume (and everything else) can be controlled from the click-wheel, just like an iPod, but an infinity scroll-wheel on the side allows easy volume control without having to flip open the panel. I also dropped in a small speaker for those times you might want to share the experience... it doesn't have to be anything great, just good enough to hear what's going on (click on image to see the full-size version)...

Davepod

Of course, you can still play music in either of the above configurations, but a second "regular-sized" iPod display would be included, so you could turn the unit over to easily control it when listening to music without having to flip it open (click on image to see the full-size version)...

DavePod Music

Naturally, you could store and view your photos, just like an iPod Photo, and it would also inherit the "video-out" port so you could look at your photos or watch video content on a television. Next-generation Video iPods could have "video-in" ports for recording video as well (although I still think some kind of sync feature like we have now with iTunes is a better option).

With all due respect to Mr. Jobs, I think this would be an insanely great product. I would sell my liver to buy one, and would freak with joy to be able to have an elegant Apple-designed product instead of the clunky alternative digital video players that are out there now.

Come on Steve... prove to me that my love for you is not in vain and make me a Video iPod!

   

Arcade

Posted on Tuesday, December 7th, 2004

Dave!Back in the days when I wasn't using one-word titles for my entries, I would have called this one "Red Wizard Shot the Food!"

I love my GameBoy Advance. Since I spend so much time traveling, it makes a great time-waster while hanging around in airports because of canceled flights, unscheduled delays, and a multitude of other unpleasantries that come with flying. The only problem is that so many of the games now-a-days are hopelessly complex. There are exceptions but, for the most part, modern video games are annoying to play because you have to read a manual 1-inch thick in order to know what's going on.

Fortunately, Nintendo has started releasing "retro-arcade" classics that are pretty much direct ports of the original NES-adapted games. Unfortunately, they are stupidly priced at $24 each (HOLY COW! THESE GAMES ARE DECADES OLD AND REQUIRED NEXT TO NO EFFORT TO RELEASE!). Even more stupid... rather than create an emulator to play a copy of a copy of the original, why not just emulate the original from the arcade? You can't get more authentic than that! I dunno... maybe when these games are in the bargain bin at $9.99 I'll consider it, but over $20? Forget it.

And now we have the new GameBoy Advance DS (dual screen) with even more complicated games and voice/touch input.

Bleh.

I guess I'll continue to play original arcade games on my laptop for free using MAME. This incredible software lets me play all my "old-time favorites" (albeit illegally) and leave the cluttered and complex world of "modern" videogames behind. Back then, graphics were crappy and memory expensive... so you focused on excellent and exciting game play (while the exact opposite seems to be true today).

Take Donkey Kong, for instance...

Donkey Kong

This masterpiece from 1980 (24 years ago!) consumed untold hundreds of hours of my life, and did it in an astounding 60K of memory. That's 60 kilobytes. Not megabytes... not gigabytes... that's measly kilobytes.

And then came the astounding NEXT GENERATION of arcade titles in the latter half of the 80's, giving us 10 times the memory, higher-resolution graphics, voice synthesis, and fantastic games like Gauntlet II...

Gauntlet II

In just 600K, this marvel ate away at my college years with a vengeful fury (probably because you could play with three friends all at once, rather than having to take turns). Sometimes, in the dead of night, I can still hear it speaking to me... "RED WIZARD SHOT THE FOOD!", and "BLUE VALKYRIE NEEDS FOOD BADLY!" (and, since somebody else probably just gobbled the food you needed so badly, your only option was to drop in more quarters so you could continue playing... my mind boggles at how much money these machines must have raked in with four people spending quarters continuously to keep playing).

I guess for now I'll hang on to my GameBoy Advance and hope that the classic games start being released at a classic price. Maybe I'll change my mind when the new Playstation Portable comes out, but somehow I doubt it.

One of these days I need to compile a list of my top-ten favorite arcade classics... but first I'm going to have to figure out just how high Q*Bert would be on a list like that. I totally owned that game.

   

Icon

Posted on Wednesday, December 22nd, 2004

Dave!This is a long, drawn-out entry which will probably not appeal to very many people (though, there are pretty pictures, so maybe that will entertain some?). In the text that follows, I feebly analyze icon images and come to the conclusion that Adobe sucks ass when it comes to crafting an icon that's worth a crap (I could say the same about their bug-ridden applications, but we'll save that for another time). I am not a computer interface expert. I am not a human useability analyst. I am not even remotely knowledgeable about how the human brain associated an image with an item. But lack of credentials has never stopped me from stating my opinion in the past, and I'm certainly not going to let it stop me now.

You've been warned. To continue reading, click on the link below...

Apple Icons

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Categories: Apple Stuff 2004Click To It: Permalink  30 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

MacWorld

Posted on Tuesday, January 11th, 2005

Dave!It's rather obvious that I am a complete and total Macintosh whore. I worship Steve Jobs, and fall in love with everything that comes out of Apple. If I were very wealthy, I'd buy a dozen of each product they make.

Today was the annual MacWorld show in San Francisco. As usual, Steve Jobs had a killer keynote that gave me entirely new Apple gear to fall in love with.

iPod Shuffle. When I get to work each morning I have a daily routine that involves opening iTunes, selecting a playlist, setting it to shuffle, then hiding iTunes and never looking at it again. I mean, why would I? I've already got a playlist... there's nothing more to do. Now I can do this exact same thing with a $100 skip-free MP3 player that's so tiny and lightweight as to be unnoticeable. For travel, this is a brilliant, brilliant thing...

iPod Shuffle

Yes, yes, I know. There are other companies making similar shit for cheaper, and I've already read some scathing reviews criticizing Apple for not putting a screen on it and, if you feel that way then fine... DON'T BUY IT! But for me, this is exactly the iPod I've been waiting for. Exactly. Now, before a trip, I can just plug the iPod Shuffle directly into my laptop, select a playlist to upload, then forget about it. I've got 12 hours of music with 12 hours of battery life and nothing to think about. Then, for the next trip, I just pick a new playlist and go. It's simple. It's elegant. It's perfect. It's Apple.

Of course I ordered one, even though I don't have the money to be doing that just now. Click to see it at Apple.

Mini Mac. Apple has long been criticized for having expensive products. Personally, I find their stuff grossly underpriced for how amazing it is, but that's just me. Well, now anybody who already has a monitor and keyboard can get a pretty decent Mac for just $500. As if that weren't enough, it's astoundingly small, just 6.5-inches square and 2-inches tall...

Mac Mini

The size factor has me pretty excited. I want one in my car that I can hook up to a small display and my stereo system (load up maps, music and even video and you're good to go!). I want one on top of my TiVo to stream video to my TV and music to my stereo. I want one at work to sit on top of my desktop Mac so I can switch to it while I've got an intensive graphic rendering. I... just... want... one. People are going to do remarkable things with this little box. The fact that it comes with iLife for free is just icing on the cake. A pity I don't have $500 so I could buy one to play with. Click to see it at Apple.

Software. After watching Steve's demo for the new features in the next version of OS X Tiger, I'm dying to possess it. After seeing the enhancements to iLife, I placed my order. After watching Steve demo the new features of his Keynote presentation software in iWorks, I put in a requisition for it. Nobody does software like Apple, and that's just one of a billion reasons I thank the computer gods every day that I don't have to use Microsoft Windows.

Wow. Never a better time to be a Mac addict, and it just keeps getting better.

Categories: Apple Stuff 2005Click To It: Permalink  5 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Danish

Posted on Tuesday, February 15th, 2005

Dave!I've always wondered how my life would change if I had a billion dollars. Knowing me, I'd probably start buying out companies that compete with my interests and then threaten foreign governments just because I could. I mean, hey, after all I've got a BILLION dollars in the bank! People with that kind of money should be able to do whatever they want, right? Who cares if that makes me look like a three-year-old with an ego the size of Montana.

Oh, wait a second, it appears that Bill Gates has beat me to the punch.

It would seem that he purchased a software company in Denmark, and is now extorting the Danish government to vote for the EU software patent bullshit... or else he'll close the company and fire all 800 employees (read the entire scary story over at Groklaw). What a monkey-spanking pig-f#@%er.

I wonder if it's possible for me to never, ever use another Microsoft product for the rest of my life? The bugs, security breaches, vaporware, delays, and multitude of other sins all pale in comparison to extorting a government. Not just any government... DENMARK! A friendly government. As if the USA didn't already have enough problems? I want so badly to believe that this story is not true. But, given Gate's history, that's probably just a pipe-dream.

And I thought Apple's legal crack-down on rumor sites was bad, sheesh. Bill Gates must have a dick the size of a mosquito.

Mac Logo

UPDATE: Now Boing Boing has it.

UPDATE: And now Boing Boing is reporting that Microsoft denies it will be closing the company. They do not, however, deny that Bill Gates made the threat (so who knows?). In any event, Microsoft Windows still sucks ass.

Movie Quotable of the Day: "You know what the scariest thing is? To not know your place in this world."
Day Before Yesterday's Answer: The Ref (1989) with Dennis Leary and Kevin Spacey.
Categories: Apple Stuff 2005Click To It: Permalink  3 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Bushwhacked

Posted on Wednesday, February 23rd, 2005

Dave!Coming back from a trip is always chaotic, even when it's just four days long. Add to that the fact that I leave again this weekend, and it's just that much worse. There's so much I want to do... so much that needs to be done... and just not enough hours in the day to make any measurable headway. The only reason I have time to even write this is because I've got a backup running on my work files for the next twenty minutes.

Oh well, here's my day so far...

Bush: The oddest voicemail was awaiting me at work. Somebody from Congressman Tom Reynolds' office called on behalf of the National Republican Congressional Committee and left me a vague message about my attending some kind of dinner with the president. Thinking it was a mistake, I called back to see if they had meant to leave the message for somebody else. As it turns out, they didn't. They specifically had my full name. Furthermore, the dinner wasn't with the president of the NRCC, it was with the President of The United States. I could not figure out why they had my name, considering I am... 1) Not a Republican, and 2) Not a resident of New York, which is where Tom Reynolds represents. Anyway, when I explain all that to the lady at the NRCC, she replied "you don't need to be a Republican to have dinner with the President." Which made me laugh out loud, because I'd probably end up being shot dead. Something tells me that my overwhelming urge to bitch-slap President Bush so hard that his lips are smacked off his face would not be looked kindly upon by the Secret Service. I vehemently disagree with the man on so many levels that I simply can't imagine being at some kind of dinner function with him (no matter how much of an honor something like that is supposed to be).

DSL: I am a long-time supporter of EarthLink Internet Services. For years I've been a happy subscriber because EarthLink is a big supporter of Apple Computer, and is always up-to-date on the latest Macintosh OS foibles. Then last year they lowered their monthly price from $49.99 to $39.99... for everybody except me, and I was (needlessly to say) very upset. I called three times to have them fix this error so I could save $120 annually on my internet bill. Each time they promised to do so if I would renew my contract for a year, which I was happy to do. But every time they didn't process the adjustment, and I ended up continuing to pay $49.99. Finally, Verizon offered me a $29.99 price I couldn't refuse (that's $240 a year in savings!) and I called this morning to dump EarthLink. When I explained the situation, the lady tried to convince me to stay and said she would honor the $39.99 price I was promised. I told her I'd agree if she's give me a credit for the $120 I've lost from their screw-ups, but apparently they didn't want my business that bad. Oh well. Hopefully I won't be without DSL at home for more than a day or two.

State: Ever since driving through Alabama, I can't help but think they got shafted. I'm sure there's a very good reason for it, but why is it that Florida stole most of Alabama's coastline? Greedy bastards. I mean, they've already got ocean on three sides (not to mention Disney-World)... what do they want with Alabama's only real shot at beach-front property? Surely Alabama could benefit from the tax revenues that come out of Pensacola and the entire Fort Walton Beach/Destin resort area? Kind of sad really. When I complete my world domination, I'll have to fix that...

New Alabama

Toob: What in the heck is up with Veronica Mars?!? As the show played out last night it was just one shocking revelation after another... The Russian Mafia? Logan has a sister played by Alyson "Willow" Hannigan? Veronica finds her mother? Duncan and Meg? Veronica and Deputy Leo? And the most shocking possibility: VERONICA AND LOGAN?!? And now it looks like it's on hiatus for several weeks, which is a huge bummer. Such an amazing show. And speaking of amazing... Betty White is killer on Boston Legal lately. They keep giving her a little more to do, and the latest "born again" angle to her maliciously wicked Catherine Piper character is icing on the cake.

AppleTiVo: The rumor mill is running overtime that Apple is wanting to acquire TiVo, with TiVo's stock price jumping 17% as a result. That would rule the earth, because finally TiVo would have the proper financing, technology, and drive to innovate itself out of the horrible mess they've gotten themselves into. My only hope is that if something like this were to ever actually happen, Apple would 1) release TiVo files as protected QuickTime format rather than the stupid proprietary format their using now, and 2) give us an "iPod Video" to play them on. Given their success with audio in the iTunes/iPod arena, it seems unthinkable that Apple wouldn't want to get in on video too. Absorbing TiVo would be a good start, and give us something cool as an alternative to "Windows Media Center" crap. Next would be an iVideo store where we could buy movies and TV shows. I am giddy in anticipation. Yes, giddy as a schoolgirl.

iPod: Speaking of iPod... Apple updated it's lineup today. iPod Minis have been given brighter colors, more memory, longer battery life, and a cheaper price. iPod Photo was reconfigured in two much less expensive models. The original iPod looks to be on the way out, since there is only one model available now... I can only guess this means all iPods will eventually have color screens and "photo" capabilities.

iPod 2005

The exciting bit is that Apple is also releasing an iPod Photo "Camera Connection Cable" in March which will allow you to transfer photos from your digital camera directly to the iPod. That's so compelling that I may actually have to think about buying a new iPod next month... not for music (for which I am much happier using my iPod Shuffle) but for the storage and photo backup features while traveling.

Switch: Speaking of Apple... on the way home from Seattle yesterday, I stopped at the SouthCenter Mall to see the new "Apple Mini Store" that they dropped in. It's really sweet and, like every other Apple store, joyfully packed with potential Windows switchers. While I was waiting in line to ask about AppleCare repairs on my PowerBook, I saw two Mac Minis, a PowerBook, and a few iPods sold in just thirty minutes. They could have sold at least a half-dozen iPod Shuffles in that time as well if they had any in stock (the phone was ringing off the hook with people wanting them). Every time Apple opens a new store, it's like printing money. Because once people get a taste at just how amazing a Mac is compared to the Windows shit they've been using... they're going to buy. The guy who bought the PowerBook was a musician who stopped by to "check out the Mac" and ended up making a purchase after playing around with Garage Band for just fifteen minutes. He just kept saying "this is so cool" and "I can't believe it" over and over and over again. I thought he was going to pass out when he asked "how much extra does it cost for the Garage Band software?" and was told it was included free with the computer. "It's really FREE? How can they do that?!?" Well, it got you to buy one of their computers, so that's how. I just hope he didn't get into an accident rushing home to start playing with his new Mac.

Yargh. Whatever am I going to do without internet tonight? Just my luck that this is when some Trackback spammer is going to slam me... it always happens when there's nothing I can do about it.

   

DaveXP

Posted on Sunday, March 6th, 2005

Dave!Turns out that Be Cool, while interesting in parts, is pretty much a retread of Get Shorty, but not as clever. Oh well, it was a nice diversion on a Sunday afternoon.

After the movie, I really wanted to take my motorcycle out, but I had some work that badly needed tending to. Unfortunately this would involve trying to fix my crap Windows XP system, because that's the crap OS that the crap software I need is crap required to run on. Since the only way to actually fix a Windows problem is to reformat the drive and reinstall everything, that's what I had to waste my time with. After finally getting everything running again (over an hour later), I got to work...

... only to find out that the program refuses to run under the new install. I played around trying to get it going for a couple of hours, but nothing I did worked out. All I managed to do was break the system AGAIN.

I can see now that there is truly only one solution for "fixing" Windows XP...

Davexp

WTF?!? I mean, seriously. You can call me a Mac whore, Steve Job's bitch, or an arrogant Apple bastard... but my Mac ACTUALLY WORKS when I need to get something done. Windows XP is nothing but a bloated piece of shite that I spend more time working ON than I actually spend time working WITH. Why? Why do people who use Windows actually put up with this crap? Do you know the last time I had to reinstall the MacOS X on my laptop? NEVER!!!! It has been upgraded several times, but there's never been a reason to install the OS since the day MacOS X was released! On top of that, I never turn my PowerBook off... I just put it to sleep. My uptime is MONTHS, not mere days. If it weren't for updates and software installs, I'd probably NEVER have to reboot it.

So I just wasted an entire afternoon trying to get caught up, but instead get further behind AND missed an opportunity to ride. Just when I think Windows couldn't possibly suck more ass than it does, Microsoft proves me wrong.

Movie Quotable of the Day: "It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The hard... is what makes it great."
Yesterday's Answer: Groundhog Day (1993) with Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell.

   

Me!

Posted on Tuesday, March 15th, 2005

Dave!I like me. I like me a lot. I'm one of the most clever, charming, intelligent, engaging people I know. If the laws were to change, I'd marry me in a heartbeat. I'm that just that amazing. As you can imagine, criticizing somebody I like as much as me is not an easy thing to do. I mean, what's not to like?

Something I like almost as much as me is Apple computer. Granted, part of the reason I love Apple so much is because the Microsoft alternative sucks ass so badly, but still, I've got a lot of love for my favorite fruit-themed computer company.

But not so much that I can't criticize them from time to time. It's a tough love.

Apple has a service called ".Mac" (A.K.A. "dot Mac") which is a wholly remarkable thing. I can sync my address book, web browser bookmarks, calendar appointments, and such across multiple computers AND access them from any computer on the internet. More than a few times .Mac has saved my ass because I didn't have my PowerBook with me and don't carry a PDA.

Another handy feature of my $99 .Mac service is something they call "iDisk." It's a storage space on the internet that allows me to store documents and other goodies in a remote place so I can access them anywhere I have internet available. It's remarkably handy and easy to use. Unfortunately, it also has a tendency to suck from time to time. Many, many times when saving a file to my iDisk, the process will hang as it is "closing the files" and then take out the MacOS as well. Other apps still run fine, but the OS "Finder" is toasted until you reboot...

Dotmac

A $99 service BY Apple that causes your Apple product to crap out? WTF? They keep saying that they will be improving .Mac services in the next version of the MacOS (code-named "Tiger"), but I've heard that line before with "Panther," and serious problems still persist. So the question ultimately comes down to this: will Apple finally fix their .Mac crap, or will we be continuing to pay an annual $99 fee for something half-assed?

I certainly hope they can fix it. They are expanding .Mac syncing to 3rd-Party apps and other System pieces, which totally rocks. But if it's going to continue causing problems because of fundamental flaws in the way it's married to the OS... what's the point?

Movie Quotable of the Day: "Do you know who I am? Have you got any idea how many anonymous henchmen I've killed over the years?"
Yesterday's Answer: Eurotrip (2004) with Scott Mechlowicz and Michelle Trachtenberg.
Categories: Apple Stuff 2005Click To It: Permalink  2 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Lonely

Posted on Monday, March 21st, 2005

Dave!Well, the day has finally come to send in my PowerBook so that the worn-out latch can be repaired. This is very difficult for me, because she's been a constant companion for several years now. I don't know how I'm going to manage carrying on with my life without her by my side... even for this brief time. = sob! =

Is it too much to ask that everybody out there think happy thoughts for my PowerBook's full recovery, quick turnaround, and safe return?

Here's the letter I sent in with the repair...

DavePowerBook

Dear Apple Service,

I love this PowerBook. It has been around the world with me numerous times and we've been on many adventures together. Newer PowerBook models have come and gone, but my love for the classic Titanium G4 has not diminished.

I have tried my very best to care for my PowerBook by buying her nice padded cases and special cleaning cloths and screen wipes. I've always treated her gently and made sure she was never put in harm's way. Despite my efforts, the latch button has slowly worn out... it started by not latching securely from time to time, but now it won't latch at all, so I am unable to keep my beautiful PowerBook closed.

I am hopeful that you can find some way to repair her, as I would be heartbroken if I were forced to purchase a newer, bigger, clumsier, Aluminum PowerBook (I'm fairly certain that she doesn't want to be tossed in a dumpster either... she's grown quite fond of me as well, I can just tell).

They tell me at the Apple Store that my PowerBook is still under AppleCare protection. Her serial number is XXXXXXXXXXX, and the Administrative login is "XXXX" with the password being "XXXX" -- If you have any questions or require any further information, please don't hesitate to call me.

Many Thanks and Best Regards,
David Simmer II

Movie Quotable of the Day: "If he had held the ball laces OUT like he's supposed to, Ray would never have missed that kick! Dan Marino should die of gonorrhea and rot in hell!"
Yesterday's Answer: Big Daddy (1999) with Adam Sandler and Joey Lauren Adams.

   

Love

Posted on Tuesday, March 22nd, 2005

Dave!One whole day without my PowerBook. It's been tough... really tough. No sitting on the couch working while watching television at night. No laying in bed 'til late catching up with blogs and seeing what's new in the world. No waking up and grabbing my PowerBook first thing to run through all the Trackback spam I've accumulated overnight. Nope. No PowerBook lovin' for me (on the plus-side, it did force me to download all the latest upgrades for my PowerMac G4 Cube!).

Which brings up an excellent point raised in a comment from Karla on my last entry...

Dave...methinks you might want to get a girlfriend?
Seriously, I feel the same way about my laptop. I call her the Silver Bullet. I rarely even travel with her for fear of getting her hurt.
I think they will give her good care and attention. The letter is sweet.

Girlfriend? Hmmm... it's been a while, but I think I am better off with the PowerBook. Time for a comparison chart, methinks...

Girlfriend
PowerBook
Always busy getting ready.Always ready to get busy.
Never shuts up.Has an off-switch.
Needs constant attention and entertaining.Doesn't mind being ignored and does all the entertaining.
Insists you be nice to her bitchy friends.Shows you porn.
Insists you accompany her for stupid activities like shopping.Shows you porn.
Eventually becomes defective and mentally unstable after use... requires replacement.Bug patches can be applied to fix any instabilities, thus ensuring a long and happy relationship.
A risky venture into freaky sexual diseases that can really ruin your day.Can't pass viruses to you and is easily cleaned of any it contracts.
High maintenance... constantly requires expensive gifts.Low maintenance... only requires an occasional upgrade.
Smells nice. Sometimes lets you have sex with her.errr...

PowerBook Love

Okay. I see your point. Any mentally-stable women out there who can iron and are seeking a relationship, please submit a resume and psychological evaluation to me via email as soon as possible.

Movie Quotable of the Day: "I could have killed 'em all, I could kill YOU. In town, you're the law... out here, it's me. Don't push it. Don't push it or I'll give you a war you won't believe. Let it go."
Yesterday's Answer: Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994) with Jim Carrey and Courtney Cox.

   

Gangsta!

Posted on Wednesday, March 23rd, 2005

Dave!This was not starting out to be a very good day. Which is not surprising considering how my evening went yesterday. It all started as I was driving home for work... a nice drive through town, minding my own business. When all of a sudden I notice some white chick in cornrows flipping me off with an obscene gesture while two of her skanky friends watched. Ordinarily I would just think to myself "whatever" and keep driving, but this time was different. I slam on the brakes, open my window and shouted "WAS THAT JUST A RANDOM ACT OF DEFIANCE, OR DID I DO SOMETHING TO PISS YOU OFF?!?" She was genuinely startled for a second, but quickly regained her composure and shouted back "f#@% OFF A$$HOLE, I WASN'T TALKING TO YOU!!" To which I shouted back "ALRIGHTY THEN... CARRY ON YA GANGSTA-BITCH WANNABE!!" This caused her friends to crack-up laughing, which threw her into a rage of obscenities.

I ignored her and drove off, but then got to thinking about how sad it is that some small-town cracker white girl can honestly think that randomly flipping people off and shouting obscenities while done-up in cornrows makes her bad-ass cool. If she were to ever encounter a real gangsta-bitch, her pasty white ass would be served to her on a platter. I'd love to fly her down to East L.A. and drop her off on a random street corner and see how many minutes she could survive. Call me a horrible person, but THAT would be a great idea for a reality television series!

Things just went downhill from there. By the time I was ready for bed, I was so freaked out that I ended up taking a sleeping pill so I could manage a few hours sleep. Naturally, this meant I woke up in a drugged-out haze. At least I was in a drugged-out haze until I stubbed my toe on the bookshelf. Then I banged my head in the shower. Then I jammed my elbow putting on my shirt. Then I couldn't find my security key dongle for LightWave. Then I forgot what I had done with my lucky hat. Eventually I made it out the door, but I was not a happy camper.

After getting to the office and checking my email, I notice a message from a friend who is a fellow graphic designer that said "IM ME RIGHT NOW DAMMIT!!" Thinking that it was some kind of joke, I replied "Yeah, I'm me right now too dammit!!" Within seconds of pressing the "send" button, his reply hits my inbox... "IM = Instant Message you dork. Turn on iChat!!" And so I did. Turns out he ran into a tricky design problem and needed some advice on how to handle it. Fortunately, things like this are easy to solve with a little face-to-face video chat, and we managed to figure everything out in a few minutes.

After expressing his gratitude for my assistance, he went on to say "I hope you get your PowerBook back soon... you're looking a little grumpy today."

Grumpy Dave

Hmmm... I do look a little grumpy today in a serial-killer kind of way. But all that changed the minute I looked up the repair status for my PowerBook...

Unit Shipped!

AppleCare is da bomb! Can you believe it? One day turn-around repairs!! This means I just might get her back tomorrow (which is the best birthday present I could ask for!). Of course, from previous experience, I have learned never to count on Airborne/DHL for on-time delivery... but, at the very least, I should have my laptop back in time for the weekend.

Now I can't seem to wipe the smile off of my face. It's going to be a good day after all.

Movie Quotable of the Day: "C'mon, he's insane! Look, right now he's probably dancing around in his grandma's panties... yeah, rubbing himself in peanut butter."
Yesterday's Answer: Rambo: First Blood (1982) with Sylvester Stallone and Brian Dennehy.

   

Wow

Posted on Wednesday, March 23rd, 2005

Dave!And by "wow" I really mean "WOW" because I am typing this on my newly repaired PowerBook. It arrived today, which means that AppleCare Service received it, fixed it, then shipped it out all in the same day.

Boy, just when you think it's impossible for Apple to kick any more ass than they already do, they go and prove you wrong. I guess I should really expect things like this from them, but it's difficult to believe that one company can be so freakin' amazing considering how terrible the service is getting to be with other companies now-a-days.

The AppleCare extended warranty contract may be pricey, but it has certainly paid for itself... the latch mechanism that wore out was part of the entire top case assembly, so the painted trim that was starting to peel on the edges has all been replaced as well. She feels like an all-new machine. She even smells fresh and new. About the only negatives are that the power adaptor plug doesn't quite fit as well as it used to, and Apple assessed my battery as "failing" which is bizarre because it's less than two months old (though it's not an "official" Apple battery, but instead a third-party "high-capacity" model, so maybe that's why their diagnostics failed it?).

I'm really happy right now. Apple rules the earth.

Categories: Apple Stuff 2005Click To It: Permalink  6 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Hah!

Posted on Monday, March 28th, 2005

Dave!Hah I say!! I just got off work and needed me a Kitty Spangles Solitaire fix... and got my highest score ever right off the bat! Kitty Spangles is so my bitch now!

I should also mention that I got a nice note from the husband-and-wife team of David and Sheryn Wareing, the devious minds who came up with Kitty Spangles. They were kind enough to tell me that they saw my previous blog entry on their game, and wanted me to know that "Kitty Spangles loves you too!" Isn't that nice?

Unfortunately, like most things in life, Kitty Spangles' love is not free. Just like a phone-sex hotline (ahem, or so I've heard), you get 5 minutes at no charge, but then you have to whip out your credit card if you want to play with her anymore. Yes indeed, Kitty wants $19.95 for the pleasure of her company.

The little whore.

Oh well. I went ahead and ponied up the cash because once you've had Kitty Spangles, you just can't go back to regular solitaire games again. She's like crack (ahem, or so I've heard), and my Kitty Spangles addiction is ruining my life. The good news is that, now that I'm registered, I can take my time with her instead of having to rush against that 5-minute deadline. I mean, I am good... really good... but it's difficult to perform under such pressure every time we play.

Besides, just look at how happy she is now...

Kitty Thanks!

It won't last. Soon enough she'll be wanting more money for upgrades and a new pair of shoes. And I'm sure "Kitty Spangles Cribbage" is just around the corner.

Now if only I could teach her how to play a nice game of Canasta...

Categories: Apple Stuff 2005Click To It: Permalink  4 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Legal

Posted on Wednesday, March 30th, 2005

Dave!As I cruise around the blogosphere I have to ponder over all the bloggers hopping on the Apple-bashing bandwagon over their attempt to protect trade secrets by forcing rumor sites to name their "confidential sources." For the longest time I was just going to wait it out but, now that bloggers I actually respect are weighing in, I guess it's time to throw out my two-cents...

Do I think Apple is going too far this time? Yes, I do. It should surprise absolutely nobody that this type of heavy-handed approach is going to backfire. Apple is making enemies out of die-hard supporters, and they need all the support they can get (they always have -- heck, according to the media, Apple's been dying for twenty years now!). Despite the iPod's success, the Mac needs to build on the momentum that's been keeping fans loyal and converting a new breed of users... everybody from hackers to home users. It's a time to be kind. People are dying to know your secrets only because they love you. Apple, you should love us back.

DavePowerBook

All that being said, who can possibly blame them?

For YEARS Apple's lawyers have been writing to "rumor sites" kindly asking them to remove proprietary information (as is their legal right). I can only guess that they've grown tired of constantly firing off the same letters again and again and again to these same people, and decided to explore a different approach. I mean, come on! The sites in question KNOW when they put up confidential information that it's not a very nice thing to do and Apple is going to ask them to remove it, but they put it up anyway because the extra hits will bring them more advertising dollars. Since they never seem to learn, what was Apple supposed to do?

The only thing they can do, and what any other company would do: explore every legal avenue available to them in order to protect their trade secrets. It is, after all, the American Way. Yes, I think that this was a bit extreme on Apple's part, but I have no idea what steps they have been taking within their company to stop the leaks. Maybe they've tried everything and this is a last resort for them? But heaven forbid we should ever give Apple the benefit of the doubt. It's much more fun to crucify them and threaten to not love them anymore and scream loudly about "un-switching" to a crappy Windows PC because "Apple is evil."

Yeah, whatever. If you're going to be such a whiner, at least whine about stuff that actually matters (how about "where is the G5 PowerBook?" for a start). Turning Apple into Microsoft for vilification just doesn't do it for me. Maybe if their products sucked a lot more, I could try and sympathize. But Apple makes great stuff! And if legally protecting their secrets is what they have to do to keep on making great stuff in the cut-throat computer business... well... I suppose it's better than hiring ninjas to start killing people (though not quite as cool).

And before you decide to fire off some hate-mail to me crying about how "Apple's actions are the death-knell for free speech on the internet," save your breath. Because do you want to know how I respond to this laughable rhetoric?

"Bullshit."

If Apple was secretly building nuclear weapons or killing kittens for ingredients used to build their iPods, or even using a monopoly to force computer manufacturers to only install their OS, then sure... these are newsworthy events that should be investigated, and people should be told. But posting proprietary trade secrets gleaned from law-breaking employees bound by an NDA that could potentially damage a company?

Excuse me, but exactly who is supposed to be the victim here? Do you honestly believe that companies should spend millions of dollars researching a new product, only to have all their hard work dumped on some rumor site for their competition to pour over? If you had spent millions and untold hours, would you? Breaking a non-disclosure agreement to spill company secrets doesn't make you a whistle-blower unless there are laws being broken (or perhaps an ethical violation), it just makes you a spy and a theif. If you publish it, that makes you an accessory to theft. Don't go walking on some journalistic high ground, because you're not serving the public interest... you're only serving yourself, no matter how you candy-coat it.

Free speech is a luxury that everybody should feel to abuse whenever they feel like it. Heaven only knows I do. But if companies can't do everything they can within the law to uphold legally-binding non-disclosure documents, what good is an NDA in the first place? This doesn't change the fact that I think Apple has gone a little crazy here, but going after people who publicly release information they know to be covered by an NDA (and those who broke such an agreement in the first place) is something I can certainly understand. And forgive.

Oh, and by the way... if anybody has any details on Apple making a video iPod or a G5 PowerBook, my email address is in the top-left corner of every page.

Movie Quotable of the Day: "Hey Jenny, don't worry about me. We got coffee and cocaine here... we're gonna get wired and have a big party!"
Yesterday's Answer: Bowfinger (1999) with Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy.
Categories: Apple Stuff 2005Click To It: Permalink  3 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Limit

Posted on Sunday, April 3rd, 2005

Dave!As a graphic designer, Adobe software is a critical part of my work. I use Illustrator and Photoshop continuously every day. I use GoLive and InDesign at least once a week. 90% of everything I do has Adobe somewhere in the mix. Because of this, I love Adobe and the things they do for me.

But not really.

I loathe the fact that Adobe refuses to address the numerous bugs in their apps. Illustrator crashes several times a week and has serious clipboard export flaws that have existed for a decade. GoLive is utter crap that has such shitty CSS support that it can barely be said to exist at all (and don't get me started on the FTP server that can't go 5 minutes without crashing). Photoshop is by far the most stable, but still has pen tool flaws and other very basic problems. InDesign is by far the most messed up, because just activating it will screw up the font display of the entire system.

And are any of these problems addressed? No. Adobe is too busy working on the next version to fix problems with the current versions, and that sucks total ass because I have PAID for the current version... I am USING the current version. You need to FIX the CURRENT f#@%ING VERSION!

But despite it all, I stick with Adobe because the software really is miraculous, and I can't imagine doing my job without it.

Until now.

Right now, not only can I imagine my life without Adobe software, I am fantasizing about it. All because Adobe has gone and done something worse than ship buggy software, they're punishing me for purchasing their buggy software in the first place. Adobe has gone the way of Microsoft, and is requiring mandatory activation registration for all of their future products. To be truthful, that's annoying but, given the rampant piracy out there, that's not what I have the problem with. My problem is that you can only register two computers for use with a single serial number.

But I have four computers. A work machine. A home machine. A laptop. And a backup laptop. At one time or another all of them get used, so I am totally boned here. I am not a software pirate, I am a paying customer... so long as I only use one copy of the software at a time, I should be able to activate it on as many computers as I need for my work. As far as I am concerned, Adobe is illegally interfering with my licensing of their software with this stupid crap.

I guess I can take another look at Macromedia's software to see if it can handle the job but, odds are, I'll have no choice but to bend over and invite Adobe to have their way with me. I wonder how long I can go without upgrading?

Categories: Apple Stuff 2005Click To It: Permalink  3 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

WHAT-?!??

Posted on Monday, April 18th, 2005

Dave!Adobe just announced that they bought out Macromedia! I am in a state of shock here, and will probably never get to sleep now (even though it's 1:30am!). This means that Adobe has a total monopoly over creative design applications in print, web, and whatever other media they want. I can only guess that this means DreamWeaver will be absorbed into Adobe's Creative Suite (pushing out GoLive), and everything else will be dumped?!? This pretty much leaves Quark as the only big player left, but they've been trounced by Adobe's far-superior InDesign page layout software, so I guess it's game over.

Sheesh. I suppose when I think about it... I should have seen it coming, but it's still difficult to absorb.

Read the shocking details at Adobe's site.

Categories: Apple Stuff 2005Click To It: Permalink  4 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Sexy

Posted on Monday, April 25th, 2005

Dave!Oog. I just spent the last 2-1/2 hours processing a bunch of T-Shirt orders from the Artificial Duck Co. Store. I was going to call in my order with the screen printer tomorrow, but now I think I should wait a day or two until things die down a bit. Nothing drives sales faster than quality merchandise at insane prices!

Anyway, when I fired up ecto (the amazing blogging tool I use to write this stuff) it notified me that a new version 2.3 has just been released. Wow. In addition to piling on new features and being a free upgrade, it's dead sexy. I'd say it was perfect now, but I said that about the last version and was proven wrong. And that brings up a very good question...

How is it that just one guy (that would be Adriaan Tijsseling) can constantly find new ways to improve his software... release bug fixes within hours of having them be reported... and provide world-class service for his customers... when mammoth companies like Adobe and Microsoft with thousands of employees suck so badly at it? There are bugs in Adobe Illustrator that I have been BEGGING them to fix for nearly a decade, and they have never been addressed. I send Adriaan a feature request and it arrives fifteen minutes later. WTF?!?

And it's not just ecto, there are plenty of other shareware developers that are equally astounding in their dedication to their customers. I wish that people would remember this when they find themselves using an unregistered piece of software over and over and over again. Hard work like that deserves to be rewarded.

Movie Quotable of the Day: "Do you think I relish the fact that I have to act like Mary Sunshine 24/7 so I can be considered a lady? I'm the Marcia f#@%king Brady of the Upper East Side, and sometimes I want to kill myself!"
Day-Before-Yesterday's Answer: The Golden Child (1986) with Eddie Murphy and Charlotte Lewis.
Categories: Apple Stuff 2005Click To It: Permalink  8 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Chocolate

Posted on Thursday, April 28th, 2005

Dave!After a very long and annoying day, I wanted nothing more than to make a batch of chocolate-almond ice cream and veg-out in front of the television. But then the Cuisinart started leaking all over the place, so what I got instead was a chocolate-coated kitchen. Seriously, it was like Chocolate Armageddon over here. There was chocolate all over the countertops. There was chocolate running down the drawers. There was chocolate splattered on the floors. Everywhere you looked was chocolate...

Chocolate

Apparently, there are limits as to how much liquid you can put in a WHIRLING BLADES OF CERTAIN DEATH Cuisinart machine. I really do need to read that manual one day. Undeterred, I forged ahead whilst ankle-deep in chocolate, and made a new batch.

So now I sit here waiting for my ice-cream maker timer to beep, letting me know that frozen chocolatey goodness is waiting for me.

Checking my email, I see that Apple has shipped my copy of MacOS X 10.4 via FedEx today. The courier gods willing, I'll have it tomorrow. I'm pretty excited about that, but not all is coming up roses for Apple... the loser ass-clowns at "Tiger Direct" are suing Apple because MacOS X 10.4 is code-named "Tiger" and they claim that it will "cause confusion, mistake and deception among the general purchasing public." This is laughable on so many levels, I don't even know what to say. First of all, the Apple "Tiger" code-name has been in existence for YEARS... but they wait until the day before Apple ships the product before firing off a lawsuit and injunction? Dumbasses. Like anybody is really going to confuse the Mac OS with a lame reseller. Like anybody even cares.

I was able to make an appointment at the screen printers today... it's set for next Tuesday. That means I can start sending out all the fabulous prizes from the Blogiversary 2 contest next Wednesday. Watch your mailbox!

Ooooh! Time to add the almonds - ice cream is almost ready. ICE CREAM! IIIIICE CREEEEEEEAAMMMM!!

Movie Quotable of the Day: "You were born with an asshole, Doris... you don't need Chuck."
Day-Before-Yesterday's Answer: Blade: Trinity (2004) with Wesley Snipes and Ryan Reynolds.

   

Tiger

Posted on Friday, April 29th, 2005

Dave!Well, it's finally here... MacOS X 10.4, also known by the code-name "Tiger." Though I've only been using it for a day, I have to say that I am very, very impressed. Installation was a snap, and I've run into no major problems so far. It's as if MacOS X has finally left beta and is now starting to mature as an actual OS rather than just a pretty experiment.

Understandably, my ramblings about Tiger are probably of little interest to many of you, so I've tucked it away in an extended entry after today's movie quote.

Tiger Preview

Movie Quotable of the Day: "My ass may be dumb, but I ain't no dumbass."
Yesterday's Answer: Night of the Comet (1984) with Sharon Farrell and Robert Beltran.
→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Categories: Apple Stuff 2005Click To It: Permalink  9 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Erasure

Posted on Sunday, May 1st, 2005

Dave!After going through a mile of bubble-wrap to get all of the fabulous Blogiversary 2 prizes packed up (just waiting for the T-shirts!) I thought I would update my Mac G4 Cube to Tiger and watch a little TiVo and a couple of NetFlix DVDs.

First up was Shaolin Soccer, which kicks so much ass that you almost need a new genre of film to describe its ass-kicking proficiency. If you've ever wanted to know what would happen if a soccer game took place in The Matrix, then this film is your answer. Really cheesy dialogue also makes this one of the funniest films I've seen in a while. The DVD had both the shitty, butchered "American" version and the vastly superior "Chinese" original (with English subtitles).

Shaolin Soccer

Next was Erasure: Hits!, filled with incredibly bad videos that are so gay that even gay people must think "wow, those are some pretty gay videos!" I am really schizophrenic when it comes to the music I listen to. At home, in my car, and on my iPod are groups like Radiohead, System of a Down, Depeche Mode, Oasis, Nirvana, Nine Inch Nails, and Pearl Jam. While at work, I am strictly synth-pop with groups like Erasure, New Order, Thompson Twins, Pet Shop Boys, and Moby (which is why my AudioScrobbler profile looks the way it does). Of all of them, Erasure is easily the undisputed queen of bubblegum synth.

Erasure

Sadly, not a single video in the entire Erasure canon is worth a crap (the low point is when both Andy and Vince are dressed in full drag as very ugly women singing Abba's "Take a Chance on Me"). It's really too bad given they are capable of such beautiful music... "You Surround Me," "Joan," "A Little Respect," "I Broke it All in Two" and so many more. Why can't their videos be as lyrical and beautiful as the songs they depict? Sad.

Lasty, I watched the two-part Enterprise episode: In A Mirror Darkly. It's where we get to have the boring Enterprise characters all evil and interesting (finally) because they're in the Star Trek "Mirror Universe." It's fun to see Archer gone all insane... but even more fun to see Hoshi as a power-crazed whore in a belly-shirt who will sleep with anybody to advance her career. Delicious. I also found it a bit touching to see T'Pol and the other aliens attempt a coup against the evil humans, knowing they would fail completely in order to maintain continuity with future Star Trek series. If the show were this good for the past four years, I might have actually bothered to watch it (and so would everybody else, which means UPN wouldn't have had to cancel it).

Which begs the question... why is it that Trek producers just don't understand what Star Trek fans want to see? We want action! LOTS AND LOTS of ACTION! Don't have characters sit around in decontamination chambers and talk for an hour straight... blow some shit up! The reason Captain Kirk was so cool was because in any given situation he would either fight with somebody, shoot somebody, or have sex with somebody. THAT'S IT!! That's all he did, and we loved it! But now all we get for action is people sitting around the bridge saying stupid shit like "let's re-route the EPS conduits" and then pressing a bunch of buttons so they could go back to boring talk again. Stupid. I have every last episode of the original Star Trek on DVD and watch them all the time. I don't own any of the other series, and usually won't be bothered to watch them for free on television either. Why? Because when I tune in to Star Trek I want to actually be entertained (and there wasn't much of that to be found in anything that followed the originals, except the movies #2, #4, #6, and #8). Please, if there is a god of science fiction television, let Paramount fire the dumbasses who have been running Star Trek into the ground for the past 20 years and get somebody who will actually entertain us with the next series.

Movie Quotable of the Day: "...and I hope the people of the United States of America will be able to sleep better knowing that women like us have guns."
Yesterday's Answer: The Black Hole (1979) with Robert Forster and Anthony Perkins.

And now for a few more MacOS X Tiger observations in an extended entry.

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...

   

SerenityHD

Posted on Sunday, May 1st, 2005

Dave!One of the (many) things to love in the new MacOS X Tiger release is the new High Definition video codec that's built into QuickTime 7. The technical name for it is "H.264," whereas the "H" stands for "Holy crap this is amazing-looking video!" At first I had a little trouble with playing samples from Apple's HD Gallery, and assumed it was because my computer wasn't fast enough. But I think that might have just been because Spotlight was indexing in the background at the time... now it works great on my Dual 1.42GHz G4 Mac.

All the clips are amazing (and big!), but the movie trailer for "Serenity" is just jaw-dropping. I must have watched it a dozen times now. Each and every frame looks like a hi-res photograph instead of the blurry mess you get from regular video compression. Just look at the detail...

Serenity

Serenity

Every pore in her face... ever hair... is clearly visible. It's almost surreal. Now compare that to the previously released "large-sized" trailer...

Serenity

Incredible. It doesn't hurt that the movie looks like it's going to kick huge amounts of ass when it arrives on September 30th. I was not a real fan of the cancelled "Firefly" television show, but I will absolutely be going to the feature film sequel.

Right now, QuickTime 7 is only available for the Mac, but a Windows version is promised soon.

I so want a $10,000 HD video camera right now.

   

Bitchy

Posted on Wednesday, May 4th, 2005

Dave!I am in an incredibly bad mood today, mostly initiated by the installation of Adobe's "Creative Suite 2" on my computer yesterday. Sure it's got some glamorous features which might be fun to play with one day but, in the meanwhile, I've got work to do. And I can't work because CS2 has f#@%ed up everything beyond all comprehension. Temp files are being created and tossed everywhere (then not deleted when you quit)... fonts are so badly screwed up in Adobe Illustrator that I've had to go back to the CS1 version... the text rendering engine has been updated AGAIN, causing horribly nasty problems with every file I open. Does anybody test this shit before shipping it out the door? At first I was thrilled that they finally managed to fix the clipboard export bug that's been in Illustrator FOR A f#@%ING DECADE, but now I'd be happy if I could just work.

And now that Adobe has purchased Freehand, it's not like there's an alternative out there. For better or worse, Creative Suite 2 is all we've got. I wonder if the Windows version is this bad?

Things only got worse from there, and I thought for sure that an episode of Veronica Mars would save me. But Veronica sucked ass last night. You finally found out who "raped" her, and it was EXACTLY as I expected. So that was disappointing, but not nearly so much as the stupid yo-yo relationship with Veronica and Logan. It was fun at first, but COME ON! Stop the never-ending make-up/break-up cycle, because it's really lame and tired. And of course Lilly's accidental killer is all too easy to figure out now... the only question left is who else knew she did it? Alas, I am still very much looking forward to the season finale next week. I hold a faint hope that I am wrong about everything so there will be some surprises left.

PowerBook Heat

I finally figured out why my laptop was in meltdown once I reinstalled everything this morning... turns out it was the "Virex" virus-scanning software. Ironically enough, Apple distributes the program for free to all .Mac members. Once Virex is removed, the heat levels are back to normal and the fans don't run all the time. There's 2 hours of my life I'm not getting back, all because Apple didn't test a piece of software they pass out to everybody?

But the icing on the cake of my day was when I got a call from an old girlfriend as I was re-installing my PowerBook. Guess who finally found my blog?

What followed was not a pleasant conversation, and I still have no idea what the f#@% she was going on about. I don't write about other people in my life (or out of my life, as the case may be), so what does she care if I have a blog?

*** SECTION DELETED ***

Well that was quick... just one hour to get an apology. And you are welcome!

Movie Quotable of the Day: "Bring the dog! I love animals... I'm a great cook."
Yesterday's Answer: St. Elmo's Fire (1985) with Demi Moore and Ally Sheedy.

   

Remember

Posted on Monday, May 16th, 2005

Dave!I just downloaded the first bug patch for MacOS X 10.4, and am not impressed. The biggest pain in the ass problem with Tiger has not been fixed at all.

Web logins are not remembered. Not in Safari, not in Firefox, not in ANYTHING. Login to eBay, and you are forgotten instantly and have to keep logging in over and over again. Amazon... the same. EVEN APPLE'S SITE forgets your login. WTF?!?

But the most dumbass example is with Movable Type. In order to approve a comment I have to login. Then I have to login to get to the comments. Then I have to login again after clicking the "approve button." Then I have to login to process the approval. Then I have to login again to get back to the comments section. And repeat again and again and again.

This is some stupid shit right here.

Even worse? Myself and several-other-people have reported the problem in Apple's discussion forum and NO REPLY IS OFFERED. Does Apple even bother to cruise their own forums? Who the f#@% knows! All I do know is that if I wanted my problems completely ignored and left unfixed, I would go back to using a Microsoft Windows piece of shit. I guess since it doesn't seem to affect everybody, Apple thinks we can just wait.

There are, of course, other minor problems that drive me nuts, but not to the point of wanting to kill somebody like this login bug does. If Steve Jobs was standing here, he'd definitely get a bitch-slapping.

Categories: Apple Stuff 2005Click To It: Permalink  3 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Marklar!

Posted on Monday, June 6th, 2005

Dave!Holy Marklar! Today Marklar announced that Marklar will be using Marklar instead of Marklar in their Marklar. I guess that the Marklar were true. As I said, I don't give a Marklar if it means we'll end up with cheaper and faster Marklar.

Also today I finally managed to get my motorcycle back out of storage after over a month of being trapped in cars and planes. The only problem is that I'm not used to riding it. And I'm old. This means I don't ride the motorcycle... the motorcycle rides me. I was out for only a half-hour and feel half-dead... mostly in my legs, which are not used to stretching like that.

In other news... I've decided to rename all the constellations.

Davenightsky

The current names are all Greek gods and stuff, which is kind of boring. I'm going to name them all after myself and stuff I think is cool. Things like "Daveon: The Dave" and "Macinopolis: The Macintosh" and "Lizobethia: The Elizabeth Hurley" and "Cheeseora: The Cheese Sandwich." I'm thinking of keeping "Draco: The Dragon," because that's already kind of cool-sounding.

Next up: I'm renaming all of the mountains and rivers of the world. Oh yeah... and all the countries and cities too. Trust me, it will be much better this way.

Movie Quotable of the Day: "It's not important how many people I've killed... what's important is how I get along with the people who are still alive."
Yesterday's Answer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992) with Kristy Swanson and Pee-Wee Herman.

   

Ham

Posted on Saturday, June 11th, 2005

Dave!I went and saw Mr. & Mrs. Smith today, and it has to be the most entertaining movie I've seen this year. It also has the highest body count. Angelina Jolie was stunningly hot, and this was the first role since 12 Monkeys that Brad Pitt has done that I've enjoyed (a pleasant surprise). The only problem was the ending, which fell a little flat, but getting there was so good that I didn't much care. I am embarrassed to admit that I am secretly hoping for a sequel. I could watch Angelina Jolie blow stuff up and shoot people for hours. I could especially watch her shoot the dumbass behind me WHO MADE A MOBILE PHONE CALL DURING THE MOVIE!!

Whenever you think you've seen the ultimate depths of human rudeness, somebody comes along to prove you wrong. One day that idiot is going to end up with his mobile phone deeply impacted into his ass. That would rule.

My love and addiction for Kitty Spangles Solitaire is well documented. But Kitty and I drifted apart after I upgraded to MacOS X Tiger, because she refused to play anymore. I had forgotten about it, but then Swoop released a Kitty upgrade, so I wrote and got a working serial number and she's all better now. There's a few improvements in the new version. One option is that a pig comes out and tells you when there are no more moves...

The Pig!

It's great at first. You don't waste any time running through a deck when there's no cards you can play. But after a while, all I want to do is bake that little ham when he comes on and tells me I'm a loser. That's pretty drastic considering I'm a vegetarian...

Ham!

Mmmmmm... bacon!

Movie Quotable of the Day: "Wouldn't this be a great world if insecurity and desperation made us more attractive?"
Yesterday's Answer: American Pie (1999) with Jason Biggs and Seann William Scott.

   

Answers

Posted on Saturday, June 18th, 2005

Dave!Last night I stayed up way too late working on my "Ask Dave" widget, and I think it's finally done. One thing I wanted very much to do was add some kind of animation to give the "Toon Dave" a bit of life. Eventually I thought of using one of those Etch-A-Sketch type toys so he could shake it up and down to erase the old message, then a new message would appear. But I had no idea how to simulate motion using only JavaScript, so I went widget hunting to see if somebody else had managed it. That's when I found Alwin Troost's Magic 8-Ball widget, and used his image array technique to build the shake animation. Every time you click on Toon Dave, he shakes the "dave-a-sketch" and the answer to all of life's questions magically appear!

And, just like Apple's widgets, you can flip him over to get a quick link to everybody's favorite blog...

Ask Dave!

Overall I'm quite pleased with my first widget. If you own a Mac running OS X 10.4 Tiger, and want to try it, CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD. If you don't own a Mac, then you need to run right out and buy one so you can have Dave's wisdom readily available to you. Or I suppose you could just become an Apple developer so you can get your hands on OS X for Intel, then install it over your Windows or Linux OS (and no, I don't know where to download it). Hmmm... probably easier to buy that Mac (you'll be glad you did!).

In any event, here is the discaimer I include with the ReadMe file:

DISCLAIMER: The Ask Dave widget is just for fun. Any resemblance to actual advice is purely coincidental, and should not be taken seriously (much like Dave himself).

Have fun with your own personal Dave. Try not to abuse him too badly.

Movie Quotable of the Day: "They say that right before you die your life flashes before your eyes... that's true, even for a blind man."
Day-Before-Yesterday's Answer: Stargate (1994) with Kurt Russell and James Spader.

   

Ridicule

Posted on Monday, July 25th, 2005

Dave!I really try to be a nice guy. I don't always succeed, but I do try.

Which is why when I see two idiot kids picking on another kid because he doesn't have a nice bike and expensive clothes... well, I don't understand it at all. It isn't you, so why do you care? You've GOT the pricey bicycle and sweet threads, so what does it really matter that some other guy isn't as fortunate? Is your life really so pathetic that you feel the need to belittle somebody over what they don't have and can't change? Bizarre. But they are just stupid kids, so what are you gonna do?

Though it kind of makes me wonder if things really change once we've grown up.

Probably not, but the dynamics do. When you're a kid, you rely on your parents for the things you have, so it's really out of your hands. As an adult, it's all you. I can't decide which is the least desirable situation to be in.

Since people probably make fun of what I choose to wear, I think I'd rather go back to being a kid again.

At least way back then, my biggest problem from Microsoft would be DOS instead of the whole Windows fiasco.

Today I was forced to test a document to be sure it would work on a WindowsXP PC. The problem is that my Windows machine died with the last "Critical Update" and I don't feel like blowing two hours of my life doing a complete reinstall. So I borrowed another machine, only to find that it was begging for a round of "Critical Updates" too... which I ignored (not wanting to repeat the demise of my own machine on somebody else's). It was all downhill from there...

Davexp

At this point, I quite honestly don't know what to do. I am forced to use Windows on occasion, and I accept that... but HOLY CRAP!! HOW DO YOU WINDOWS USERS GET ANYTHING DONE?!?? I am constantly fighting the OS in order to make things work (e.g., on the Mac, the menu bar is always at the top of the screen, so you can never "over-shoot" it... with Windows, there's such a tiny area to hit that menu bar within the window, that I end up working with windows "full-screen" to save my sanity). And that's just the beginning... there are dozens of things so stupidly unintuitive and ridiculous, that I just marvel at the absurdity of it all.

My real problem is that I'm so used to having everything so easy on my Mac, that Windows is very much like torture for anything past surfing the web or checking email. To do actual work requires hopeless periods of lost productivity that I just can't afford. I have to wonder how many man-hours Microsoft is responsible for pissing away on a daily basis... and I'm not even including down-time from corrupted system files, viruses, spyware, and everything else you have to deal with. Sheer insanity

Is it all my fault? Am I using it wrong? Would it help if I were to go buy a Windows for Dummies book? Something tells me the answer is "no," but I figure it's only diplomatic to look for an alternative to making fun of Windows because it's wearing a ripped-out pair of 70's bell-bottom jeans and riding a busted-ass tricycle that was rescued from the dump.

Movie Quotable of the Day: "Maybe we should call in a bomb threat to Houston... I think it's free beer night at the Astrodome."
Yesterday's Answer: Tarzan (1999) with Tony Goldwyn and Minnie Driver.

   

Dvorak

Posted on Thursday, July 28th, 2005

Dave!John C. Dvorak is a long-time Macintosh basher that has been predicting the demise of Apple for years. He's also a long-time tool, but that's beside the point. People listen to the ass-wipe because PC Magazine continues to publish his bullshit. His most infamous attack on Apple was when he declared that the Mac should be "discontinued" and Apple do something different. Never mind that the Mac is a highly profitably chunk of business for Apple, Dvorak is Dvorak, and stupid shit like this gives him the attention he craves so badly. Like I said, he's a tool.

But now the Mac faithful are all in a tither because Dvorak's latest column slams Microsoft's next OS release ("Windows Vista") as "the end of the line for Microsoft's dominance in the OS business." He then goes on to say that "the Mac OS is already better than Windows in its modern look and feel as well as its functionality" and "I see too many smart people with Mac laptops nowadays." This follows still other Apple-friendly jibes that would almost lead you to believe that Dvorak is changing his stripes.

Personally, I don't buy it.

Dvorak can safely slam Windows NOW, because "Vista" is over a year-and-a-half away. Basically, he's attacking vapor until Microsoft ships the product, so what's the danger?

But once "Vista" is released... even if it's total shit... Dvorak will undoubtedly change his tune...

Dvorakbites

If I were more talented, I would have drawn Dvorak blowing Gates at the same time as eating his shit. Not that I blame Dvorak. I'd blow Gates for his couch money (well, assuming he's lost a couple of million in pocket change down there)... but I'm not a journalist, so whatever.

Anyway, once "Vista" is finally unleashed, Dvorak will be all "Windows was worth the wait" and "surely the Mac is dead now" and "no other OS experience can touch it" - yadda yadda yadda. He's an attention whore, willing to say anything to make waves and grab the spotlight. Today it's bashing Microsoft because it's safe to do so. Tomorrow it will be something else. A year-and-a-half from now, he'll be back to Mac bashing again.

It's what he does.

So to any Macintosh fans thinking that the battle has been won, I'm sorry to say we're most certainly not that lucky. I think that day won't come until Dvorak is dead. DEAD LIKE THE WIND!!!

Err... you know what I mean.

Movie Quotable of the Day: "Bill, I don't know if it's the clothes on the floor or you... but something in here definitely needs to be hosed down."
Yesterday's Answer: Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) with William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy.
Categories: Apple Stuff 2005Click To It: Permalink  8 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Mighty

Posted on Tuesday, August 2nd, 2005

Dave!I really needed a good night's sleep so I could be fully functional this morning. So last night I did something I rarely do: take a couple of sleeping pills. Unfortunately, a pack of barking dogs decided to set up shop under my window at 2am, so my slumber was rudely interrupted. I did manage to get back to sleep, but now I feel like a zombie... sluggish and unable to concentrate.

I don't usually start into the Coke with Lime until much later, but I am hopeful that drinking a couple of caffeine-laden cans at 7am will sufficiently drive the sleeping drugs from my system. Until then, I thought that I would wander around the internet for a while and see what's new.

Still in a narcoleptic state, I read the news that Apple has FINALLY released a two-button mouse. Needless to say, I thought I must be delusional. Especially when I see that they have named it "Mighty Mouse." But, alas, it's real...

Mighty Mouse

Sure it still looks like a one-button mouse but, you know Apple, they can't ever do things the easy way... they had to go and use touch-sensors instead of unsightly buttons. On top of that, they decided to one-up the scroll wheel with a "360° scroll ball" and add couple of squeezable sensors on the sides as well. Sounds nifty-keen.

Of course, I simply had to have one, so there goes $50 I probably didn't need to be spending. Such is the price for being an Apple whore.

Movie Quotable of the Day: "She's safe, just like I promised. She's all set to marry Norrington, just like she promised. And you get to die for her, just like you promised. So we're all men of our word really. Except for Elizabeth who is, in fact, a woman."
Yesterday's Answer: Akira (1988) by Katsuhiro Otomo.
Categories: Apple Stuff 2005Click To It: Permalink  7 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Coaster!

Posted on Friday, August 5th, 2005

Dave!Oooh! As a long-time roller coaster fan, I've always wanted to play the game "Roller Coaster Tycoon" where you get to design your own roller coasters, and then run them at an amusement park. Unfortunately, it's never been available for the Macintosh. Until now (well, November, actually). From what I understand, you can view your coaster design from every conceivable angle, and see how your customers react to riding it. Make it too bland, and people will be bored and stay away. Make it too vicious, and people will get sick and throw up. Hopefully, you can also make coasters that crash and hurl people off the track, because there's a sadistic side of me that would really get off on something like that. I can't wait.

Coastertycoon

In other amusing news lighting up the blogosphere, Jacqueline Mackie Paisly Passey is looking for a "travel companion and lover" to accompany her on a world trek, beginning in Costa Rica, for up to a year. I was rather intrigued, because it's not like she's totally unattractive or anything... but then I found out I had to actually bring my own money for the trip, and that kind of killed the idea of getting me a sugar-momma real quick. If I am going to have to pay, I'm afraid it is ME who will be dictating the requirements of my "travel partner with benefits"...

  • If you want to go shopping, I am not required to tag along.
  • If you want me to like your friends, they have to at least be civil to me.
  • You are not allowed to throw stuff at my head for imagined slights.
  • No cutting off my penis while I sleep either. That's just wrong!
  • If you go all psycho, it is understood I will be ditching your crazy ass.
  • If some hot foreign babe should somehow be attracted to me, I get to hit that.
  • No political talk in bed.
  • I am not buying tampons. Ever.
  • Call me sexist, but shaved legs and pits are a must, and NOT with my razor.
  • If you don't like how I dress, feel free to buy me clothes, but I get final approval.
  • And if anything requires ironing, that's all you, baby.
  • I ride a motorcycle. If you bitch about it, I'll be driving it over your harpy ass.
  • Anything you take of mine during the break-up I will be taking back... BY WHATEVER MEANS NECESSARY!

Hmmm... something tells me I should stop now before I say something that will have my female readership calling for my balls (and not in the good way).

   

Dave Approved: Mighty Mouse

Posted on Saturday, August 6th, 2005

Dave!This has been a very odd week for Macintosh users. It started with Mac-faithful attacking their own, and ended with a mouse.

I have long enjoyed the writings of Cory Doctorow over at Boing Boing. But earlier this week he blind-sided me with a rant aimed at Apple that just didn't make much sense. It was all bizarre paranoia and speculation that had no basis on fact or historical context. I had started to write a lengthy rebuttal rant, but ultimately decided against it given that Blogography's readership is about a millionth of that of Boing Boing, and most people here wouldn't care anyway. Fortunately, John Gruber (an increasingly rational voice in the blogosphere) wrote up a better rebuttal than I ever could today over at Daring Fireball.

About the only thing I can add is that it seems unlikely Doctorow has suddenly gone crazy, and more probable that he is simply using the power of Boing Boing's popularity to threaten Apple off a course of action they may (or more likely) may not be pursuing. A dangerous road to start walking down, but since he's as big a Mac fanatic as I am, I guess he felt he had to try.

On the entire issue of Digital Rights Management, I am surprisingly neutral. Sure I wish we didn't have to live with copy protection on our music and media, but I fully realize that something has to be done to minimize theft, and it's something we just have to accept. When it is unobtrusive and allows me reasonable access to materials I have purchased... like music through the iTunes Music Store, I don't care. When it prevents me from accessing content I've legally paid for... like television shows on my TiVo which only Windows users can access, I am outright hostile (if I had wanted to be forced to use Windows shit, I would have bought a Windows Media Center PC, you TiVo dumbasses).

With this in mind, I want an Apple iMovie Video Store and Video iPod. I want an Apple-friendly Digital Video Recorder that allows me to catch up on television shows while I travel. I want them bad. Really, really bad. And if the DRM is as unobtrusive as the iTunes Music Store, and the pricing is reasonable... I won't have a problem with it. Because as our digital lifestyles becomes ever-more entwined with our computers and mobile devices, there has got to be an option for Macintosh users to have access to commercial video content past the DVD. It's the big missing piece that Microsoft is addressing that Apple is not, and failure to do so is going to hurt far more than any anti-DRM rant.

In happier Apple news, I love me the Mighty Mouse!

Mighty Mouse!

Well, THAT Mighty Mouse is okay, but I'm talking about the new Macintosh Mighty Mouse...

Mighty Mouse!

For Apple's entire existence, the concept of a two-button Mac mouse has been nothing more than a pipe dream. Apparently Steve Jobs felt that they were too complicated and too ugly for the Mac, so the Mac faithful either bought ugly 3rd-party alternatives, or made do without. I had tried a couple of two-button mice, but always went back to my Apple mouse and using the "CTRL" key to get that ever-elusive "right click."

Until now.

The new Apple "Mighty Mouse" has finally addresses Steve Job's reluctance to part with the elegance and simplicity of a single-button mouse. And it does so in a very ingenious way. You see, out of the box, it acts exactly like Apple's mice have always performed... a single-button mouse that's beautiful to look at (albeit with much nicer tracking and a smoother "flow" than Apple's old Pro Mouse). BUT, for Mac users who want more, your wish has been granted.

Though whether it works out for you will depend entirely on how you are accustomed to using a mouse.

If you are like me, who holds a mouse with two fingers covering the top of it, you'll do just fine. To "right-click" you simply lift the finger on the left-side, and push down. Genius. This means that people like myself can still click the ENTIRE mouse to get a "regular-click" and only have to make a slight modification to our mousing habits to get that magical "right-click." For Mac users accustomed to Apple's one-button mouse, this is golden. However, if you are accustomed to a "real" two-button mouse, this probably isn't for you... because, in reality, a "right-click" is in fact a "no-left-click", and different than what you use now.

In addition to being able to "right-click," the Mighty Mouse also has a tiny "scroll ball" on top that allows for window scrolling and "middle clicking." Most people are referring to this new feature as "the mouse nipple" which seems about right. For the most part, I love me the nipple. It is smooth and intuitive. And though "middle-clicking" takes some getting used to, once you manage to figure it out, it's very cool (I've set mine to bring up Dashboard, which is quite handy!). But all is not perfect in nipple-world...

  1. Even though the wheel has a feel of 360° motion, it doesn't allow for diagonal scrolling. You can only scroll horizontally OR vertically, but nothing in-between. This seems kind of silly, but I guess Apple had their reasons. Maybe 360° movement was too unwieldily or something?
  2. The nipple is really zippy for scrolling in most windows, but slows down to near-uselessness in Photoshop... even at the "fastest" setting. Since this is where I would use the feature most, it's a bit of a bummer. Hopefully Apple or Adobe will address this soon, because it would be a handy feature when working on large images.

The last new feature is the "squeeze-click." If you squeeze the two pads on the sides of the mouse (the same "hold pads" you use to pick up the mouse while click-dragging), you get a fourth button out of the deal. This seems a brilliant idea, except I have a bit of nerve damage in my hand, and it is difficult for me to squeeze tightly enough to make it happen. For most people, this is not an issue, and being able to have a fourth unobtrusive "button" will be a good thing. Like all buttons, the "squeeze-click" is programable to do whatever you want. Anything from pulling up the App Switcher to manipulating Exposé.

As I said earlier, how much you love the new Apple Mighty Mouse will entirely depend on how you are accustomed to using a mouse now. If you already have a two or three button mouse, and are happy with it, then the faux "no-left-click" is probably not for you. Personally, I do love it. It acts exactly like the Pro Mouse I am used to now, so I don't have to re-train myself... yet has added functionality that is much appreciated. My best advice would be to go to an Apple Store and play with one for ten or fifteen minutes before buying one. If you hold a mouse like me, and use a mouse like I do, you won't be able to go back to Apple's old mouse again.

Movie Quotable of the Day: "He's Hitler with a tail! He's "The Omen" with whiskers! Even Nostradamus didn't see him coming!"
Day-Before-Yesterday's Answer: Dumb and Dumber (1994) with Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels.

   

Fugly

Posted on Sunday, August 7th, 2005

Dave!I am becoming more and more convinced that the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica is not only one of the best science-fiction epics ever created, but perhaps once of the best TV shows ever. It's a bizarre hybrid of smart sci-fi and character-driven drama that lapses into absurd moments of current-day-earth reality at a moment's notice. This is both exciting and frustrating at the same time, but it's hard to argue with the results.

Until the new television season starts, it's the best show you're probably not watching.

Battlestar Galactica

In some respects, it's a voyeuristic guilty pleasure because so many of the characters are deeply flawed. Watching them fumble through their trials is fascinating entertainment which is filled with never-ending surprises. I don't think I am alone in feeling just a little bit dirty for having pried into their lives.

Where the show stumbles is in its failure to maintain a consistent "world" in which these characters can exist. Vehicles on other planets are just every-day earth cars, complete with license plates. Characters have nick-names like "hot dog" where hot dogs don't exist. Everyday US English idioms are commonplace, even though these people have never been to earth. Sure it helps the average viewer relate better to the show, but it's poor science fiction that is otherwise so brilliant in execution. On top of all that, soldiers aboard the Galactica are killed off at alarming rate, making you wonder when they're going to run out. How many can there be?

On the other hand, the acting, stories, and special effects are shockingly good... more than making up for any shortcomings. If that weren't enough, Cylons are bad-ass (or, in the case of Number Six and Boomer, bad-ass sexy!).

And now, from the opposite end of the sexy spectrum, comes the Dell XPS laptop. I keep seeing commercials where some idiot in a coffee shop sees another guy using the XPS and keeps trying to touch it because he thinks that it's so cool and sexy. This is baffling because, to me at least, the "XPS" must stand for "eXcruciatingly ugly Piece of Shit"! Just look at it!

Dell XPS FUGLY!

You know when you go to the luggage store how there are three kinds of luggage you can buy? First there's the really amazing-looking expensive stuff that you can't afford. Then there's the average-priced nice-looking stuff that you settle for. And finally there's the cheap-ass-looking crap that you'd be embarrassed to be seen with? Well, Dell went for the cheap-ass embarrassing luggage look here, and not even the MacOS-inspired background on the desktop can save it.

The aluminum shed siding alone is hysterical, but the retro-futuristic lettering and clutzy duo-tone color scheme just pushes it way over the top. It looks like something a redneck would put out on the porch along with the refrigerator and a recliner! As if using Windows wasn't painful enough, Dell expects you to lug this pile of crap around with you? Jonathan Ive must be laughing his ass off thinking "THIS is my competition?!?".

But I'm just a Mac snob, so what do I know. Perhaps this is what the kids are considering "cool" now-a-days.

(If that's really true, I weep for the future)

Movie Quotable of the Day: "Jim, Jack, Johnny Red, Johnny Black, and Jose... all my favorite men. You can have it any way you like it, as long as it comes in a shot glass!"
Day-Before-Yesterday's Answer: Mousehunt (1997) with Nathan Lane and Vicki Lewis.

   

Dock!

Posted on Wednesday, August 17th, 2005

Dave!I am hopelessly addicted to Rock Star: INXS in that I've watched the entire show from last night five times now. When you add that to the number of times I've watched the other episodes I've saved on TiVo, you might think that it's the only show on TV. It's like getting a new CD every week with music you can't get out of your head. Man I hope that they release the entire series on DVD and put the songs up for sale on the iTunes Music Store.

When you add that to my near-constant playing of the new Depeche Mode single "Precious"... it's been a good week for music.

The current meme-du-jur running around the blogosphere is "What's in YOUR Start Menu." Luckily, I don't have a Start Menu because I don't do Microsoft Windows. But I will share what's on my Mac PowerBook's Dock:

Dave Dock

  • Dragthing. The reason my Dock is relatively clean is because most of my applications are neatly tucked away in a series of custom "docks" that I've got set up in DragThing. Terrific organizational tool... $29.00.
  • Address Book. A part of MacOS X that I tolerate only because it syncs nicely through .Mac and is accessible online. As an address book app, it kind of sucks ass due to pathetic printing capabilities. Gives me the one reason I have to envy Windows users who have Outlook.
  • Safari. The MacOS X inclusive web browser you love to hate! Does so many things so well... but sucks total ass for too many others. The only app I can reliably make stall the entire OS. Bleeds memory like a stuck pig. Once they fix the stupid thing, it will be worthy of Apple.
  • Net Newswire. A web feed reader that's yummy good because it syncs over .Mac fairly well. Has a number of annoyances that make me freak out (when you are IN a feed and new entries arrive, and you press the space bar to go to the next entry... CYCLE TO THE NEW ENTRIES BEFORE GOING TO THE NEXT FEED! ARRRGH!!) but pretty sweet overall... $24.95.
  • Mail. The built-in MacOS X email app that's not perfect, but works for me.
  • Ecto. The indispensable blogging tool that's the reason I blog every day... $17.95.

Dave Dock

  • Circus Ponies Notebook. The mega-cool organizer app that keeps track of everything you need in ways you can't believe. Automatically indexes everything you put in it, and is available as a system-wide service which is nifty-cool. I've got separate notebooks for research, writing, and happy thoughts... $49.95.
  • Transmit. The FTP app to beat all FTP apps. Actually makes Apple's iDisk worthwhile by circumnavigating the shitty and slow built-in WebDAV access. Elegant and lovely... $29.95.
  • iTunes. Uh huh... uh huh... uh huh uh huh uh huh!
  • TextMate. For decades, I relied on BBEdit for all my text editing needs. Recently, I switched to TextMate and am ever so happy I did. It's ability to collapse levels when coding HTML, automate tedious tasks, and breeze through repetitive drudgery with ease is liberating... $49.00.
  • Wallet. And what's in your wallet? I've used so many secure organizer apps that I had given up on finding one that I love. Then along comes Wallet and everything changes... $14.95.
  • Kitty Spangles Solitaire. The "more addictive than crack" solitaire game that is worth buying a Mac just to play it. Read about my Kitty Spangles addiction here. $14.95.

What's in YOUR Dock?

Interesting trivia about the above Blogography entry: This is not the entry I had originally written for today. I had started with a rant about something that made me so angry that I simply couldn't finish it. All I wanted to do was scream and type curse words. Eventually, I decided to stop writing and sleep on it. I'll be angry tomorrow.

But slightly less angry than I am right now.

I hope.

UPDATE: Tonight's elimination round on Rock Star: INXS was way harsh... the bait-and-switch that Burke pulled between Ty and Suzie was just cruel. It is really beneath the show, and I hope that they cut out this crap and have a little respect for the performers from now on. Lame!

   

Nano

Posted on Wednesday, September 7th, 2005

Dave!And the Apple domination of downloadable music continues. As absolutely everybody on the planet is probably aware of by now, Apple just finished up a media event to announce a new Motorola iTunes phone and the stunning iPod nano.

It's so sad, but I want one quite badly. This is despite the fact that I already own a full-sized iPod (which I never use) and an iPod Shuffle (which I use constantly). It's just too cool not to own one, and my life suddenly seems incomplete until I have one...

iPod nano

How do they do that? It's like the size of a cookie.

As for the iPod "ROKR" phone... well, I don't know that I really care to have one for the music capabilities. The reason I want it is because it's so tightly integrated with the Mac for transferring my address book and stuff. The fact that I have to dump Verizon in order to get it is not a problem, because it's not like Verizon has bent over backwards to service their Mac customers. If Cingular has the vision to support my platform of choice, then that's the company I want to be with...

ROCKR

I will miss Verizon coverage, which is sweet despite being the antiquated and crappy CDMA version instead of the internationally accepted GSM (finally, an international phone for me!)... but I won't miss their crap phone selection with their even crappier phone features (Bluetooth is only JUST NOW arriving in their phones which is a total joke). I also won't miss their greedy policy of charging me for features that should be free (e.g., you can't download photos you take, because they make you spend the money to email them to yourself, which is balls-stupid).

Hey Verizon... can you hear me now?

Categories: Apple Stuff 2005Click To It: Permalink  9 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

iTunes5

Posted on Thursday, September 8th, 2005

Dave!After a very full day at work, and a run to Wenatchee for a scary visa photo, I finally had a chance to watch the Apple Media Event that His Royal Steveness streamed via QuickTime.

It made the iPod nano look even more desirable.

All because the smaller size does not mean lesser functionality. They even added features to it. Usually, this would be a down-side to me because I feel elegance lies in simplicity... but since I don't lug around a clunky PDA, I am kind of digging the photo album, world clock, calendar, address book, and everything else... all in such a tiny nothing of a package. So very sweet for the wayward traveler.

iPod Nano

I totally can't afford one because my "toy allowance" went to Katrina relief this month, but I suppose that's what credit cards are for.

I ordered mine in white, because it seems so much more classic.

After plunging myself into debt (yet again) I took some solace in the fact that the latest v5 release of iTunes was a free download. In the SteveNote, I could tell that Apple has started to diminish the now-antiquated "brushed metal" effect. What I couldn't see (until I installed it) was that the new streamlined look comes with a glaring bit of retro-harshness. The once beautifully rounded corners have bin nipped off with a clunky little edges that aren't even anti-aliased. Brutal.

iTunes 5

I'm not sure what to make of the lack of window edges. It seems that if Apple revises their OS windows this way in the future, they'll all kind of blend together badly. That frame around the edge may make the window bigger, but it serves a purpose. The bizarre thing here is that it's yet another level of disjointed interface elements within the MacOS that keeps drifting further and further into clumsy abandon. If they keep mucking it up like this, soon we Mac users will be worse off than those poor Windows-using bastards we make fun of.

Did somebody accidentally toss out the Macintosh Human Interface Guidelines book at Apple?

UPDATE: Strange. I just noticed that iTunes 5 has the capability to store lyrics as part of the song information. How many minutes until somebody writes a tool that automatically downloads them from a lyrics server and pops them into the files. I wonder if there is a way to display the lyrics in lieu of the "visualizer" within iTunes?

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Suck!

Posted on Thursday, September 8th, 2005

Dave!Everything sucks today! E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G-!!

I woke up this morning sick to my stomach and wanting to puke my guts out. It only went downhill from there.

I got to work and had to use Microsoft PowerPoint most of the day. MICROSOFT POWERPOINT SUCKS ASS! After using the sublime elegance of Apple Keynote for Macintosh, being forced to use PowerPoint is the equivalent of getting kicked in the balls by a lumberjack in steel-toed boots. All the little niceties that Keynote provides to make work so easy are gone. And, adding insult to injury, PowerPoint creates the ugliest, most horrifying, most boring slideshows imaginable. Hard to work with. Nasty results. Somebody remind me once again why people use Microsoft shit when something so much better is available? Insanity.

During my overindulgent 15-minute lunch hour, I got to fill out forms for an immigration visa application. PAPERWORK SUCKS ASS! Ultimately, I had a hard time figuring out which blows more... the inconvenience of filling out the forms, or the abhorrent photo of myself I had to attach to the application. I don't envy the person at the embassy who has to open the envelope. I envision them pulling out the papers, seeing the photo, and then running screaming from the room. After a Xanax and a bottle of Abolut Vodka, they return to their desk and deny me a visa based of the fact that I am just too heinous to enter the country. Does ANYBODY take good passport photos?

Dave Passport

Once I finished up my PowerPoint ordeal, I then spent the next half-hour digging through loads of spam and other crap that had piled up in my email "In Box" during the day. Then I noticed an email from a friend telling me that Depeche Mode American tour dates had been released. This doesn't suck. This is the best news I've had all day. Until I look at the actual dates... only to learn that Depeche Mode lands in Seattle on November 16th. Of course, I'm not here on the 16th. I'm a couple of thousand miles away that day. NOVEMBER 16th SUCKS ASS! WTF? Am I not entitled to ANYTHING going right today? The best band in the universe, who I've been waiting to see on tour for a decade, finally comes to town and I won't be able to go. WAAAAAAAAAHHH!

Depeche Mode Tour

Once I get home. I check on my blog only to find I have a shit-load of spam comments waiting for me. Turns out that SixApart's much-vaunted "SpamLookup" feature in the new version 3.2 of Movable Type doesn't work very well. In fact, it doesn't work at all, and makes things much more difficult than using good old MT-Blacklist (there's no one-click "mark as junk" anymore... oh no, now you have to navigate a drop-down menu and then click "Save Changes", which is lame). Banning commenters doesn't seem to work (no big surprise, I can't seem to get "trust commenters" to work either). It could be that I'm doing something wrong, but when I click on the "documentation" link to find out, there is no documentation. MOVABLE TYPE SUCKS ASS! Who the f#@% ships a product with essential... nay, F#@&%ING CRITICAL... documentation not available? It's like "here's your blog, good luck with that spam shit, because we've got better things to do than tell you how to deal with it... like adding features to non-paying LiveJournal users or something." This is lame. Manually marking up spam is not fun. Especially when it is so obviously spam in the first place.

Movable Type Spam

You'd think after a day like this, I'd get to go home and relax for a bit. You'd be wrong. By the time I'm done, I'll have spent 6 hours trying to get my scheule for the next two months figured out. MAKING TRAVEL PLANS SUCKS ASS! Trying to coordinate flights from one side of the planet to the other, along with hotels, trains, tickets, and all the other crap that goes along with it is exhausting work. Right now, I have hotels without flights, flights without hotels, and a few days where I don't even know where I'll be, or how I'm getting to where I need to be going. I decided to take a break from the chaos to blog my day, but talking about it is only making me feel worse. If I make it to bed by midnight tonight, I'll consider myself very, very lucky.

Things had better be better tomorrow, or else I cannot be held responsible for my actions.

Movie Quotable of the Day: "We'd have more luck playing pick-up-sticks with our butt cheeks than we will getting a flight out of here before daybreak!"
Yesterday's Answer: Clueless (1995) with Alicia Silverstone and Paul Rudd.

   

Dave Approved: iPod nano

Posted on Monday, September 12th, 2005

Dave!Much to my shock and delight, the iPod nano I ordered arrived today!

I've only had it for two hours, but it is already one of my most favorite gadgets ever. It has the functionality of a full-sized iPod, but the portability and unobtrusiveness of the iPod shuffle. It is, without a doubt, the finest MP3 player I have yet owned or played with, and once again catapults Apple to the top... nothing else can touch it. It is a stunning display of both design and functionality that has me wishing that Apple would move into other markets. What I wouldn't give to have an iToaster.

iPod nano

The sound quality is stunning... about on par with my iPod shuffle, and slightly superior to my 2G full-size iPod. Unlike the competition I've tested, the volume gets plenty loud as well. The only downfall is that Apple continues to include these suck-ass earphones. I mean, for what they are, they sound okay... but the only way to go is to use in-ear phones. Fortunately, I've got a great pair that really maximize the quality that iPod is capable of.

The display, despite its tiny size, is remarkably crisp, clear, and easy to read. This means that the teeny, tiny little picture of the album artwork is recognizable enough to be useful. Also, the miniscule cards are readily discernible in the included Solitaire game, and the world clock (something I will use OFTEN) is just beautifully rendered. I don't know how they managed it, but the iPod nano is also capable of displaying your photographs, and easily syncs with iPhoto to make it happen. Another nicety is that it will sync with your address book and iCal calendar as well, so it is quickly becoming part-PDA as well as music device.

iPod nano

The iPod nano includes aforementioned crappy earphones, a dock adaptor (THAT DOESN'T FIT MY DOCK!!), a USB-2 connection cable, and a CD with drivers and outdated iTunes software. No FireWire cable is included, which sucks so much ass that I don't even know where to begin... FireWire is a standard that Apple championed, yet they f#@% over the Mac faithful by tossing USB-2 in the box? WTF? Only the most recent rounds of Macs even support USB-2! This means I have to transfer songs over painfully slow USB-1 on my Titanium PowerBook (which is where all my music is). The included adaptor looks like it is supposed to convert my old full-size iPod dock (which has FireWire) to work with nano, but it doesn't fit right... maybe my dock is too old? Oh well, if you just jam it in the dock without the adaptor, it works just fine, which is all I care about (you can, of course, use the cable alone as well). Still, lack of FireWire support out of the box is a notable f#@%-up in an otherwise miraculously perfect product... especially if you don't have a previous model to "steal" from. Okay, this f#@%ING SUCKS... the iPod nano doesn't support FireWire AT ALL! Even if you use an older cable with a FireWire connector. When you plug it in, it comes right up and tells you so. You can still use the dock... with a USB cable... but FireWire is entirely forbidden. This is STUPID, STUPID, STUPID!!! If Steve Jobs was here, I would bitch-slap the shit out of him for such a dumbass move. First Apple puts FireWire on everything, then stops supporting it? Thanks a lot f#@%ers. Shit like this is what turns faithful Apple whores into vengeful Apple haters. I am very, VERY pissed. F#@% APPLE... F#@% THEM UP THEIR STUPID ASSES!!!

I've seen some people complain that there isn't enough storage, which is crazy given the size of this thing. 1000 songs at a time is more than enough for me, and I've got a full-sized iPod If I ever want to carry my entire library around. I suppose the extra space would be nice for photos, but I don't think people will be using iPod nano as a substitute for a photo album considering there's no video-out and the small screen makes sharing difficult.

SURPRISES: The iPod nano comes with a stopwatch (with lap timer!), which I didn't see in any of the press materials. The small click-wheel is even more comfortable than the larger wheel on my full-size iPod. The calendar is actually worth using.

DISAPPOINTMENTS: Other than the missing FireWire support, there's only one other quibble... lack of a lanyard so you can wear the thing. Sure there's a "combo" model coming out that integrates headphones into the lanyard, but they're the same crappy earphones Apple is using already. I want a lanyard that lets me use my own earphones. No doubt there will be one soon, but this is a good reason to hang on to your iPod shuffle until something is released.

All in all this is a mind-blowing product. If you don't own an iPod, there are no more excuses, because the iPod nano is practically perfect IF YOU HAVE USB-2. If you already do own an iPod, then this is probably an excuse to upgrade IF YOU HAVE USB-2. Highest possible recommendation IF YOU HAVE USB-2.

   

Forty-Seven

Posted on Monday, September 19th, 2005

Dave!If you are a Star Trek geek, then there is a screen saver called "System 47" by meWho that may very well be one of the coolest screen savers since Flying Toasters. It's available for both Mac & Windows, and is well worth checking out.

If, however, you are a Mac user with a multiple-monitor set-up, then "System 47" IS the coolest screen saver ever, and you should download it immediately (they brilliantly play the monitors separately, which was an unexpected bonus you don't get from most screen savers!).

Oh... did I forget to mention that it's freeware?

System 47

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go back to pretending that I'm a Starfleet Captain...

Movie Quotable of the Day: "You're a great one for logic... I'm a great one for rushing in where angels fear to tread. We are both extremists. Reality has brought us somewhere in-between."
Yesterday's Answer: Under The Tuscan Sun (2003) with Diane Lane and Sandra Oh.
Categories: Apple Stuff 2005Click To It: Permalink  6 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Randomly

Posted on Tuesday, October 11th, 2005

Dave!Packed: There's nothing more fun than packing suitcases for a trip! Today I am having maximum fun. At least that's what I am telling myself as I try to get my stuff together. Again.

Booked: One thing I am happy to be packing is some cool new reading material that was sent to me. Sure beats trying to find something at the airport! I rarely have time to read except when I am traveling, so big link love goes out to James for his much appreciated thoughtfulness!

Crypto: A while back Sven had mentioned in an email that I should get a security certificate so I can digitally sign and encrypt my email. It sounded really complicated, so I put it on my "to do" list and forgot about it. Then the other day while I was in the middle of a phone call, I went ahead and tried it because it didn't cost anything and I was bored. Well, my faithful Mac made it fantastically easy, so now all my email is digitally signed (verifying that I was the one who really sent it) and, if you have a security certificate on your machine, anything I send to you will be encrypted as well. It's all very cool, and the Mac is really smart in that it can manage your certificates for you automatically. Here are the easy instructions for Mac users (I'm sure Windows isn't too much more difficult). And speaking of Windows users... I am told that Outlook stupidly marks digitally signed email as having an attachment. So don't be surprised when Windows sufferers get mad at you for sending an attachment they can't find.

iStinc: Apple's .Mac service has the ability to sync your data between multiple computers, which is amazingly handy... in theory. Despite several upgrades over the years, syncing STILL doesn't work as advertised. Sometimes things don't sync properly, and sometimes they don't sync AT ALL. My beautiful new email security certificates refuse to sync, despite the fact that I have specifically marked the new keychain I made for them as syncable. I've tried everything, but it's a no go. Furthermore, manually importing the certificates works until the next sync, at which time they are erased. I wish Apple would fix this crap once and for all, because it's not just keychains that screws up... everything screws up in sync eventually: bookmarks, email accounts, address books, and all the rest.

Phoney: I'm getting quite a few Google search referrals wanting to learn about my new Motorola a840 global mobile phone. Well, there's not much to say. The phone works as advertised. You can use the default CDMA network where available, then switch to GSM service when it's not. You CANNOT, however, switch to a GSM service when Verizon CDMA is available. It is your "home" network and overrides all others. So if you are buying the phone thinking that you can switch between Verizon, T-Mobile, Cingular, or whoever... it won't work, even if you use one of their SIM cards. It's a good phone, but all is not perfect... the phone is MASSIVELY HUGE compared to every other phone I've used. Not bad, just MUCH, MUCH bigger than I would have preferred. Also, as usual for Verizon phones, Bluetooth support is missing (dumbasses). Still, if you travel the globe like I do, it is super sweet to be able to make and receive calls wherever you go over both CDMA and GSM networks (except Japan, natch)... all on one phone number.

Motorolaa840

Universe: A while back I answered some of the biggest questions in science. Among them was a "what is the Universe made of" type thing. In my answer, I said that so-called dark matter is actually residue from temporal shifts in the universe... not actual "matter" at all. Now scientists are starting to catch up. All I can say is that when they finally figure out that I was right all along, they had better use the name I had given to the buffer particle that keeps the Universe from collapsing on itself... the "Daveon Particle"... or I shall be very cross indeed.

Gameable: For my upcoming trip, there will be a lot of mucking about on trains, so I thought that I would get a new "PlayStation Portable" PSP to pass the time between books. I gave one a try at a demo booth and discovered something strange... the games suck ass. I mean, there were a couple racing games that were pretty amazing, but everything else was kind of "eh." Since at most I would want just one racing game, I took a pass. Then when I got home I checked the game review sites, and they confirm what I had just found out: PSP games are mediocre. IGN reviews show NO perfect 10 games, just two 9-star games (racers), and a measly ten 8-star games (mostly sports)! That's just sad. I wonder if the much less cool Nintendo DS fares any better?

Back to packing...

Categories: Apple Stuff 2005Click To It: Permalink  3 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Day One: SEA->AMS

Posted on Thursday, October 13th, 2005

Dave!A boring and uneventful drive over to the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport was salvaged by a fantastic flight on one of Northwest Airlines newer A330 aircraft, where everybody has their own personal entertainment center. Since this was a free flight, I was in coach, but there seemed to be slightly more room than usual on this plane, so I didn't mind much.

Thanks to dozens of movie choices and games, the flight to Amsterdam flew by (heh heh) in no time.

I got to see Batman Begins (great, seen it before), Fantastic Four (not nearly as bad as I had thought), War of the Worlds (interesting flick with a crap ending), March of the Penguins (cute, but I fast-forwarded through much of it), Bewitched (truly awful, and I fast-forwarded through practically all of it), plus play a few games of trivia and Bejeweled. I was still playing as the landing gear came down, and still can't figure out where the 9 hours went. THAT'S the way to fly international.

I was very nervous when I surfed by Apple's web site, curious to know what their "big announcement" was going to be and how much it was going to cost me. Turns out it won't cost me a thing. The new media features in the iMac G5 are nice, but I've already got both a Mac and a TV. The new video iPod isn't impressive enough to warrant purchase, and the new video offerings at the increasingly mis-named iTunes Music Store are shows I don't care about and are only being offered at a crappy 320x240 resolution. Sure that's fine for an iPod, but there are plenty of other media portables out there with bigger screens, bigger storage, and better resolution for me to pay $1.99 a pop for crummy low-res copies of Lost and Desperate Housewives. What in the heck is Apple thinking?!?

Oh well. I don't really have the money to buy a cool new toy from Apple just now. With that in mind, I suppose I should be glad that they didn't release a cool new toy I couldn't live without.

On a sadder note, a small bird seems to be trapped here inside Schiphol International Airport. He flies up to the skylight, realizes he can't get out, and then flies down to the railing and starts chirping... I am guessing in the hopes that some other bird will answer and he can go home (or at least get outside)...

Trapped Bird

The poor little guy just flies from rail to rail calling out for help... it really is heartbreaking (I seem to be having March of the Penguins flashbacks here). Hopefully he gets it all figured out. I doubt a diet of leftover french fries and being trapped in an airport is a very good life for one who is meant to fly free.

   

Day Nine: Venezia->Roma

Posted on Friday, October 21st, 2005

Dave!Left a cold and wet Venice only to arrive in a warmer, yet far wetter Rome.

This is making me really, really thankful that I had spots of fantastic weather when I did. If the entire vacation had been under this weather, I would be really depressed. As it is, I'm more sad about it coming to an end than I am over the weather. After five hours on a train, all I had the energy for was to walk to the Hard Rock for dinner, then drag my soggy ass back to the hotel. After a few hours out in the rain, I'm really ready for bed.

But I can't go to bed, because I've got five days of blog entries to upload.

I haven't decided what I'm going to do tomorrow. I'm sure it will involve being wet.

Two big releases happened whilst I was in the northern environs of Italia... first, Depeche Mode's latest album, Playing the Angel hit on Tuesday. Next, Apple released some new computers and an utterly brilliant piece of software called Aperture on Wednesday.

Sadly, Depeche Mode's latest was a bit of a disappointment after the initial beauty of the single release Precious (not to mention the long, long wait since the last album). I like half the tracks well enough... but it seems more of an experiment than a refined work. Dave Gahan's voice is amazing as always, it's the musical accompaniment that's lacking. I don't know if Martin Gore is in a phase where everything has to be disjointed, raw, gritty, and stuck in a feedback loop... but it does not "feel" like a Depeche Mode album, and that's a bitter pill to swallow after the long months of anticipation. Some pretty major DM fans are referring to it as "noise" instead of music. While I wouldn't go that far, I can definitely see where they're coming from.

Apple Computer's Aperture, on the other hand, is an absolutely astounding software release that is going to entirely change how I work with digital photos. I cannot wait to get my hands on it, and will probably never shoot in JPEG mode again. If you're a professional photographer, here's a link you really need to follow.

Time for bed.

   

Shame

Posted on Thursday, November 3rd, 2005

Dave!I am so totally bummed. My PowerBook appears to be dying. I guess I shouldn't be surprised... the poor thing is three years old and has been drug around the world a dozen times over. I've grown quite attached to her, but the constant overheating and erratic behavior makes her unreliable, and I need a PowerBook I can count on.

Sadly, methinks it's time to consider a replacement. =Sob!= It seems like only yesterday I was waxing poetic over my Titanium-covered baby...

DavePowerBook

In the midst of my grief over my ailing PowerBook companion, I received an odd call on my mobile phone. Unfortunately for the anonymous bitch who called, I was in no mood for a wrong number, especially with her attitude...

Dave: Hello?
   
Anonymous Bitch: WHERE ARE YOU? YOU'RE 30 MINUTES LATE!! WE'RE GOING TO ORDER WITHOUT YOU!!!
   
Dave: WELL I'M SORRY!! I crapped myself on the way to the restaurant and thought it would be better to change my pants and be late rather than show up smelling like shit! Order me a jelly donut and a fifth of Jack Daniel's and I'll be there in ten minutes!
   
Anonymous Bitch: WHAT? WHO IS THIS??
   
Dave: I SAID TEN MINUTES!! And that donut had better be fresh!

Sigh.

Can you appreciate how difficult it is being me? I am forever lashing out with smart-ass comments and then immediately regretting it afterwards. My only excuse is that I am so incredibly brilliant that my evil brain is capable of bypassing my sense of shame on its own accord. Either that, or I have no shame to begin with. Either way, it's just not my fault, so I suppose I should stop feeling bad about it.

There. I feel much better knowing that I am not to blame for my poor behavior.

The day wasn't all bad news, however... a big congratulations to James & Erin on the birth of their new baby girl! Welcome to the world Vivian Bow! I must admit to being a bit surprised that they didn't name their first-born child after me though.

Oh well. Even though "David Vivian Bow" has a nice ring to it, I'm very happy for the three of them.

Speaking of happiness, have you registered yourself on the Blogography Reader's Map over at Frappr? Other than sending me a million dollars, it's the easiest way to ensure you will be spared my wrath once my evil plan for world domination has been unleashed. Only by registering now are you assured of my benevolence come D-Day! Mwah ha ha haaaaah!

   

Expectations

Posted on Monday, November 7th, 2005

Dave!My sarcastic nature is forever getting me into trouble... mostly by people who think I'm serious about all the things I say. I had a girlfriend who once asked me "why do you always expect the worst?" to which I replied "years of conditioning." And, for the most part, that's true. When people, places, services, purchases, and everything else you encounter ends up sucking ass, you just come to expect it...

You expect your new Panasonic piece-of-crap DVD player will break after a week.

You expect the latest Rob Snider movie will be "stupid-stupid" instead of "stupid-funny."

You expect it to rain on your vacation.

You expect politicians to lie and break their promises.

You expect those french fries you just ordered will arrive all limp and greasy.

You expect that your hotel room will smell like ass and have funky stains on the sheets.

You expect that those penis enlargement pills you ordered off the internet won't really work... (ahem, or so I am guessing).

Continuous disappointment ends up conditioning you to expect the worst. Anything else is just a pleasant surprise. Call me a cynic, but I lead a much happier life by not getting my hopes up.

And, sure enough, that same girlfriend dumped me two days later to go back to her psychotic ex-boyfriend...

Psycho Bitch Breakup

Psycho Bitch Breakup

Psycho Bitch Breakup

Yes it was disappointing, but also not wholly unexpected, so life goes on.

But now something has changed for me. My new Macintosh PowerBook is supposed to ship out today, and I can't help but be excited. Heaven help me, I am actually expecting good things this time. My Aluminum PowerBook will arrive and be totally perfect. I will fall in love with the speed and all the fancy new features and get over the heartbreak of my faithful Titanium PowerBook dying. It will be everything I desire in a laptop computer and I will be happy.

Life is good.

Though knowing my luck, FedEx will probably lose my PowerBook during shipment or run over it with a truck or something.

   

Hey, I tried to be optimistic there for a minute.

   

Unlawful

Posted on Thursday, November 10th, 2005

Dave!The Dave dropped his rugged frame into the uncomfortable chair with a grunt. His manly hands banged away at the computer's keyboard, tracking the shipment through the byways of cyberspace. After weeks of delays, today was the day his new PowerBook was due to arrive. Finally, all those bastards would pay.

As he waited for the requested information to appear, The Dave's testosterone-laden body heaved a sigh of indifference. The world may be going to hell around him, but the PowerBook was all that mattered now. He was blind to everything else.

Until the tracking data starting running across his display...

WHY! OH LAWDY WHY! WHY ME? WHAT HAVE I DONE TO DESERVE THIS?

Dave Cry

Trapped in Indianapolis for "International Shipment Release" by FedEx, there would be no new PowerBook delivered today.

The Dave pounds his massive hammer-like fist on the desk in a fit of unbridled rage. How dare they?

How. Dare. They.

Time passes, but the shock doesn't. Drunk on disappointment, The Dave staggers into the uncaring arms of a cruel night. Throwing caution to the wind, he drives home without his seat-belt on, laughing in the face of danger. The fine for driving un-belted is $101, but The Dave cares not.

Bring it on Johnny Law. Bring it on.

Categories: Apple Stuff 2005Click To It: Permalink  17 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Aluminum

Posted on Friday, November 11th, 2005

Dave!Took a forty-minute drive into Wenatchee this morning to retrieve my new PowerBook from Fed-Ex before having to head over Seattle-side. I had a half-hour to play before I left.

First impressions...

Unpacking an Apple product is an experience unto itself. Everything is so perfectly arranged to maximize the impact of your new PowerBook not as a piece of equipment, but a piece of your life. Just taking it out of the box makes you feel special (which, of course, you are... you're a Mac user now!).

The Aluminum PowerBook itself is quite nice, though I can honestly say that it's not as sweet to look at as my beautiful Titanium PowerBook that it's replacing. It's bigger. It's bulkier. It's less elegant. It lacks the classic stylings that makes the TiBook such a sexy piece of hardware. Even so, it's far, far, far better than anything to come out of Dell or any of the other Windows crap factories. I certainly won't be embarrassed to whip it out in public (if you know what I mean).

But outside of appearances... it's perfection. The denser pixel count of the screen gives me a larger desktop to work on. The screen is far, far bolder and brighter than my old PowerBook. The backlit keyboard is sweet (though my left-side Apple key is sticking for some reason). It is much quieter. It seems faster and more responsive (probably due to the 7200 rpm drive I upgraded to). The ATI Radeon 9700 graphics card allows all kinds of cool video effects. The nifty scrolling-trackpad is very handy.

So, while I am sad to say goodbye to my dying Titanium PowerBook, I think I will like working with my new Aluminum PowerBook just fine.

And now I am off to Redmond for some drunk and disorderly conduct.

Categories: Apple Stuff 2005Click To It: Permalink  5 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Geeky

Posted on Wednesday, January 11th, 2006

Dave!I confess that I am a geeky nerd.

But you probably already knew that.

My geeky nerdiness is multifaceted in that I am part sci-fi dweeb (thanks to Star Trek) and part comic book dork (thanks to Batman). And, in-between all of that, is a love of Japanimation, Macintosh, Curious George, video games, and blogging. All I need is an inflatable plastic girlfriend, and I think I'm set...

Dave Nerd

But no matter how much of a geeky nerd I am, there's always somebody who's a step ahead of me.

Like Bill Gates, for instance.

Bill is the ultimate geeky nerd, and the fact that he has billions of dollars makes him a geeky nerd to be reckoned with (not to mention exceedingly generous, since he's giving away huge amounts of money to charitable causes). Here's a dweeb who has amassed a fortune of such huge proportions that there is literally nothing he can't do...

...except get a handle on cool new trends.

He was late to graphical interfaces. He was late to the internet. He was late to video... He's always one step behind what all the cool kids are doing, and the list goes on and on. If it doesn't involve Windows or MS Office, he's out of the loop.

As a current example, here's an excerpt from an interview he gave over at Engadget regarding the new Microsoft/MTV online music store called (=snicker=) URGE:

Bill Gates: "With music, having MTV as a partner is a great thing. We think they can get the word out, do some neat things. We're also doing a lot in Messenger to make it so you can share playlists, so you can listen to different things. The next version of Messenger has music as one of the big breakthrough scenarios."

Yeah. Right. Except partnering with MTV for music expertise is laughable and so very, very lame.

You can't even FIND music on MTV anymore. In checking their schedule just now, I see a show called Next, followed by three episodes of Real World/Road Rules Challenge, followed by There & Back, followed by My Own, followed by another episode of Next, followed by Room Raiders, followed by Punk'd, and topped off by SIX episodes of Viva La Bam.

These are all reality-based television shows.

WHERE IS THE F#@%ING MUSIC?!?

Teaming up with MTV for music is like teaming up with McDonalds for tacos, and I just don't get it. Sure if this were 1984, partnering with MTV would be totally sweet. But in 2006 it's just sad. Once again, Bill is behind the curve. Apple is flying high with iTunes, so now Microsoft has to do yet another "me too" by making their own music store (apparently MSN Music didn't work out?)... except they team up with a has-been and give it a lamer name like "URGE" (which could only be more lame if they called it "EXTREME URGE" or some crap like that).

When is Microsoft going to stop being the bloated whore of the tech industry so they can be lean, hungry, and bleeding edge? When is Bill Gates going to understand that these sloppy-seconds "partnerships" are just not relevant when we're talking about a ship that's already sailed. I'm tired of Bill being late to the dock, then renting a little rowboat thinking that he'll be able to catch up... all the while screaming to the media about how Microsoft is doing all this cool shit that, in reality, is only cool to him.

Total crap like "URGE" is a waste of money and makes us geeky nerds look bad. Even worse, it stifles REAL innovation by distracting attention from things that actually ARE bleeding edge and cool.

BILL... YOU HAVE BILLIONS OF DOLLARS!! MICROSOFT IS ONE OF THE WEALTHIEST COMPANIES ON EARTH!! You don't NEED venture capital to finance something new... YOU'VE GOT MONEY COMING OUT YOUR ASS! STOP DICKING AROUND AND GET TO WORK!!

Build a flying car. Come up with wireless electrical power. Figure out a way to keep Golden Grahams from going soggy in milk... I don't really care... just do something NEW with your money for a change. Reclaim the geeky nerd you used to be and stop trying to play catch-up with the crap we've already got (seriously, "URGE"? WTF?!?). If you can't make it BETTER, it's just a waste of everybody's time.

In conclusion... wouldn't it be cool if McDonalds really did sell tacos?

McTaco they could call it!

BLOGOGRAPHY FLASHBACK ENTRY: DaveXP
BLOGDATE: March 6, 2005
   
In which Dave finally figures out a way of fixing all the bugs in Windows XP.
Click here to go back in time...

   

Herpes

Posted on Thursday, February 2nd, 2006

Dave!Last night while I was waiting for a surprisingly tame episode of Veronica Mars, I saw a new commercial for a product called Herpecin. In case you hadn't guessed, Herpecin is used for treating any herpes infections that happen to find their way onto your face. And, while I appreciate that when you get oral herpes there is a product to take care of it...

HERPECIN?!?

Dude! Seriously. Who in the heck wants to walk into the drugstore and ask the sales clerk: "Where can I find the Herpecin?"

Worst. Product. Name. Ever.

But it did get me thinking about what would happen if this trend escalates...

Dave Remedies

Bleh.

Unfortunately, as wonderful as modern medicine is... THERE IS STILL NO CURE FOR DUMBASS!!

Some stupid f#@%er is suing Apple Computer because listening to an iPod at full volume can cause hearing loss.

WELL NO SHIT YOU MORON!

Here's another newsflash for you... CUTTING YOURSELF WITH A KNIFE CAN CAUSE BLOOD LOSS!!

Who are these ignorant douchebags that are incapable of comprehending the obvious? The iPod NEEDS to have high volumes because NOT ALL MUSIC IS RECORDED AT THE SAME LEVEL! Some music is recorded softer than others. Many audiobooks certainly are. Some of the podcasts I've listened to are barely audible, even at full volume. On top of all that, some people are hard of hearing and need higher volume levels in order to hear anything in the first place. It's up to the individual to determine what volume level is appropriate for them and, if they are too f#@%ing stupid to figure it out, then they shouldn't be allowed to buy an iPod in the first place.

Seriously. This has got to stop.

Whenever a lawyer files such a stupid lawsuit, they should be immediately shot and then lit on fire. Or maybe bludgeoned with metal pipe and forced to choke on their own vomit. Or something involving a hack-saw and flesh-eating parasites. I dunno. All I do know is that this shit HAS GOT TO STOP!

What really chaps my ass is that these greedy turds are filing the lawsuit under the pretense of public safety, but the truth is that they WANT TO GET PAID. LAWYERS WANT MONEY!! Never mind that people have been using headphones for decades, all of a sudden everybody is too stupid and irresponsible to know that loud music can damage your hearing. WTF?!?

At some point people have to be responsible for their own stupidity rather than forcing everybody else to do it for them. That USED to be the American Way. But NOW the American Way is to sue everybody you can. Is this really what everybody wants for this country? Nobody wins but the blood-sucking bastard lawyers.

Anyway, one last thing... do you like potato chips? If you do, you'll want to read the rest of today's extended entry. If you don't like potato chips, then FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE DON'T CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW!!

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...

   

Hi-Fi

Posted on Tuesday, February 28th, 2006

Dave!As a Certified Apple Whore™, I become automatically enchanted with absolutely everything Apple does. Historically, this kind of blind devotion has been repaid, because everything they do is new, unique, classy, and better than most of the other crap in the market.

So when I had read that Apple was having some kind of media event today so they could unleash some cool new toys, I was understandably excited. Well, both excited and terrified, because Apple gear is usually pretty expensive, and I don't have extra cash laying around.

Turns out I needn't have worried. All the hype was for an upgraded Mac Mini computer and something called the iPod Hi-Fi.

Whoop-de-f#@%ing-doo.

The new iPod Hi-Fi has cool potential, EXCEPT IT'S NOT AN IPOD!! It's just speakers for your iPod. In fact, without an iPod plugged in, it doesn't do anything at all. So why call it an iPod when it's not and confuse everybody?? Beats the heck out of me...

Ipodhifi

It would be different if it had a massive hard drive inside and could act as a wireless repository hub for your music, video, and data... but it doesn't. It's a boom box accessory with a remote control. I might be at least a little excited if Bose hadn't already come up with a more elegant-looking solution that costs $50 less and doesn't have your iPod awkwardly sticking out the top. It's called the Bose SoundDock...

Ipodbosedock

So when Apple asks "who better to design the ultimate stereo system for iPod than the folks who designed iPod itself?" I'm guessing the answer is Bose, who has a heck of a lot more experience designing small-footprint sound systems than Apple does.

Kind of sad really. I wanted my big-screen video iPod.

   

Vapor

Posted on Wednesday, March 22nd, 2006

Dave!I have wonderful, amazing news.

Incredible, spectacular, miraculous news.

As I was heading home yesterday, I stopped at the mini-mart and found out that my beloved Coke with Lime is back! Sometimes begging and pleading actually works. What I am not sure of is if this is old stock that the Coke Man is trying to get rid of... or if it really hasn't been discontinued, and they were just going to stop selling it at that one store until I complained.

Oh well, I'll cross that bridge when I get to it. For now, I'm just happy I can still buy it...

Dave with Lime

Coke with Lime kicks ass.

In other news: Ha ha. HAH HA HA HAAAHHH! BWAAAAAHH HAAAHH HA HAAAAAAHHH!

Vista Delay

Maybe they should call it "Windows VAPOR"?

For crying out loud... just buy a Mac and be done with it.

   

As for me? I'm going to Daveland...

Daveland!

Oh Daveland...
   It's the place to sing a happy song.
   Grab your wallet and come along!
Oh Daveland...
   It's the place to have a great day.
   Bring your money to pay pay pay!
Oh Daveland...
   It's the place where fun times begin.
   Give us cash or you ain't gettin' in.
Oh Daveland...
Dave how we love you!

   

Mini

Posted on Friday, May 19th, 2006

Dave!And so I went and bought an Intel Duo-Core Mac Mini.

I guess this won't be very surprising... I am a total Mac whore. Me buying something from Apple is about as shocking as water being wet. What is somewhat surprising is that I bought the little guy to be a media server. It's hooked up to my television, and has a copy of all my music, photos, videos, movies, and even a complete backup of my current work files. I can access all of it from any room in my apartment via wireless. Eventually I'll have it set up so I can access it remotely over the internet as well. It does everything a "real" server does, but is remarkably small...

Mac Mini

It's so small, that I think I could probably fit six of them into my Mac G4 Cube, which was the smallest computer I had owned to date. The cool thing is that it seems quite a bit faster as well.

And now I am off to wash clothes so I can get my suitcase packed this weekend. But before I go...

Dave Bob

Just a reminder that I was a guest blogger over at Chasing Vincenzo yesterday. At least it was supposed to be yesterday, except I couldn't get my entry to post, so it's actually this morning. So if you just can't get enough of my nonsense, here's a link to RW's blog.

Categories: Apple Stuff 2006Click To It: Permalink  18 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Beep

Posted on Saturday, May 20th, 2006

Dave!I don't feel good.

I woke up this morning and the room was spinning. It was like a hangover, but without the benefit of having gotten drunk the night before. I'm thinking that it might be that avian bird flu that's going 'round. I should have liked to stay in bed all day, but I have a quick trip to get ready for.

Before I leave town, it's customary to back-up my PowerBook just in case somebody should steal it. Now that I have my Mac Mini Server in place, it's a piece of cake. Enjoyable even. Then afterwards, just to be sure everything went okay, I randomly open some files. That's when this DaveToon came up...

Dave N Jack

I had absolutely no recollection of drawing it or even if I had used it (yep, I had), but it's kind of ironic because this is exactly how I feel today.

If only I had that fifth of Jack Daniels to blame.

   

Vista

Posted on Thursday, June 8th, 2006

Dave!If I were a Windows fan just now, I would be pissed.

Inconsolably, irrevocably, undeniably pissed... because this long wait for the new "Windows Vista" with delay after delay after delay was so totally not worth it. I finally got to take a look, and it's just. Not. Worth. It.

You could so easily dismiss my criticism as "tainted" because I am a self-admitted Mac-Whore, but the simple fact is that I WANT Windows to be good. I NEED Windows to be good. For one thing, if Windows is some hot shit, Apple has to work harder and push the envelope faster to keep the Mac OS ahead of the game. For another, I have to actually use Windows from time to time, and would like for it to be a good experience. Nothing would make me happier than to finally be raving about Windows.

But, alas, Apple has nothing to worry about. The Windows experience still sucks ass...

Davevista

I am still trying to figure out what's so radically different in Vista. Sure they tried to make it LOOK more like a Mac than ever before (wheeee! frosty transparent windows!!)... and some processes are more "Mac-like"... but, for the most part, it's just more of the same. Even worse, neither of my two Windows machines (including one that's only a year old!) even supports the new OS fully, so I would have to go out and spend thousands of dollars in order to get a worse experience than my six-year-old Mac G4 Cube? WTF?!?

It still amazes me that people continue to claim that Macs are too expensive. From where I'm sitting, they are the best computer value on the planet... my little $700 Mac Mini is a superior computer experience RIGHT NOW (and does more out of the box) than a Vista machine costing twice as much eventually will. And then we have the NEXT version of OS X ("Leopard" v10.5) dropping soon... perhaps even before Vista ships (if it ever ships)... and heaven only knows what cool stuff is in store for Mac users then.

I may be a Mac whore but I am not a Mac idiot. My loyalty to Apple has been well-earned, but I am all about "the now" and maintain that if Microsoft were to ever release a superior OS, I would have no problem... no problem at all... dumping the Mac and switching to Windows (and the new Intel Macs make this possible at any time).

But Vista ain't going to do it.

Vista doesn't even come close.

Given my complete lack of Windows enthusiasm, I am too bored to write up any kind of review. A quick Google search reveals an article at ComputerWorld that does a better job than I could anyway.

Categories: Apple Stuff 2006Click To It: Permalink  25 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Egg

Posted on Monday, June 12th, 2006

Dave!When my next blogiversary rolls around and I decide to print new T-shirt to celebrate the occasion, somebody slap me. For the first two years, I never had to send out more than fifty shirts. This year there are HUNDREDS to ship, and it's a lot of work (as in an unbelievably huge amount of work).

I spent a big chunk of my weekend folding, bagging, boxing, and processing... yet only managed to get through 94 of the 311 orders I received. Tonight I barely got through another 40. At this rate, it will take me the rest of the week to ship all the shirts out, which makes me feel bad for everybody who's been waiting so long.

Ooh! As I'm typing this just now, thunder ripped through the heavens, lightning started crashing, and a deluge of water started dumping out of the sky.

Almost makes me glad that I didn't pull my motorcycle out of storage yet.

Anyway... I've had a few people ask before, and James just asked again, so I present a recipe for y'all:

Dave's Perfect Fried Egg Sandwich!

  1. Grate a half cup of Tillamook Medium Cheddar Cheese and set aside.
  2. Crack two eggs in a large skillet that's been pre-heated over medium heat and treated with cooking spray (like PAM) or a tablespoon of butter.
  3. Sprinkle eggs with salt and pepper to taste, then pierce the yolk so it runs. While the egg is cooking, pop two slices of white bread (preferably a "wide" loaf bread, like Orrowheat) in the toaster.
  4. Continue cooking the eggs until just before they start to turn crispy (I usually flip the eggs over for a bit at the last minute)... then remove from heat (DON'T let them turn brown!).
  5. The toast should have popped up by now, so lay the slices side-by-side on a plate - if you are hard-core and don't mind the extra calories, go ahead and butter the toast (so that it ends up on the inside of the sandwich... you don't want to end up with butter-fingers). Put the eggs on one half and sprinkle with the Tillamook Cheddar, then cover with the remaining slice of toast.
  6. Eat and be happy.
  7. VARIATION: From time to time I like to spread that second slice of bread with mayo (because eggs, butter, and cheese simply aren't enough fats for me)... it's ever so delicious and creamy!

And if you're looking for something to watch while eating your sandwich, here's some spiffy-keen new Mac ads...

Macinthebox

Look! It's a Mac-In-The-Box!!

   

Timothy

Posted on Saturday, July 8th, 2006

Dave!There wasn't much I had planned today. A few museums. Eating REAL bagels from H&H on the Upper West Side. That kind of thing.

Oh yeah... and visit the new 5th Street Apple Store.

This amazing new structure is about the coolest Apple Store yet (though I still loves me Tokyo, Chicago and L.A.) and is really beautiful with the light shining through it. The store itself is actually underground, but the big cube marks the entrance to the glass staircase and houses the elevator tube...

NYC Apple Store

NYC Apple Store

NYC Apple Store

Once I was finished snapping photos and ready to descend into the packed store below, a guy walked up to me... turns out it was Timothy from Araalinas (and now at Araalinusa)!! He has one more day in the city before heading to Uganda to teach, and apparently wanted to see the Apple Store before leaving the country.

It's strange, because when I first saw him, something familiar flashed in my head but I dismissed it. But when he walked up to me, I recognized him immediately from his blog (it's a small blogosphere after all!).

After we said our goodbyes, I wandered down to the Apple Store and suddenly realized that I should have gotten a photo, because nobody is going to believe this. After getting back to the hotel, I immediately unloaded my camera to see if he was in any of the shots I took. Sure enough...

Timothy at Apple Store NYC

Now, seriously. What are the odds here?

I mean, I run into people every once in a while who recognize me (or, to be more accurate, my shirt), but a fellow blogger I read who is from American Samoa via Florida on a stopover in New York City before he's on his way to Africa? This is some crazy stuff right here.

And there I was with no Hello Kitty Pop-Tarts to offer him.

Blogging is SO worth it.

   

Night

Posted on Sunday, July 9th, 2006

Dave!New York City is pretty sweet any time of day, but I think I like it at nighttime the best.

Last night I decided to venture out into the city once again so I could see the Apple Store lit up in all its glory. And, yes, it's pretty sweet. The way the Apple logo reflects into the glass is almost holographic-looking, and you can see everything a lot better because the reflections from neighboring buildings is not so bad. It is truly a beautiful structure, so kudos to Steve Jobs and his cube obsession for giving New York City another landmark piece of architecture...

NYC Apple Store at Night

NYC Apple Store at Night

Not to say that there aren't a lot of other buildings that look great at night...

NYC at Night

NYC at Night

Most of today was spent at the American Museum of Natural History. Not only did they have a freakin' cool exhibit on lizards (which I love), but there's a new Space Show narrated by Robert Redford called Cosmic Collisions, and an IMAX film I haven't seen called Amazing Caves. It's a pretty sweet place to spend an afternoon. How many places can you see giant dinosaur bones in one hall...

Dinosaur Bones

And then see a statue of a chubby doggy in the next?

Chubby Doggy

Today was my last day in NYC, and I'm kind of sad about that.

   

Jersey

Posted on Sunday, August 6th, 2006

Dave!DUDE!

Thanks to Brandon over at The Sports Logo Pundit, I just ordered me what has to be the sweetest hockey jersey on the planet from the Milwaukee Admirals.

Seriously, check this out...

Milwaukee Admirals Away Jersey

Coolest. Logo. Ever.

IT'S A PIRATE!! And note that the jersey has a lace-up front, buccaneer-style, which is even sweeter.

According to Brandon there's controversy because some people don't like the new logo, but these people are full of crap! Just look at the lame logo they used to have versus the sweet hotness of the logo they have now...

Milwaukee Admirals New Logo

The only sucky part is that the jerseys are so popular there is a seven-week wait. But that's okay, I guess, because it will actually be cool enough to wear it then.

And speaking of totally frightening impulse shopping... tomorrow is one of the two scariest days of the year: the start of Apple's World Wide Developers Conference (the other day being MacWorld in January). And why is that? Because it's when Apple will unleash cool new products on an undeserving world. And what will it be? New big-screen video iPod? iPhone? Mac Pro? iTaco? Who knows?!?

Of course, being the Mac whore that I am, I will totally end up buying everything... even though I can't afford it.

I still remain hopeful for iToast...

iToast

I swear I would totally buy a box of rusty nails, so long as it had the Apple logo on it.

Somebody help me.

Categories: Apple Stuff 2006Click To It: Permalink  32 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Animated

Posted on Monday, August 7th, 2006

Dave!I am a huge fan of animation and have done my fair share of goofing around using both traditional hand-drawn and 3-D computer techniques. The problem is that animation is hard to do well, so I usually get frustrated and give up. Still, it's proven to be valuable experience, because it has made me better at story-boarding and character design (which is work I really enjoy).

Recently I've fallen in love with the idea of making my own animations again, and have decided to see what I can do with the hefty DaveToon library I've accumulated from my blog over the past couple of years. At first I was going to do everything in 3-D, but that quickly fell through because the 2-D nature of my simple drawings didn't look very good when translated. So now I've been messing around with 2-D cell animation and find that it isn't much easier. The characters were never intended to be animated when I first created them, so everything looks a little strange when I attempt it.

But, after a drawing up a few dozen pages of movement animatics and character structure, I'm getting much closer to being able to make DaveToons come to life. Here's a page showing the frames of a simple head-turn...

Davetoon Lil' Dave

And here's an attempt at restructuring Bad Monkey for movement...

Davetoon Bad Monkey

At this point I still don't know if it's going to work. Hopefully I'll get it figured out after another two dozen pages.

Anyway...

Fortunately, Steve Job's keynote speech at Apple's World Wide Developer's Conference didn't result in me going bankrupt. No widescreen Video iPod. No super-cool iPhone. No iPod Car Stereo. Just the release of the impressive new Mac Pro machines and a peek at the X-Serve server specs. This really makes sense, because consumer devices like iPods and iPhones don't really belong at a software developer's conference anyway.

The highlight of the keynote was, of course, a sneak peak at the next version of the MacOS X operating system, code-named Leopard. Steve was very clear that they would only be showing a few of the features that they have planned, because they need to have a few surprises left in store for the product launch.

Holy crap.

If THIS is the cool stuff that they are willing to show us, then heaven only knows what else they're going to pack into the OS when it ships next Spring! Once again Apple totally blows by Microsoft Windows, which is still trying to copy the previous version of the MacOS with their ever-delayed "Windows Vista" OS (which, in my mind, is rip-off because it's mostly a bunch of security fixes that SHOULD have been put in Windows XP). Why anybody would still want to cling to that lamer imitation is a complete mystery to me. Every single time I am forced to use my Windows PC, it's like stepping back in time... even when I am using the "Windows Vista" beta. Apple revolutionizes their OS nearly every year, whereas Windows just continues to lag behind and stagnate. "Vista" ain't going to change that, because paying for a bunch of security fixes and an outdated GUI simply isn't worth it. I can't help but wonder how many people will switch to the Mac after seeing what a total disappointment "Vista" is turning out to be when compared to how rippin' cool Leopard is.

Oh well.

All I can say is that I am amazed at the new "Time Machine" and "Core Animation" tech built-in to the new MacOS, and am thrilled that virtual desktops will finally be built-in as well. Everything else is just beautiful gravy, and I can't wait to see what else we're going to get with MacOS X v10.5!

   

Appreciated

Posted on Thursday, August 24th, 2006

Dave!Today is Blog Appreciation Day and, trust me, if I had the time to load up the hundreds of blogs I read so I could take their photo, I would absolutely do that. But, on top of all the crazy stuff that happened today, my new Mac Pro showed up, and so a huge chunk of my day was spent setting it up, transferring files, and screaming (if you're really interested, I've put the whole ordeal in an extended entry).

But, despite the fact that I couldn't participate, Kevin and Karl were nice enough to photograph my blog anyway...

Blog Appreciated

Unfortunately, it's also "Planet Depreciation Day," and some dumbass astronomy guys decided that Pluto was no longer a planet. This is totally lame, and I have news for you... I don't really give a crap what they say, to ME Pluto is STILL A MUTHERF#@%ING PLANET!! Hey, it sure looks like a planet, and even has a freakin' moon...

Pluto

Okay then. If the joys and frustration of Macintosh computer ownership fascinate you, then feel free to continue reading about my day in an extended entry, filled with bitching and geeky goodness...

Mac Pro

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...

   

DOA

Posted on Friday, August 25th, 2006

Dave!Well crap. I had thought that my re-seating of the RAM, video card, and hard drive was a permanent fix for my new DOA Mac Pro yesterday... but, alas, it was not to be. When I went to turn it on this morning it was dead again, and no amount of mucking about the insides would help. My brand new Mac is dead. I am guessing that something got banged loose in shipping.

As I have said many times... I don't evaluate a company by what happens when things go right (that's what is supposed to happen), but what happens when things go wrong. Usually with a serious computer problem like this, the manufacturer insists on sending random replacement pieces in a half-hearted attempt to fix the computer. Not Apple. They are building me an entirely new machine. Pretty classy.

So, while I am sad that I don't have a functional Mac Pro, I am relieved that Apple is handling it correctly.

In other news, I've added Dr. Phil to my list of The Worlds Most Annoying People...

Douchebags

He surges past David Caruso, Martha Stewart, and Judge Judy... but doesn't quite knock Jared the Subway Sandwich Whore from the top spot. Unfortunately, this drops American Idol Taylor Hicks out of the top-five, but who really cares? He disappeared faster than vapor, so it's not like he's around to be annoying anyway.

Categories: Apple Stuff 2006Click To It: Permalink  26 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Kicked

Posted on Saturday, September 9th, 2006

Dave!You know how when you get smacked in the balls there's that fleeting state of euphoria where you think "oh jolly good... it's not going to hurt after all" — until a second later when the overwhelming pain surges through your body so badly that you throw yourself on the ground and beg for death to take you? Not that I'm in the habit of getting smacked in the balls on a regular basis, but the few times it did happen left a real impression.

Anyway, this is the exact same feeling I get when I use Microsoft Windows.

At first I get that slight tinge of euphoria and think "it's not going to hurt after all" until a second later when I realize that a drive letter has been mysteriously re-assigned by the OS, and all my links are broken. Then I'm down on the ground begging for death to take me as I scream "Argh! My balls! My precious balls!"...

Davekickedballs

Ah yes... kicked in the nuts by Windows... AGAIN. This happens so often that my testicles start aching every time I hear that annoying Windows startup sound (much the way I have an orgasm when I hear the Mac startup sound).

When Vista is released, I'm investing in an athletic cup.

   

Zoon

Posted on Thursday, September 28th, 2006

Dave!As a Certified Apple Whore, I bought a first-generation iPod the minute it became available. I then went on to buy an assortment of other iPod models because Apple owns my ass. I have not, however, purchased a video iPod because the screen is too small for extended viewing. Until they manage to make a model with a larger screen, I'll just have to make due with my iPod nano, iPod Shuffle, and third-generation iPod.

But now Microsoft has come along with a media player of their own called "Zune" which features a larger screen and other toys that the iPod lacks...

Mszune

It will come as a surprise to nobody that I will not be buying one of these. The REASON I will not be buying one, however, probably will be surprising...

  • It's NOT because it's made by Microsoft. Though I hate MS Windows with a fury of a thousand suns, I'm perfectly willing to purchase other Microsoft products if they're the best option for me. I've owned MS mice. I use MS Office. I have an MS Xbox. I do not discount something out-of-hand just because Microsoft makes it.
  • It's NOT because Zune is ugly. Sure this product looks laughably bad... the tacky silver trim accents alone are enough to make me gag... but looks are fleeting. Take my Apple stuff. Sure it looks great out of the box, but it isn't built to stay that way. My iPod looks like shit because it's all scratched up. My beautiful aluminum PowerBook looks like crap because the metal coating wasn't anodized properly and is flaking off. Because of that, even Zune's horrendous design doesn't bother me.
  • It's NOT because there's no version for the Mac. You'd think this would be a deal-breaker, but it's not. If Zune was compelling enough, I'd install Windows on my Macs and use it that way. Not an ideal solution but, I update my iPods only before I go on a trip, so I could probably stand to use Windows just long enough to update my Zune.
  • It's NOT because Microsoft has a shitty reputation for their handling of Digital Rights Management. In my opinion, ALL DRM is crap, and the fact that Microsoft developed their "PlaysForSure" solution and then totally abandoned it for something fresher on Zune is just the price you pay (I guess "PlaysForSure" is now "PlaysForShit?"). Most of my music is from CDs anyway, and what few tracks I do have from Apple can be made DRM-free if you have the patience to research how.

So what is it? What possible reason is keeping me from buying a Zune? If you care, the answer is in an extended entry...

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Trifecta

Posted on Friday, September 29th, 2006

Dave!A year ago today I was in China standing on The Great Wall (though I got a better view of it the next day before I headed off to the Forbidden City).

This year, I'm stuck at home in a place where Screech has a scary-ass sex tape out, Clay Aiken has another shitty album out, and a sneak peek of the brillant Veronica Mars season premiere is out... kind of.

It's a trifecta of horrors on a Friday night...

See. Hear. Speak.

I DON'T WANT TO SEE THIS CRAP! Annoying nerd-boy Dustin "Screech" Diamond from that totally forgettable television monstrosity Saved By The Bell has a sex tape out. Apparently, he's involved in a tape trading ring with "high profile people" where you get points for doing freaky shit and videotaping it. Now, I have no problem if people are into this kind of stuff... because, until the Constitution is completely rewritten, everybody in the good ol' USA has the right to get their freak on... but why would anybody want to see a tape which features SCREECH in any kind of sexual situation?!? Fortunately for us, President Bush will soon have the power to declare scary crap like this to be an "attack against America" and have creepy sex pervs like Screech interned and tortured.

I DON'T WANT TO HEAR THIS CRAP! How in the heck does somebody like Clay Aiken sell records? To say that his "music" sucks ass is a declaration of such absurd understatement as to be laughable. His latest album of cover-tunes is everywhere and you can't turn the channel without having to listen to him totally butchering some old song in horrifying new ways. I DARE you to fire up iTunes and subject yourself to his ass-blasting renditions of once-beautiful songs like Mr. Mister's Broken Wings and Foreigner's I Want To Know What Love Is or Paul Young's Everytime You Go Away. Holy crap! The least Clay could do for his "fans" is shit all over his own songs rather than take a dump on classics.

I DON'T WANT TO TALK ABOUT THIS CRAP! The best show on television, Veronica Mars, will have its season premiere on October 3rd. But, in a very interesting turn of events, the entire first episode is available for free viewing on the internet right now! This is awesome news! Unless you are a Macintosh user, in which case you can go fuck yourself! That's right, boys and girls... instead of using a format everybody can enjoy, the new CW Network has handed this totally sweet deal over to MSN which means, unless you are running Windows with Internet Explorer 6 and Windows Media 10, you are out of luck! Using a Mac? Go fuck yourself! Using Linux? Go fuck yourself twice! What's totally lame is that Mac users CAN view the ass-kicking opening scene from the episode by going directly to CW TV's site. But all that will do is leave you hungry for more, which you can't have unless you are a Windows sufferer. The reason I don't want to talk about this is because the CW Network was nice enough not to cancel Veronica Mars... for which I am eternally grateful. But I find it somehow ironic that Veronica herself and most all of the other characters on the show use Macs, thus wouldn't be able to watch their own season premiere online.

Why is it that total suckage always comes in threes?

   

Unbuntu

Posted on Saturday, October 28th, 2006

Dave!I spent most of the afternoon attempting to get my Windows PC running again. I finally just had to re-install the Windows OS... again... which is always an ass-load of fun. Now everything is working, but it's put me in a really bad mood. It was made even worse when I found out that Blogography doesn't render properly in Explorer anymore. I have no idea what's going on there, but I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. Windows sucks ass.

Which is why I've been playing with the Ubuntu Linux OS...

Ubuntu

I must say, I'm impressed. It installs like a dream, works beautifully, feels snappy, and is totally FREE! So far I've got it installed on both an old PowerPC Mac and an old Wintel box, and it runs great. If all I needed was to surf the web, write email, and create an occasional word processing document, or spreadsheet or whatever, I could totally switch no problem. But too much of what I do can't be done on Ubuntu (yet) so it's going to have to remain an interesting diversion for the time being.

I can easily see Ubuntu making wide deployment into office environments though, because you just can't beat the price. You've got pretty much everything you need (including Open Office, the MS Office clone), and other nifty open-source apps like Scribus (for page layout) and Quantus Plus (for web site creation) are only going to push things further as they mature. In another couple of years, Ubuntu is going to be on equal footing with Macs and PCs which has got to be making some people very nervous.

"I'm a leaf on the wind... watch how I soar..."

Categories: Apple Stuff 2006Click To It: Permalink  22 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Nonfunctional

Posted on Friday, November 3rd, 2006

Dave!Well crap.

For some reason my PowerBook is no longer wanting to charge up the battery. This is very bad news, because I'm in Seattle through Monday and need to get some work done. The plug-in port for my power adapter feels loose, so something tells me that this is a hardware problem that can't be fixed at a local Apple Store.

Oh well. Perhaps this is a sign telling me to put aside work for the night and do something more fun with my life?

Categories: Apple Stuff 2006Click To It: Permalink  2 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

MacBook

Posted on Thursday, November 16th, 2006

Dave!My new MacBook Pro has arrived, so any time I would have spent blogging tonight was consumed with installing my software and making sure my data transferred across okay. Fortunately I have a .Mac account, so most of the configuration and settings were adjusted automatically, but there was still a few hours of work to be done.

The good news is that everything is up and running just fine...

Photo Booth

I kept notes on my thoughts, impressions, and complaints as I went along and am putting them in an extended entry. Mostly boring stuff, but I like to keep a record of things like this for future reference.

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Categories: Apple Stuff 2006Click To It: Permalink  23 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Junkfood

Posted on Wednesday, January 3rd, 2007

Dave!I've been watching my new Mission: Impossible... The Complete First Season DVD set whenever I can. It's amazing how well the series holds up after 40 years. I was totally addicted to the reruns when I was a kid, then hopelessly disappointed by the Tom Cruise films as an adult (M:I is supposed to be about TEAMWORK... TEAMWORK!). It's pretty sweet to see that the original show is just as good as I remember... and Barbara Bain is just as smokin' hot as I remember (literally, she smokes cigarettes constantly).

I've decided I don't feel like writing tonight. To explain myself, I offer this...

Junk Food

Why are people are still listening to this crazy asshole? If God is truly talking to Pat Robertson... how could he ever be wrong in his predictions? Wouldn't he have to be right 100% of the time for people to actually believe his shit? When he says "sometimes I miss" doesn't that imply that GOD is missing too? Or maybe... just maybe... he's a total nut-bag fraud. Anyone? Anyone?

Argh. Time for another spoonful of Pepto Bismol and bed.

But before I go... Over New Years, I reorganized and catalogued my DVD collection with a program called "Delicious Library." I've owned the program for almost two years, but never had the ambition to actually use it until now. I ended up loving the way it works so much, I've decided to review it in an extended entry...

Delicious Library

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Chalupa

Posted on Monday, January 8th, 2007

Dave!For Macintosh whores like myself, tomorrow is the most important day of the year because it's time for MacWorld!

I both love and hate MacWorld. Love it, because Apple is probably going to introduce some cool new stuff. Hate it, because I'm bound to want all the cool new stuff... and it's always expensive.

Last year, I live-blogged from the keynote for the introduction of the iToast toaster...

iToast

That was fun and all, but this year there isn't a live feed of Steve Job's keynote speech, so I guess I won't be live-blogging anything. Heck, I can't even find out if they will be re-broadcasting the Stevenote afterwards. As a Mac whore, I find this depressing.

Oog.

I've become one of those people that qualifies everything I say "as a Mac whore."

This reminds me of a former co-worked who qualified everything he said "as a Christian."

He was a nice enough guy, but the condescending way he constantly presented his Christian opinion as being superior to everybody else drove me insane. You could even be saying something nice to him, and he'd find a way to turn it around and make you feel inferior...

Dave: Hey, good luck with your class!
Christian Guy: As a Christian, I don't believe in luck... I believe in Jesus!

Even when you are obviously joking around, he's there to look down at your heathen ass...

Christian Guy: I wanted to go to the party, but everybody was acting freaky, so I left.
Dave: POD PEOPLE! They've been replaced by alien clones!
Christian Guy: As a Christian, I can't accept the concept of alien life.

It got so bad that I dreaded being in even simple conversations with him for fear of what might happen...

Dave: I can't decide if I want a Gordita or Chalupa from Taco Bell...
Christian Guy: As a Christian, I don't believe in Chalupas because they are fried. Gorditas are baked as God intended in Ezekiel 4:15... "I will let you bake your bread over cow manure instead of human excrement."
Dave: Gross!
Christian Guy: BURN IN HELL, CHALUPA-EATER!!

Fortunately, he quit the job after only a few weeks and took his holier-than-thou attitude with him.

And since I brought it up...

As a Mac whore, I prefer to think of Jesus as a Mac user.

UPDATE: Hey, I was right!

Categories: Apple Stuff 2007Click To It: Permalink  22 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

iPhone!

Posted on Tuesday, January 9th, 2007

Dave!Yeah, I just knew this MacWorld was going to be financially devastating.

Looks like I'll be dumping Verizon this June and signing up with Cingular. Verizon has excellent quality and fairly decent customer service and all... but... dang... how can you say no to THIS...


Iphone

The specs over at Apple are AMAZING.

It kind of sucks that there's a six month delay before you can buy it, but something tells me it will be worth the wait.

Besides, it will give me time to save my pennies... all 50,000 of them... so I can actually afford the thing when it's released.

Categories: Apple Stuff 2007Click To It: Permalink  46 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Presidential

Posted on Wednesday, January 10th, 2007

Dave!But that would have been my favorite part...

Dave's Presidential iPhone

Dave's Presidential iPhone

Dave's Presidential iPhone

Dave's Presidential iPhone

   

Hated

Posted on Wednesday, January 17th, 2007

Dave!Stop it.

Would Microsoft Windows sufferers who are still using Internet Explorer please just stop it? Go download Firefox or Opera or whatever, and start using a real web browser instead. I am tired of spending hours and hours tracking down the crap-load of bugs and quirks unique to Internet Explorer so that web pages display properly. It seems that every time I get to the end of a project, I find stuff that renders beautifully in regular browsers, but end up looking like crap in IE...

Browser Render

It's a real pain in the ass, so if everybody on the internets could just stop using it, that would be great.

Oh, and since the new Windows Vista version of Outlook f#@%s up HTML emails, if you would switch to Thunderbird or some other email client while you're at it, I'd appreciate it.

Thanks!

Your friend,
Dave2

Firefox!

This sucks ass. Blogography has been fragged with a scrolling bug in IE for ages, and I've got no time to fix it because I'm too busy fixing everything else.

Why does Microsoft hate us so much?

   

AppleCare

Posted on Saturday, January 20th, 2007

Dave!I went and saw Babel tonight. It was an interesting film, but not very entertaining (that came later, when I got home and watched Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle on DVD again). I also bought Barack Obama's book The Audacity of Hope to read on the plane for my upcoming trip. I liked his first book, Dreams from My Father, and have enjoyed every interview and appearance of his that I've seen, so I'm looking forward to it.

Most importantly, however, I had a Veggie sub at Quiznos for dinner. Since people are telling me that ketchup and pizza sauce don't count a vegetables, I figured this would make everybody happy. My sandwich totally had lettuce, tomato, olives, and everything!

But going to Quiznos always raises a question. Am I the only one who sees Quiznos Bread Bowls and thinks of skeet shooting?

PULL!

Bread Bowl Skeet Shoot

Bread Bowl Skeet Shooting would be totally sweet!

Lastly, in sadder news... for the past couple of days, my MacBook Pro's hard drive has been making crackling noises. I assumed this was a bad thing, and immediately backed up all my data. Then this morning half my files were inaccessible and the hard drive was grinding. Time to call Apple for some help.

What a difference good support makes...

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Categories: Apple Stuff 2007Click To It: Permalink  17 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Karma

Posted on Thursday, January 25th, 2007

Dave!You would think that I would be due some good karma after all the crap that I've been through this week.

You would be wrong.

It seems that karma isn't done raining shit on me just yet, which is always a good sign just as you are about to leave the country. It's at times like this that you start thinking of "mechanical difficulties" happening over the Atlantic and having to land in Greenland or something. Not that I'm badmouthing Greenland... I'm sure it's a perfectly lovely place in the middle of winter... it's just that I'm not ready to visit there yet.

Raining Shit

Take arriving at my hotel, for instance. If you were forced to choose one, which of the following horror stories would you least want waiting for you...

  1. There's no hot water and you'll be taking a cold shower.
  2. All the beds are infested with lice and you must sleep on the floor.
  3. There's 24-hour high-impact dynamite blasting going on next door.
  4. The internet is broken.
I would rather have A-C than D. Heck, I'd rather be kicked in the balls than D. Being without internet while away from home sucks total ass. So guess what the answer is? Why it's D, of course! No internet! CRAP!

With nothing better to do, I decide to go to the mall and get my hair cut. That's when I notice a brand new Johnny Rockets has opened up at the food court. My favorite restaurant! I love Johnny Rockets! But it's me we're talking about, so guess what happens...

  1. You order a veggie burger and they accidentally slip you a dead cow burger.
  2. They are out of veggie burgers.
  3. The deep-fat-fryer is broke, so no fries with your veggie burger.
  4. The cook uses an old burnt bun that's been sitting on the grill sweating, so it's crusted with char on the inside, mooshy and falling apart on the outside.

Yeah, it's D again. Why would you serve somebody a burnt bun with their hamburger? It's insane. Just throw the shit away... don't ruin a customer's dinner over something that costs 25¢! I have eaten at Johnny Rockets all around the country (and once when they had them in Japan) and have never had a bad meal until today.

At this point, I was terrified to get my hair cut. What else was going to happen? Would they accidentally stab me in the eye with the scissors? Would they scalp me a bald patch on the back of my head? What? Turns out it was none of those things. They somehow managed to cut my hair without inflicting any major damage.

Not wanting to press my luck, I decide to go buy me a new iPod Shuffle Clip and call it a night. I really wanted to buy a new "regular" iPod, but I'm waiting for them to add a bigger screen so I can watch videos. In the meanwhile, I'm perfectly happy with a new Shuffle. I think "cute" is the word that best describes it... and you just can't prepare yourself for how tiny it is... it's shorter than a jumbo paperclip!

iPod Shuffle Clip

Here's hoping things start looking up for me in the morning.

   

Unclean

Posted on Wednesday, February 7th, 2007

Dave!This is probably one of the worst days ever, even though I got a new router and have internet access again.

For reasons I won't dwell on, it became necessary for me to have access to Microsoft Windows Vista. My POS Dell PC (which imploded a few months back) didn't seem to want to install it, so I was left with the option of either buying a new Windows machine, or installing Vista on my Mac (something I swore I would never do). Since time was of the essence, and the idea of having to buy a new PC filled me with dread, I decided to just bite the bullet and defile my Mac with Microsoft's latest abomination of an OS...

Dave Parallels

I used a Mac program called "Parallels" which allows you to run Windows right along with Mac applications on the same screen. It's not the best Windows experience, but it is the most convenient. It allows you to start up Windows and shut it down almost instantly, which is pretty slick. Windows apps even appear in your Dock...

Windows Vista

This does nothing to make me feel better about running the Windows OS on my beautiful Mac, however. I just feel so... unclean. Kind of like I need to drink a bottle of Scotch to forget or something.

Anyway, I've put a superficial review of Vista in an extended entry. In summary, it sucks ass. If you want the details as to why I feel that way, feel free to read onward.

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Categories: Apple Stuff 2007Click To It: Permalink  37 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Bullet Sunday 20

Posted on Sunday, March 4th, 2007

Dave!Unexpected travel plans have decided to invade my Sunday.

Ordinarily, this would be a good thing, because I could vent all my frustrations about air travel and have them neatly aligned in bullet points. But I don't feel like writing that, let along reading it, so perhaps it's time for Bullet Stories instead of Bullet Points? I dunno... maybe it's being stuck in a hotel room with nothing good on television that's making me all sentimental.

   

• The Brutality Reality.

Sometimes I like to pretend that I'm the kind of guy who likes to solve his problems with violence. The kind of brute-force, don't-bother-me-or-I'll-kill-you kind of man who simply refuses to put up with the stupidity of others.

When the people ahead of me in line for airport security don't bother to read the dozen signs telling them to remove any liquids and have their ID ready, I bitch-slap their stupid asses and push my way through. When the man sitting behind me on the plane won't shut up and keeps bumping my seat, I turn around and punch him in the face. When a bitch tries to cut in front of me as we disembark the aircraft, I kick her rude ass to the floor then walk over the top of her. When some sandwich-eating hippie keeps dropping sprouts onto the floor at baggage claim, I push his face to the floor and make him lick it up, then laugh as he runs off crying with a bloody nose. When my luggage doesn't show up for 30 minutes and then appears on the wrong carousel, I climb through the luggage corridor and start beating random people with my suitcase. As I strut out of the airport, I'm secure in the knowledge that I am a total bad-ass who doesn't take shit from anybody...

...at least until I put on some lip balm to protect myself from those chaffing Chicago winds and call my mommy to let her know that I have arrived safely. Suddenly reality comes crashing down as I'm crying about how I'm tired and my tummy aches and people are mean and I couldn't find my suitcase and I wish I were home in bed. But then mommy tells me everything is going to be okay now, at which time I can go back to pretending I'm one tough bastard again.

   

• Flexible for Money.

When you were a kid, do you remember when you dropped a coin that rolled under the table how you didn't even think about what to do... you simply threw yourself to the ground and went crawling after your money? It didn't matter if it was just a nickel or even a penny, you chased after that shit.

And now, as you grow older, do you notice how the value of the dropped coin you're willing to chase after keeps getting bigger and bigger? At one point you stopped crawling after pennies because, after all, it was just a penny. Soon after, nickels weren't worth bending over for. In no time at all, dimes are more trouble than they're worth. With age comes the realization that the time, effort, and energy required to retrieve dropped money requires careful calculation. Is the quarter that just fell out of your pocket worth the risk of straining your back while bending over to pick it up? What can you get with a quarter now-a-days anyway?

Today I dropped a dollar bill while pulling my iPod out of my pocket. As I stood there watching my money gently tumbling down the sidewalk in the breeze, it then occurred to me that I must be an old man now because I had no desire to go after it. Then suddenly, in a desperate bid to reclaim my childhood, I went chasing after my dollar. Just as I bent over to pick it up, my $180 Oakley sunglasses (one of those ridiculously expensive purchases you try not to regret) fell out of my jacket pocket and got a nice scratch on the lens. Standing there with a dollar in one hand and my ruined sunglasses in the other, I threw the dollar bill into the air and walked away having learned a valuable lesson.

Sometimes you've just got to tell your inner-child to go fuck themselves.

   

• The Mac Club.

It used to be that traveling with a Macintosh PowerBook put you into an elite club. You see another Mac user sitting across the aisle and would share a smirk of superiority that instantly bonded you with a total stranger. Your Mac made you special, and it was something only another Mac user could appreciate. These moments of brotherhood were a rare event to be treasured, and being a member of The Mac Club made you a better person (if only in your own mind).

Except now Macs are everywhere. As you sit in the airport looking around, nearly half of the computers have that familiar glowing Apple logo staring back at you. The Mac Club's power came from its exclusivity, and those days are fading fast. Despite your joy at the Mac's new-found popularity, you aren't feeling as special as you once did.

But then you turn on your PowerBook, see that a few people have left comments on your blog, and suddenly find yourself feeling more special than a silly old machine could ever make you feel.

   

• A Real Conversation.

It occurred to me this afternoon as I was ordering my veggie burger at Johnny Rockets, that talking to my waiter was about the only conversation I've had all day. I checked in for my flight this morning at a self-service kiosk. I arrived at my hotel for check-in and got my room key from another kiosk. I got my cash from an ATM. I set up my appointments via a website. I bought my CTA train pass at yet another kiosk. I traveled 2/3 the distance of these continental United States and my only interaction with a human all day was to say "I'll have a Coke please" to the cabin steward on the plane. After dinner I went to see the movie Norbit, purchased my theater ticket from still another self-service kiosk, and proceeded to get more than a little depressed about it all. People simply don't interact with each other much anymore.

At the end of the night I decided to take an expensive taxi back to my airport hotel instead of a cheap (but long) ride on the Blue Line. Thinking I'd try to put a halt to the world's effort at insulating me from humanity, I struck up a conversation with my cab driver. As the discussion goes on, I am so thrilled to be talking to somebody... to really be talking to somebody... that I almost had him circle the airport a few times before dropping me at the hotel.

With more gratitude than he can know, I hand over my fare and a generous tip to the driver. I wish him a good night and, unlike so many times I've said it to strangers, this time I really mean it.

   

Flaming

Posted on Tuesday, March 27th, 2007

Dave!I don't get sick very often, for which I am most grateful. On those rare occasions I do get sick, I don't like to talk about it. I can't stand listening to somebody else's health problems, so why would anybody want to listen to mine? I've just never understood these people who like to get together and discuss all the bizarre crap that's wrong with them. Especially in public. I'm always the guy wanting to scream "NOBODY CARES IF YOU HAVE HEMORRHOIDS, BITCH!" whenever I come across these absurd conversations which people happily have in restaurants or the mini mart. Some things should be kept private.

But I just can't help myself.

Last night I had the worst case of flaming diarrhea farts ever...

Davefarts

Seriously. There were moments I didn't know what was going to happen, and other moments where it felt like my ass was on fire. The entire evening is a blur of one horrible moment after another. And the worst part is that I have no idea what caused it. Nothing I ate could explain the drama going on in my bathroom. No Super Bean Burritos. No Cabbage Milkshakes. No Double Prune Danishes. No Pints of Guinness. It was a total mystery. My ass was rebelling against some unknown offense that I still don't understand.

When I finally went to bed, it was because there was nothing left in me to expel. The only thing I was filled with was dread at the thought of waking up and having breakfast the next morning. What if it started all over again? As a safety precaution, I consumed a bottle of Pepto Bismol and a half-box of Imodium.

But everything turned out akay in the end (heh heh). I woke up, had breakfast, and my day was pretty much normal.

If only I could erase the memories.

In less nasty news, OMFG! Geeks of Doom is reporting Variety as saying that we're going to be seeing a Lego Batman videogame in 2008! Just when I think that the Lego Star Wars videogames were about as cool as things can get... this happens. The Lego Batman toys are super-sweet (combining two of my favorite things ever!), and I can't wait to see how they translate into a game. Just hearing this makes me want to start playing Lego Star Wars all over again.

I mean, holy crap! It's Lego F#@%ing Batman... IN A VIDEOGAME!!

Legofuckingbatman

And that's all she wrote.

Unless you want to read about how confused I am by the configuration of Adobe's new "Creative Suite 3" bundles, which I've put in an extended entry...

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...

   

Bullet Sunday 26

Posted on Sunday, April 15th, 2007

Dave!I'm tired. I'm hungry. I'm irritable. And it's time for Bullet Sunday!

• Driven. You're driving back from the Seattle over the mountain pass with your iPod set on shuffle and piped into the stereo. Suddenly the rain stops and the sun starts to come out. Everything is fresh and green and the air smells as if the world is brand new. Then Etta James' beautiful voice comes over the speakers singing At Last, and suddenly you realize that you're glad to be alive. For a few minutes anyway. Then some moron pulls in front of you going 10 mph under the speed limit and you're stuck behind them for 20 minutes wanting crash into their stupid ass... not even caring if you survive, just so long as they die in a ball of fire. Isn't it strange how life can turn on a dime like that?

• Panera. I took a photo of my most favorite sandwich at Panera Bread yesterday. Behold the glory that is The Mediterranean...

Panera Bread

I wish I had another one right now, because the only thing I have to eat here at home is chocolate pudding.

• Leopard. Apple announced that the next version of OS X, code-name Leopard, has been delayed four months, moving to an October release date. This is a bit of a shame, but better late than Vista. At least I'll have my iPhone to keep me occupied come summertime...

Daveleopard

• Repaired. Finally scraped the money together to have Saturn repair all the damage that Midas did to my car when they "fixed" it last. Sure I'm poor now, but at least I don't have to stare at that stupid "Service Engine Soon" light anymore. Not having my car backfire when I turn the engine off is pretty sweet too. If only Saturn would have installed rocket launchers and a flame-thrower, the ride home wouldn't have been quite so bad.

Now it's time for dinner. Looks like it's going to be chocolate pudding and a can of 7-Up tonight.

   

CS3

Posted on Friday, April 20th, 2007

Dave!Now, before I go all crazy here, let me just preface this entry by saying that, for the most part, I love Adobe products. I have been using them from the very, very beginning, and simply could not do the work I do without them. Not only that, but I love Adobe as a company as well... they continue to support the Macintosh platform with day-and-date releases with Windows, and that goes a long way towards winning my heart.

That being said, Adobe's latest version 3 release of their amazing Creative Suite of products (which includes such giants as Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Flash, Acrobat, InDesign, and more... depending on the bundle version) has pissed me off greatly.

I go to install the shit, wait fifteen minutes for everything to load up, then am immediately greeted with a notice that my serial number for CS2 isn't authorized to upgrade to CS3, even though I purchased the proper upgrade. WTF?!? Yet another case of loyal, paying customers getting shit on by software companies under the guise of "combatting software piracy." Except everybody knows that software pirates ALWAYS end up getting around this crap, so it's only legal customers who end up getting fucked.

This means I have to call Adobe Customer Service, get put on hold for 15 minutes (with crap "music"), then have to wait another ten minutes while they verify my upgrade is valid. Then I have to offer up a "verification code" and get a "response code" so that my software can be authorized. What a fucking joke.

And, of course, I can't use the same response code for my second authorized laptop install this morning... I have to call and go through the entire ordeal again over a shitty phone line connection to India (or wherever) that I can barely hear anything on.

Fuck you very much Adobe.

Even though your customer service agents where incredibly nice and a pleasure to speak with.

Anyway, now that the crap is installed, it's time to start bitching! Though not right away, because the first thing I notice is the new icon set Adobe is using. Great icons? No. But they are a huge, massively huge, improvement over the incomprehensible artsy shit we got in CS1 and CS2 (which I wrote about here). For starters, you CAN ACTUALLY TELL WHAT THE ICONS ARE REPRESENTING NOW...

Adobe Icons 2007

As for the rest of my initial Adobe Creative Suite 3 impressions, I've dropped everything in an extended entry...

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Categories: Apple Stuff 2007Click To It: Permalink  23 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Tourista

Posted on Monday, June 11th, 2007

Dave!I don't know why, but tourists tend to stand out more in Seattle than they do in other cities.

It's not that the tourists are any more or less annoying here, they just seem to be badly out of place somehow. And I'm not talking about the superficial things like walking around with cameras, maps, and guide books and stuff, it's just something in the way they move and react that doesn't feel right. Could just be me, but when I bring it up with other people... even friends who are here being tourists themselves... they get what I am talking about.

Though, just like everywhere else on the planet, you do run into the occasional stupid tourist. People who show up with no clue as to where they are or what they are doing. A classic example could be had as I was standing in line at hotel registration this morning. Two dumbass bitches cut in front of me (with one of them screaming "I JUST NEED TO ASK A QUICK QUESTION!!") and yelled at the front desk guy "IS THERE A STARBUCKS NEARBY? WE WANT COFFEE!!"

To his credit, the guy was really professional and told them that there were shops on either side of the hotel. This was really nice of him, because my reply would have been something more like "BITCH, YOU ARE IN F#@%ING DOWNTOWN SEATTLE! THERE ARE ABOUT TWENTY STARBUCKS WITHIN A FIVE-MINUTE WALK OF THIS HOTEL! JUST TRIP YOUR STUPID ASS OUT THE DOOR AND OPEN YOUR F#@%ING EYES!* Which is actually kind of an understatement. Asking where to find a Starbucks in downtown Seattle is like walking into a strip club and asking where the titties are, because they're all around you...

Seattle Starbucks Map
Map taken from the totally cool FindByClick site.

On the bright side, I sure do have a nice view from my hotel room. Since I will be sitting here all day working, that's pretty sweet. The monorail track is right below my window, so I get to watch the trains go back and forth...

Hotel Seattle View

In other news, my personal hero Steve Jobs delivered the keynote address to a crowd of Mac developer whores at Apple's Worldwide Developer's Conference today (you can watch a video of it here). There wasn't really any revolutionary news coming out of San Francisco this morning, just more pretty demos of the next MacOS (code-named Leopard). Overall, I remain impressed, and can't wait until October to get my copy.

But one piece of Leopard is available today... the beta of Apple's Safari web browser. It's pretty cool, adding long-desired features like movable tabs, resizable text entry boxes, and inline search...

Safari Inline Search

Apple has also released a version of Safari for Windows which may turn out to be a really smart move. If a nice chunk of Windows sufferers start using Safari, perhaps web developers will work harder to make their stuff more compatible with my browser of choice. I question as to whether this can actually happen, but I guess it's worth a try.

Anyway, I have a Johnny Rockets' Streamliner Burger with no grilled onions (add cheese) calling my name for dinner, and then I need to rush right back so I can try to get some sleep before a very busy day of work tomorrow.

Gee... does anybody know if there is a McDonalds in Seattle for breakfast in the morning?

* Please excuse the harsh language... I've been watching HBO's "revolutionary" and "ground-breaking" new show John from Cincinnati. I find the show's story of a child-like stranger who changes people's lives to be boring, predictable, and a total rip-off of the film/show Starman. The only thing "revolutionary" and "groundbreaking" is that the characters say "f#@%" about ten times in every sentence. Which, I suppose, is to be expected from the producers of HBO's previous overly-profanity-laden series Deadwood. Bleh.

   

Palm

Posted on Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

Dave!Ooh! Looks like I might be getting an iPhone after all. They've finally released the service pricing, and it turns out that it's only $10 more than I pay now. Even better, I get more minutes (plus rollover minutes!) and unlimited data for my money. Cool!

Of course, I'll want to try an iPhone in person before I sign on the dotted line, but things just keep looking better and better. The initial reviews have the positives outweighing the negatives, and some of the big questions (battery life, scratches, MS Office attachments, etc.) are being answered with good news. I want one pretty bad now.

I am such an Apple whore...

dPhone

But with unlimited data access, can you really blame me? I mean, damn! Knowing I can surf the internet for important information at any time... for as long as I want... is pretty sweet!

Dave's iPhone

Wow. The internet is like the most awesome thing ever! Thanks for putting it in the palm of my hand, Steve Jobs!

And in other nifty news... PARIS IS FREE! w00t! Now my life can go back to normal!

Paris Freedom

IN YOUR FACE, NANCY GRACE! Now why don't you shut the frak up you crazy bitch! And the next time your hypocritical skank ass decides to judge people, why don't you look in the mirror first... GUILTY! GUILTY! GUILTY!!

Categories: Apple Stuff 2007Click To It: Permalink  32 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

iPhoneless

Posted on Saturday, June 30th, 2007

Dave!I try really hard not to be a whiny little bitch on my blog. Honestly, I do. The fact that I am rarely successful at it is not for lack of conviction, but circumstance. Such as waking up this morning and having to read a bajillion people talking about how cool their new iPhone is.

Of course, I wouldn't know.

Despite the fact that I am a Total Apple Whore, I don't have an iPhone yet. I won't even get to look at one until I'm in Seattle next week. Needless, to say, I'm a little sad about that...

No iPhone for You!

I've read so much about people and their love of their iPhone that I can almost imagine what it must be like to have one... but then I glance over at my piece of shit mobile phone and realize that my imagination isn't that good.

Sigh. I guess I'll just go over to Apple.com and look at iPhone pictures for an hour or two...

Categories: Apple Stuff 2007Click To It: Permalink  21 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Recovery

Posted on Tuesday, July 3rd, 2007

Dave!Firstly, to all my friends and family reading this who know about the situation here in Seattle... thanks for your thoughts, prayers, and positive energy. This has been one of the longest days in my life but, despite all the delays and the waiting, everything turned out with the best possible results we could hope for.

Waiting, as they say, is the hardest part.

In an effort to distract my head, I put in a very full day. First I went to see Transformers, which was pretty freakin' cool. I love that they never cheated you out of a transformation or a battle. You see everything. And there are few things better than watching giant robots beat the crap out of each other...

Transformers

Where the film failed me was in the utterly pointless deviations from the actual story. By the time we got to Sam's mom talking about masturbation, I was just plain pissed. It wasn't funny. It wasn't interesting. It was just needless distraction. Why? And then there's the whole military sub-plot that goes nowhere. Why? But worst of all... John Turturro, who I actually enjoy as an actor, plays a character "Agent Simmons" who was so unbelievably annoying and stupid that he very nearly ruined the movie for me. Why? Somebody needs to be in the editing room with Michael Bay so they can slap him upside the head when he makes stupid decisions to include crap like this, because otherwise it was pretty good flick.

Then I went to see Fantastic Four 2, which was better than the awful first film, but still a far cry from what a Fantastic Four film should be. The only real reason to see the movie is for Silver Surfer, who rightfully kicks ass...

Silver Surfer

I found myself almost wishing that the Fantastic Four weren't in their own film so I could see more of him. That's pretty sad. Overall it was mediocre, but I was glad to have seen it.

And, of course, I stopped to take a look at the iPhone up close and in person. And, of course, it's just as amazing as everybody says it is. And, of course, I want to have an iPhone now more than ever before. Everything about it is just cool. Particularly the screen and web browser, which is mind blowing...

iPhone Blogography

Blogography looks great, and is totally readable in horizontal mode, even without zooming...

iPhone Blogography

A pity that they're sold out absolutely everywhere.

But not surprising.

   

Piggie

Posted on Tuesday, July 24th, 2007

Dave!Oh yes.

And It's just a frakkin' cool as I knew it would be...


Dave's New iPhone

Amazing how handy it is to have Google Maps and the entire internet with me everywhere. I find myself turning to iPhone constantly, and I've only had it one day. Heaven only knows what my life will be like once its been fully integrated. Sure AT&T's EDGE network is painfully slow, but do I really care when I'm out in the middle of nowhere and need driving directions? To get un-lost, I'm happy to wait a minute for a map.

What really gets me is how great this is for a version 1.0 product, and I can't fathom what cool stuff Apple will be adding in the next update. iPhone is an incredibly functional and useful tool that's a joy to use. And, get this... the phone quality is not sacrificed... calls are SO much nicer than with my old P.O.S. mobile phone. Now that I have iPhone, I can't imagine going back to anything else.

Side note: Dave's wish list for iPhone 2.0: GPS functionality that integrates with Google Maps. Automated voice dialing.

Anyway, on my way back from work, I passed through Thomaston, Georgia, and couldn't resist stopping at the local Piggie Park drive-in for a grilled cheese sandwich and some fries...

Piggie Park!

My sandwich was a very reasonable $1.35!! I can't remember the last time I paid under $2.00 for a sandwich...

Piggie Park!

The place has been around since 1950, and is very popular. Even at 2:00, the place had a steady stream of customers. At the lunch hour it must be over-run...

Piggie Park!

And from the "totally tasteless but funny department," I saw this sign for a mailing service today...

Goin' Postal

Tonight will be my first night in four days where I'll actually have time to get some decent sleep. Needless to say, I am looking forward to that. The only thing that worries me is the impending thunderstorms which iPhone says are due to hit both Georgia and Wisconsin for the next couple days. I wonder what the odds are that I'm going to be stuck in Atlanta? Given my luck, the airport will be completely destroyed.

Oh well. It's not like I'll care... I'VE GOT MY iPHONE, bitches!

Lil' Dave Jump and Shout

   

Headset

Posted on Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

Dave!I am a total Apple whore, because Apple has actually earned my unwavering love and devotion over the years. I love their high-quality products, think they've created the best computer user experience on earth, and never think twice about buying their stuff because it always exceeds my every expectation. Until something went terribly wrong.

I am not a big fan of bluetooth headsets, especially when they're being worn around when no phone call is taking place. As I've mentioned, I think it makes people look like they're a Star Trek Borg or a Giant Dick...

Bluetooth Dick

But they are handy to have when you are taking a long drive, and so I went ahead and bought Apple's specialty headset for my iPhone. It's pricey... $129... but I figure it's worth it if it will allow me to be safer while on the road. The unit was on back-order for several weeks, but finally arrived yesterday.

If I were reviewing Apple's iPhone Bluetooth Headset, I could sum up my experience in four words... Steaming Pile Of Shit.

Seriously. Worst. Apple. Experience. Ever...

iPhone Bluetooth Headset

When it arrived, I followed the instructions and "paired" the headset with my phone by using the included charging cradle. It's all very cool, because the iPhone then displays the battery level of both itself and the headset. Except the pairing doesn't work. I would pair them, even confirm they were paired in the iPhone settings, but nothing works. The phone would route sound to the headset, but no sound would come out.

Referring to the inadequate documentation, I followed all the steps they offered... unpairing/re-pairing. Resetting the phone. Turning settings off and on. Blah blah blah blah. Eventually, some magical combination got the headphone working, even though the sound quality was not very good. Even worse, the unit does not fit in my ear very well (even with the foam pads they include). Any vigorous activity would cause the thing to fall out. Figuring that this was probably the way all Bluetooth headsets worked, I gave up and went to bed.

Only to wake up and find that the headset had run out of battery overnight.

After charging it up again, I had the exact same problem as before. The stupid thing would NOT play sound, even though the iPhone says it was sending the call's audio to it. I played around for an hour, following all the troubleshooting tips like last time, but never could get it to work again.

Well fuck this.

There is no way I am keeping this $129 piece of crap, so I go online to the Apple Store to arrange a return. Except, for reasons I cannot possibly fathom, Apple doesn't accept returns online for defective crap...

Defective Apple Return

How incredibly stupid is that? With no other choice, I wait for my lunch break to call AppleCare as requested.

After welcoming you to AppleCare support, the computerized voice starts its spiel. Ordinarily, I don't mind automated systems, because they often prove to be more efficient at routing calls than real people. AppleCare's robot, however is particularly stupid. Here is what I remember from my first call...

APPLECARE: Just say the name of the product for which you need support. For example, say "Mac Pro" or "iPod."
   
DAVE: iPhone Bluetooth Headset.
   
APPLECARE COMPUTER: I'm sorry, I don't recognize that product...
   
DAVE: iPHONE BLUETOOTH HEADSET!!
   
APPLECARE COMPUTER: I'm sorry, I don't recognize...
   
DAVE: Operator.
   
APPLECARE COMPUTER: The wait time for an operator may be several minutes. I've found that I can help most calls...
   
DAVE: OPERATOR!!!
   
APPLECARE COMPUTER: So I can route your call properly, please say the name of the product you are needing help with...
   
DAVE: FUCK OFF!
   
APPLECARE COMPUTER: Okay, what kind of iPod do you have? For example, say "Shuffle" if you are calling about an iPod Shuffle.
   
DAVE: AAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRGGHHHHHHHHH!!!!
   
APPLECARE COMPUTER: I'm sorry, I don't recognize that product...

When somebody fucking says "OPERATOR," that's the point when the automated system needs to IMMEDIATELY put you in the queue for an operator. Don't keep trying to convince people to use your stupid shit if they can't get it to work in the first place! This is remarkably bad form, and a true surprise from Apple, whose service is usually impeccable.

A second call to AppleCare, and I get myself put in the iPhone Support queue... for 52 minutes... AT WHICH POINT THE SYSTEM HANGS UP!!! FIFTY-TWO MINUTES ON HOLD FOR NOTHING!!

What the hell?

This time I call The Apple Store, hoping I can return it directly where I bought it and bypass AppleCare. No go. The system immediately transfers me back to AppleCare... where my call is answered on the first ring! WTF?!? Then everything proceeds as it usually does, with my getting the immediate, friendly, competent service I'm accustomed to when calling Apple. They process my return in a few minutes, and I'm good to go.

So I guess it nets out like this: Apple iPhone Bluetooth Headset: surprisingly bad. AppleCare Support: good as usual (once I finally got there). Not surprisingly, this bump in the road hasn't soured me on Apple much. I guess everybody screws up sooner or later. Perhaps because I am so ecstatically happy with my iPhone, it's easy to ignore my bad luck with the headset? This is easily the best mobile phone I've ever had, and I love it more every day. And, despite numerous warnings about AT&T's wireless service (or lack thereof), I've had excellent coverage everywhere I've been with it... certainly no better or worse than my previous service with Verizon.

Anyway, I do find it comforting to know that my Apple Whore status remains unchanged.

It's kind of nice to be a total whore from time to time.

Categories: Apple Stuff 2007Click To It: Permalink  28 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Fact!

Posted on Monday, August 6th, 2007

Dave!I was just flicking through channels and see that BravoTV is airing Eddie Murphy: RAW... except they are silencing all the curses. This makes the jokes incomprehensible, and renders the entire show 50% silent. Why even attempt run a censored version of Eddie Murphy standup? It makes no sense.

Anyway, earlier today I mentioned on a message board that had I re-watched Battlefield Earth this weekend and was surprised that it wasn't as horrendously terrible as I had remembered. Sure the acting was mostly awful and the makeup on the Psychlos was embarrassingly bad (their "hands" didn't work, and looked like giant mittens)... but it had good FX, a passable (if implausible) story, and was decent mindless entertainment. Whatever...

Battlefield Lame

A couple of hours later, some dumbass leaves this enlightening response...

"Don't be such a fag. Battlefield Earth sucked and that's a FACT!!!

I ignored his obvious struggle with his sexuality, and went on to explain that Battlefied Earth "sucking" was an opinion, not a fact. Believe it or not, there actually are people who like it, and the flick did receive a few positive reviews by the critics. But, much like Bill O'Reilly, the moron simply could not distinguish between opinion and fact. The conversation immediately degenerated into idiocy, at which point I took my leave. I'd rather give up than waste time with inane crap like this.

Much like I've given up on the antiquated and stupid state of patent law. I've written about the absurdity of the US patent system before, but without using curse words. Today I feel like writing about it again, but this time I can't be as generous in watching my language (much like Eddie Murphy in RAW)...

Rated R

If you're not afraid of the word "fuck" and aren't bothered by mindless ranting, then feel free to proceed...

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...

   

Ringo

Posted on Monday, August 13th, 2007

Dave!Well crap. Mike Wieringo has died.

I'm a regular reader of his blog, and loved the way he treated his fans to numerous sketches and drawings on a regular basis. So imagine my shock and sadness when today's entry was a notice that Mike had passed away.

I realize that 99% of people are going to be saying "Mike Wier-who?!?" and have no idea who he is, but to comic book fans, this is a crushing blow. Mike Wieringo was an incredibly gifted artist who I envied on just about every possible level for his talent. If I were to describe his drawing style, I think "economical" sums it up nicely. The guy had this uncanny ability to use just the exact amount of line-work necessary in his art, and was never compelled to scribble in anything unneeded to camouflage his shortcomings... mainly because he didn't have any shortcomings. This stylistic approach gave him a beautifully clean style of drawing, which he enhanced with an exaggerated perspective that made everything he drew leap off the page...

Mike Wieringo Fantastic Four
Mike's Art for Fantastic Four #509

My favorite work by Wieringo was his collaboration with Mark Waid on The Fantastic Four. I treasured every issue they worked on, and consider their run to be among the best FF stories ever made... right up there with the Lee/Kirby originals. I've re-read my trade paperback collections of those issues numerous times, and it is never lost on me just how much humor, imagination, and humanity that Wieringo managed to inject into those stories. Boy will he be missed.

I'm feeling lazy, so it must be time for... One Sentence Commentary!

One Sentence Commentary!

The new iMacs... Sublimely beautiful, fairly powerful, and ultimately well thought-out.

The new Apple keyboard... Initially confusing, ultimately delicious... I love mine!

Karl Rove is retiring... Good riddance, you evil fucker.

John From Cincinnati cancelled... Did anybody like this horrible mess of a show?*

Merv Griffin dies... "So I came to Europe to kill... and it's really worked out very well for me!"

SCO doesn't own Unix... Sucks to be you, losers!

Ta dah!

Ugh. I am really, really behind in my blog reading. And my email. And my work. And my comics. And my television shows (BURN NOTICE!!). And my snail-mail. And my laundry. And my life, I guess. Where does the time go?

   

*And wasn't that like the WORST season-ending episode ever? I still think that John Monad was actually Shaun Yost from an alternate-reality future with a scrambled brain, but that's just the comic book geek in me talking.

   

Superbad

Posted on Monday, August 20th, 2007

Dave!My work schedule keeps changing. One minute I've got two days before I start... the next minute I've got two hours. This makes any grand adventure out of the question, so I decided to just wander down toward Milwaukee and catch a movie or something.

But first, breakfast.

Since it was 11:30am before I got my work situation figured out, I missed my breakfast window of opportunity... but still wanted breakfast. Remembering that Cracker Barrel serves breakfast all day, I decide to see if there's a location near me. Thanks to iPhone, stuff like this is simple...

  1. Wake up iPhone and select Google Maps.
  2. Enter my location and press the "search" button.
  3. Type in "Cracker Barrel" and press the "search" button.

And, just like that, iPhone pops up with the nearest Cracker Barrel down on County Line Road Q in Menomonee Falls (if Apple ever adds a GPS unit, that would eliminate step 2...hint, hint). Have I said how much I totally love my iPhone?

After a plate of eggs and corn bread muffins with a side of grits, I consult iPhone once again to see what movies are playing at the AMC down at the Mayfair Mall. Turns out that Superbad doesn't start until 1:40, so I decide to take a look at the new Apple Store at Bayshore Town Center in Glendale before I go. I have no idea where that is but, once again, iPhone comes to the rescue with detailed maps and driving directions, complete with traffic status. How did I ever get along in life without it?

The Glendale Apple Store is nice enough, but it turns out that Bayshore Town Center is a kind of elitist-fascist shopping area with a "Code of Conduct" posted at the entrances. Rules include "no congregating in groups of more than four people" and "no profanity" and "you must carry photo identification" and "no unauthorized photography." This kind of scary crap made me feel very much out of place and unwelcome, so I decided to bail. But not before screaming "FUCK YOU BAYSHORE TOWN CENTER" at the top of my lungs and taking this completely unauthorized photo of the Apple Store there...

Apple Store Bayshore Town Center

Surprisingly, this anti-conduct behavior did not cause a swarm of security guards to come beat me up and kick me out of Bayshore Town Center as I expected. It's too bad, because then I would have REALLY had something to blog about.

Then I was off to the much more sane and friendly Mayfair Mall, where I arrived just in time to see Superbad. Except not really. Once the twenty minutes of commercials, advertising, previews, and crap had aired, THEN I got to see the movie.

Superbad was pretty darn funny, and seeing Michael Cera on the big screen just makes me miss Arrested Development all the more. Oddly enough, however, I found the main story-line with Jonah Hill to be kind of annoying... it was the sub-plot with two cops played by Bill Hader (funnier here than he's ever been on Saturday Night Live) and Seth Rogen (who co-wrote Superbad) that completely stole the show for me. Funny, funny, stuff... McLovin.

Almost as funny as when I went to pick up my rental car yesterday and saw that two guys had decided to ignore the warning signs, arrows, and big-ass spikes so they could exit through the entrance gate...

Severe Tire Damage

I hope that they purchased the full insurance coverage option on their rental. But I'm guessing that they probably didn't, because once I got inside I noticed them in a heated discussion with the manager. I think that they were actually trying to blame him for their mistake, so good luck with that guys!

And now I'm at work. But I can't hook my laptop up to internet here for some reason, so heaven only knows when I'll get to post this (my schedule has me working straight through until 9:00am). Bleh. Maybe I can escape for a midnight "lunch break" or something.

UPDATE: And so I run back to my hotel where I will have internet to post this, and decide to stop at McDonald's for a large fries and a chocolate shake. But when I get to my room and open the bag, I see that my large fries is only HALF-FULL!!! Frickin' rip-off McDonald's bastards! Is nothing sacred?

   

Crankypants

Posted on Friday, August 31st, 2007

Dave!On top of having the ebola virus (or whatever), I find myself to be in a really cranky mood. I was forced to leave work early because my eyes would not stop watering, and so now I'm even farther behind than ever. Just writing this blog entry is a huge effort that's probably going to take forever. Since I am mostly incoherent, I should probably just lay down some bullet-points full of whining and be done with it.

• Desktritus... Avitable has picked up on a meme whereas you share a photo of your desk. Of course, anything Avitable does seems to propagate through the blogosphere like a wildfire, meaning that if I don't participate there must be something wrong with me (even RW is doing it!). The problem is that there IS something wrong with me and I'm at home sick. This means I can't snap a photo of my nicely-organized work desk... oh no! I have to use a photo of my home desk, which is pretty much a disaster area that should be condemned...

Dave's Home Desk

Here you go Avitable, you bastard!
0) Business cards from people I will never contact, 1) A stack of books to read (probably recommended by Vahid), 2) A bottle of melatonin, 3) A pencil cup with my Maui shark keychain and assorted pens, 4) A plastic bag with a defective camera lens in it, 5) Two tarot card decks (I'm making my own Bad Monkey Tarot, and need them for reference), 6) An unused plastic rain poncho I got from Disney World, 7) A shot glass from my trip to the Hard Rock Lisbon, 8) Coin cups from the Hard Rock Casino Las Vegas with loose change inside, 9) My Rosetta Stone French course, 10) My Mac G4 Cube that I can't bear to get rid of, 11) A container full of Lego pieces, 12) A spare blanket from my car, 13) A container with Farscape trading cards and autographed photos of the cast, 14) A bag of rejected shirts from the Artificial Duck Store, 15) A box of souvenir crap from my trip to China, 16) A bag with an original Chris Ware print from a trip to Chicago needing to be framed, 17) A container filled with Japanese manga comics, 18) A tube with a poster from my trip to The Vatican Museum, 19) A hardcopy of my book, 20) A stack of comics I've read and need to file away, 21) A mess of cables and a LiveStrong bracelet, 22) A voodoo doll from my trip to New Orleans that really works, 23) My Sully plush from Monsters Inc., 24) My old Nintendo DS, 25) My Batman alarm clock that Karl gave me at TequilaCon, 26) My iPhone and glasses, 27) My MacBook Pro, 28) Old film negatives that I need to send in for scanning, 29) Comics to read, 30) Buttons left over from Davecago2, 31) Comics to read after I have a few more issues.

Yeah, that's pretty bad. But, in my defense, I've been traveling and working a lot and haven't had much time to clean it up around my home.

• Theft... I am constantly getting emails from people telling me of dumbasses who steal stuff from Blogography and try to pass it off as their own. Whenever I confront these idiots, it's always the same story... "I just wanted to share it with my readers!" Well, if that's all you wanted, then why not link to the original source? Or, if you simply must post it on your site, why not at least credit where you took it from? Otherwise, you're nothing more than a douchebag thief, passing off somebody else's work as your own.

My Creative Commons license is very generous. As long as you aren't a commercial site making money off my stuff, go ahead and take anything you want... as long as you credit me as the creator with a link to the source material. If you don't credit the source, you're breaking my copyright and the law. If you post my material on a site whose primary function is selling advertising, that's a commercial site and your're breaking my copyright and the law (even if you credit the source). It's not rocket science, it's the difference between right and wrong, and I'm tired of it. If you are totally incapable of saying anything original and have to steal all your content, then just give it up you thieving hack.

• NBC... I pay for DirecTV, so I don't buy many television shows online. I prefer to wait for the DVD. The only exception are those times I miss an episode, or I'll buy shows just to have something to watch when I'm stuck somewhere without entertainment. This is why Apple's iTunes Store is so great... it's so easy to buy a shows whenever you want. The $1.99 price tag is a bit steep for what you get, but I'm willing to pay the money for the convenience of it all. Except now NBC Television has decided to pull out of the iTunes Store because they want $4.99 per episode, and Apple (quite rightly) said no. IS NBC OUT OF THEIR FUCKING MINDS? Let's take a look at current options for obtaining television programs. As an example, I am using the first season of NBC's hit program Heroes...

 
Current
iTunes
NBC
Wants
DVD
HD-
DVD
Bit-
Torrent
Cost/
Episode
$1.99
$4.99
$1.60
$3.04
$0.00
Cost/
23 Eps
$45.77
$114.77
$36.89
$69.85
$0.00
Cost/
Season
$42.99
???
$36.89
$69.85
$0.00
Legal?
Yes
Ha!
Yes
Yes
No
Quality
Low
Low
Med
HD
HD
Extras
No
No
Yes
Yes
Maybe
Media
No
No
Yes
Yes
No
iPod
Ready?
Yes
Yes
No
No
No
Wait
Short
Short
Long
Long
None
DRM?
Yes
Yes
Kinda
Yes
No
Fucked
Up?
Kinda
Maybe?
FUCK
YES!
Not
Really
NO...
Cool!
Not
Ethical

Who in their right mind would pay $4.99 for a television show that's of low quality, has DRM crap encoded in it, is more expensive than a DVD set loaded with extras, comes without any storage media, and is more expensive than even HD-DVD? NOBODY! That's who! Digital delivery of files is the cheapest possible method of distribution with practically no benefits (except convenience) yet the legal options for buying it always cost the most. That is totally fucked up. Fuck NBC. Fuck them up their stupid, greedy asses. And bravo to Apple for not caving to idiocy, and being willing to lose money rather than compromise to a no-win situation.

• Adobe... After having had to get my MacBook repaired because of a TSA agent dropping my battery on it and denting the case, something was wacky with the hard drive and I had to reformat it. This is no big deal, I keep full backups of my data, and I don't mind reinstalling my software. Unless that software comes from Adobe. Because of their new online activation bullshit, I ended up having to call in to get technical assistance so I could access software I PURCHASED DIRECTLY FROM ADOBE. This idiocy is meant to stop software piracy, but all it does is piss me off (meanwhile, cracked versions of the software are available on BitTorrent, which means that it doesn't stop piracy in the first place). What kind of company purposefully initiates a scheme whose only effect is making their loyal customers hate them? Why do I pay these idiots to treat me like a criminal?

• Finale... Eh, that's enough bitching for one day. I'm going to see if a couple of tubs of chocolate pudding will make me feel any better.

   

Hunger

Posted on Thursday, September 6th, 2007

Dave!Except for the fact that I'm coughing my head off at random intervals for no apparent reason, and still feel tired all the time, I'm finally kinda back to normal.

Except for these bizarre food cravings I keep having. Out of nowhere I'll suddenly be dying for some random food... like saltwater taffy... or beef jerky... or a fifth of Jack Daniels. Or, more likely, a fifth of Jack Daniels with saltwater taffy and beef jerky. It doesn't make any sense. I mean, saltwater taffy sticks to your teeth, I don't eat meat, and my alcohol of choice is Jägermeister. So why?

The answer is simple.

I didn't survive my sickness. It killed me. I died.

AND NOW I AM BACK FROM THE DEAD AND CRAVING HUMAN FLESH!

Well, not really human flesh, but I sure could go for a donut. A Dunkin' Donut with pink frosting...

Zombie Hunger

A pity that there's no Dunkin' Donuts anywhere in Washington State.

I guess I'll just have to settle for that fifth of Jack Daniels.

And now, because I was recovering yesterday and didn't feel like writing...

  • Yes, I know Apple had an iPod event yesterday.
  • Yes, I know the iPhone price was slashed by $200.
  • No, I'm not mad... I thought my iPhone was worth $599 when I bought it, or else I wouldn't have bought it.
  • On top of that, when I think of how often I use it and how essential iPhone is to my life now that I have it, $200 is a small price to pay for the time I've been using it.
  • The amount of money I've saved on not having to buy overpriced internet access at airports alone is already at least $100.
  • Not to mention the fact that my iPhone plan with AT&T saves me $20 a month over what I had been paying, and my iPhone will have paid for itself by the time my two-year contract is up.
  • People who whine about the pitfalls of being early adopters should either not be early adopters or shut the frak up.
  • I'm actually thrilled that the price drop will bring more people to the sheer joy that is iPhone. The sooner Apple dominates the universe, the better.
  • I still love Apple. I still love my iPhone. I still love my Macs. I still worship Steve Jobs.

And, before I forget, since I've been emailed about it a dozen times...

  • Yes, I know that Steve Jobs announced today that Apple will give a $100 Apple Store credit to iPhone early-adopters after he got hundreds of whiny emails.

The only question now is... what will I spend my $100 in Apple-money on?

  • A third iPod Shuffle ($79). I've already got one Shuffle for music, and a second Shuffle for audiobooks... maybe I need a third PURPLE iPod Shuffle to clip my pants closed after I eat too many Dunkin' Donuts with pink frosting. BONUS: $21 left over!
  • A new iPod nano "fatty" ($149). It's just so adorable! So tiny! And it plays video! And my old iPod nano is permanently attached to my car stereo, so I am nano-less.
  • AppleTV ($299). Now that I'm buying video and subscribing to television shows to feed my iPhone so I have stuff to watch when I travel, it would be cool to stream that stuff to my TV. And who could resist a night in front of the television surfing YouTube?
  • A 24-inch 2.8GHz iMac ($2,299) Just because it's pretty and I don't have one.
  • A Two Dual-Core 3GHz MacPro with dual 30-inch displays and all the extras ($16,716). YES! TOTALLY AWESOME!! THIS IS ABSOLUTELY WHAT I WANT!! And once I use my $100 credit, I only have to pay $16,616!! Sweet!

Hey. Wait a second...

DAMN YOU STEVE JOBS AND YOUR BRILLIANT $100 APPLE STORE CREDIT PLAN TO ROB ME OF SIXTEEN-THOUSAND-SIX-HUNDRED-AND-SIXTEEN DOLLARS OF MY HARD-EARNED MONEY!!

=sob!=

If it's even possible, I think I love Steve Jobs even more than I did yesterday... that evil genius bastard.

   

Wallpaper

Posted on Friday, September 28th, 2007

Dave!Apple released a really nifty iPhone upgrade last night. One of the coolest new features is being able to buy music directly from your iPhone over wireless networks. It's really easy to use, and iPhone transfers your purchases back to your computer the next time you sync... sweet! They've also made some other improvements, like increasing the speaker volume (which was badly needed) and adding some shortcuts to make using iPhone easier. I love that iPhone can be improved and upgraded like this, and can't wait to see what Apple comes up with next!

DavePhone

In celebration of iPhone's new upgrade, I'm releasing some of the wallpapers I've been using on my own iPhone. A few people have been asking about them for a while now, and so I've put them in an extended entry (scroll to the bottom and click "continue reading"). As if there wasn't already enough reasons to own an iPhone, here are twelve more...

iPhone Wallpapers by Dave

But before we get to the wallpapers... here is a wrap-up of the new shows I've seen for this new season, ranked from best to worst...

  • Pushing Daisies. LIKES: Absolutely everything. Just like Bryan Fuller's other brilliant shows, Wonderfalls and Dead Like Me, this is amazing television. BLECH: Absolutely nothing... it's a stunning, beautiful, magical, wonderful show (I caught this pilot on preview and think it's the best this season).
  • Reaper. LIKES: Everything. BLECH: Nothing. I am so happy this show didn't bite, because the demon-fighting premise is iffy.
  • Chuck. LIKES: Excellent cast and premise. BLECH: You'd think a show like this would get the tech-stuff right but, of course, a lot of times they don't. People are more computer-savy than ever, and having stupid tech mistakes ruin the show.
  • Torchwood. LIKES: Cheesy goodness that's highly entertaining. BLECH: Special effects pretty poor. And, oh yeah... "omnisexual?!?" WTF?!?
  • Dirty Sexy Money. LIKES: Superbly cast, with the always-amazing Peter Krause leading the pack. Everything about this show is slick, polished, and fun to watch. BLECH: It's a frickin' soap opera! The show seems too straight-forward at times, and needs some Twins Peaksian strangeness tossed in to keep things interesting. I can see this story getting very boring and mundane very quickly.
  • Bionic Woman. LIKES: Katee Sackhoff! Decent story and special effects. BLECH: When the villain (the delicious Katee Sackhoff) is more interesting than any other character on the show, you've got problems. They had better ramp up the action and keep Jamie Summers doing cool bionic crap or else this show could start to bore me like the non-super-powered "Heroes" which I loathe.
  • The Big Bang Theory. LIKES: Uhhh... the girl is kind of hot? BLECH: Everything about this show is totally lame. How long can two anti-social geeks be fun to watch before they bore the crap out of you? About ten minutes.
  • Private Practice. LIKES: Shonda Rhimes knows dialoge. BLECH: Yet another medical drama, but lifeless and horribly dull. Should have never been greenlit for a series. Even worse, it looks like Grey's Anatomy is going to suffer because of this horrible distraction.
  • Journeyman. LIKES: Not much. BLECH: This is an awful mess that's just not interesting, and the show's pacing is all over the place.
  • Moonlight. LIKES: Very little. BLECH: It's a vampire detective show! Just like Angel! But this time it sucks ass! Who in their right mind would put this crap on the air? I saw this on preview and fast-forwarded through most of it.
  • Big Shots. LIKES: Cool cast... Titus! Vartan! McDermott! BLECH: Horribly written... who wants to see guys being whiny bitches? These are supposed to be men, right? Because no guy I know talks or acts like this. Lastly, Joshua Malina, who I liked in Sports Night and The West Wing is grossly miscast here.
  • Flash Gordon. LIKES: NOTHING! ABSOLUTELY F#@%ING NOTHING! BLECH: Absolute worst show on television (though I haven't seen Cavemen yet). How the Sci-Fi channel could f#@% up so badly on a can't-miss character is mind-blowing. Do us all a favor and put money into a new Farscape special instead of this stupid shit.

And now for iPhone wallpapers...

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...

   

Leopard

Posted on Saturday, October 27th, 2007

Dave!MacOS X 10.5 Leopard is mine at last.

It's been a while since I had looked at the Leopard Developer Build, but the finished product seems pretty much the same to me. After working with it for a few hours, I can say that I am pretty happy with the upgrade. There are several new features and cool tools that make the $199 I spent for the "5 User Family Pack" worth the money (it's $129 if you are upgrading a single machine). Most of my problems with Leopard are aesthetic in nature (the new folder icons are heinous and indistinguishable, the new Dock is a mess, and the new translucent menu bar is confusing, to name a few)... this is probably a good thing, because they will be the easiest to fix (just waiting for a new version of CandyBar!).

So way to go Apple! After how badly Microsoft wrecked Windows with Vista, it's nice to see that Mac users aren't going to be suffering the same fate. I'm loving Leopard...

Daveleopard

And now it's time to put the computer away and go play...

Categories: Apple Stuff 2007Click To It: Permalink  4 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Leopardity

Posted on Saturday, November 3rd, 2007

Dave!This is my obligatory entry dedicated to Apple's latest release of MacOS X version 10.5, code-name "Leopard." As a Certified Mac Whore, it's unavoidable.

Yet, I realize that most everybody reading this probably doesn't care about my Macintosh obsession, so I am also publishing pictures of a freaky-ass fountain that was built on Piazza Navona in Rome. It's the Fontana di Nettuno (Fountain of Neptune) and no matter how many times I see it, I still freak out...

NeptuneFountain0.jpg

The sculpture features a bad-ass god of the seas (Neptune) battling an octopus while naked sea-nymph babes ignore him. That much I get. Well, not entirely, because it doesn't make much sense that the god of the seas would go around stabbing octopuses for no apparent reason, but whatever. This part of the statue is relatively sane. What bothers me is everything else. Starting with the freaky little kid playing with a crab on the head of some kind of water demon...

NeptuneFountain2.jpg

Well, at least he was playing with the crab before his arm got broken off. But still, WTF? That's some pretty freaky shit right there. Almost as freaky as the kid who's trying to rip the tongue out of a horse that's leaping out of the water...

NeptuneFountain3.jpg

What the horse is doing in the water I have no idea. And from the look on his face, neither does he.

Usually I would attempt to make some kind of story out of all the bizarre stuff that's going on, but I've given up here. Apparently Neptune throws some crazy-ass parties.

And now it's Leopard time. In an extended entry...

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...

   

Bullet Sunday 54

Posted on Sunday, November 4th, 2007

Dave!Las week I had to skip Bullet Sunday so I could attend Avitable's Halloween Bash, but I'm back and fully-loaded this week.

• Sewn! For those who asked, YES I made my own Halloween costume for Avitable's party, and I have pictures to prove it! When I was 13, my grandmother taught me how to use her sewing machine, and so I borrowed it from her to make my "Holo-Virus Rimmer" garb. Despite not having touched a sewing machine in over 20 years, I was able to pick it up again fairly quickly. I started with a McCall's pattern for a Wizard of Oz Dorothy dress, then modified it so it would fit by using an old shirt I had laying around as a sizing guide...

Dave Costume!

The main part of the dress was pretty easy to make, since it was just a big tube sewn to a kind of "vest"...

Dave Costume!

The tough part was making the sleeves, because they had to be big and puffy. The pattern's instructions were all crappy and vague about how to do this, so I used hundreds of straight pins to tack it all together. After that, I just ran the sewing machine around them and hoped for the best. This worked surprisingly well...

Dave Costume!

But the hardest part of the costume by far was the bonnet. Again, I used hundreds of pins to create the gathers and hold the elastic in place so I could just sew over the whole thing. To create the pigtails, I butchered a "Rapunzel" wig and braided it over some wire when I got to my hotel room in Orlando (can you imagine trying to get that through airport security?)...

Dave Costume!

All that was left was to put on some combat boots I bought when I was in Seattle and wear Mr. Flibble on my hand (if you want a Mr. Flibble of your own, you can get them on sale at WHO North America)...

Dave and Mr. Flibble

• Wonder! Question of the day... If the WonderWorks attraction ever goes out of business in Orlando, what do they do with the building?

WonderWorks
WonderWorks

As I was walking past WonderWorks on my way to lunch at Johnny Rockets last Saturday, it occurred to me that it's not like they could take a giant up-side-down building and turn it into an Applebees or something. Might make a good giant upside-down McDonalds though. I've driven past WonderWorks many times, but have never gone inside... preferring to spend my time at DisneyWorld and Universal Studios instead.

• Strike! Uhhhh.... yeah, I totally support the writers on this one. If Hollywood big media is making money off of material being distributed on the internet, then writers of that material deserve to get a cut. The argument that no money is being made with digital distribution is absurd but, even if it were true, a percentage of nothing is nothing, so what's the problem? I remain hopeful that an agreement will be reached quickly on this (and other issues), because I needs me my TV. If the strike drags on and we end up with nothing but crappy reality shows, I'll go homicidal.

• Birthday! Hey! Today is Hilly's birthday! Drop by her blog and wish her a good one!

Snackie Birthday

• Cut! My sliced finger is feeling much better, so thanks to everybody who was asking about it. I cleaned the wounds pretty good with hydrogen peroxide, so no infection! Anybody who has to put together metal shelving should know that the turned-over edges are still totally sharp and should be avoided.

My final bullet point is stuck in an extended entry because it's a rebuttal to a comment I got on my Macintosh Leopard ramblings from yesterday. And now that this entry is done, I'm off to work... yay!

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...

   

Bullet Sunday 55

Posted on Sunday, November 11th, 2007

Dave!Freezing my ass off in Central Washington on this cold and dreary Bullet Sunday. I guess it's time to pull the blankets out of storage.

• Mean. For anybody who cares, yesterday's entry about mean people sucking was not because somebody was mean to me... it was because I saw some total douchebag be mean to somebody else. I didn't even know the person, but watching them visibly deflate because of such unwarranted cruelty was too much to take.

• Mac. Speaking of mean... Apple's new-found success is causing them to be a little mean and more than a little cocky. First of all, Leopard's icon for any PC's on your network is a piece-of-junk CRT monitor showing the "Windows Blue Screen of Death". It's built right into the operating system...

Generic PC

And now, the latest batch of Get-A-Mac ads are borderline-cruel in making fun of all the people (like me) who have dumped Windows Vista and downgraded back to Windows XP because it sucks less...

Get A Mac!

Ordinarily I would find these things funny (because the truth always is), but I can't help but think that this new attitude is going to come back and bite Apple in the ass. When they were an underdog, it was semi-forgivable. But now that Leopard is a run-away hit, Mac sales are growing more every day, the iPod has taken the world by storm, and the iPhone is kicking ass... well, the only thing people like more than an underdog coming out on top is watching them fall. Somebody should remind Apple about this before things go too far.

• Blu-Ray. I have finally chosen sides in the Hi-Def DVD war and, for me, it's Blu-Ray over HD-DVD. It all came down to one thing: Ratatouille is only available on Blu-Ray. This animated masterpiece by über-director Brad Bird (of The Iron Giant and The Incredibles fame) simply begs to be seen in hi-def. I can't imagine buying such a sublimely beautiful film in "regular" DVD, so it was finally time to bite the bullet...

Ratatouille

Ratatouille

• South Park. Once again, South Park is riding on the edge of pop culture by spoofing on Guitar Hero. Just when I think that the show can't possibly continue to be relevant after 11 years, they find some way to prove me wrong. Frickin' hilarious...

South Park Guitar Hero

• Cinema. Is it just me, or are there no really good movies in the pipeline? Now that I think about it, the only really good movie I saw in recent memory was Ratatouille back in June. Transformers (the last movie I saw) wasn't too bad, but that was back in July. And now what have we got? Love in the Time of Cholera? Really? Give me a break. I liked The Golden Compass as a series of books, so maybe it won't suck too bad when it's released on December 7th. And then the 21st of December sees the release of a National Treasure sequel and Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd... both of which might be worth a look, but I hardly think my socks will be blown off. Here's hoping the mysterious "Cloverfield" project will live up to the hype come January 18th, because Batman: The Dark Knight won't hit until next summer.

Anyway... adding my thanks to those who have served or are currently serving in our armed forces this Veteran's Day.

   

Blackened

Posted on Friday, November 23rd, 2007

Dave!This is exactly the thing I was talking about.

Four days ago Apple sent me an invitation to a "shopping event" at their online store. When you read the fine print at the bottom, it says that the sale starts at 12:01am on November 23rd. But not really. Because I went to the store at 12:01am and all I got was a sign saying that the store was closed because it was busy being updated.

But that turned out to be a lie too. It's now 12:45, and the store is still down...

Apple Store Closed

Normally, the Apple Whore Apologist in me would just assume that they were having some temporary problems updating their store and needed a little extra time to sort it out. No big deal.

But the recent mean-spirited ads and attitude taken by Apple which make fun of Windows' many failings while claiming that Apple is perfect because everything "just works" has me thinking different.

Now I'm thinking that Apple is being run by a bunch of douchebags, because of things exactly like this. They are not perfect... sometimes their shit does not work... and sometimes they have embarrassing moments where they show failings of their own. Like right now as I sit here waiting.

And if a long-time Apple Whore who worships Steve Jobs, loves Macs with a passion, and buys everything Apple makes (like me) is starting to get pissed off because of their smack-talk backfiring... what must the general public think of Apple when stuff like this happens?

Apple needs an attitude adjustment very, very quickly. Because continuing in this direction cannot end well.

UPDATE: And finally, at 12:55am, the store is back up. But the "sales event" where Apple invites you to "save big" is pretty pathetic. Save 7% on an iMac? Save 5% on an iPod nano? Save 9% on an iPod Classic? Whoop-de-frickin'-do. In my mind "BIG savings" is 20% minimum, and even that's lame for a Black Friday event where other retailers are going crazy with massive cuts of 25% to 50% (or even higher) with their sales. Apple does offer bigger discounts on 3rd party items... but no better than the everyday discount price you'd get from places like Buy.com or Amazon (the one exception being a whopping $202 savings on a Xacti digital camcorder... why, I have no idea... a mistake, I'd guess).

Worth the 55-minute wait? Hardly. I'm a sad Apple Whore right now.

Categories: Apple Stuff 2007Click To It: Permalink  17 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Gap

Posted on Wednesday, November 28th, 2007

Dave!Well that sucked ass. One trip down, three to go before the end of the year (and still three more in January). I'm so happy I think I might die. If I don't drop into a sleep-deprived coma first.

I keep re-living the horror of having to sleep in a bathtub Monday night. And every time I do, I think back to Tyrone the seeing-eye dog and how he had to stay all scrunched up under two people's feet for 3-1/2 hours on a plane and wonder if doggies retain memories of bad things in their lives, or if they just forget about them the minute they've ended. If that's the case, I really envy dogs.

A lot of crap happened in the past three days and, since I haven't been around, so we're going to catch up bullet-style...

• Mind the Gap. As an American bloke fascinated by foreign accents, I have no problem admitting that I'm a little smitten by the lovely voice of the London Underground announcements every time I visit. Turns out the lovely woman who creates them, Emma Clarke, was recently fired because of some comments that came out of a series of spoof Underground announcements she did for her site (and don't overlook her blog, which is great). This makes me very sad, and I hope that this terrible mistake is soon rectified so I can be happy again...

Mind The Gap

• Olympical. Turns out not all international news is bad. Beautiful Vancouver, BC (my neighbor to the north) has just released the mascots for the 2010 Olympic Games, and they're great! Whoever came up with the idea of using a sasquatch as mascot is a frickin' genius. I cannot wait until they start selling Quatchi plush toys...

Winter Olympics 2010

• Macintosh Bargains. Just dropped a nice chunk of cash at the European-Indie Programmers "Give Good Food to your Mac Promotion," which has a line-up of incredible Macintosh programs at ridiculous bundle prices (anywhere from 30% to 70% off depending on how much you buy). These are not crappy bottom-drawer apps that nobody wants, they're all high-quality, totally professional releases you can't live without! I bought an even dozen... some I probably don't need but, at 70% off, I couldn't resist.

• Kindling. Finally got to play with an Amazon Kindle digital book. It's worse than I thought, which is pretty bad. In a day and age where the bar for stunning design in physical structure, user interface, and usability has been set so incredibly high (thanks Apple!)... how can companies release such total crap and think people won't notice? Here was an opportunity to finally get digital book distribution just the boost it needed to go mainstream, and Amazon totally dropped the ball. Tragic. If you are considering the purchase of one of these DRM-laden, hideously expensive, ugly-as-sin monstrosities... I highly recommend seeing one in person before parting with your hard-earned money.

• Daisies. Yet another amazing episode of Pushing Daisies is unfolding tonight. I sure hope the rumors of the writers strike being settled are true, because I needs me the new television shows! Death by pink goo... what a way to go.

And with that, I should probably get some sleep. I've got a full day tomorrow before heading out again.

   

Bullet Sunday 61

Posted on Sunday, December 23rd, 2007

Dave!It's Bullet Sunday from the City by The Bay. Originally, I wanted to fly back home today, but there were no flights available, so I had to wait until tomorrow. Oh well. It's hard to complain about getting to spend a free day in San Francisco.

• Lost Luggage. My missing suitcase was found and everything worked out okay after all. This makes me happy, because the last time I flew into San Francisco and my luggage was lost, I never saw it again.

• Kentucky Girl. Once I had clean clothes at last, I took BART into the city so I could have lunch with Kentucky Girl today. It went something like this...

Dave and Kentucky Girl

Dave and Kentucky Girl

Well, not really... but we did have sandwiches made by San Francisco's slowest deli where she tried to kill me with a potato chip. And then I took KG to Chinatown so I could introduce her to the crack cocaine substitute known as Golden Gate Fortune Cookies. After that, we shopped for crappy gifts and wandered around laughing our asses off until we ended up back at the BART station where we went our separate ways. Until we meet again my partner in cookie crime.

• Vending Hell. I was going to grab a couple of slices of pizza for dinner, but didn't end up in a pizza kind of mood. I then decided to enjoy a hotel vending machine dinner and have a big breakfast instead. Armed with a stack of dollar bills, I headed to the vending vestibule and found... nothing good at all. Not even a Snickers. It was all weird brands of chips and cookies and crap. After trying a few bags of "snacks" and finding them repugnant, I suddenly find myself in a "pizza kind of mood" after all. But it's too late now, so I guess I'm having fortune cookies and a Coke for dinner. Good thing I bought four bags of them.

• Death Scene. Bad Robert called to ask me if I had bought the Blu-Ray 5-disc set of Bladerunner (I had) and whether or not I had checked the fifth disc because there were manufacturing errors (I hadn't). After he told me that he was watching yet another version of the movie, he mentioned that Rutger Hauer's death scene was one of the best ever filmed. I agreed, at which point I had to mention that the most shocking and disturbing death scene I've ever seen in film was in Galaxy Quest when Quellek (Patrick Breen) dies while Alexander Dane (Alan Rickman) tries to comfort him after he's been shot. I was not expecting such a sad and touching moment in a comedy film, and it's haunted me ever since. Yet another reason I think Galaxy Quest is one of the most perfect (and underrated) movies of all time...

Quellek
"By Grabthar's hammer, you shall be avenged!" Photo taken from The Questorian Site.

• Beauty Beholder. And so I'm sitting here enjoying my fortune cookies and Coke when suddenly a commercial for Dell's XPS "all-in-one" iMac killer shows up on my television. They keep talking about how beautiful it is and I nearly choke to death laughing my ass off at the absurdity of it all. I mean... I know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and aesthetics are all subjective and stuff... but this janky piece of plastic is supposed to be beautiful?? It's got all these freaky angles with ugly chunks hanging off of it, and looks like ass...

Dell Shit
IT'S STUNNING BECAUSE WE SAY SO, DAMMIT!!

When you look at the stunning curves and elegant simplicity of the iMac, the Dell just looks like a cheap piece of 1980's junk in comparison...

Apple Beauty

I know I'm a Total Mac-Whore and everything, but this is just hilarious. Why is it that nobody can design a good-looking computer except Apple? Surely Dell can afford to hire designers who are capable of making an attractive computer for PC users? Or do they think they can just say something is "beautiful" and it makes it true? I'm stunned alright.

And now I need to pack my suitcase so I can fly home in the morning for one night only. The jet-set lifestyle I lead is so glamorous.

   

Air

Posted on Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

Dave!I'm so very tired.

Which is why there will be no alternative content for those who hate Apple Macintosh... or just don't care about Apple Macintosh... or are tired of reading about Apple Macintosh. Today at Blogography is all about Apple Macintosh and Steve Job's keynote speech at Macworld. Sorry about that.

Unless you love Apple Macintosh like I do, in which case today is your lucky day! Here's my thoughts on some of the announcements from this morning...

Davemacair

MacBook Air
So sexy it hurts to look at, the slender form-factor, astounding 5-hour battery life, and miniscule weight of the MacBook Air are almost too good to be true for the frequent traveler. The minute Steve Jobs took it out of that envelope, I wanted it... and wanted it bad. But then, just as I was about to click the "PRE-ORDER NOW" button, a few things started bouncing around my in my head...

  • Battery. Not user replaceable so, if you have a very long day of travel ahead of you, there's no way to carry along a spare. On top of that, batteries start going bad after a few months and, once a year or two has passed, the charge it can hold starts a steady decline. I don't like the idea of having to send my laptop back to Apple just to replace the battery.
  • Firewire. The lack of a Firewire port means no movie editing, and I'm shocked that Apple would omit it. This is almost a deal-breaker for me.
  • Glossy. I don't like glossy screens on my computers... not only does the glare make it difficult to use under anything less than optimized lighting conditions, but the hyper-bright colors are not conducive to color-accurate editing for designers.
  • Drive. The 80 GB hard drive is a little small compared to the 150 GB I'm used to, but it's the even smaller 64 GB SOLID STATE drive that I covet beyond all reason. Despite adding a cool $1000 to the cost of the MacBook Air, I'm guessing the speed and power savings it offers would be worth the sacrifice (I'll just take a tiny USB hard drive with me when I need the extra storage space for work files). This is both a negative and a positive.

So, despite my lust for this terrific new laptop, I'm not ordering one until I've seen it in person. Of course, being the Certified Mac Whore that I am, it's inevitable that the MacBook Air will eventually be mine. It's just too perfect for travel and, given the amount of traveling I do, it's easy to justify the purchase.

Daveiphone

iPhone 3 Update...
My biggest complaint about iPhone since day one was the lack of a GPS unit to pinpoint my position on Google Maps. I thought this was a truly stupid oversight, and I hated having to figure out where I'm at so I can type it in for directions and such. Well, thanks to Google Maps's new ability to use cellular towers to triangulate position, iPhone now has a kind of "pseudo-GPS" which is accurate enough for me. The other new features are cool, but now I'm most excited about the 3rd-party developer kit Apple is releasing in February. Given the massive success of the iPhone, I'm betting that we're going to see some great new iPhone apps in the coming months. I can't wait.

Timecapsule

Time Capsule...
This brilliant device allows wireless backup via Apple's ass-saving "Time Machine" technology, PLUS has a wireless base station built-in, PLUS allows a network volume share... all with an industrial server-level hard drive. The best feature though? The price. Just $499 for a Time Capsule unit with a full terabyte of storage space. I ordered one immediately.

Daveappletv

AppleTV, Take 2...
I held off buying the original AppleTV when it first came out... it sounded great, but was lacking in several areas. Well, many of those holes have been filled with the new version two, and now I find myself wanting one. The deciding factor will be how many movies Apple puts up for rental. Something tells me that the studios are just going to LOVE that most of the rental fee paid will be going directly to them instead of some third party (like Blockbuster or NetFlix). If this is the case, and movie studios start putting their entire catalog up for rental (not just new releases and popular favorites) then I'll be giving AppleTV a serious look. This could be the ultimate "movies on demand" appliance, and I am in love with the idea of having immediate access to a massive repository of movies.

Or whatever.

Theoretically, this was a very expensive Macworld for me. It is likely that I'll end up buying every new product that was released, and that is not okay. I wish that Apple would release some total crap every once in a while so I could hang on to my hard-earned money.

Categories: Apple Stuff 2008Click To It: Permalink  36 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Bettybration

Posted on Thursday, January 17th, 2008

Dave!What an incredibly crappy day. I wish I could forget most of it ever happened.

As anybody who reads Blogography might guess from previous entries, I'm a major fan of Betty White. She totally kicks ass, and I maintain that every show on television could be improved by having Betty White guest star on it (as she's done many, many times before). The woman is fearless, talented, generous, kind and not above poking fun at herself... I hope I'm as relevant as she is when I get to be her age.

And today is Betty White's 86th birthday...

Happy Birthday Betty!

While sending your best wishes Betty's way, you might also want to give a shout-out to Miss Britt and Kentucky Girl, who share a birthday with her. It's an auspicious day to be born, that's for sure.

In other news, those of you with iPhones who have installed the latest update and make a WebClip Bookmark to Blogography will now get a nifty custom icon. Just be sure to pause when the screen comes up to name your shortcut so it has a chance to load...

IPhone Davecon

For other iPhone goodness, you can also find Blogography wallpaper here (in an extended entry). Eventually, I'll get around to creating a custom version of my blog for easier reading and access by iPhone users. It works pretty well now, but I think there's some things I can do with the navigation and layout to make it even better.

Sigh. I ♥ my iPhone, but I sure wish they would let you adjust the exposure of photos taken with its camera.

Earlier today I was reviewing my DaveStalker iPhone Flickr Feed and got a little depressed. From time to time, when the lighting is perfect, you get a really great shot, but the majority of the images are all dark and murky. Sure it's better than nothing, but it seems stupid that Apple can't give you a slider to brighten things up a bit when needed. Perhaps they'll put that in the next upgrade?

Hmmm... I think I need me some Oreo cookies and milk before bedtime. That will make everything all better.

Categories: Apple Stuff 2008Click To It: Permalink  24 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Tabloid

Posted on Thursday, March 6th, 2008

Dave!Today was a wacky day of catching up on work and trying to arrange travel plans for another three trips I've got coming up.

And looking over Apple's FREE iPhone Software Development Kit (or SDK) which was released this morning. If you're not a programmer, it can be somewhat technical and boring, but you can watch His Holiness Steve Jobs describe what's going on via QuickTime here (the demo hotness starts just over half-way through). Suffice to say... I am completely blown away. I simply did not anticipate that the SDK would be so refined, polished, and powerful. Developers are going to be FLOCKING to the iPhone, which means iPhone users are in for some incredibly cool stuff come June when the 2.0 software upgrade drops. I have some concerns about required distribution through the iTunes Music Store (though if you give your stuff away for free, there's no charge once you've paid the $99 developer fee), but overall I am very, very excited. iPhone is going to OWN the mobile market... sweet!

Anyway, somewhere along the day, I was asked to make a fake "tabloid magazine" prop for a play that's being put on at the High School. It's fun doing wacky stuff like this from time to time...

Strange But True!
I would so totally buy this!

And now for another installment of Response to Hate-Mail...

Dear Dumbass,
Thank you for your wonderful email chastising me for "showing disrespect to The Queen of England" (from this entry, I'm guessing). A few points... #1: Her Majesty is not the "Queen of England," but instead constitutional monarch (The Queen) of the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland, and Head of the Commonwealth. There hasn't been a "Queen of England" since 1603. Since your IP address is actually located in England, I can only express my sadness that your educational system is apparently as bad as ours here in the USA. #2: I have nothing but the upmost respect for Her Majesty, and wouldn't dream of showing her any disrespect. If wanting to be her friend is disrespectful, then this world is in deeper trouble than I thought. #3: I've read a couple biographies of The Queen, and actually admire Her Majesty for taking on a job she never asked for and performing it to the best of her abilities. Her Majesty has led an exemplary life in service, has done so with dignity and devotion to her people, and deserves nothing but respect for it. I know I'll demand nothing less when I'm king of the world, so fuck you for implying I feel otherwise...

Dave King

Good night... I love you my Apple iPhone!

   

Alien

Posted on Friday, March 14th, 2008

Dave!This morning I climbed out of the shower after entirely not-enough sleep and thought I was hearing things. But oh no... running to the window I confirmed my worst fears... THE KILLER GEESE HAVE RETURNED!

After getting dressed and arming myself with a squirt bottle, I cautiously made my way downstairs and into the parking lot. But they had gone. Probably off attacking some elderly neighbor or eating a cat or something. If all of a sudden you stop seeing blog entries from me, that probably means the evil geese finally got me. The bastards.

I always dread looking through the new Comic Previews Catalog when it arrives, because there's usually something geeky and super-cool I want that I don't need. And more often than not, it's stupidly expensive too. This time it's stupider than usual, but I can't help myself! I want it so bad!

OMG!

CUTEST...

TOY...

EVER!

Lil' Alien Kubrick!

They blew up a little Kubrick Alien 400% and are releasing him as an 11-inch action figure. He's beautiful... and he'd better be for $60.00 WITH DISCOUNT! It should cost like $40.00 tops, but with the US Dollar practically worthless on the international market, anything imported is insanely expensive.

Oh well.

Speaking of cool toys I can't afford, my Apple Time Capsule finally arrived! Luckily the box wasn't empty this time, because I don't think I could handle the crushing disappointment twice. It's an amazing device. Within 30 seconds of plugging it in, I was creating my first backup. 30 seconds after that I was messing around with my wirelessly shared volume, creating a media depository. It's brilliant in every way...

Apple Time Capsule!

But before I go... Amy Sherman-Palladino (of Gilmore Girls fame) has a new show called The Return of Jezebel James which I have really been looking forward to. Until I actually watched it. For anybody who doesn't follow me on Twitter, here was my reaction...

Return of Jezebel James LAUGH TRACK SUCKS

The clever rapid-fire dialogue and quirky characters are there... but A F#@%ING LAUGH TRACK?!? Totally ruins the show. Horribly distracting. FAIL!!

FAIL!

   

Twittered

Posted on Monday, May 19th, 2008

Dave!As far as Mondays go, this one wasn't too bad. Though that's not to say there wasn't excitement. As anybody who follows my Twitter feed already knows, not only did I survive my Evil Driver trying to kill me... but I also fell in love with a girl on the train, found out that TinyURL can be used for diabolical purposes, and went broke because Howard compelled me to spend the last remainder of my bank account on music by The Weepies.

Being able to have access to the real internet at all times with iPhone has opened up entirely new opportunities for avoiding boredom while traveling or attending meetings. Not only can I update Twitter all day long, but I can also keep up with blogs quite easily (though, unfortunately, leaving comments with iPhone is a bit problematic... sorry about that).

I only wish that iPhone had a REAL GPS, because that would make my life of travel so much easier than their borderline-useless "faux-GPS" that's there now...

Faked map of Chicago on an iPhone with a target encircling the entire city saying 'You Are Here!'

Okay, it's not that bad, but still... I've lost track of the number of times I've screamed "NO F#@%ING SHIT" at iPhone for providing me with a generic non-location that covers 50 city blocks. How is that useful? Sure it's better than nothing, because you can narrow it down from there, but it's a far cry from being able to see exactly where you are on a map at a moment's notice.

Oh well.

Remember the good old days when you had to actually carry a paper map around for stuff like this?

Sigh.

I love to hate you my iPhone.

   

Bullet Sunday 84

Posted on Sunday, June 8th, 2008

Dave!I desperately want to celebrate Bullet Sunday with a Chalupa Supreme (no beef, add rice) and a side of Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes, but am entirely too lazy to drive the 20 minutes to Taco Bell. Waaah!

• Pizza! I'm officially done. I've tried every frozen cheese pizza on the market and hate them all. It doesn't matter whether it's from a famous chef like Wolfgang Puck, a famous restaurant like California Pizza Kitchen, a hot new brand like Freschetta, a critical favorite like DiGiorno, or a pizza staple like Red Baron. They're all terrible. So I've finally decided that I'm not going to pay $4.00 to $8.00 for a pizza I despise... I'm just going to buy a cheap-ass 99¢ Totino's or Jenos (whichever is on sale). If I'm going to hate it no matter how much it costs, I might as well go for the least expensive option. The only scary part about eating those 99¢ brands is the "cheese" they use. It sticks to the knife like glue, and won't rinse off. You have to take a brush a scrub it off. If it's doing this to a knife, what's it doing to my digestive system? I don't think I want to know.

DAVETOON: Bad Monkey pulling cheese out of Lil' Dave's mouth.

• Christmas! The funny thing about being in the graphic design business is that you are always ahead of the season. Right now, for example, I'm working on Christmas projects. When Christmas rolls around I'll be working on Easter projects, and so on. Because I don't really celebrate any of these holidays, it's no big deal to me, but it's a challenging mindset to be thinking of snowy holidays in the middle of summer. But that's nothing compared to the challenge of finding a live Christmas Tree for a photo shoot next week.

DAVETOON: Lil' Dave and Bad Monkey decorating a tree for Christmas.

• Jobs! Tomorrow is the opening keynote for Apple's Worldwide Developer's Conference. At that time my personal hero and god among men, Steve Jobs, is expected to release the iPhone 2.0 software update which will allow 3rd party applications to run on my iPhone. This is, to put it mildly, super-exciting. Jobs is also expected to announce the new and improved iPhone hardware which is rumored to have a real GPS (thank you!) and faster 3G internet access. The latter bit means that we can all surf for porn several times faster, which is probably a more important function for a phone than making actual phone calls.

Dave's iPhone

• Legion! One of my all-time favorite comic books is The Legion of Super-Heroes. It's a comic about super-powered teens in the far future of the DC Comics Universe. Back in the 1960's the book was looking for a new writer and ended up hiring 14-year-old Jim Shooter for the job. He submitted stories, the editor liked them, and a legend was born. His Legion books were highly successful and memorable, and ended up being a stepping stone to greater things... like when he was editor in chief at Marvel Comics for nearly a decade. Now, 30 years after he left The Legion of Super-Heroes, Shooter is back writing the book. He's five issues into the title now, and I have to say I'm enjoying the heck out of his stories. But I'm nostalgic that way.

Drawing of the various members of the Legion of Super-Heroes

Annnnnnnd... I'm spent.

I'm trying to be optimistic, but something tells me this is not going to be a good week.

   

Bullet Sunday 85

Posted on Sunday, June 15th, 2008

Dave!Happy Father's Day to all the fathers out there... especially mine... on this fine Bullet Sunday!

• Snackiepoo! This afternoon at 3:00pm (Pacific Time) I will be a VERY SPECIAL GUEST STAR on Snackie Radio. Today's topic? How much is too much? Hilly and I have radically different blogging styles... I avoid anything personal and draw monkey cartoons in lieu of actual substance... Hilly wears her heart on her blog and bares her soul for all to see... what are the consequences to these very different approaches to blogging? How much information on your blog is too much? Is there such a thing as too little information when it comes to the internet? Will Dave ever get his tiara back? Tune in today and find out! (show contains language and situations which may be unsuitable for childre or small animals).

DAVETOON: Snackie Radio Logo with Lil' Hilly

• Radio! And for other BlogTalk Radio goodness, I'd be remiss not to mention the entire BTR's Rocking Sunday Schedule... first up, Karl from Secondhand Radio will have his daughter and the Alive Campaign as his guest at 2:00pm Pacific, 5:00pm Eastern. Next up is the afore-mentioned Snackie Radio show with VERY SPECIAL GUEST STAR me! at 3:00pm Pacific, 6:00pm Eastern. And, lastly, Turnbaby is back on Turnbaby Talks with her special guest Mr. Shiny at 5:00pm Pacific, 8:00pm Eastern. It should be a very interesting night.

• iPhone! As expected, Apple released their new iPhone at the World Wide Developer's Conference this past Monday. It has the faster 3G internet access everybody has been clamoring for, but all I cared about is that it FINALLY has a frickin' GPS unit. I still feel it was profoundly stupid that the original model didn't have a hardware GPS, but better late than never, I suppose. Of course I simply must own one... even though the data plan is a total ripoff that now costs $10 more per month with NO TXT messages and still has NO MMS capabilities. The more things change...

Apple's iPhone 3G

• Shopper! What happens when you find out that a business you really like is owned by a complete and total asshole? How do you shop there anymore knowing what you now know? Does it matter that you've patronized the place for decades and love their stuff? Or is it just over once you discover it's run by a horribly wretched excuse of a human being? I've been wrestling with this dilemma for a week, and have come to the realization that my ethical beliefs simply won't allow me to step foot in this establishment ever again... much as I would like to shop there. Wouldn't the world be a much better place if we could just stay ignorant to the nastiness that plagues it?

• Televised! I had this idea of picking my favorite 100 television shows of all time and then listing ten of them each day with an explanation of why I liked them so much. For a television whore like me, it seemed a perfect fit for Blogography. Then common sense settled in, and I realized how much work it would be to actually do it. But I already had the list made up, so I decided to go ahead and post it in an extended entry.

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...

   

Inventory

Posted on Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

Dave!Argh.

Working out of the office is killer for me because the work back home doesn't stop. This means I am essentially working two jobs, both of which are exhausting... mentally and physically.

After two hours of driving over the mountains plus an additional hour of sitting in traffic hell once I reached Issaquah on I-90, I realized that I had left my MacBook Pro power adapter at home. Lovely. Ordinarily, this wouldn't be a big deal, because I could go to the local Apple Store and get a new one. But Seattle doesn't have an Apple Store. You either have to go to Tukwila, Lynwood, Bellevue, or the University of Washington. Since University Village is closest, I lured a co-worker with the promise of dinner and headed north.

Buying a new power adapter was as quick and painless as you'd expect from an Apple Store. No surprise there, because the shopping experience at all Apple Stores is flawless. I was in and out in five minutes.

We then decided to eat dinner across the parking lot at Johnny Rockets. I love their veggie burger, so it was an easy choice.

Unfortunately, they had run out of veggie burger patties.

ATTENTION JOHNNY ROCKETS MANAGERS!!! THERE IS NO FUCKING EXCUSE FOR RUNNING OUT OF VEGGIE BURGERS AT YOUR RESTAURANTS. NONE! THE VEGGIE PATTIES ARE FROZEN!!! THIS MEANS THEY DON'T LOSE FRESHNESS OR SPOIL, SO YOU CAN ORDER A COUPLE EXTRA CASES AND PUT THEM IN YOUR FREEZER. THAT WAY YOU WON'T PISS OFF VEGETARIANS BECAUSE THE ONLY BURGER THEY CAN EAT IS OUT OF STOCK. OH, AND ONE MORE THING... WHY NOT TRY KEEPING TRACK OF YOUR INVENTORY SO STUPID-ASS SHIT LIKE THIS DOESN'T HAPPEN? THAT MIGHT WORK TOO. —KTHXBAI

I mean, come on... does maintaining stock of a frozen item really equate to rocket science here?

Hmmm... I suppose that I should put away my computer so I can get a few hours sleep before I have to do this all over again tomorrow.

This would be a lot easier if my neighbors here at the hotel would put their squealing kids to bed. Since it's after 11:00pm now, I don't think that's asking too much.

   

iPhone2

Posted on Thursday, July 10th, 2008

Dave!This morning I saw that the "unofficial-official" update for iPhone 2.0 had been released. Not being the patient type, I went ahead and installed it.

It's pretty much everything I had hoped for... and more. Not so much for the basic functionality, which is largely unchanged, but for the stunning applications that are now available. Much like a drug habit, the ability to purchase games and other apps right on your iPhone is highly addictive. I've spent nearly $100 on loads of crap without even realizing it. And I can only imagine that even more amazing stuff is on the way, which is very bad news for my finances.

Here is just a sampling of some of the interesting stuff I got...

By far the best game I bought was Motion-X Poker Dice. It's so beautifully crafted that everybody I've shown it to wants an iPhone just to have it! You roll the dice by shaking your iPhone, at which point the dice click and clatter until you stop shaking. You have three rolls to get a better hand than the dealer. This would get boring kind of quickly, so there are unlock-able playing boards, dice sets, and prize gems for reaching certain goals. You can also just roll five dice to play games like Yatzee and Zilch on the go, which is a nice bonus. An instant classic I can't stop playing!

Screen Snapshot

Another very, VERY interesting game is Trism, which uses all the amazing iPhone features at the same time to ensnare you in a puzzler that boggles the mind. I could post a screenshot, but to truly appreciate how cool it is, you need to actually SEE it in action...

On of the most beautiful games is Apple's Texas Hold'em, which utilizes video capture to create an immersive card-playing experience. Turn your iPhone 90-degrees, and you switch to an overview mode. Overall, the game is pretty darn sweet, but I sure wish it had more options (in single-player you always play against 8 computer opponents, which makes each hand a little longer than I'd like, and I wish I could change to less players). The most impressive aspect is that you can also play against REAL PEOPLE via wireless if they also have the game!

Screen Snapshot

In addition to games, there are also some helpful utilities. The one I was most excited about was something called "Jade" which allows you to automatically enhance the murky, crappy photos that the built-in iPhone camera takes. It doesn't always work, but most of the time the app does improve your images by making them brighter. It seems to be a very handy thing to have, as you can see by the samples here...

Jade Comparison Snapshot

Jade Comparison Snapshot

Jade Comparison Snapshot

Cool huh? Well I thought so too... until I realized that every photo which Jade processes is reduced from 1600x1200 pixels to 640x480 pixels, which sucks ass! NOWHERE on the iTunes sales page does it tell you that Jade shrinks your photos, and that pisses me off. Why can't I keep the original size so I get the best image quality? Who knows. STUPID!

Anyway, I got a lot of other cool stuff, but you kind of get the idea here.

In summary, iPhone is a killer development platform for software. Sure not all the apps are as good as they could be, but I'm sure as time goes on and programmers get accustomed to the tools and what they can do, we'll see better and better stuff. It makes me love my iPhone even more than I already did, which is a LOT.

And then...

Tomorrow Apple released the new generation Apple iPhone 3G.

To be honest, I am not sure I want one. The only feature I covet on the latest model is built-in GPS. This was a horrible, glaring oversight from the first model that still gets my blood boiling. If my current iPhone had GPS... AS IT SHOULD HAVE IN THE FIRST PLACE!... there would be no reason for me to upgrade. Sure the 3G speeds of the internet access would be nice... but they are charging too much for it. I would be perfectly happy sticking with my 2.5G speed at the current rate plan if I could.

So will I buy one?

I don't know. Sure I'd like to have it, but the monthly increase on my wireless bill doesn't make me at all happy.

But it DOES have GPS, which I want pretty bad.

Decisions, decisions...

Categories: Apple Stuff 2008Click To It: Permalink  23 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Bullet Sunday 92

Posted on Sunday, August 3rd, 2008

Dave!I am totally exhausted this Bullet Sunday. Let's see how far I get...

• Ordered. I have finally... FINALLY... managed to get most all of the Artificial Duck Co. Store orders filled. The exception is orders that have "Ladies T Monkey Button" shirts in them, which were misplaced at the printer and are arriving on Tuesday or Wednesday. Of course, now I have to process a couple hundred orders for postage and make six or seven trips to the Post Office, but I will work hard over the next couple of days to get everything shipped out before I leave. Nobody will be happier than me to finally see everybody get their stuff! Given the long and difficult road I've been down, I am so very, very grateful for everybody's patience and understanding.

• Pounded. Just when you think that the US Dollar couldn't possibly be worth any less than it already is... you start planning a trip to London. The city has always been expensive... but now, thanks to the heinous exchange rate, even going on the cheap is unrealistic. I was planning on a six day, five-night trip to Blighty so I could meet with an artist there and hang out with friends (Davedon!), but once I got up to an estimated $3600 for all the expenses, I shat myself and decided to see if getting a new president will improve the dollar for a trip next year. I certainly hope so.

• Cents. Since traveling to Europe right now is insanely expensive, I thought I'd look into filling in those missing six states I've got going on...

Daveusa

Fly into Bismarck, North Dakota... drive down through Mount Rushmore... swing through Nebraska, Kansas, and the Oklahoma panhandle... then whip into Albuquerque, New Mexico... simple, right? The one-way rental would run me about $1100 (amazing how you don't get unlimited miles on a one-way rental!). Assuming that I get about 32 miles per gallon, fuel will run me about 42 gallons of gas @ $4.20 a gallon means an additional $180-$200 in gas. Adding in hotels and one-way airfare... and we're up to $2800?? Yikes. For that kind of money, I'd save up an additional $800 and take my London trip.

• MobileMaybe. Ever since resetting my iPhone so I could get the camera working again, syncing through Apple's pile-of-shit "MobileMe" service has failed. After trying absolutely everything, I reset my iPhone AGAIN and finally got it working. Of course, I ended up losing all the information that I had added to my iPhone, since there's no way of transferring notes, and syncing contacts was broken. Don't get me wrong... I love my iPhone and can't imagine life without it... but this is bullshit. To make matters worse, now we've got Windows users freaking out because iPhone syncing through MobileMe can erase all your Outlook Calendar data. Apple has already given everybody an extra month of MobileMe to compensate for how utterly shitty the service is... what happens now that it's still total crap? Another free month? Disaster. And I'm still not convinced it's working as it's supposed to, which is fine if the service was free... but $100 a year for this?

• Darker. I went to see The Dark Knight for the third time because I just can't help myself... and froze my ass off. Why do theaters feel the need to set the temperature to sub-zero? Cool would be fine... I like to keep cool when it's hot outside... but cold? It's miserable to try watching a movie while shivering the whole time. If it were that cold during winter time, they'd have the heaters on!.

And that's all for Bullet Sunday, because it's nearing midnight and I'm falling asleep...

AND OMG, I NEARLY FELL ASLEEP IN THESE EYE-RAPING CONTACT LENSES AGAIN!! Wouldn't that make for a great Monday. I will be so glad when my "real" lenses come in so I can be rid of these elements of torture.

   

News

Posted on Monday, August 4th, 2008

Dave!I managed to ship out 103 orders before the issuing bank of my credit card decided that something fishy might be going on and decided to refuse authorization of any further charges. This happened once before, but I thought that it had been resolved. Apparently not. One more thing to fix tomorrow.

When you're working your ass off all day long, a lot of stuff outside of work piles up that you don't find out about until you get home. I used to have a news feed going on my desktop, but once I got addicted to Twitter, something had to give. Otherwise I'd never get anything done at all.

First of all, one of my favorite actors ever, Morgan Freeman, has been involved in a serious car accident. While discussing The Dark Night with a co-worker this morning, I had mentioned that I would have watched the film even if I hated Batman (as if!) because I love Morgan Freeman so much. He's been in some not-so-great films... but his performance is always exceptional, and I'll see anything he's involved in. My most heart-felt wishes for a speedy recovery, Mr. Freeman...

DAVETOON: Lil' Dave holding a photo of Morgan Freeman

Next up? They've released an update to the v2 iPhone OS that fixes "bugs." After installing it, I will admit that my iPhone feels a bit snappier... BUT THEY STILL DON'T ALLOW YOU TO SYNC EXTERNAL SUBSCRIBED CALENDARS!! This is horse shit. All of my travel plans are stored on the most excellent TripIt site, so I need to subscribe to its calendar so I can keep up with my schedule. FAIL! FUCKING FAIL!! ULTIMATE APPLE FAIL!!!

In better news, one of my first super-hero favorites... Green Lantern... has entered production as a movie. Ordinarily I'd be dreading this because B-list super-heroes always get shitty movie treatments by assholes who think that the characters "need fixing." But there are several things going on here in Green Lantern's favor: 1) Recent box office smashes by The Dark Knight and Iron Man prove that these movies are most successful WHEN YOU RESPECT THE FUCKING SOURCE MATERIAL! Hopefully production will take note. 2) They are using the real Green Lantern here... Hal Jordan. 3) The writer on the project is Greg Berlanti, the guy responsible for quality stuff like Everwood, Brothers & Sisters, and Eli Stone! Please, please, please let them get this right... because a good Green Lantern movie could seriously kick ass!

DAVETOON: Lil' Dave dressed as Green Lantern.

Last up, I am getting ready to leave soon, so if you're in the Chicago area this Saturday (or in the St. Louis area next Saturday) and want to meet up with a great group of bloggers, please send a message to me at dave@blogography.com and I'll get you hooked up with all the details!

Davecago Poster   Dave Louis Poster

And now... time to wash underwear.

Why is it that no matter how many pairs of boxers I buy, I'm forever running out?

   

Bullet Sunday 93

Posted on Sunday, August 10th, 2008

Dave!Live from Chicago, it's another edition of Bullet Sunday!

• iPhone. When I got back from Davecago 3 last night and went to charge my iPhone, I found out that my power adaptor was dead. This was frustrating, but not a big problem, because I was going into the city and could just stop by the Apple Store and get a new one. But when I got there, something strange was happening. The line to get a new iPhone 3G had only one person in it. Not knowing quite what to do with myself, I made the snap decision to just get a new iPhone so I could finally have the GPS I need so badly in my travels (and go completely broke from having to shell out $299). I'll undoubtedly blather on about it later, but my initial reaction? Feels better in the hand, but design is not as nice as my first iPhone. Face feels more like plastic than glass (oh shit!). GPS is slow to acquire. 3G network is faster only sometimes and not widely available. None of my old complaints were addressed (clipboard, subscribed calendars, etc.). Conclusion? If Apple had put a fucking GPS in the original iPhone like they should have in the first place, I would never have "upgraded." Still a nice product, however.

• Doggity. Since earliest childhood, the only way I ever ate hotdogs was plain with ketchup. Now that I've started eating Chicago Style Hotdogs, I can't imagine eating them any other way (well, maybe one other way). Damn they're addicting. Fortunately, there's a vegetarian version here in Chicago at America's Dog, which is where I had lunch (again) today...

A veggie hot dog decked out Chicago-style with mustard, tomatoes, pickle, peppers, and relish in a steamed poppy-seed bun.

• Chef. Isaac Hayes, who I will forever associate with the phrase "Hello there, children!" from his character "Chef" on South Park has just died. I know that Hayes had a major falling out with Trey Parker and Matt Stone (creators of the show) a while back, which resulted in the death of "Chef"... but I sure hope that they do something on South Park to remember him and the years he worked on the show. It hasn't been the same since he left...

Cartoon character "Chef" from South Park.

• Davecago 3. I hate to admit it, but RW over at 1 Step Beyond gave up a much better recap of the festivities than I could ever hope to write. Suffice to say that I had a great time, and was so very happy to meet some terrific new people...

  • Leah from Leah In Chicago - Accidentally Jewish. Oddly enough, Leah was the blogger I've been reading the longest that attended. In trying to figure out exactly when I first found "Leah In Chicago" I believe it was in 2004. I honestly don't remember how I bounced across her blog, but I think it had to do with Google research for one of my many trips to Chicago. At the time, she was gearing up to convert to Judaism, and I found it interesting, so I stuck around until she made the actual conversion in 2005. After that I continued to lurk around for a while, reading off and on for another few months until I lost touch. Then, in one of those wild coincidences that only seem to happen in the blogosphere, Leah made a comment on MY blog on an entry about Passover, and I had no idea it was the same Leah I had read earlier until much later. Bizarre, but cool coincidence.
  • Lynne from Life After Work. When I got an email from "Lynne" wanting to attend Davecago, I was thrilled that I was going to meet somebody I had never heard of before... until I went to email her back and recognized her email address as somebody who has been commenting on Blogography for years. That was one of those "slap-you-in-the-face" moments when I remembered that she too had a blog that used to be in my feed reader, didn't survive the transfer to my new computer, and had been plugging along for months without me. Horrified that a faithful commenter was going unread, I immediately added her back, and then faced the awful embarrassment of meeting her at last at Davecago without even knowing what's happening in her life. Sigh. I guess I'll be better prepared next time. Lynne also has a great Davecago recap here.
  • Suzanne. RW has branded her that "lurker who comes to your site, has no blog of her own, never comments and continually scares the living crap out of you." Fortunately, she's a lot friendlier in person.
  • Tori from Radioactive Girl. Tori is one of those bloggers who appeared from nowhere to comment on my blog, and all of a sudden I was seeing her pop up on other people's blogs I read. Then one day last month I finally went to her site and read her current entry, was instantly captivated... then browsed back a few entries... and there I was. She was writing about one of my favorite projects: AnySoldier.com and actually had a link to Blogography! Naturally, I was now in love with Tori. That love turned to obsession when she showed up to Davecago with packages of home-made brownies for everybody... complete with recipes! The brownies were so amazing and addictive that I was looking to see how many tablespoons of crack cocaine was in there. Answer? 1/2 Tablespoon. Sure she calls it "Kahlúa" but I know what she really means. Click here for Tori's Davecago 3 recap post!

UPDATE: Tori has relented and published the recipe for her amazing, highly addictive brownies! Click and rejoice!

And also to reunite with some old friends from Davecagos past...

I swear that every time I meet up with other bloggers I feel so amazingly lucky to have people like this in my life. It's not easy spending so much time traveling far away from home, but knowing I have a blogging family no matter where I go is a blessing in life that I just can't put into words. I have received criticism from those who think that I'm an egotistical bastard for "renaming cities in my image" and "inviting people to come worship me"... but the truth is exactly the opposite. I don't do this so people can meet me... I do it so that I can meet them...

The group at Davecago 3

Jenny and Kelly from Davecago 3

Another group shot from Davecago 3

The fact that I am lucky enough that people even care enough about me to show up and say "hello" is just a bonus. If I am very lucky, I'll get to keep meeting up with fellow bloggers and blog readers for years to come.

Past and upcoming meet-ups can always be found on Blogography's Dave Events Page.

Oog... I really need to update my "Bloggers I've Met" list in my sidebar, but it's time for bed. I have a very long day ahead of me tomorrow...

   

Visualizer

Posted on Saturday, September 27th, 2008

Dave!Catching up with all the television I missed while on vacation has been tough because I've got loads of work piled up as well. So far, the only "must-see" series for me is Jay Mohr & Paula Marshall in Gary Unmarried. I had -zero- expectations for the show, but watched it anyway because I loved Paula Marshall on Cupid and think Jay Mohr is seriously underrated (I can't think of a single thing he's done that I haven't liked). Imagine my shock in finding out that the show is great... really funny stuff. I also kind of enjoyed Worst Week, but don't know how they are going to keep the premise going week after week. The biggest disappointment so far was Knight Rider which sucked so much ass that I expected my television to implode.

Which would be okay by me because after installing iTunes version 8, I've been spending most of my time being mesmerized by the beautiful new Visualizer they've included. It was formerly an iTunes plugin called "Magnetosphere," but it was so sweet that Apple bought it and made it their new default look. Here's just a small sampling of the jaw-dropping images that spring to life...

Apple Visualizer Image: Magnetosphere

Apple Visualizer Image: Magnetosphere

Apple Visualizer Image: Magnetosphere

Apple Visualizer Image: Magnetosphere

Apple Visualizer Image: Magnetosphere

Apple Visualizer Image: Magnetosphere

Of course, static images do nothing to show how incredible the visualizer looks when in motion, but you can at least get an idea of what's going on. Check it out for yourself by downloading iTunes 8 for free!

   

UPDATE: Here's a video of the old Magnetosphere plug-in in action, which I found in a nifty LifeHacker article with undocumented keyboard shortcuts for the new iTunes Visualizer...

Super sweet.

   

Freshen

Posted on Monday, October 20th, 2008

Dave!Blargh. There's not enough time left in the day to blog properly.

Whenever I get a new version of Adobe Creative Suite, I completely start over from scratch on my computers. This is a day-long, tedious endeavor that involves making two redundant backups, reformatting my drive, reinstalling the MacOS X, then re-downloading and installing all the software I know and love.

It may sound like overkill for an upgrade, but I learned the hard way when moving from CS to CS2 that Adobe puts a lot of stuff on your machine that you may not ever get rid of. To make sure that everything runs at its best and conflicts are avoided, a fresh approach seems to work best.

As an added bonus, I clear out a lot of garbage that I've accumulated over the years, and have the opportunity to reclaim hard disk space previously occupied by crap.

In this case, 18 gigs of crap.

And no, it wasn't porn.

Not knowing what in the heck had been taking up all that space, I went back through my backup archive.

For two hours.

Turns out at some point I duplicated my entire Applications folder without realizing it, chewing up 16 gigs of hard disk space I never even knew I should have had available.

Yay! More room for porn!

Categories: Apple Stuff 2008Click To It: Permalink  18 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Snowplowed

Posted on Monday, January 5th, 2009

Dave!This morning I woke up to a fresh 9-inches of snow that magically appeared overnight.

Needless to say, I was not thrilled. I had to wait over an hour for the snowplow people to come dig me out so I could get to work. Not a good way to start the week.

In other news... OMFG!! TOMORROW IS THE MACWORLD KEYNOTE!!! I'm totally excited, even though his Royal Steveness won't be the one delivering it. Even worse, Apple has decided that this is the last year they'll be participating at MacWorld, which is a sad passing of a long-time tradition.

It may be my last shot, but I'm still crossing my fingers for iToast to be announced!

iToast

But I'd also settle for a $1000 price cut on the MacBook Pro.

Or maybe something new, like a MacTablet.

But mostly an iToast.

Categories: Apple Stuff 2009Click To It: Permalink  21 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Flooded

Posted on Tuesday, January 6th, 2009

Dave!It's been raining all day, and is supposed to keep raining through the week.

This is a scary prospect when you've got as much snow as we do. The rain soaks into the snow and makes it super-heavy, which causes carports to collapse... roofs to cave in... satellite dishes to topple... generally nasty stuff. As if that wasn't enough, now we've got avalanches in the mountains too. But that pales in comparison to what's happening Seattle-side, they're being hit with massive flooding. Since there's even more rain on the way, where's all that water supposed to go?

This is not a great way to start the year for a lot of people.

The MacWorld keynote today was kind of boring, but still more exciting that anything you're going to get from other companies at their keynote presentations. The technologies being pumped into iLife and iWork are impressive, and things like facial recognition in a photo app is a great idea, but hardly revolutionary. Then we've got the iTunes Store going DRM-free on their music, which isn't too surprising (other online stores have been DRM-free for a while now as record labels attempted to "even the field"). But it's the new 17-inch Mac Book Pro that intrigued me most. Not because I want one... I don't, it's too big to travel with easily... but because of a very interesting option you have when you go to order one...

Apple Store Glossy or Matte Screen Choice

NON-GLARE SCREEN?!?

Why isn't that an option on the 15-inch MacBook Pro? When I was in Minnesota a while back, I wandered into The Apple Store at Mall of America to get a new laptop and was furious to discover that all of them have these hideously glossy screens. Sure the color is nicer, but I need to WORK. How can I focus on my work with a massive sheet of glare staring back at me?

I sure hope that Apple does the right thing and allows this option for their smaller laptops as well.

Meh.

I guess it's time to try to get some sleep. Listening to the rain drops on my roof should be a nice sound to fall asleep by.

At least all that water is good for something.

Categories: Apple Stuff 2009Click To It: Permalink  11 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

PC

Posted on Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

Dave!I hate Microsoft Windows.

I really, really, really, hate Microsoft Windows Vista.

And it's not because I'm a Mac Whore, or Bill Gates kicked my puppy, or I was attacked by Steve Balmer in a fit of monkey-induced rage... it's simply because Microsoft Windows Vista sucks ass. It is the steaming pile of shit upon which computer users beg for death. Every single time I use a PC running Vista, I have some kind of stupid problem which makes me enter a thermonuclear rage.

Fortunately, I don't have to use Vista very often. Otherwise, I would need to be institutionalized.

What pisses me off is that when Microsoft finally fixes their bullshit, I'm going to have to shell out more money to get the "Windows 7" upgrade. That is really fucked up. Microsoft should have to pay ME to upgrade as compensation for having to deal with their crap OS all this time...
   

DAVETOON: Lil' Dave is a Mac... Lil' Wayne is a PC!

DAVETOON: PC has a Blue Screen of Death crash!

DAVETOON: Lil' Dave can't find PC's reset button!

To see all of the Lil' Dave Mac vs. Lil' Wayne PC ads, click here!

And speaking of PC (as in Political Correctness), what the heck is going on over at Comedy Central? This morning I wanted to check out clips from Russell Brand's upcoming DVD, so I went to their "video section." I got distracted by a new email while the video was buffering, only to see a black man dancing around while eating fried chicken when I clicked back to Comedy Central again. Horrified at such a racist stereotype being offered up as "comedy," I immediately clicked to a different video link.

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...

   

Flames

Posted on Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

Dave!When you are following a car that's weaving down the middle of the road while going 10 miles under the speed limit... don't you owe it to society to run them off the road, rip off the car door, bitch-slap the driver really hard, then take a flamethrower to the whole mess?

If you agree, then would you please move into Chelan County right away? When my eventual trial comes up, it would be nice to have a jury of my peers who understand justifiable road rage. IF YOU OR YOUR VEHICLE IS INCAPABLE OF DRIVING THE SPEED LIMIT, THEN STAY OFF THE FUCKING ROAD!! All these people do is make things more dangerous for people who know how to drive.

Speaking of flame-throwers, I maintain that they are the solution to many of our problems, including PCs running Microsoft Windows Vista...
   

DAVETOON: Lil' Dave Mac and Lil' Wayne PC

DAVETOON: Lil' Dave Mac takes a flamethrower to Lil' Wayne PC!

DAVETOON: Lil' Wayne PC is toast! "I totally deserve that."

And now I think I will be going to bed extra early so I can attempt to forget this terrible day.

To see all of the Lil' Dave Mac vs. Lil' Wayne PC ads, click here!

   

Idolatry

Posted on Thursday, May 21st, 2009

Dave!I just don't "get" American Idol. I have never watched an episode, but every singer I can think of who has come from the show is total shit. Clay Aiken? Absolutely horrendously awful in every way. Crappy voice, heinous stage presence. Kelly Clarkson? BORING! She retreads through territory that we've seen a hundred times before, and her songs are gag-inducing. Taylor Hicks? I know he won because I heard about it when he was on Chelsea Lately... but I've never seen or heard him perform anywhere on anything. Ever. Big clue that he must suck ass. Jordin Sparks? The only thing I've heard from her was the complete destruction of Bon Jovi's Living on a Prayer. After that travesty, I have no desire to hear anything else she does. And that pretty much goes for anyone coming off American Idol.

And yet, everybody I know is just enraptured by the show. It's massively popular. So what am I missing?!? Since there was nothing on TV last night as I was flipping through channels, I decided to see what's up.

When I first dropped by, it was a bunch of horrendous singers butchering Santana's "Smooth"... WITH SANTANA!! It was positively mind-boggling. None of these people can sing!! None of them had any harmony with each other! It was borderline tragic how terrible they sounded. I was horrified that Santana was forced to endure such torture, and was hoping that he had somebody to watch over him that night because I worried he might try and hurt himself.

THEN, after escaping, I flipped back to see Steve Martin playing a freakin' BANJO while two truly bad singers were wailing over it with voices so grating that paint started peeling off my walls. The guy sounded like his vocal cords were being attacked by a feral badger, and the gal sounded like she was gargling a tone deaf rodent. AWFUL!!!

I couldn't take anymore and had to turn the channel to something with entertainment value... like Rush Limbaugh... but then my friend Meagan called and was squealing "OMG! YOU HAVE TO TURN BACK TO IDOL!! IT'S AMAZING!!!"

So I did, and there were a bunch of hideously untalented dudes "singing" Rod Stewart's Do You Think I'm Sexy in a "performance" that was so terribly off-key and badly harmonized that I was searching for a pencil to gouge my ears out. THEN... just as I was praying for death... an undead mummified corpse was rolled out with horrible hair and an embarrassing wardrobe to sing with them. Once I snapped out of my trauma-induce shock, I realized it was ROD STEWART HIMSELF and was scrambling for the remote so I could turn off the television before I went into a coma from the distress of watching poor Rod be humiliated anymore.

So, yeah... that was enough American Idol suckage for me. Any more, and I would have tried to saw my own head off.

And speaking of saws...

DAVETOON: Lil' Dave Mac and Lil' Wayne PC

DAVETOON: Holy crap, PC... what are you doing? My legs have performed a Windows security violation so I'm cutting them off with this saw!

DAVETOON: Do you think that's a good idea? Meh... it's not like I ran very well with Vista anyway.

Poor PC... he really should have tried installing Linux before going to such extreme measures! Though Windows Vista makes me insane every time I use it, so I guess this shouldn't be too surprising.

To see all of the Lil' Dave Mac vs. Lil' Wayne PC ads, click here!

And before I go... knowing my love for all things Betty White, and my total man-crush on Ryan Reynolds, about twenty people forwarded me a link to this Funny or Die bit which features BOTH of them...

Even though I have zero interest in yet another Sandra Bullock romantic comedy, there is no way I can resist a movie which has both the incomparable Betty White and the hysterically funny Ryan Reynolds. Talk about can't-miss casting! And, much to my surprise, the trailer actually looks pretty good... I am SO there.

And now... it's off to a very full day of work. And drinking. Drinking to forget the horrors I witnessed on American Idol.

   

Bug

Posted on Friday, May 22nd, 2009

Dave!The big news blowing through the blogosphere today is former American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken blasting away at how much he thinks current American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert sucks ass. Personally, I don't give a crap, and think Clay Aiken is entitled to his opinion. But what's so odd is that the words Clay uses to talk smack about Adam ("contrived, awful, and slightly frightening") is exactly... exactly... how I would describe Clay. I've never heard him sing a damn thing that didn't make me wish my head would explode... or wish Clay Aiken would explode... or both. This is like the suck-infested pot telling the suck-infested kettle that he sucks. Or something like that.

And speaking of horrific infestation...

DAVETOON: I'm a Lil' Dave Mac, and I'm a Lil' Wayne PC

DAVETOON: Wow PC, you're infested! Yeah, Vista has more bugs than a rotting corpse!

Shouldn't you do something about that? Yeah, I'm saving up for a Windows 7 upgrade!

Yeah... Vista sucks ass and should have never been released in the first place, but instead of fixing it,* Microsoft is going to make you pay for an upgrade to Windows 7? What a crock of shit.

* And no, those Service Pack updates didn't solve nearly enough of my problems with Vista to make me consider it "fixed."

To see all of the Lil' Dave Mac vs. Lil' Wayne PC ads, click here!

On a happier note, I got an email from somebody who was very happy with my movie suggestion of Doc Hollywood this past Bullet Sunday, and wanted to know if I had any other "old movies" that I'd recommend. The film was released in 1991, which had me doing some serious reevaluation of what I consider to be an "old movie," but I did come up with two worth watching...

Creator Poster

Creator (1985) Starring Peter O'Toole, Mariel Hemmingway, Vincent Spano, and Virginia Madsen. This movie was overlooked by most everybody and it's a real shame. Creator is a comedy with truly touching dramatic elements which has a lot to say about life, love, loss, and the science of it all. Peter O'Toole gives a fantastic performance as a brilliant but eccentric professor who's trying to clone his dead wife. It's definitely a level above your typical popcorn comedy, but oh so rewarding. Unfortunately, the DVD and iTunes versions are absolute shit... they butcher the film to crappy full-screen "pan-and-scan" which chops up the flow and framing of the film... but Flix is airing it in widescreen on the 26th at 12:05am Pacific (3:05am Eastern). If you get the Showtime/Flix channel package, you might want to set your TiVo, because this is probably the only way you're ever going to see this wonderful film unmolested.

Undercover Blues Poster

Undercover Blues (1993) Starring Kathleen Turner, Dennis Quaid, Fiona Shaw, and Stanley Tucci. Another overlooked gem that's one of my favorite movies of all time. Spies Jeff and Jane Blue are on maternity leave to spend time with their new baby, starting with a vacation in New Orleans. But when a situation comes up having world-shattering consequences, they are back in action for one more case. Hilarity ensues. I think what I like best about this movie (other than the fantastic way they integrate New Orleans into the story) is that there are no wasted moments. The plot moves ahead at full-speed from frame one, and takes you for a ride that's never boring and always funny. Definitely worth your valuable time to track down and watch.

I've seen each of these films at least a dozen times, but just writing this makes me want to see them all over again.

Unfortunately, I have to go back to work instead.

   

Matt+Kim

Posted on Saturday, May 23rd, 2009

Dave!Even though this is my blog and I should be able to write about whatever the hell I want, there are times that I don't write what's on my mind because people will just think I'm being a whiny little bitch. And they'd be mostly right. But who really wants to have people call them a whiny little bitch when they're being a whiny little bitch? Not me.

But today is Saturday, the first day of a three day holiday weekend, and hardly anybody will be reading my blog anyway, so here's me whining: This past Wednesday, Matt & Kim were playing in Seattle and I couldn't go! WAH!! To understand the depth of this tragedy, you have to understand just how much I love Matt & Kim...

On New Years Day 2007, I decided to go through the pile of mail that had been stacking up over the past month. In amongst the crap was a padded envelope from my friend Meagan containing a three CD's with a note on top. "Merry Christmas!" it said. "Except you don't celebrate Christmas, but that shouldn't stop you from getting awesome presents." One of the CD's was the self-titled debut album by Brooklyn grunge-punk-pop duo Matt & Kim. From the very first track, I was mesmerized. Here was a band that was playing their guts out in a way that I hadn't heard since the punk rock movement in the late 70's and early 80's. Just listening to them made me feel like I was discovering music again for the first time. In the years that followed, I could always count on Matt & Kim to cheer me up on even my worst days.

Their follow-up album, Grand, released this January, was even more amazing than the first. Somehow the band has managed to keep it's raw and amateurish flavor, but come up with a sound that's a little more polished and accessible. I've played the single Daylight so many times that it's melded with my soul...

I mean, just look at them! They love playing so much that they can't keep the smiles off their faces. Their enthusiasm is so contagious that it permeates their music and makes every song feel like nobody has ever done this before. And every time I see a photo from one of their concerts or a video from a live gig... believe you me, I want to see them live so badly it hurts...

Mattandkimseeliephoto

I've come very close to seeing them nearly a half-dozen times. It's not hard, because they spend most of their lives touring. They're everywhere. And yet... I keep missing their shows. A friend called me Tuesday and said I should come to Seattle because they were playing Wednesday night, but I couldn't go. I've felt sick ever since. I can't get over it. I can't let it go. Missed opportunities. It's the first thing I think of when I wake up in the morning, and the last thing to go through my mind when my head hits the pillow at night. Right now typing this entry I can barely keep from screaming as loud as I can until I pass out. Tonight they're playing in one of my favorite cities... Cologne Germany... and I'm not there. On Monday they're playing in Paris and I want to meet Laurence there and see it. On Tuesday they land in Amsterdam and I want to be there with The DutchBitch. On Thursday they're playing in Stockholm and I want to call up Göran, hop on a plane, and go. On Saturday, they're invading Oslo and I want to jet over, grab Karla, and see it. On June 1st, they're in London, and I want nothing more than to call up everybody I know in the city, cash in some frequent flier miles, and have a party at their show...

But here I sit.

And then this morning I noticed that they dropped an amazing new video for Lessons Learned back in April...

I hate it when I allow something stupid like missing a concert to ruin my life like this.

And yet, I just can't help it...

DAVETOON: Lil' Dave Mac vs. Lil' Wayne PC

Lil' Dave in a Matt and Kim shirt crying WAAAAAAAAAH!

Lil' Dave in a Matt and Kim shirt crying WAAAAAAAAAH!

And lastly, words of profound wisdom from Matt...

"True success is health insurance."

If that doesn't sum up life in these United States of America, I don't know what does.

   

Official Matt & Kim Website.

Free "Daylight" MP3 + Remixes from Green Label Sound.

Matt & Kim music at the iTunes Music Store.

Matt & Kim Flickr Photos.

Matt & Kim YouTube Videos.

Matt & Kim Twitter Feed.

Matt & Kim's MySpace Page.

   

iPhonery

Posted on Friday, June 19th, 2009

Dave!The new iPhone 3GS dropped today and my inner Mac-whore is mortified that I'm not getting a new Apple product on release day. The good news is that I'll be getting one next week instead of two months from now thanks to AT&T's generous eligibility revision for early iPhone 3G adopters.

At first I was seriously considering skipping the latest version, but the better camera (with video!) and speed improvements ultimately won me over. A part of me wants to be thrilled at the new digital compass feature (which will show you which way you're facing in Google Maps), but since the GPS unit in iPhone sucks ass, I'm trying not to get my hopes up.

Given how often I use my iPhone and how much I rely on it when traveling, buying the latest model seemed a wise investment.


MAC: I'm a Mac! PC: Plays with iPhone

MAC: -ahem!- I'm a Mac! PC: Plays with iPhone

PC: I LOVE MY NEW iPHONE! WINDOWS MOBILE BLOWS!

BLAM! PC's head explodes

As if this wasn't enough, it appears that Steve Jobs is returning to Apple as scheduled.

Apple whores rejoice!

To see all of the Lil' Dave Mac vs. Lil' Wayne PC ads, click here!

   

Affair

Posted on Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

Dave!As the train wreck that is Governor Sanford unfolded in the media today, I made a few smart-assed remarks on Twitter because I just love it when hypocritical assholes get burned. Especially hypocritical assholes who pushed for impeaching Clinton when it was his dick that ended up where it shouldn't have been. And when you consider that Sanford not only used taxpayer money to get himself a mistress, but he is also an opponent of same-sex marriage because he apparently feels it defiles traditional marriage... well, it's a trifecta of schadenfreude bliss when he goes on television and admits to having an extramarital affair.

The Twitter stuff was nothing too outrageous, just snippy comments like...

  • "Because when you want to bring morality to America, it applies to EVERYBODY ELSE. Anxiously awaiting news that Sanford's affair was with a dude."
  • "Color me three shades of shocked... Not... One more nail in the "sanctity of traditional marriage" argument..."
  • "I should certainly hope that Jenny Sanford stands by her man! According to "Doctor" Laura, it was all her fault anyway."
  • "How do you solve a problem like Maria? A hike along the Appalachian Trail, apparently..."

Not a big deal, but it was enough to compel somebody on Twitter to send me a Direct Message telling me that my "attacks" were far worse than anything Sanford has done.

Whatever.

The big difference being that I don't go around condemning people for how they live their lives, then turn around and do that same shit. So, while I certainly sympathize with Sanford's family, that doesn't make the Governor any less a hypocritical asshole.

In similar news... suck it Perez Hilton. It's not that I am advocating violence, but when you make a living writing hateful things about people all day long... well, you reap what you sow.

In completely different news... I finally found time to unbox my new iPhone 3GS. To be honest, I don't consider it to be a critical hardware upgrade from the iPhone 3G. But I decided to go for it anyway because I find myself using the camera feature far more often than I ever thought I would, and the 2G/3G camera sucks major ass. Fortunately, the 3GS camera is far, far better. For one thing, it can do macro (close-up) photography very well...

iPhone Macro Flowers

iPhone Macro World Map

Compare that to the total shit that you get from the 2G/3G camera...

Shitty iPhone Macro Menu

But the thing I love most about the new 3GS camera is that you not only get selective one-tap focus... you can also choose where the camera meters the exposure. This is a massively huge improvement because it makes the camera is actually useful now.

In this scene, I tapped the bright white sign as the focus/exposure point to force a darker shot...

iPhone Scene Exposure

This time, I tapped the train in the background as the focus/exposure point to force a brighter shot...

iPhone Scene Exposure

By tapping around the scene for a medium value, I could get exactly the exposure I want. This is a far cry from the shitty 2G/3G camera which consistently shoots everything as murky and dark unless the lighting is perfect.

Finally, FINALLY, I have a viable camera with me at all times that I can rely on for decent photos! In addition, you can shoot and edit video with the 3GS... a nice bonus that I probably won't use much. There are also a few other new features, but unless you are wanting a better camera like I did, I don't know that it's worth the cost to upgrade.

Unless you're a government official and can pay for the upgrade using taxpayer money. An upgrade is always worth it when somebody else is paying.

   

Shop

Posted on Friday, July 17th, 2009

Dave!

DAVETOON: I'm a Mac. I'm a PC

I'm applying to be a "PC Moron" at the new Microsoft retail store!

Is that like a Mac Genius? Kind of. Except we don't have to know anything about computers...

We just yell "OUR STUFF IS CHEAPER THAN APPLE!" - Doesn't sound like a very good shopping experience.

It's all we've got. Have you ever heard "you get what you pay for?" No.

   

To see all of the Lil' Dave Mac vs. Lil' Wayne PC ads, click here!

   

   

Snowing

Posted on Friday, August 28th, 2009

Dave!Today Apple released the latest version of their Macintosh "Mac OS X" operating system... Snow Leopard (version 10.6). There's not many new features, as Apple has instead concentrated on speed enhancements and other refinements, but it's still well-worth the $29 upgrade.

The speed increase is noticeable. In some cases very noticeable. I never realized how pokey the Finder is at just about everything until I started playing with this new release. Snow Leopard is a leaner, meaner, cat compared to Leopard (Apple claims you'll recover 7GB of hard disk space, I got 9GB on both my desktop and laptop). This alone is worth the price of admission (assuming you have a newer Intel-based Mac that is capable of running it)...

Snow Leopard Box

This is not to say that there are not problems. I've only been playing around with it for a day, but I've ran into some things that boggle my mind. First of all, Apple's own software is incompatible. The 2008 version of iWork, which is their alternative to Microsoft Office, has display issues and there are no updates available to fix the problem. Instead, you have to run out and buy iWork 2009 to get working software. This is absurd. I'm not running some 10-year-old program here, but something dated LAST YEAR! Never mind that I already own iWork '09 and just need to install it, Apple should release a patch for iWork '08 for people who don't want to upgrade. Paying to get something that works is the Microsoft way of doing business, and I expect more from Apple.

Icons have been improved by giving you the option to display them up to 512 pixels square! This is glorious if the program/document supports the higher resolution...

Snow Leopard Numbers Icon

And really crappy if it doesn't...

Snow Leopard TextMate Icon

But nobody is going to need to display application icons that size... at least not yet. It's document icon previews where this becomes a useful feature. This was a kind of hit-and-miss feature with Leopard. Sometimes icon previews would just universally stop working. Other times they are so slow to update as to be useless. Fortunately, this seems to be solved with Snow Leopard. Previews always seem to work and are rendered blazingly fast. And now that Apple has added an icon-size slider at the bottom-right corner of each Finder window, it's almost like using iPhoto for file management! The ability to look at your photos at 512x512 without even having to open the file or enter QuickLook "preview mode" is awesome...

Snow Leopard Photo Document Preview

PDF documents or documents with PDF previews (like Adobe Illustrator docs) render nicely. Snow Leopard even adds a piece of graph paper behind the icon so that documents with transparency still look like document icons...

Snow Leopard PDF Document Preview

Remarkably, zooming in on any supported document, like an Excel spreadsheet, gives you a fully-functional preview...

Snow Leopard Excel Document Preview

My biggest problem with Snow Leopard has nothing to do with icon previews, which are pretty great... it has to do with the "improvements" they've made in the Dock. Some are worthwhile (LOVE being able to scroll through stacks and drill down in folder hierarchy within the Dock at last!) but the new contextual menus? Not so much.

It used to be that a double-click-hold on an application icon in the Dock would bring up a sweet contextual menu to perform program functions without actually switching to that program. Such as being able to double-click-hold on the Apple Mail program icon and tell it to "Get New Mail." Or double-click-holding on iTunes and telling it to "Mute Sound"... all without having to switch out of the app you're in...

Mac OS X Dock Contextual Menu

This is really convenient, and I use it all the time. But now a double-click-hold on an application icon will put it under the spotlight and reveal all program windows "Expose" style. I can see where this might be handy for an app that has tons of windows open. But for something like iTunes which only ever has ONE window open, it's just fucking stupid. A once handy feature is now practically useless...

Snow Leopard Dock Menu FUCKING BULLSHIT!

So now, in order to get the old contextual command menus, you have to RIGHT-CLICK on the program's Dock icon. Which isn't so bad... IF YOU HAVE A MOUSE WITH A RIGHT MOUSE BUTTON! But what about on my MacBook Pro WHICH DOESN'T HAVE A RIGHT MOUSE BUTTON?!? Oh... you have to fake it by reaching up to the keyboard and hunting down the "Control" key so you can press it while you single click. The new "shortcut" is actually MORE WORK than just switching to the program and interacting with it directly. This has put a serious crimp in the way that I use the Dock and I HATE IT! It's like Apple gave you a wonderful new toy in Leopard... then took it away and replaced with with a steaming pile of shit in Snow Leopard. Why not make this a preference so I can CHOOSE how I use the Dock instead of forcing me to deal with this "new and unimproved" bullshit?*

Oh well, I guess you've got to take the good with the bad. And, in this case, the good does outweigh the bad by quite a large margin.

There are other features to Snow Leopard (Universal Access has some impressive upgrades)... but the speed, hard disk savings, icons, and Dock changes are the ones I notice the most.

And now all we Mac-Whores start counting the days until the next Mac OS X 10.7 "Sabertooth" upgrade...

*UPDATE: Ren points out that a two-finger click will work to bring up the contextual menu in the Dock. And it does... if you have "secondary click" enabled in the Trackpad Preferences (mine was turned off for some reason). This is a little clutzy compared to how I used to do it, but it's certainly better than nothing! Thanks, Ren!

UPDATE: Sven over at Quarter Life Crisis has a much more in-depth review of Snow Leopard, and has found a terminal command line trick which can restore Dock functionality by Lap Cat Software.

   

Preferences

Posted on Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

Dave!Oh happy day!

I just noticed that Apple has finally... FINALLY... added a Finder preference so that your searches aren't brain dead. In previous Mac OS X versions, the Finder would always search the entire frackin' computer whenever you did a search from a Finder window. This is sublimely stupid, because odds are you just want to search within the folder you are already in! It's about time they fixed this, I just think it's a shame that it's not turned on by default.

Finder Preferences Window Snapshot

This has been such a major frustration for me day-in and day-out that discovering Apple had fixed it was enough to have me walking on air all day! It's the little things, I guess.

   

Nines

Posted on Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

Dave!It's 9-9-09 and a lot of things seemed to happen today. The two most significant, at least to me, were the release of the remastered Beatles albums on CD and Apple's release of iTunes 9 and its accompanying iPhone update.

"Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey"

I'm a big Beatles fan. And when the rumor went out that their albums were going to be remastered, I was thrilled. Mostly because I assumed they'd finally be made available for purchase on iTunes. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. It's going to happen eventually (at least according to Yoko Ono), just not today.

That being said, I wish I had a couple hundred dollars burning a hole in my pocket so I could pick up the Beatles Mono Gift Box Set...

The Beatles Mono Gift Box Set

The first albums were recorded in mono and designed to be heard that way. Having listened to many of the original LP records, they definitely seem to have a brighter, crisper sound than the murky stereo mixes they put on CD. But, alas, I just paid to have my blog templates updated, so the money isn't available. Hopefully when the songs make it to iTunes, you'll be able to buy the mono versions there.

"Happiness Is a Warm Gun"

I'm a big Apple Computer fan. They rarely fuck up and, compared to the heinous shit that Microsoft releases, Apple is a dream come true. But when Apple does fuck up... they REALLY fuck up spectacularly. As an example: the steaming pile of shit known as MobileMe which is not just bad... it's Microsoft bad. The fact that they haven't fixed MobileMe is embarrassing on any number of levels, especially considering that they continue to charge $99 a year for the service.

But today Apple totally outdid themselves.

The new iTunes 9 and iPhone update are beyond Microsoft bad.

I'd feel embarrassed for Apple, but I'm just too angry. After wasting loads of my time, losing my data, and turning my phone into a brick... well... let's just say Windows Vista now has some company as MY MOST HATED SOFTWARE EVER! If you care to read all about my woes, I've put a profanity-laden rant in an extended entry...

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...

   

Hubble

Posted on Thursday, September 10th, 2009

Dave!My morning routine is a rather complex series of events which is based on a number of "What-If" scenarios. Such as if I wake up and can't move because my joints are messed up, I then have to take pills so I can function properly. But these pills can trigger an idiopathic angioedema swelling attack... usually in dangerous or uncomfortable places.

Like the bottoms of my feet, which ballooned up with painful welts that made walking and driving a difficult and agonizing experience this morning. A massive dose of antihistamines helps some, but it still takes a serious chunk of time for the swelling to subside. In the meanwhile, I am having to hobble around in pain all day long. Not a fun time.

As of 10:00pm tonight, my feet are still in pretty bad shape, so I am taking some serious drugs which will probably have me passing out any minute now.

I'll see how far I can get...

I received a rather interesting comment about my rant yesterday from somebody accusing me of being "anti-Apple" (oh the sweet, sweet irony). I would have gladly published it... except they used a couple of slurs which I refuse to publish on my blog. The gist of the comment was that my "tirade" against MobileMe was unjustified, and I "obviously haven't been using it lately, because it performs flawlessly." This is laughable for a number of reasons, one of which being that I use MobileMe several times a day to sync information between my various Macs (when it feels like syncing anyway). But mostly it's bullshit because iDisk is a complete and total piece of crap which has NEVER worked. Here's an example...

Today I bought a couple new iTunes songs on my work computer. I wanted to transfer them to my laptop when I got home, so I thought I'd drag them into my iDisk where they'd be waiting for me. Except dropping the first music file in my iDisk immediately made The Finder drop to its knees and become unresponsive. After ten minutes, I decided to give up and restart the Finder. Except this is what I got halfway through the process...

The Finder Can't Be Opened!

Game over. MobileMe's iDisk was able to crash the Mac's Finder file system so thoroughly that it couldn't even be restarted. A complete reboot of the entire computer was required. And this is not an isolated incident. This is an easily reproduced problem that happens ALL THE TIME for no apparent reason. So I am not talking out of my ass here. When I say MobileMe is a flaming pile of shit, it comes from experience.

And, in happier news, have you seen the latest images to come from the Hubble Telescope after it was updated and refurbished? Holy cats, it's beautiful stuff...

New Hubble Image!

New Hubble Image!

New Hubble Image!

New Hubble Image!

I could literally stare at stuff like this all day long. Thank you NASA for using some of my tax dollars in a way I whole-heartedly approve of. I look forward to many, many more incredible images from Hubble.

And now the drugs are starting to kick in, which means I should probably stop blogging before I hurt myself.

   

Suck

Posted on Saturday, October 31st, 2009

Dave!

DAVETOON MAC: I'm a Mac! PC: I'm a PC!

DAVETOON MAC: Is that your Halloween costume? PC: No. MAC: Then why are you dressed as a vampire?

PC: People say Windows couldn't suck any harder than it does, so I'm going to prove them wrong! MAC: And it shows!

DAVETOON MAC: I thought that's what Windows 7 was for? PC: It's no Vista, but we tried our best!

DAVETOON MAC: Happy Halloween everybody! PC: I vant to suck your productivity!

   

To see all of the Lil' Dave Mac vs. Lil' Wayne PC ads, click here!

   

Bullet Sunday 157

Posted on Sunday, November 15th, 2009

Dave!Oh boy! It's Bullet Sunday once again! This will have to be a quick one, because I have got a lot to do before I fly out again on Friday.

   
• iTunez! I have a laundry list of things I hate about Apple's "iTunes Music Store" (particularly after the last shitty upgrade they forced on us)... but dealing with App Store update insanity is currently the thing pissing me off most. It's just so damn irritating the way that the process never... NEVER... makes things easy on you. You're constantly being interrupted with bullshit alert messages that are so astoundingly stupid that you have to wonder if Apple is being staffed by morons. Take, for example, the "You Are Downloading Age-Restricted Materials" alert...

iTunes MORON ALERT!

Yes, I know. And the reason I know is that I get this dumbass alert EVERY TIME I UPDATE MY APPS! Can't iTunes REMEMBER that I'm an adult so I don't have to go through this shit each time? And what's truly asinine is that the apps themselves are not adult-oriented... it's just that they access the internet where adult-oriented stuff might pop up. And it's not like underage kids are going to see this and go "Oh, I'm only 16, so I guess I'd better stop the update" either. I feel safer already!

And what about mystical crap like the "You Have Already Purchased This Item" alert...

iTunes STUPIDITY ALERT!

Yes, you stupid pile of FAIL!, I want to download the shit I've purchased! Why WOULDN'T I want to download it. ESPECIALLY IF IT'S AN UPDATE TO SOMETHING I ALREADY PURCHASED?!?! I mean, SERIOUSLY?

And then there's my FAVORITE message. It's the "The Item You Tried to Download is No Longer Available" alert...

More idiotic iTunes Alerts!

If it's no longer available, then why try to download it? But the biggest problem? THEY DON'T TELL YOU WHICH FUCKING APP IS THE CULPRIT! The error appears again and again and again until you manually download each app until you figure out which one is no longer available so you can manually delete it from the session. It's about the stupidest damn thing I've ever seen out of Apple. IF IT'S NOT AVAILABLE, THEN STOP TRYING TO DOWNLOAD IT YOU WORTHLESS PILE OF CRAP!! Can't you just eliminate it from the update session AND STOP BOTHERING ME?!? Completely stupid. BEYOND completely stupid. This is a bug of epic Microsoft proportions, and a total embarrassment to Apple.

The iTunes Music Store is so hopelessly idiotic now that it begs the question... DOES APPLE EVEN BOTHER BETA-TESTING SHIT ANYMORE? EVER?!? This is amateur hour stuff, and it's starting to really piss me off.

   
• Gleek! After listening to the non-stop raves from practically everybody, I finally broke down and watched the latest episode of Glee on Hulu entitled Wheels. Before I get into the horrors I was subjected to, I should preface this review(?) by saying that I can't stand musicals. It freaks me out when people suddenly break into song and dance for no particular reason, and the ... unreality... of it all drives me bat-shit insane. From what I understood, Glee was different because it was about kids in glee club, so there's context for all the singing and dancing crap. Except... the first thing I see? Some guy in a wheelchair starts mangling Billy Idol's Dancing With Myself then, you guessed it, starts wheeling around his school where nobody seems to notice that he's singing his guts out the whole time. Nobody says a damn thing...

Glee kid wheeling around singing unnoticed.
It's not at all freaky that nobody notices I'm singing!

Guy in the wheelchair kind of set the tone for the "Breakfast Club" theory of random casting, except they took it to the next level. Handicapped Kid, CHECK... Jock Kid, CHECK... Gay Kid, CHECK... Bad Boy Outsider Kid, CHECK... Black Kid, CHECK... Asian Kid, CHECK... Spoiled Jewish Princess Kid, CHECK... Stupid Blonde Kid, CHECK... Pregnant Kid, CHECK... Down Syndrome Kid, CHECK... it goes on and on and on. It's as if they told the casting director "Give me one of everything!" so it would make the writing as easy as possible. Which makes sense when you start noticing that everybody gets double-duty BONUS FEATURES!! Pregnant Kid, for example, is also Slutty Bitch Popular Christian Kid, who is terrorizing her current boyfriend to pay her for pregnancy support when she knows that the real father is actually (drumroll of un-shock) Bad Boy Outsider Kid! And don't forget the teachers! Lawful-Good Glee Club Teacher simply must have his stereotypical nemesis with Chaotic-Evil P.E. Teacher...

The Bitches of Glee
We're the stereotypical bitches of Glee!

The only part of the show that was remotely interesting to me was Down Syndrome Girl, which may seem a little too "Corky" from Life Goes On, but actually kind of works. Too bad they had to go and spoil it by building a hokey mystery as to why Chaotic-Evil P.E. Teacher could possibly want to put her on the cheerleading squad (especially when the predictable answer is a retread plot device that has been used in a billion other television shows for faux-drama heartstring pulling)...

More stereotypes for Glee!
ZOMFG! Why is the Chaotic-Evil P.E. Teacher being so nice? Yep! Exactly why you'd think she is.

And, of course, what would the show be without the big musical number finale? We'll never know, because the writers are just that predictable. But to be EXTRA tacky and manipulative, lets take the Featured-Kid-Of-The-Week cliche (Wheelchair Boy) and build a musical number of love and acceptance... by making everybody sing Proud Mary in... you guessed it... WHEELCHAIRS! Wheee...

Glee kids in wheelchairs!

Uhhh... yeah. Really, really, didn't like Glee. Didn't "get" it at all. Though, to be fair, I am not a part of its target audience of musical-lovers. Except... even without the musical numbers... the stereotypes, cliches, predictability, and gag-inducingly obvious emotional manipulation would kill it for me. Oh well. It's perfectly okay that everybody doesn't like the same things. On the contrary, in this case it's critical for maintaining my sanity.

   
And that will have to do it until next week...

   

STEVE!

Posted on Monday, January 4th, 2010

Dave!ZOMFG! APPLE IS HOLDING A SPECIAL MEDIA EVENT ON JANUARY 27th!

For a Certified Apple Whore such as myself, this is the equivalent of getting a free 3-month supply of hookers with a case of Snack-Pack Chocolate Pudding on top. The question is... will His Holiness, Steve Jobs, be the one to run the event? Because that's the difference between your free hookers having all their teeth or not (admittedly, some guys find the idea of a toothless strumpet to be Prostitute Nirvana, but I assure you that I am not one of them).

Obviously, my preference would be for Mr. Jobs to descend from the heavens on a sun-beam, alight on that high pedestal upon which I place him, and unleash the new hotness that Apple has up their collective sleeves...

Steve Jobs Descends from Heaven

But, when push comes to shove, I'll reluctantly accept a Jobs substitution by Jonathan Ivy, Phil Schiller, or whatever other dentally-challenged whores they've got hanging around at Apple. In this case, it's not the messenger, it's the message that's important. Hell, Apple's new toy could be stuck in a pile of flaming dog shit and dropped on-stage by Dick Cheney riding a three-legged goat while masturbating to donkey porn... it just doesn't matter. If the "device" Apple is announcing is up to their usual awesome standards, nobody would notice.

The rumor mill is saying that the "device" is a tablet computer of some sort. Kind of like a giant iPhone... but with magical properties that have yet to be defined.

I'm putting my bets on no-smudge anti-gravity screen, nuclear battery with a 100-year charge, and a psychic brain-link interface. Pudding rack optional.

Either that, or the iToast is making its debut at last.

   

iPad

Posted on Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Dave!I fully admit to being a total Apple Whore. I love Apple. I (heart) Macintosh. I worship Steve Jobs. If Jonathan Ive were to ask me to have his baby, I'd look into the necessary surgery. My MacBook Pro is more important to me than tacos. If I had to choose between losing a testicle or losing my iPhone, I'd give it some serious thought... and then say goodbye to one of my testicles. I don't just drink the Apple Kool-Aid, I have a constant supply being fed intravenously. I stop short of masturbating during a Steve Jobs keynote, but just watching him on-stage as he changes the world is enough for me to want to touch myself inappropriately.

This is not news. I've proclaimed my slutty predisposition so many times in this blog that if you were to Google Image Search "Apple Whore" I come up at #5. Literally...

Dave really IS an Apple Whore!

Well, okay, it's me as a Lil' Dave cartoon, but you get the picture.

And yet... my being an Apple Whore is not a totally unhealthy relationship because there are things I don't like about Apple and their products, and have never been afraid to say so (how else will they learn?). In this respect I have no problem being proud of my whore status.

Which brings us to Apple's latest miracle on earth... the iPad...

Apple iPad

Glorious, isn't it?

Well, kind of.

If your need of a "computer" extends to casual email and web surfing, renting an occasional video, looking at an occasional photo album, and perhaps playing a few games from time to time... well, it's great. And there's even bonus stuff like a calendar, address book, e-reader, and various cool apps you can add. This puts your "digital life" in the palm of your hand in a way that most people would absolutely love.

Myself included.

Except this device isn't really made for me... both because of what I need out of a "computer" and what Apple left out. Sure I want an iPad (I'm an Apple Whore, after all), but I certainly don't need an iPad. In all honesty, it's just an unnecessary extra piece of equipment that my MacBook Pro and iPhone already have covered (and covered much better).

That being said... this is just fantastic for its target audience.

But not flawless by any means.

I'm not going to nitpick the thing apart here with my personal wish-list for a tablet machine. That would be kind of pointless given that I need an actual "computer" and this is more of a "device with some computer functionality." I'm not who Apple built the iPad for, so complaining that it doesn't have a 500 gig hard drive and run Photoshop is just plain stupid. What I will do is list the two things that most bother me... keeping the intended user in mind.

• No iChat Camera.
This is simply unfathomable. Apple will stuff a camera in a freakin' iPod NANO... but doesn't put a camera on the iPad for video conferencing ability? And I don't want to hear about how this would adversely affect AT&T's already overburdened network... they could have easily limited it to just WiFi connections. It's insanity. I keep thinking how cool it would be to get an iPad for my grandmother and video-chat with her when I'm traveling. This device could make it so easy for her. Such a huge missed opportunity, and impossible for me to understand...

iPad Video Conference Concept

• Shitty E-Reading File Format
Newspapers and magazines are dying because they can't survive in a digital world where people expect everything to be free. Apple had a golden opportunity to address this with their iTunes book store for iPad, but then dropped the ball because they went with the shitty "ePub" file format. Sure it's great if all you want to do is shove book text to the reader like a Kindel. But forget about having any decent formatting tools. This pretty much kills any magazine, comic, or book which requires any kind of layout for proper visual presentation. It's most certainly a decision based squarely on helping book publishers create content with a format they already know, but I can only hope that Apple eventually adds an "iMagazine" reader and backs it with PDF-like control over elements for everybody else. I was hoping... praying... that Apple would come up with something that would allow indie publishers the same kind of ability for magazine sales that indie musicians have with iTunes for music sales. Alas... not. Not yet anyway. Sure there are third party apps that can do something similar, but they don't have the power and ease of iTunes distribution behind them. Heck, I'd be happy if Apple just allowed some kind of PDF conversion to run through the iTunes Store for document sales, that would be fine. But we get nothing? Sad.

If just those two things were addressed, I'd feel a lot better about pronouncing iPad a triumph. Yes it would be nice to have some other stuff... an external memory slot... removable battery... 100% DRM-free media... a GPS... multi-tasking OS... color e-ink non-glare screen... free network access for purchases... and on and on... but those can all be explained away logically for one reason or another (whether I agree with the reasoning or not). I just don't see how leaving out an iChat camera and lacking a decent publication format can be put in that same boat. I honestly feel they belong there, or else the iPad is incomplete.

In the final analysis, I just don't know. The "iMagazine" stuff could be easily added... but a camera (if it ever comes) is a second generation hardware feature that early-adopters will miss.

Still, if you're just looking for a way to handle email, surf the web, and play with apps, I admit the iPad is an attractive alternative to a netbook. The fact that Apple put so much into polish and ease of use is just icing on the cake.

But that's always the case for Apple, and why I continue to be an Apple Whore.

   

Padding

Posted on Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Dave!Reading reactions to Apple's iPad announcement yesterday has been the best entertainment I've had in ages... and I've seen Avatar in IMAX 3-D.

The thing that as become crystal clear to me as I wade through the massive amount of hatred and disappointment is this: People. Just. Don't. Get. It. Most of the computer trade and the geek culture is at a boiling point because the iPad isn't a "real computer" and they can't play Flash content, multitask apps, make a phone call, or any number of other things. But that's like complaining that your new DVD player can't make toast... it's simply not designed for that. The iPad is a digital lifestyle device that is internet-enabled. And, even though it can do many of the things people use computers for, it was never meant to be a computer.

And that's perfectly okay. As I said yesterday, the iPad isn't for me either. I've got my MacBook Pro and my iPhone which are made specifically to meet my needs.

As I also said yesterday, the things I have a problem with have to do with what the iPad IS not what it ISN'T. It IS supposed to be a communication and connectivity device. Therefore it SHOULD have an iChat front-facing camera to compete in this arena. It IS supposed to be an e-book/media reader. Therefore it SHOULD have better layout abilities in its iBook file format to accommodate magazines, comics, picture books and the like.

And maybe that's coming in iPad 2.0, I don't know. But they're glaring omissions in an otherwise beautiful device... for its intended audience. And that would be people who just want a simple, functional, easy-to-use device for handling their media and doing occasional web surfing and email. The apps, games, and extras are just a bonus to make it an even more useful a tool for its intended audience.

And beyond.

And that could potentially be many, many individuals once that "target audience" is understood to be people who aren't looking for a computer in tablet form, but something else.

I can think of lots of people who don't really want or need a computer, but would love to have a compact device just to store their photos and share them with people. And iPad makes one heck of an amazing photo album, easily able to organize thousands of photos and display them beautifully with ease...

iPad as a Photo Album

I can think of lots of people who don't really want or need a computer, but would love to be able to rent an occasional movie for an airplane trip. And iPad makes one heck of a media player... with a video rental store built right in! It's a better-looking movie viewer than any portable DVD player I've seen (and far less hassle for renting DVDs), that's for sure...

iPad as a Media Player

I can think of lots of people who don't really want or need a computer, but would love to have an easy way to look up things on the internet from time to time. And iPad makes one heck of a web browser, bringing intuitive access to the internet in a way that is natural and understandable...

iPad as a Web Browser

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. The fact that iPad can do so much more above and beyond these things... all so elegantly, intuitively, and easily... is a very big deal. It's a multifunctional device which can be expanded to do amazing things with the thousands of apps that are going to run on it. So dismissing iPad as nothing more than a "giant iPod Touch" is hardly a negative. iPod Touch is too small to be truly practical for many of these things anyway. Even in cases where the portability is more desired than practicality, there are still some instances where the larger screen of the iPad would be sweet indeed... such as running the amazing Ask Dave! app SUPER-SIZED...

iPad as an Ask Dave! app

The only question is whether or not all those people for which this device would be perfect will be willing to buy one. That's a very good question, and I just don't know. Something tells me a decent number of them will.

And once the apps start coming down the pipe which expand the iPad into areas people aren't expecting? I'm guessing it's going to be perfect for a lot more people than what most everybody who is predicting failure might think.

Apple is undoubtedly counting on it.

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Photoshop

Posted on Friday, February 19th, 2010

Dave!Today is Adobe Photoshop's 20th anniversary! Congratulations to the Knoll Brothers who started it all!

Along with Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop is a program that I use most every single day. I honestly cannot imagine my life... personal or professional... without it. I use it for editing photos, laying out designs, creating original art, and enhancing-corecting-manipulating any kind of bitmap image. I've used it so often and for so long that much of the time I don't even have to think about using it. I just do. I have become one with Photoshop. This didn't happen right away, of course. It's been a long road.

The first time I used Photoshop was at a technical demonstration in Seattle. My best friend and I headed over the mountains to look at a new "lost-cost" image scanner (over a $1000, but that was "cheap" for the time). The software used to manipulate the resulting scan was... wait for it... Photoshop. The program was borderline miraculous and had jaw-dropping features which allowed for some powerful, yet easy, photo adjustments.

A couple years later, scanner prices had dropped to the point where I could finally afford one. The model I purchased (made by Mustek, I think) came with a copy of Photoshop 2.5, which was actually more exciting to me than the actual scanner. The software was so expensive to purchase alone that it would be pretty odd to buy it without a scanner, since you were basically getting a scanner for free out of the deal. Except it ran only on a Macintosh and I had an Atari ST computer at the time. This was a major bummer, but ended up being a good thing because I went into debt and bought my first Mac (a Centris 650) one month later...

Adobe Photoshop 2.5 Splash Screen

From having used Photoshop since version 1.0 and owned it from version 2.5, it's amazing to me how the core functionality really hasn't changed that much. Sure version 3.0 added layers, which was about as revolutionary a feature as you're going to get, but it was pretty much just gravy on top of the Photoshop I was already using... and would continue to use right up through today, two decades later.

And, on that happy note, it's time for bed. I've got a long drive ahead of me in the morning.

   

Stupidity

Posted on Friday, April 2nd, 2010

Dave!Yes, I am getting an iPad.

But only for a project I'll be working on... it's not something I anticipate keeping. I need a "real" computer to do my work, so my MacBook Pro laptop is always with me. And since I'm never without my iPhone as well, there just doesn't seem much point in carrying around one more gadget everywhere I go. So, after I'm done with it, I'll be giving the iPad to my mom, where I anticipate it will mostly be used as a photo album (seriously, the iPad is the most beautiful, amazing way to organize and display photos ever, as shown in this Apple tour video).

While my interest in the iPad is minimal just now, the one area where I'm intrigued with its possibilities is publishing.

I am absolutely fascinated with the idea of the iPad being used as a new distribution model for visual printed media like magazines and comic books. How sweet is it that you can eliminate the two most expensive parts of publishing printed media... the paper/printing and the postage... and just sell your work digitally at a more affordable price!

Except, just like the music industry before it, publishers are being positively fucking stupid about the future.

Because THIS is what I saw when I was looking at the cost for buying an issue of Marvel Comics from the iPad...

Amazing Spider-Man #1 - $1.99

A DOLLAR NINETY-NINE EACH?!? And these comics are from 1963!! FORTY-SEVEN YEAR-OLD DIGITAL COMICS FOR $1.99 EACH?!? WTF?!?? This is just insane. I buy my current comics at discount from a comic mail order company and pay $1.85 each for A PHYSICAL BOOK! A physical book that I get to keep and save and collect. With the iPad you get a digital file that has -zero- chance of increasing in value... and you can't even loan it to a friend to read because of the DRM protection. Where is my incentive to buy an iPad digital comic when you pay MORE to get far, far LESS?

Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

But what about magazines?

Well, let's take a look. You can currently get a physical copy of TIME Magazine delivered to your mailbox for 36¢ an issue with a 1-year, 56-issue subscription (that's $20.00 a year). Remember, that's a printed issue on paper that's been postage-paid and mailed directly to you for 36¢ each week...

Time Magazine Issue Cover

The cost to buy the same thing digitally with your iPad?

$4.99 an issue.

Yes, you read that right... FOUR DOLLARS AND NINETY-NINE CENTS AN ISSUE!! WTF?!? Does the iPad version of TIME Magazine come with a blow-job or something?? By buying digitally, I save the publisher from having to pay for paper & printing AND postage. And what do I get for my trouble? I HAVE TO PAY A 1286% PRICE INCREASE!!

How does this make ANY kind of sense?

By eliminating the cost of paper, printing, and postage, digital versions should COST LESS than their physically printed counterparts... NOT MORE! Or, at the very least, they should be the same price.

And so here I sit not giving a fuck if magazine publishers die a slow, painful death. They are literally too stupid to survive. So let them die. Eventually a new media replacement that doesn't have their heads up their asses will rise up and take their place.

It's only a matter of time, and I have plenty of patience.

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Paddington

Posted on Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

Dave!If the idea of a Certified Apple Whore bitching about the new iPad disturbs you... please look at the cute kitten below and ignore the rest of this entry. Come back tomorrow when there will be monkeys and pie!

Kitten

   

I have named the new iPad "Paddington" and like him a lot. He is about the sexiest piece of tech to come along in quite a while, and Apple deserves a lot of credit for creating such a revolutionary device in a field that's been riddled with a crushing lack of success (including Apple's own "Newton" device). For the most part, I think iPad is dreamy, and there are a bajillion websites out there with reviews waxing poetic about how frickin' sweet it is.

And yet it is far from perfect.

But before I get to the astounding number of inexplicable failures in both functionality and usability, there's a few things I won't be covering that everybody else seems to be complaining about...

  • IT DOESN'T HAVE FLASH!
  • IT'S NOT AN OPEN PLATFORM!
  • IT DOESN'T MULTI-TASK!
  • IT DOESN'T HAVE USB PORTS!

The iPad is a multi-functional device that becomes different appliances when apps are run on it. It's not a computer, it's not meant to be a computer, and trying to force computer-related baggage onto it is like being upset because your toaster doesn't make margaritas. This is a new kind of device for a new kind of user, and anybody needing that kind of stuff should just go buy a computer. Whining because iPad doesn't support the bloated, battery-draining, resource-stealing, crash-prone pile of garbage known as "Flash" is the kind of backwards thinking that drives me insane. If you need Flash functionality and iPad/iPhone/iPod users are important to you, then either simulate it with HTML5 or build an app if that doesn't work. Trying to change Steve Job's mind about Flash is just pointless, so let's move on. The future awaits.

To read what I DO have to say about the iPad, I've put the whole whiny mess in an extended entry. Enjoy!

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...

   

Apps!

Posted on Saturday, April 10th, 2010

Dave!For those who are just sick of hearing about iPad, I apologize. But the more I play with it, the more I realize that Steve Jobs wasn't just blowing smoke up people's asses when he called iPad a "magical and revolutionary device"... minor criticisms aside, it really does feel a bit like magic sometimes... mostly because it has this uncanny ability to just disappear, leaving nothing between you and what you're interacting with.

As if that wasn't enough, iPad is responsible for Betty White, Apple Genius, to appear on Craig Ferguson...


Thanks to Dave3 at Geeks of Doom for the Betty tip!

Since iPad is so new there aren't a huge number of releases for it yet, but I have run across three great apps that are worth having...

   
Star Walk ($4.99). This astronomy app is a nice star map app with a good-sized catalog of stars, galaxies, planets, and other stellar objects. It's slick, polished, and beautiful, but what makes it so cool is the "Star Spotter" function it inherited from the iPhone version. Hold the iPad up to the night sky, and it will use your location and direction to follow your moves and display a map of what you're seeing. Magical...

StarWalk Map Star Spotter Map View

Starwalk Map

Tap something on the display then hit the info button, and StarWalk zooms in and tells you all about it...

StarWalk Object Info

On the iPhone, the app was nice, but not very practical because the tiny size made usability difficult. But on iPad's beautiful big, display it's fantastic. If you have even a passing interest in astronomy, it's $5 well-spent.

   
Ocean Blue ($9.99). While $10 may seem pricy for a passive application like a virtual aquarium, the quality here is pretty amazing and it's the perfect app to show off your iPad. Just like StarWalk, you can move Ocean Blue around, and the virtual display will pan around the ocean, allowing you to "dive" and look around (you can also tap-navigate as well). There's currently not a big variety of fish you can choose from, but the developer has promised more in future updates. If they look and move as beautifully as the current batch, a terrific piece of software is just going to get better and better...

Ocean Blue Screenshot

Ocean Blue Fish

   
Sam & Max Episode 1: The Penal Zone ($6.99 for a limited time). One of my favorite cartoon creations, Sam & Max, Freelance Police have come to iPad with an adventure game that's pretty sweet. Things start out kinda confusing... homicidal rabbit-thingy Max has unexplained psychic powers, and you're dropped into the end of the story. From there, you have to piece together not only the mystery of what happened and how it happened, but how to stop it from happening again. Like I said, confusing... but still a lot of fun. I've run into occasional audio drop-outs and video stutters, but the overall game is so hilarious and clever that you won't be too disappointed. The game is played by moving the characters around and tapping on objects to interact with them. With the help of Max's psychic powers, you solve puzzles and move the story forward. But the best news? This is only the first episode, and there's four more to come...

Sam and Max in Jail.

Sam and Max Game

Sam and Max Investigate

Max Psychic Toy

   
Overall, not a bad start. As more and more developers start taking advantage of what the iPad is capable of, the future is going to be magical indeed.

   

Friends

Posted on Friday, May 14th, 2010

Dave!Today would have been one of my best friend's 50th birthday had he not passed away nine years ago. I try to think of what crazy thing I might have done to celebrate the occasion had he lived to see it, but I am drawing a complete blank. Probably because I don't care about a birthday party... I just want him back. People say that you miss a person less and less as time goes on, but that certainly hasn't been the case here. There are just too many reminders.

He loved Dr. Who, so any time an episode airs, he's there. He never got to see any of the "new" series that began in 2005, and so I can't help but wonder what he would think. Enjoying Dr. Who is mostly impossible for me, as it's the most frequent painful reminder that he's gone. But it's not just Dr. Who. As a fellow sci-fi geek, he was often the first person I'd turn to when some new sci-fi television show or movie debuted. The crappy Star Wars prequels were made even worse because my friend wasn't there to laugh with me over the heinousness of it all. It works both ways, I suppose. He was around to experience the sheer brilliance of The Matrix for which I am eternally thankful... but he was spared from the awful sequels which destroyed the franchise for me. Small consolation, to be sure, but when your best friend is gone, I guess you have to cling to whatever small blessings you can find.

And then there's Star Trek.

The wonderful re-imagining by J.J. Abrams last year was truly bittersweet. Yes I loved the movie. But enjoying it was impossible. Both my friend and I were massive fans. We went to at least a dozen Star Trek conventions together over the years. We met all the primary (and many not-so-primary) castmembers of "The Original Series" and "The Next Generation" series and collected their autographs. We talked about the shows for hours. Star Trek was such an hugely important diversion for the both of us that it's unthinkable that I could ever see anything even remotely Trek-related without my best friend haunting me. The sheer number of great memories I have from our wacky adventures at Trek conventions alone could fill a book. I've been so sorely tempted to share some stories from those days on my blog, but I can never bring myself to do it. It would be like giving away a part of him, and I'm entirely too selfish to do that. Memories are all I have now, and they've become like some closely-guarded secret that I never want to share. A part of me hopes I change my mind one day, because there are tales entirely too good not to share. I guess we'll see if I get less selfish in my old age. Somehow I doubt it.

Our shared sci-fi infatuation also treaded into literary diversions. We attended numerous book signings and author readings together for writers such as William Gibson, Neal Stephenson, Neil Gaiman, Clive Barker, Douglas Adams, and many others. This is something for which I owe him a tremendous debt, because I'm certain I would have never attended these on my own. I look back on my life and remember such incredible moments as hearing Douglas Adams read from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy or Clive Barker discussing the thinking behind his own personal favorite novel, Imajica, and wonder what memories I have that could possible replace them. There aren't any. Those moments... those shared moments... are priceless. And I owe them entirely to my friend.

If there was one area we had =zero= overlap, it would be music. His favorite musical artist was Tori Amos. I've never understood it. Even after he dragged me to one of her concerts I was left unimpressed. No doubt she is a truly gifted songwriter and performer, but her stuff just isn't for me. He, of course, had no interest in my 80's New Wave music addiction. New releases by bands like Depeche Mode and The Thompson Twins that would put me over the moon for weeks were just something for him to laugh at. I remember when Depeche Mode's Ultra was released we were in Seattle, so I picked it up. When we got back to his place, I was so excited to listen to the album that I couldn't hop in my car and drive home to listen to it... I had to listen to it now and popped it into his CD player. The minute Barrel of a Gun started thumping through the speakers, his reaction was to pick up his cat, cover her ears, and say "It's okay... it will all be over soon." Insulting my favorite band like that would have been unforgivable if it weren't so damn funny. Whenever I hear a song from Ultra I just picture his cat looking completely puzzled as my friends hands covered the side of her head. I love the memory almost more than the music.

Television, books, movies, sci-fi, comics, and all the geeky crap that went with them were an integral part of what kept us friends for so long. But they were all incidental to the one thing that brought us together... computers.

My friend ran a local computer bulletin board system (BBS) where other computer geeks could dial in with their telephone modems to send messages to each other and share information. It was a crude (very crude) precursor to equivalent services that would later become commonplace on the internet, but that was all we had. Every once in a while users from the various local BBSs would assemble in Real Life for a "Pizza Bash" where many friendships ended up forming. Including ours. Despite different platforms (I was Atari, he was Amiga) the wild computer frontier was an adventure we shared until the day he died (though it was a lot less "wild" in later years).

I don't have a single computer-related memory worth remembering that doesn't have my friend in it. Even when I didn't know who he was, and a "personal computer" was just something freaky and new at the high school library to goof around with, he was there. And, as he was six years ahead of me in school, that's quite a feat. Turns out he helped the local computer shop install/maintain/repair the school computers from time to time. And so he was there from the beginning for me (he was also there when we got to meet Kiki Stockhammer and Wil Wheaton during a NewTek Video Toaster workshop, but that's another story).

The great equalizer between us in the computer platform wars was the Macintosh. I bought a Mac so I could use Photoshop with the pricy scanner I had just purchased. I was instantly smitten, and my loyalty to Atari computers vanished overnight (an Apple Whore was born!). My friend remained a steadfast Amiga user, despite my constant pressure for him to switch.

Until Myst.

Myst was a revolutionary (for the time) graphical adventure game released in late 1993. More than a game, it was an all-absorbing work of art. There was nothing else really like it, and it ran only on Macintosh computers with a CD-ROM. I bought the game because somebody had recommended it to me, but never actually played it until weeks later. The minute I finally started the game, I called my friend at work and told him "YOU HAVE TO COME SEE THIS!!" So he ditched work and came over... then spent the next ten hours hunched over the computer with me playing it until the wee hours. He bought a Mac for himself the next day. That's a bond which can't be broken.

After he had become a Mac convert, my friend dragged out this awesome Macintosh "Picasso Logo" promo-light he had gotten from a local computer shop that was tossing it out. The light was absolutely beautiful and very rare. Mac Whore that I am, I of course wanted it. I coveted that thing every single time I saw it and joked with him once about stealing it. He just laughed that laugh of his and said "Well, you can have it when I'm dead!" For years after, I would joke about plotting his demise so the light would be mine at last. "It's worth risking a manslaughter prison term, you know," I'd say...

Mac Picasso Logo Promo Light
Photo taken from RedLightRunner

For the past nine years it's been agony every time some cool new technology is released and my friend isn't here to share it with me. Mac OS X was released the day before he died. The iPod came seven months later. When the iPhone was released I was depressed for days because it was Star Trek come to life and the first call I wanted to make on it was to my friend. How can I miss him less and less over the years when technology is all about being more and more? There's always something new coming out. He's always the person I want to talk about it with (Myst is available on the iPhone now, for heavens sake!). And that never fades. It never goes away.

March 24th, 2001 I was in Seattle celebrating my birthday with my sister and friends in Seattle. The next day as I was recovering from the drunken debauchery of the previous night, I got a phone call from my mother telling me I needed to call my friend's wife. But I didn't need to call. It's one of those moments you "just know" something terrible has happened and you're about to make a call that changes everything. But I did call his wife. And it did change everything. My best friend of the past sixteen years was gone.

After the funeral, my friend's wife and mother generously invited me over to see if there was anything I wanted to have as a reminder of him. And while there was a lot of stuff of his I'd have loved to own, there wasn't a single bit of it that I wanted. No "thing" could ever take his place. No piece of "stuff" would make me miss my friend any less.

So I politely refused.

After I took the Macintosh Picasso Logo Light, of course.

The bastard would have been furious with me if I hadn't.

Happy 50th birthday, Howard. I love and miss you every day.

   

03/20: ILLUMINATED

Posted on Thursday, June 24th, 2010

Dave!I have plenty of great night shots of illuminated objects, but the first thing which came to mind when I saw today's word for the TWENTY/TWENTY meme is the Apple Store Fifth Avenue in New York City. It is beautiful in photographs, but positively captivating in person... a beacon of light and hope to Mac Whores (like me!) from around the world...

Apple Store NYC at Night

Apple Store NYC at Night

   
In other news, my internet has been horribly slow and choppy all night. At first I thought it was my internet connection because, let's face it, Charter Cable Internet pretty much sucks off-and-on... but investigating the problem led me to believe that it's my wireless network. When I first moved to the neighborhood, I was the only person with WiFi. Now there are eight of us broadcasting in the area. Manually choosing an empty channel, enabling "interference robustness," and restricting access by MAC address seems to have helped... but for who knows how long?

   

Bullet Sunday 192

Posted on Sunday, July 18th, 2010

Dave!I am really too busy to blog, but if I don't rant about all the fake-ass crap that's been building up inside of me this week, I'll explode. So, apologies in advance...

   
• Faux Advertising. Am I the only one who thinks that the ads currently running for the new Kia Soul are stupid? I mean, once you get past the cuteness factor of hamsters rapping and driving around, what does it say about the car? That they're so small only hamsters can drive them?

Kia Hamsters

What's odd is that the ad is being overplayed. Almost as if Kia is wanting people to get sick of it. I mean sure it's entertaining one or two times but, once the novelty wears off, it's useless. I'd argue it actually works against the brand, as the existence of this bullet would attest. But, then again, any publicity is good publicity. I guess.

   
• Faux HD. I was channel-surfing for some background noise yesterday while I worked, and ended up watching Kevin Smith's underrated Jersey Girl on the TBS's HD Channel. And ended up screaming the entire time because the movie was NOT presented in HD. They just took the butchered SD version and stretched it out to fit the HD width. Which is bullshit. Don't go calling yourself an "HD" station if you're not going to show movies in HD. This kind of crap drives me insane. To illustrate, here's a scene from the movie Lost in Translation where a critical conversation is reduced to lips talking...

Lost in Tranlation HD Scene
The scene as God (and director Sofia Coppola) intended.

Lost in Tranlation SD Butchered Scene
The scene butchered on Standard-Def television and Pan-n-Scan DVDs.

Lost in Tranlation Butchered Faux HD Scene.
The scene butchered in Stretched-SD-Faux-HD, ala TBS

And another. This time made worse, because an entire character has been obliterated...

Lost in Tranlation HD Scene
The scene as God (and director Sofia Coppola) intended.

Lost in Tranlation Butchered SD Scene
The scene butchered on Standard-Def television and Pan-n-Scan DVDs.

Lost in Tranlation Butchered Faux HD Scene
The scene butchered in Stretched-SD-Faux-HD, ala TBS

Now, TBS is hardly the sole offender of butchering movies so stupidly, but they're one of the worst offenders. I wish the FCC would fine stations who misrepresent content. If you're an HD channel showing SD content, then don't distort the content in the hopes that nobody notices. Present it for the butchered bullshit it is...

Lost SD on HD

   
• Faux Justice. On Monday, child-raping-piece-of-shit Roman Polanski officially got away with violating a 13-year-old girl when Swiss authorities refused to extradite the infamous sexual-predator director back to the US to face charges from 30 years ago. Ultimately, I'm upset that just because somebody directs a few critically-acclaimed films they can get away with rape... but it was a decision for the Swiss, they made their decision, and I understand that. What I don't understand is how a big chunk of Hollywood stood behind Polanski and advocated for his release. People like Natalie Portman. Penelope Cruz. Whoopie Goldberg. Darren Aronofsky. Wes Anderson. And loads more. It's just baffling. My feelings were pretty well summed-up by Chris Rock on Leno a while back when he said "IT'S RAPE! IT'S RAPE!!! in total disbelief. How in the hell do you defend that?

   
• Faux Hulk. Word dropped this week that Edward Norton, who played Bruce Banner in the last Incredible Hulk movie, was not going to be reprising the role in the forthcoming Avengers movie, even though he wanted to. This is monumentally stupid on so many levels. Mostly because the Hulk is a computer special effect, and Norton only appears when Bruce Banner is in the scene. And, let's face it, in an Avengers movie they're not going to spend a lot of time with Bruce Banner...

Hulk Smash!

Marvel just wanted to save a few bucks, so they used some bullshit conflict with Norton from years ago so they could find a cheaper actor that will kiss their ass. You'd have thought they'd have learned something from the massive success of the Iron Man movie franchise... quality people make a quality product, and you get what you pay for. Not that I'm saying there aren't other actors out there that could do a good job, I just think it's incredibly lame that this is how Marvel has decided to approach the project. Fortunately, Edward Norton has managed to stay classy.

   
• Faux Righteousness. I've never understood how being Pro-Choice when it comes to abortion automatically removes you from the Pro-Life camp. I am most decidedly Pro-Life... it is the cornerstone of my beliefs. But I fully understand that this is the United States of America where people are allowed to have beliefs that are different from mine, so I am also Pro-Choice (which I explain in further detail here). Being Pro-Choice does not make me "Anti-Life" in any way, it simply makes me supportive of the ideals and freedoms upon which this country was based. And, while I don't in any way support suppressing free speech, I do feel that people should be able to make their choice free from persecution. Especially when the choice is one that's forced upon you and you're heartbroken about it.

Earlier this week, Aaron over at The Daddy Files blogged about having to take his wife to terminate their pregnancy because the baby had a rare birth defect which was causing it to slowly die inside of her. As they approached the clinic, idiotic protesters were there "doing God's work" of mercilessly abusing people by shouting things like "YOU'RE KILLING YOUR UNBORN BABY!!" Which is horrifying enough for a woman who is already scared and vulnerable... but for somebody who wants to have their baby, but can't? It's nothing less than torture. And Aaron decided to do something about it by confronting these monstrous people. I encourage you to read his story. Yes, I'm a Pro-Life-Pro-Choicer. And I am 100% for free speech. But this is not "free speech" it's harassment. It's abusive. It is literally torture. And I think it should be illegal to so ruthlessly persecute women who are already making what has to be a difficult decision THAT'S AFFORDED TO THEM LEGALLY UNDER THE LAW! These are not compassionate people of any God I know. They're evil, pure and simple.

   
• Faux Problem. What's surprising... but really not... is how most of the bitching about the iPhone 4 antenna problems come from people who don't own an iPhone 4, don't plan to buy an iPhone 4, and just enjoy mindlessly bashing everything Apple does because they're more fanatically obsessed with iPhone than even the people who own one. Of the dozen people I know that ran out and bought iPhone 4, not one has anything but raves for it. I would be one of those people, but Apple still hasn't released the iPhone 4 White, which is the one I want. With a lime green Bumper...

iPhone White and Green Bumper

Not to belittle anybody who is having problems, but... If you don't want an iPhone 4, don't buy it. If you bought one and don't like it, bring it back. It's not rocket science.

   
• Faux Trust. I am more appreciative than anybody will ever know of the people who drop by here to read my crazy crap... then thank me for creating it. I write and draw and photograph things for Blogography pretty much for myself, but it's nice to know that other people like it too. The friends I've made from this website have been a true gift, and I never feel alone no matter where I end up because my online life is always there (AT&T willing). But, as swell as blogging has been to me, I admit to being afraid of it from time to time. More and more, people are treating personal blogs as if they were irreproachable news sources rather than the opinion-pieces they really are. Even here, everything you read is just one opinion with one view and one side of the story. Mine. And even though I've met dozens of people in-person and have been blogging here for years, the scary truth is that I could be a serial killer. Or one of those Russian spies. Or a pathelogical liar. Or an agent of the devil. Or anything.

The fact that I'm a genius who is always right may seem to be a reason to trust everything I do at Blogography... and I totally encourage blind trust and allegiance as a part of my quest for world domination... but I feel compelled to point out that no blog, including mine, will ever have the whole story. I would fervently hope that before acting upon or accepting anything I say or do here, people would attempt to be fully informed. It's not a matter of trust... but responsibility.

   
Well I certainly feel better now. Annnnd... back to work.

   

Bullet Sunday 193

Posted on Sunday, July 25th, 2010

Dave!Here I am in the Peach State of Georgia, where it's time once again for Bullet Sunday. Apparently I'm now in an area which is not included in the "97% of Americans" that AT&T's cellular network professes to cover, so Bullet Sunday is about all I got! Thank heavens for WiFi.

   
• Weather! Hot with a chance of hot humidity and hot thunderstorms? Well, let's just say I don't plan on spending a lot of time outdoors while I'm here...

Weather is HOT!

   
• Wheaton! While at Comic-Con, I posted a photo of Wil Wheaton to my Flickr stream. After responding to @Whall making a Stand By Me joke about it, I mentioned that I had met Wil Wheaton twice, and wasn't going to stand in line for two hours to meet him again. For this, I got called "bullshit" on by some random stranger, and was told that "Standing in line at a Star Trek convention for a two second autograph doesn't count as 'meeting Wil Wheaton'."

Well, whatever... while I do have an autographed photo of Wesley Crusher that I was happy to stand in line for, that's not what I was talking about. Where I "met" Wil Wheaton was while he was an evangelist touring with NewTek, and it was hardly a "two second autograph." In fact, all I did was talk to him, I didn't even get an autograph at all. Or a photo. Though Wheaton did appear in the background of one of the photos I took of Kiki Stockhammer...

Wheatooooooon!

Bazinga! I'd mention that I stood in the airport security line out of San Diego with Paul Sr. of West Coast Choppers (from the TV show American Chopper) yesterday, but you probably wouldn't believe that either. Apparently I have nothing better to do than sit around and invent stories of chance encounters with famous people.

   
• Waffles! There is not a single Waffle House in all of Washington State (the closest is in COLORADO!), which means the only time I get to eat at one is when I'm traveling. This sucks, but at least I have something to look forward to...

Waffle House Dinner

The food is (relatively) inexpensive, tastes good, and available 24 hours. What more could you ask for?

   
• Wobble! When I was at the San Diego Zoo the other day, I was wandering through the new Elephant exhibit and came across an elephant dancing to some music that was playing nearby (you can barely hear it in the background there, as my iPhone doesn't have the best microphone)...

Rock on, Tantor! Though a part of me is kind of sad at the idea that he might be wobbling around because he's bored in his cage and doesn't have anything better to do. San Diego Zoo is better than most at providing nice habitats for their animals to live in, but it's still a cage at the end of the day.

   
• Watch! They keep adding cool bits to the TRON: Legacy trailer, which only makes me want to see the film more than ever. December is so far away...

They've youthed Jeff Bridges! And did a really good job of it! I hope the movie lives up to even a fraction of the hype that's building around it.

   
• Web! I hope that Flash videos in my previous two bullets didn't crash on you! For anybody who says that Mac users who whine about Flash are stuck in the past, and Flash has been much improved and runs perfectly on the Mac, I beg to differ. It's still the bug-ridden pile of bloated FAIL! it's always been, and still crashes all the time, as I can testify to because it happened again just today...

Flash Crash Report

Flash just can't die fast enough.

   
And now... I guess I really should get back to work.

   

Pornographica

Posted on Monday, August 2nd, 2010

Dave!All I wanted was a White iPhone 4.

But Apple keeps delaying the shit over and over and over again, so I finally just bit the bullet and went down to the AT&T Store to place my order for a Black iPhone 4. I need it to replace my rapidly dying pocket camera (which is currently being held together with rubber bands), and the idea of having one less thing to carry is very appealing to me.

While I was there, I stood next to another customer who brought forth a very interesting scenario.

Let's say you are upgrading your phone. Let's further speculate that you ask the cell phone store employee to transfer all your ringtones and photos and whatnot to the new phone so you don't have to mess with it.

Now let's say that amongst the photos from your phone's camera there are a number of pornographic shots.

How do you handle that??

I would die immediately. Struck dead right on the spot... not so much from embarrassment, but from the realization that I was stupid enough to leave nasty photos on a camera I handed over to a stranger.

But today I learned there's a way other than death in five easy steps...

  1. SHOCK! "Oh... those were supposed to be deleted!"
  2. DENIAL! "Those photos aren't mine!"
  3. INNOCENCE! "I don't know where they came from!"
  4. BLAME! "Somebody's playing a trick on me!"
  5. ACCEPTANCE! "Well that's embarrassing. How do I get those photos off of there?

Apparently lying solves everything. Even when the lies contradict each other.

You really do learn something new every day.

   

Bullet Sunday 195

Posted on Sunday, August 15th, 2010

Dave!Bullet Sundaaaaaaaaaaaaaay! Let's get ready to Rrrrruuummmmmble!

   
• Tweet! Most of the time I'm too busy to pay any serious attention to Twitter, but every once in a while it's a scary insight into what I'm going through at any particular moment in time. Today was particularly telling, and had me wishing I self-censored a bit better. Oh well. Too late for that now...

If only a punch in the face could be seen as

So many times when I'm asked for my opinion on something, I'm tempted to say "no" immediately because more often than not the person has no interest in getting an actual opinion... they just want your praise (whether they deserve it or not). Yet I foolishly try to be friendly and helpful with my critique anyway, sometimes getting burned in the process. It's really too bad, because good constructive criticism can be so much more helpful than faint praise... if people are willing to hear it. The question is, how many times will I get burned before I learn not to offer it in the first place? At this rate, not long at all.

   
• Fore! Oh how I love my new iPhone 4. It is superior to my iPhone 3GS in absolutely every way... especially signal reception. I can now actually make phone calls at my home without having them fade out, go choppy, or get dropped entirely. I've had no problems with the antenna while making calls, but have had some problems while texting or using apps when I cradle the iPhone to type. It took all of one minute to learn how to shift my hand to not block the antenna, so it's pretty much a non-issue now. If you have a case for your iPhone 4, it never was an issue to begin with. Personally, if I were going case-free and couldn't adapt to "holding different," this is my favorite solution...

Antenn-Aid

It's Antenn-Aid to the rescue!

And don't get me started on Apple's amazing "FaceTime" feature, which is the future made real...

But the main reason I upgraded to iPhone 4 was for the camera. My pocket camera is being held together with a rubber band and, rather than replace it, I decided to carry one less thing and just take snapshots with the iPhone 4. The camera has been so highly praised that I figured it was a realistic expectation, but was secretly worried it wouldn't live up to the hype.

And, while it is a vast improvement over previous iPhone cameras, it kinda doesn't live up to the hype. Particularly disappointing is night shooting. Sure the light sensitivity is improved, but the grain is outrageously bad... to the point of being unusable except at massively reduced sizes...

iPhone Night Shot of a Power Station

iPhone Grain Closeup

I shouldn't be surprised. The lens is just too small to accept enough light in a dim scenario like this. Shots in "normal" lighting are good... fantastic even... but it looks like my iPhone is no threat to my purchasing a new pocket camera for shooting in low-light. Darn it anyway.

Still, in every other respect, the iPhone 4 is pure WIN, and I really do love it. Heaven only knows what Apple has planned for the iPhone 5.

   
• Freedom? From watching the news and seeing people re-tweet Sarah Palin on Twitter, you'd think that actual terrorists were wanting to build a monument to the Islamic extremists who died during their 9/11 attacks ON TOP OF "Ground Zero" where the World Trade Center once stood. This is so absurd that it might actually be true, so I looked it up and was disappointed to discover that it was, in fact, not. Some American citizens are just wanting to build a Islamic cultural center and mosque TWO BLOCKS AWAY from Ground Zero on PRIVATE LAND. From what I've read, the mosque won't even be visible from the Ground Zero memorial that's being planned. This type of crazy shit drives me insane. The non-stop parade of lies and crazy exaggerations being sold to people for political gain on both sides of the political spectrum have me hoping for the complete collapse of democracy in this country. If people are so damn stupid as to keep falling for this kind of bullshit, then obviously they can't be trusted with democracy. If people are so hot to have somebody tell them what to think and don't care whether it's true or not, I suggest a nice dictatorship, with ME as Supreme Leader. I am more than happy to tell people what to think. Or to go fuck themselves.

UPDATE: I would have just said "Fuck you, Sarah Palin, you bigoted piece of shit," but Mayor Bloomberg is a much more eloquent and inspiring speaker than I could ever be (thanks for the tip, Etienne!)...

   
And now... time to put my aching head to bed.

Hopefully to sleep this time.

   

Events

Posted on Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

Dave!Annnnd... Apple had another one of their "Special Events" today.

As usual, it was filled with cool stuff and left me wanting to have Steve Jobs' baby. Again.

The "big news" of the day was the revamp of the iPod line. The tiny iPod Shuffle (my favorite of all the iPods) took a disastrous turn during the last revision when they took away the navigation button. This time, they wisely brought the buttons back, but kept the sweet "VoiceOver" technology which uses a robot voice to compensate for the lack of display...

iPod Shuffle v3

I'd buy one, but I already have the original iPod Shuffle. Still, the new colors are nice...

iPod Shuffle V3 Colors

And, in even cooler news, Apple revised the iPod nano. My first-generation iPod nano powers my car stereo... I ditched it when I got my first iPod Shuffle because the size was better. Except the new fifth-generation nano is only a little bigger than my existing Shuffle. It's tiny! But, despite the size, Apple managed to fit a multi-touch screen interface, which is damn cool...

iPod Nano V

I must have one. And have one I shall. I'll just slip my iPod Shuffle into my next AnySoldier.com care package so it doesn't go to waste.

Apple also revised the iPod Touch, but I have an iPhone so I didn't pay attention. I did perk up again when they introduced the new Apple TV though...

Apple TV

They took out the hard drive, which makes the unit absolutely perfect. I never bought the original Apple TV precisely because of the hard drive... no matter how big of one they put in the thing, it will never be big enough. As your media collection grows, the hard drive eventually fills up. My media belongs on an expandable network drive system, not locked away inside a television box. So now I'm actually going to consider buying Apple TV. It's the simplest possible way to stream all my videos, photos, and music to my television (including NetFlix streams!) and the $99 price feels right.

His Holiness Steve Jobs also teased us with a sneak peek at new stuff coming up for the iPad, including PRINTING, which is a much-needed feature for the device. It's also getting all the sweet new iOS 4 iPhone goodies like multitasking and a unified in-box for Mail.

BUT, the thing that fascinated me most to come from the "Special Event" was the revisions to Apple's venerable iTunes. That I'll save for tomorrow...

   

Ping

Posted on Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

Dave!Yesterday I waxed poetic about Apple's "Special Event" where they unleashed a bunch of new iPods, revised Apple TV, and teased us with new features coming soon for iPhone and iPad. It was all very cool, and renewed my Mac Whore certification (along with my undying love for Steve Jobs).

But His Holiness Jobs did not stop there. He also introduced a new version 10 of iTunes... Apple's venerable media player. Many of the changes I approve, some I don't, and much of it has me feeling indifferent. Let's take a look, shall we?

The first thing you notice is that the icon has changed. The old icon had a CD on it, which doesn't make much sense considering that online downloads are eclipsing CD sales. Pretty soon, people won't even know what the heck a CD is (much like the 8-track tape and cassette). And, while I approve of iTunes getting a new icon, I have to say what they come up with sucks ass...

New iTunes Icon

SERIOUSLY?

Seriously, Apple?

We finally get an opportunity to move past the gum-drop gloss of the original Apple "Aqua" interface, and you drop the ball by giving us a glowy blue blob that harkens back to design of of years past? What happened to the new "brushed aluminum" look you've been cultivating? That's pretty classy...

Brushed Aluminum Icons

It also matches the visual elements of iTunes' interface, and is inline with the DVD Player, but whatever.

   
The interior of iTunes, oddly enough, is where they are getting rid of the glowy mess and going for a refined, more classy look. Where there's color, it's bright but not offensively so...

iPhone Fillerup Bar

   
In still other places, the color has been eliminated completely. The small sidebar icons are now exclusively monotone. This is a little bit stupid, because color really helps to differentiate things when the images are so very small. Now they all kind of run together...

iTunes Grey Mini-Icons

   
Usability is getting a modest boost in some areas. My favorite being the album artwork popping up in List View if you have more than five songs on that album. Like Steve says, there's room, so why not? Visual information helps you find what you're looking for faster...

iTunes New List View

   
And Apple is also helping add some nice vertical space by shifting the Window controls to a smaller, vertical format. A very good thing, even if it is inconsistent when every other window interface...

iTunes Window Controls

   
Enough about looks, what's new in features? Well... there's finally the ability to rent television shows for 99¢ each. In many cases, that's half the cost of buying the same shows in HD, but you can only watch them once.

And the BIG announcement? It's PING!

Ping Logo

What's Ping? It's a "social networking feature" that allows you to follow artists and friends to see what they're playing so you can discover new music. Sound familiar? It should... that's what Last.fm does! I've been using Last.fm for years, sending my awesome musical tastes to the site via an iTunes plugin. I've made some great friends there, and discovered a lot of new music that I love. A part of me really, really wishes that Apple would have simply partnered with Last.fm... or even bought them out... rather than try to reinvent the wheel. Poorly, as it turns out.

First of all, since the service is new, the number of artists participating in it is limited. The "recommended to follow" people they keep giving me is nobody I'm interested in (except perhaps Linkin Park, who I did enjoy back in the day)...

Ping Recommends

And it only goes downhill from there. When it comes to people, the important thing about music is (surprise) THE MUSIC THEY LIKE. Unfortunately, Apple has limited the music you get to like to the music they sell. This is sublimely stupid. Like the Beatles? Tough shit. They don't exist. Love some local indie band? Too bad. Unless they sell their music on iTunes, they don't exist. One of my favorite bands is a-ha... they only partly exists. Some of their albums can be Pinged... but a majority of them can't be. Scoundrel Days? Nope. Minor Earth, Major Sky? Nope. Analogue? Nope. Their final album, Foot of the Mountain? Nope. The new Deluxe Edition release of Hunting High and Low and Scoundrel Days? Nope. Nope. Much of their live stuff? Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Since Ping is supposed to be all about your music, you'd think you'd at least be able to talk about albums you like... even when they're not for sale at iTunes, right? Nope. If Apple doesn't sell it, it doesn't exist, because the like/post feature is tied to the iTunes Store, not your library...

Ping and Post

What the fuck?

Apple can brand this as "social networking" all they want, but it's total bullshit. It's a MARKETING TOOL! Apple is getting you to sell music from their store to your friends... AND NOTHING ELSE!! This is beyond FAIL! It's beyond EPIC FAIL! I don't even know a word that describes just how massive a FAIL! that Ping is.

I'll just come out and say it: I fucking HATE Ping. Apple does not get to decide which music exists and which music doesn't. The fact that they feel otherwise is a very, very scary prospect. And a bad business decision. People are going to notice what they're doing here. It's things like this that made Microsoft so roundly hated, and Apple has got to fix it fast. Because it's a short leap from hating Ping to hating Apple. Especially when it comes to something like music, which people get passionate about.

Apple says that they love music. If that's true, let people share ALL their music... not just the music that record labels allow Apple to sell. Otherwise, you aren't loving music at all... just the money it can generate. And while every company is out to make money, they shouldn't be out to become draconian evil bastards who dictate the music people are allowed to share and discuss.

   
UPDATE: Chris Carlozzi has created a few replacement icons for iTunes 10 which are much, much better than what Apple slapped on it...

iTunes 10 Replacement Icon

You can get the icons for Mac here. And you'll need to download CandyBar to install them.

   

Trip

Posted on Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

Dave!I currently have 67 emails remaining in my inbox. Hopefully none of them are from you.

One of my favorite iPhone apps is Trip Journal (which I reviewed here). For the traveler, it's an awesome way to track your movements with the built-in GPS and document the things you see and do. Since Apple made the iPhone OS multi-tasking, it's even more awesome because you can leave it running in the background all the time. This way, it keeps track of where you go even when you're doing something else. Like making a $70 phone call back home. Or trying to calculate how totally worthless the US dollar is vs. the Euro. Or looking up the Italian translation for "There's a burning sensation when I urinate."

This afternoon while I was put on hold for entirely too long, I remembered that I had Trip Journal running during my vacation and decided to take a look...

Mediterranean Cruise Tracking

The black lines are where iPhone ran out of battery or lost signal or aliens abducted me. The lines in red are where I've been. The app tracks you down to street level, and so everything is there. Including when you go to the bathroom. Or visit a urologist. This is really cool, because you can re-live your entire trip...

Malta GPS Map

After a while, you'd be surprised what you can remember...

Amalfi Coast Map

Rome GPS Map

Monaco GPS Map

Of course, it can also make you entirely confused too...

Eze GPS Map

Hmmm... maybe the lines DON'T turn black when you've been abducted by aliens?

   

MacKnife

Posted on Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Dave!I just got done watching the live video stream of Apple's special event: BACK TO THE MAC and jotted down some observations. But, since I've already posted today, you'll be seeing them a day late. And FYI, my notes are in reverse chronological order...

MACBOOK AIR!

The new MacBook Air is thin. Shockingly thin. Razor thin. So thin that my only remark about it on Twitter (other than "OH GAWD I WANT ONE SO BAD!") was "Wow, you could seriously cut a bitch with the new MacBook Air!"...

The New MacBook Air

This is awesome on a number of levels. But mostly because you could use it as a weapon if the need should arise. Like meeting Jared the Subway Sandwich Whore on the street and needing something to decapitate him with...

DAVETOON: Bad Monkey Uses MacBook Air to Decapitate Jared Fogle

Of course I am dying to own one. For the frequent traveler, it's tiny size and miniscule weight is a dream come true. Unfortunately, it's just not "enough" of a Mac for me to justify buying one. Even maxed out, the speed and storage aren't in the ballpark I need to get my work done.

And yet... I still covet the dang thing.

   
MAC OS X LION!

The real magic behind the Mac is the Mac OS X operating system. The previous OS update, "Snow Leopard" made the Mac faster, friendlier, and even more reliable, but added few new features. The next OS release, "Lion" (slated for release in Summer of next year) builds on this with some interesting and cool new features, a few of which were shared with us at the event...

Mac OS X Lion Screenshot

The idea here is to take some of the things that Apple learned from creating the iPhone's iOS and bring those features "back to the Mac." To sum up... The OS X APP STORE is nice because it makes managing your applications so much easier. Not that it's all that difficult now, but updates are sure better the iPhone way. Of course, that doesn't mean much if companies like Adobe and Microsoft choose not to use it. LAUNCHPAD brings the elegant and easy iOS app launcher to the Mac. I like the look of it quite a lot, though don't know how critical a feature it really is. FULL-SCREEN is a simple technology that makes the current app fill the screen completely. It dovetails nicely with the growing trend of making app interfaces go full-screen. MISSION CONTROL is the feature I am most happy about. It brings several separate technologies (like Exposé, Spaces, and Dashboard) under a single interface (shown in the image above). It's pretty slick, and will make working between apps much more fluid and easy.

Sadly, none of these features are really blowing my skirt up. They're just nice refinements and borderline unnecessary trinkets that aren't really revolutionary in any way. Don't get me wrong... evolution is nice too... but nothing here inspires confidence that Apple is spending many resources developing for Mac anymore (iPhone leftovers?). Granted, there's a lot of time between now and next summer and many things can change or be added, but overall I am pretty "meh" about Lion after this presentation.

   
FACETIME!

Apple made video conferencing dead-simple in the latest iteration of iOS for iPhone and iPod Touch. It's fast, easy, fun, and highly addictive. But there's two problems. 1) It doesn't work over cellular networks, you must have wifi available to use it. 2) You can't talk to people on Macs or PC's, even if they have a video camera. Well, #2 is finally being addressed...

Steve Jobs Does FaceTime

No client for Windows or Linux or other mobile platforms yet, but since FaceTime is supposedly an "open" platform, I'm sure they'll come soon. Still waiting for being able to FaceTime on my iPhone over 3G. Hopefully one day. In the meanwhile, 3G alternatives are starting to appear. Apple better step it up. Soon. Or bitch-slap AT&T if they're the problem here.

   
iLIFE '11!

The first "new" thing that Apple decided to talk about was their spectacular "iLife" suite of digital lifestyle applications. It comes free with every new Mac, and you can upgrade to the newest 2011 version for just $49... which is astounding if you stop to consider what you get for your money. All the new features are fantastic, once again bringing professional results with minimal effort and an even more minimal learning curve...

iLife '11

   
MACINTOSH!

The event started out with a lot of talk about the "State of the Mac" and how it's rated #1 in everything... customer satisfaction, support, reliability, usability, blah blah blah. Basically, all the things that makes me buy a Mac in the first place. It was a nice segue into the true highlight of this segment... and yet another area where Apple is clearly #1 around the world: Retail. They have some of the most beautiful, jaw-dropping, amazing stores you'll ever see, both inside and out. During the event, they showed off a few of their latest...

Apple Store

Apple Store Opera Paris

Apple Store Pudong, China

Apple Store Xidan, China

They're all so very different, yet equally stunning. If you have time to kill, I highly highly recommend clicking through their list of stores at Apple.com. So many incredible architectural wonders to be seen.

   
I'd say "the end" but since this is in reverse order, I gues this is "the beginning?"

Regardless, way to go Apple!

   

Tomorrow

Posted on Monday, November 15th, 2010

Dave!Rain is pouring down so hard that it seems as if there's a waterfall outside my window. Gale force winds are howling so loudly that it sounds like somebody is screaming into a megaphone outside my door. I fully expect the roof to be blown off any minute. I hope the windshield wipers are still on my car. Assuming my car hasn't been blown away. Seriously, I wish I could record this, because it's like the apocalypse is going on right now and I have a ringside seat.

And just now the lights started flickering, so I can only guess it's a matter of time before the power goes out. Yay.

Looks like I picked the wrong night to give up insomnia.

Last night I got a grand total of two hours sleep. Tonight is shaping up to be worse.

The good news is that at least I have something to look forward to tomorrow. At least according to Apple's website...

Tomorrow is just another day. That you'll never forget. Apple.

Rumor has it that The Beatles are finally coming to the iTunes Music Store. This is kind of stupid to be getting this excited about, because anybody who's a Beatles fan has already ripped their CDs into iTunes long ago.

I hope it's something more... memorable.

And... the lights just went out and my internet just died. Guess this isn't getting posted tonight.

UPDATE: Internet and power are back! Who knows for how long, so I won't waste any more time getting this nonsense posted!

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Beatles

Posted on Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Dave!As predicted by just about everybody, The Beatles have finally come to Apple's iTunes Music Store. Yes, at long last, one of the greatest bands of all time (if not the greatest) has their music for sale by the world's largest music retailer.

As a huge Beatles fan, this is the moment I've been waiting for. When I first "discovered" The Beatles (thanks to my Beatle-loving uncle), I ended up buying all their albums... but on compact cassette tape. Any audiophile reading this blog just started laughing their ass off, but I'm from the cassette generation, and that's just how we bought music back in the day. Not to mention the fact that a Walkman was far easier to carry around than a phonograph and a stack of records...

My Yellow Walkman!
I had super-awesome yellow Walkman Sports cassette player like this. (Photo by Stephen McFall).

Laugh all you want but, in my defense, at least it wasn't 8-track.

Since you can't rip a tape into an MP3 file without some trickery, I borrowed CDs of all The Beatles albums that I owned on cassette and ripped them to iTunes that way. Technically, I did already own the music, so I didn't consider it to be stealing (so go fuck yourself, RIAA). The problem is that I eventually threw out the cassettes (no way to play them!), and I always felt funny that I couldn't point to the music on my shelf and say "yes, I own them."

Hence, the reason I've been waiting for The Beatles to be sold on iTunes... I want to be "legal" in the eyes of the law. And here was my chance, because I had a $75 cash rebate card burning a hole in my pocket!

But let's back up for a minute...

Last year, every Beatles fan's dream came true when beautiful remastered boxed sets were released of the entire Beatles catalog. Of particular interest to me was the limited edition Mono Box Set. In my humble opinion, mono is the only way to listen to most the first ten Beatles albums* because they were designed to be listened to that way by The Fab Four Themselves. The stereo versions were nothing more than a cobbled-together afterthought that usually sounded hollow and freakishly incoherent in my headphones. Some of the albums are so badly separated into stereo (even on the remasters) that they don't even seem like the same songs. My guess is that stereo was kind of a novelty back in the beginning, so they separated the recording as harshly as possible into distinct left and right channels with no middle in an attempt to make you really notice the technology. Well, you do... and it's overbearing in places... so I don't like it and would rather listen to those gorgeously crisp and brilliant mono tracks the way that God (and The Beatles) intended.

The Limited Edition Mono Box Set looked fantastic, but it was selling for $250 (at discount!) and I couldn't afford it, as much as I was dying to own it...

The Beatles Mono Gift Box Set

At the time of release, I said "Hopefully when the songs make it to iTunes, you'll be able to buy the mono versions there."

Which brings us to today...

Much to my profound disappointment, all the tracks in the iTunes Store are from the stereo remasters, which are exactly the versions I don't want. This shocked the hell out of me, because it was my understanding that Steve Jobs Himself is a massively huge Beatles fan, and I assumed he would be a stickler for at least offering the true fan's preferred mono versions of the songs. But, alas, they are nowhere to be found.

Shit.

Assuming that the Limited Edition Mono Box Set would have long-since sold out and only be available on eBay for thousands of dollars, I went to Amazon and nearly wet myself. Not only was the Mono Set still available, the price had actually dropped to $129.99! This was mind-boggling. That's almost 60% less than the original retail price of $300!

Score.

Without hesitation, I bought the set.

On the down-side, I won't be getting all the cool iTunes LP extras that you get when you buy from Apple... and I have to spend hours ripping the CDs... and I still have to buy the three remaining stereo albums not in the set (which I will be getting from iTunes)... but, on the up-side, I'm getting the actual music I've been dying for. At last. No thanks to Apple.

And, where The Beatles are concerned, it's their music that's important.

   

* The possible exception being "The White Album" which sounds amazing in stereo.

   

Fade

Posted on Saturday, December 4th, 2010

Dave!Just a friendly reminder to everybody... BACK UP YOUR PHOTOGRAPHS!

I have now had one person in Real Life, one person on Twitter, and another person on Facebook all lose their photos because a backup failed or something went wrong with their computer. This is such inconceivably horrifying event, that it makes me even more relieved that I am so dang paranoid about backing up everything.

One backup simply isn't enough. My Apple backup solution "Time Capsule" has died once, and become hopelessly corrupted twice (Dear Apple, YOU SUCK! FIX THIS!!). I have had drives go bad on more than one occasion. I've even physically lost a backup drive (and still have no idea what happened to it).

So I have four backups. One external dual-drive RAID set to mirror all data to both drives. Two external backups for my RAID backup that I rotate off-site. And an account with Amazon's Web Storage Services. Because even though I was on vacation just two months ago, the memories are already fading, and the photos are all I have...

Image of Malta
Arriving in Valletta, Malta at Dawn

Image of Tunis, Tunisia
A Side-Street in Sidi Bou Saïd, Tunisia

Image of Ravello, Italy
Overlook from Villa Rufolo Gardens, Ravello, Italy

Image of Corte, Corisca, France
Looking up at the Mountain Village of Corte, Corsica, France

Oh how I love "Vivid Color Mode" and "Active-D Lighting" on my Nikon D-90! Everything looks like a postcard.

I cannot imagine losing the 40,000+ photos that have documented my life... so I make no apologies for being an annoying doom-sayer paranoid freak when it comes to advocating backups. It's an investment that is well worth the cost.

   

Bullet Sunday 211

Posted on Sunday, December 19th, 2010

Dave!It's a wacky kind of Bullet Sunday on this cold December day...

   
• Pink. Genius writer Blake Edwards passed away this week. He was the creator of a number of important works such as Breakfast at Tiffany's and Days of Wine and Roses, but will forever be best known as creator of The Pink Panther series of films he made with Peter Sellers. Out of the opening title sequences from those movies came one of my favorite cartoon characters ever... The Pink Panther...

It's the Pink Panther!

I used to love those cartoons. For the longest time I've wanted to purchase the DVD sets so I could watch them again, but could never justify the rather high price ($60 at Amazon!). Fortunately, they're also available for rent at Netflix (alas, no instant streaming), so I'll have to get on that one of these days. As for Mr. Edwards... thank you for the laughs. May you rest in peace sir.

   
• Larry. Call me a hater, but I have never liked Larry King. I found his interviews to be to absolute crap. Half the time Larry seemed completely unprepared and left me wondering if he even knew who he was talking to. The rest of the time he was just plain boring. I never understood why he was so popular... except that he somehow managed to attract popular guests on his show. Probably because doing Larry King is so easy and risk-free since his interviews were always so embarrassingly superficial. Definitely not because he was any kind of appealing personality. He always came off as either a creepier version of Mr. Burns from The Simpsons...

Larry King Sucks

... or a freaky alien...

Larry King the Alien

Needless to say, I'm not sorry he's now retired. And while I'd definitely say that Joy Behar is a step up from Larry, I don't think she's particularly winning when it comes to interviews either. So I don't know what CNN is going to do now. Hopefully find somebody who knows how to give a decent interview.

   
• Shaun! A couple years ago when I was in Germany, I was introduced to a new television series starring Shaun the Sheep... a character from the Wallace & Gromit short fim A Close Shave. As you'd expect from an Aardman Animations production, the show was fantastically funny and clever... and dialogue-free!

Shaun the Sheep Characters

Well, after waiting and waiting and waiting, they finally released the complete first season on DVD...

Shaun the Sheep Season One DVD

Highest possible recommendation. Seriously, you've got to see these short episodes. I bought it from Amazon, but episodes are also currently available for Instant Stremaing from Netflix!

   
• Lens. Every once in a while you get a glimpse of where technology is taking us... a little peek at what's coming down the pipe. This week it was something called "World Lens" for iPhone. It uses the iPhone's camera to "read" an image for text. Then, depending on the filter you select, the app will process it for translation or some other trickery... like reversing the letters in any words it finds. It then pastes the output onto the original live image...

WorldLens for iPhone scree snapshot

The app is free from the iTunes Music Store. Currently there's $4.99 English->Spanish and $4.99 Spanish->English filters with more promised. To see it in action is pretty spectacular...

One day, they're going to be able to put stuff like this on a contact lens or as a chip implant in your brain so you can just look at something and get it translated directly. And I'm guessing audio translation isn't that far off. The future is all magic from here on out. Or it could be. If we let it.

   
And there you have it, Bullet Sunday begone!

   

Verizon

Posted on Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Dave!And so... to the surprise of nobody possessing an internet connection, Verizon announced that the iPhone will be available on their CDMA network on February 10th at long last.

As I usually do when faced with a difficult decision, I decided to make a PRO vs. CON chart in order to figure out whether switching from AT&T would be a good move for me...

PROS   CONS
Might actually be able to make a phone call that doesn't drop!   Would have to pay out my contract with AT&T plus buy a new iPhone. $$$
I get 3G coverage instead of shitty EDGE in my podunk home town!   3G may be more widespread, but is slower than AT&T's 3G.
Data might actually be usable in my podunk home town!   No coverage outside of the USA for most of the countries I usually travel to.
Possibly don't have to pay for tethering to data I'm already paying for?!   You can't talk and surf at the same time, which is VERY handy.
MIGHT ACTUALLY BE ABLE TO MAKE A FUCKING PHONE CALL THAT DOESN'T DROP... I MEAN, SHIT, IT'S A FUCKING PHONE!   I've had pretty good customer service from AT&T, but had HORRIBLE customer service when I was with Verizon Wireless.

When I first switched from Verizon to AT&T, I was actually very happy. I rarely had dropped calls, and the data service was pretty good over their EDGE network. Then something terrible happened. iPhone became a raging success, and the AT&T network couldn't keep up. The release of the 3G made the problem even worse. By the time I upgraded to the 3GS, things were so bad that I thought my new phone was broken because I kept dropping calls. The 4G came out and I actually got better signal than I ever had (despite "Antennagate")... but AT&T's network was still so shitty that it didn't help.

Because I stil have a year on my AT&T contract and Verizon has shitty coverage outside the USA, I am not ready to switch just yet. And if AT&T wants to keep it that way, here's three steps they could take...

  1. DON'T DROP MY CALLS! I know that AT&T claims that they're spending a bajillion dollars to upgrade their network... but I'm not seeing it. In Chicago and Las Vegas last year, I could barely connect a call, let alone keep it from dropping. This is completely unacceptable. IF YOU CAN'T MAKE PHONE CALLS, THEN IT'S NOT A PHONE!!
  2. EXPAND YOUR DATA CAPACITY! My small town doesn't have 3G with AT&T (but does with Verizon). In all honesty, it's not a big deal... EXCEPT... it's unusable most of the time. A Gowalla check-in that takes 2 seconds most anywhere else can take FIVE MINUTES here in my home town. Using the internet is pretty much impossible under those conditions. Even if you don't give us 3G, can you AT LEAST expand the capacity of our EDGE network so we can use the data we were promised?
  3. STOP SCREWING ME! I already pay for the bandwidth I use every month... don't charge me extra to tether my computer to it! Seriously, $20 a month to access bandwidth I already pay for? What the fuck? Bad enough we had to wait YEARS for this basic feature... now that you finally have it, you're screwing your customers over for the privilege of using it? LAME!

Ultimately, this announcement doesn't affect me all that much. But, if AT&T doesn't DO SOMETHING over the next year in order to improve the shitty state of their network, it could very well be a very big deal in 2012.

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Sweeeeeeeet!

Posted on Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

Dave!ZOMFG! I am so much cooler than you are right now. And let me show you why...

DaveBookGelaskin.jpg
This crappy photo doesn't do it justice... the printing is incredible. Bright, vivid, accurate color.

   

My new MacBook Pro GelaSkins arrived!

Because these things are printed on demand, I was expecting the quality to be pretty crappy. I couldn't have been more wrong. These things are super-sweet, and look just awesome!

My one disappointment is that they don't give you a template to construct your art on. I ended up taking a screen-shot of their "skin-maker" and blowing it up so I could try and get the Apple logo right. Except there was no way of getting the placement exactly how I wanted because the screen-shot is just a blurry mess. Even worse, the "screen proof" they show you is shockingly inaccurate. This is pretty harsh. If they are going to offer a cut-out design, they should provide a way of getting a decent template to work on. Sure registration isn't going to be dead-perfect, but having a LITTLE bit of accuracy would go a long way.

Because this is what I was expecting to get...

BlogographyGelaskin.png

But, as you can see from the above photo, the Apple cut-out ended up being considerably larger than their website depicts... this caused the thick outline around the Apple logo to end up way too thin. I mean, it doesn't look BAD by any means... and people would probably never notice if I hadn't pointed it out... but, for a guy who is hung-up on good design, things like this drive me bonkers.

Anyway, if you are looking to skin your electronics, I can't recommend GelaSkins highly enough. They're a big pricey, but the quality is definitely there. I just wish that they offered a proper template so people can have the artwork look as they intend it to be.

   

GarageBand

Posted on Friday, March 4th, 2011

Dave!As I've said a couple of times now, I have no use for an iPad. My iPhone and MacBook do everything I need, and an iPad would just be one more thing to carry. Sure I bought one. I kinda had to. I'm an iOS developer and needed to update app graphics for some of my clients so they work on iPad. But after I was done, I gave it to my mom. She loves it. For her, it is truly a "Magical and Revolutionary New Device," just as Apple said.

Except...

I recently started composing music again.

I used to write quite a bit of music when I was in video production. It saved me lots of time over collaborating with a REAL musician, which meant I could move on to my next project faster. Alas, eventually digital editing tools came along that made my kind of video work redundant. I stopped doing video projects, which meant I stopped making music as well.

But recently I got bit by the music bug again, and have been using Apple's "SoundTrack" and "Garage Band" apps to bang out some tunes on my Mac with an old keyboard I have. It's far from an ideal solution. I have to "fake" instruments like guitars, drums, brass, and woodwinds by "playing" them on the keyboard or using pre-made loops because I can't play them very well in real life. I can play keyboard decently. Electronic drums I'm okay at. I have played bass guitar a few times and can manage. Barely. Sax and clarinet I used to play well, but suck at now. Given my menial musical talent, I don't have much choice but to faux compose on a computer. But I manage and it works.

And then I saw Apple's "iPad2 Event" and nearly crapped my pants.

They demoed the new iPad Garage Band app, and it's jaw-dropping amazing. I'd go so far as to say "fucking astounding," but I don't want to oversell things here.

Except it really is fucking astounding...

Steve Jobs Introduces Garage Band for iPad!

For $4.99 (FOUR DOLLARS AND NINETY-NINE CENTS!) you get such a jaw-dropping array of musical tools with such unprecedented interactivity and functionality that you would have to spend thousands upon thousands of dollars on real life instruments and gear to even get even close to what Apple is offering. But they don't stop there. For instruments you might not play very well, they include "smart instruments" which assist you in working with them. PLUS an amp with stompboxes (for incorporating real guitars) AND a frickin' eight-track recording studio...

Garage Band App Screens

The most amazing part is how much thought went into it. It's like Garage Band was designed by actual musicians who would know what's needed to make an app like this useful. Like using the iPad's accelerometer to sense how hard you're tapping a piano key or a drum. Like using iPad's multi-touch surface to do things you couldn't even do with a real instrument. Like including properties of actual instruments so their virtual counterparts play as expected (chord dampening!).

For the music hobbyist who wants access to a "home studio" full of instruments and multi-track recording equipment (like me!) the iPad is more than a frickin' bargain... It's almost free. $500 for the hardware plus $5 for a crap-load of exceptional instruments AND a recording studio? I mean, holy shit. How can I NOT want an iPad now?

It's like the Mac version is just a clutzy imitator, and THIS is was what Garage Band was meant to be all along.

Of course, me talking about it can't possibly explain just how wonderful the app is. If you're an amateur musician... or even somebody who just likes the idea of giving music a try, you owe it to yourself to watch the Apple keynote video here (the Garage Band stuff starts at 47:30).

   

Steve Jobs Introduces Garage Band for iPad!

As for the iPad2 itself? It's nice. It finally includes the front-facing FaceTime camera THAT IT SHOULD HAVE HAD ALL ALONG. There's other good new stuff too, and the bump in speed and graphics will make more complex apps function better (as well as opening the door for even more incredible stuff in the future). But the miraculous thing about the iPad is not its specs. It's the extraordinary experience of using one that gives Apple the edge. This is something that competitors simply don't seem to understand. It doesn't matter if you have a tablet with a faster processor or more memory or more ports than iPad... you're not going to make a superior experience to iPad in hardware alone. It's the tight integration of hardware to software when married to truly brilliant apps like GarageBand that makes an iPad an iPad.

It's almost frightening to think of where Apple maight take us next.

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Nostalgia

Posted on Monday, March 14th, 2011

Dave!Ask any web developer what the worst part of their job is, and they're almost certain to answer "writing hacks so pages display properly in Microsoft Internet Explorer." For years, Microsoft had a pile-of-shit browser that failed to render standard HTML properly. This means that every time you come up with a new design, you have to do a bunch of freaky shit... hacks, work-arounds, bug traps, etc... specific to Microsoft so that people using their crappy browser could view your web pages.

In recent years, Microsoft has gotten more proficient at making their dumbass browsers work better with web standards, but there are so many people using older versions of their bullshit software that it's still a problem even to this day (which is why Microsoft is begging people to upgrade).

Eventually, web designers built up a library of hacks that they could pop into designs that would handle all the Microsoft dumbassery. It wasn't an elegant solution, but it works. It works so well that I don't even think about it any more.

Nice, right?

Except...

I never, ever thought that I would run across something that would be worse than the days I spent pulling my hair out at 2:00am trying to get a web page to display in Microsoft Internet Explorer.

I was wrong.

Welcome to Apple's iBooks...

IBooks Icon

Yes. Apple.

When they first released iBooks, a lot of people were relieved to know that Apple had decided to use the existing ePub standard for their file format. This meant that the bazillion eBooks out there that were already in ePub format would work just fine in iBooks.

Or not.

BECAUSE APPLE HAS SO HOPELESSLY FUCKED UP THE WAY ePUB DOCUMENTS ARE RENDERED THAT I FIND MYSELF LONGING FOR THE "GOOD OLD DAYS" OF DICKING AROUND WITH MICROSOFT INTERNET EXPLORER CODE!

I am not joking. Apple iBooks has so much incomprehensible shit going on that they should aspire to be Microsoft. In fact, Apple's iBooks team of 2011 could take lessons from the Microsoft Internet Explorer team of 2001 on how to comply with internet standards.

I have just spent SEVEN HOURS trying to get an ePub document to render properly in iBooks. And I'm still not there yet. I'm getting closer, but thanks to the totally fucked up way that iBooks dicks around with text when the "Full Justification" setting is on, I've still got a ways to go.

Apparently Apple has some magical document called iBookstore Asset Guide that is supposed to help, but the only way you can get it is to become a publishing partner with Apple. Yes, you read that right, in order to force Apple's piece-of-shit software to comply with OPEN STANDARDS, you have to get some kind of "secret document" not available to the general public.

It sure would be nice if Apple got the same kind of hatred-fueled uproar that Microsoft gets when they fuck up. Maybe then Apple would start listening to people, just like Microsoft was forced to.

In the meanwhile... fuck you, Apple. I thought I was done with this kind of hackery bullshit.

   

Londone

Posted on Friday, March 18th, 2011

Dave!Because I'm traveling on a restricted ticket, I ended up with an extended layover in London. Not that I'm complaining... I love London, and visit every chance I get (which would be a lot more often if the US Dollar wasn't rubbish against the British Pound). It's just that it's tough to be here when I don't have any personal time to hang out with friends that live in the area.

Hopefully next time.

Thanks to a patient taxi driver and London's excellent public transportation system, yesterday I managed to get a big chunk of the city's "Featured Spots" stamps collected from Gowalla. Then today before dinner I finished off the two remaining spots I needed. Some of the fringe locations (such as Wembley Stadium and the Prime Meridian of the World), will have to wait for next time, but I got all the biggies from the city and surrounds (you can click on them to see what they are)...

Heathrow StampWaterloo Station StampCraven Cottage StampBuckingham Palace StampRoyal Albert Hall Stamp
London Eye StampBig Ben StampHouses of Parliament StampStamford Bridge StampJubilee Hall Covent Garden Stamp
Tate Modern StampPicadilly Circus StampBritish Museum StampTrafalger Square StampRoyal Opera House Stamp
Apple Store Covent Gardens StampEmerates Stadium StampThe Gherkin StampThe Globe StampSt. Paul's Stamp
Underground StampTower Bridge StampTower of London StampHarrod's StampWestminster Abbey Stamp

I maintain that Gowalla makes for an excellent travel guide when visiting larger cities, because the most popular tourist spots always seem to get "Featured" status. Out of the above stamps, I've been to these places multiple times. I admit it was kind of nice to be visiting them again not as a tourist, but as a collector! Thanks, Gowalla!

One place I haven't been to multiple times is the new Apple Store in Covent Gardens! It's the largest Apple Store on planet earth (at least until the New York Grand Central location is built). It's also incredibly beautiful, as Apple did an amazing job refurbishing the building. What I love most is how, from the outside, you can't really tell its an Apple Store at all...

Apple Store Covent Garden
Somebody just bought a new iPod!

No giant sign or anything... not even a glowing Apple logo... just elegance and class through and through. They discourage picture-taking inside, but Apple's official site has some beautiful photos you can look at.

The exact opposite of elegance and class would be the massive outpouring of tacky souvenir crap that's been unleashed in "honor" of the upcoming royal wedding. The stuff is everywhere. Plates, cups, notepads, stickers, cards, books, pencils, platters, postcards... you name it. I would not have been at all surprised if you could buy hemorrhoid cream with Prince William and Kate Middleton printed on the tube...

Royal Wedding Crap
Something tells me this stuff doesn't have Her Majesty The Queen's approval.

I started out my day with the best breakfast in London at Pret...

Pret Sandwich: Egg & Roasted Tomatoes!
It's heaven on a baguette!

The Egg & Roasted Tomatoes Baguette is so amazing that I ate a very light dinner last night so I'd be hungry enough to eat two. My biggest fear is that one day I'll come to London and they won't be making them anymore. For lunch I went back so I could have the Carrot & Humous Crunch Baguette. For dinner I went back yet again so I could have a Mozarella & Pesto Toastie. As usual, every single thing I've ever eaten at Pret has been delicious. And I love that they have so many vegetarian-friendly options. I keep hoping that Seattle will get a Pret, but in the USA it's just New York, DC, and Chicago for now.

Every trip to London I rave about how much I love the Johnston typeface which is used on all of the city's public transportation logos and signage. It's highly readable, yet somehow manages to be sublimely beautiful at the same time. Every time I see it, I fall in love all over again...

London Underground Poster
You can read more about ohnston at Wikipedia!

Hands-down my favorite sans-serif font of all time. If I ever redesign my blog, this is the typeface I'll be using.

The weather in London has been pretty much shit. It's been windy, cold, and rainy all day long. Seattle has a reputation for rain, but I've found London to be a much drearier place, weather-wise...

Tower Bridge in the rain.
Still surprised when I hear tourists call this "London Bridge"... IT'S TOWER BRIDGE, YOU GITS!

The good thing about this is when the sun comes out in London, it's glorious (just like Seattle). I've had my share of beautiful London sunny days, so the weather hasn't bothered me too much.

Look Right!
Look Left. Look Right. Look Left. Look Right. Look Left!

And that's all she wrote from London. Tomorrow morning early, early, early I head back to the airport for my connecting flight. I'm hoping for better weather at my final destination. If I wanted cold, windy, and wet... I would have stayed at home.

   

Thanks!

Posted on Friday, March 25th, 2011

Dave!I don't celebrate my birthday, which is part of the reason I like leaving the country every year... it's a lot harder for your friends and family to throw a party or make a big deal over it when you're not around. That being said, the outpouring of birthday wishes from everybody is such a wonderful thing that I wish it could be my birthday every day! It's hard not to be happy when your email in-box, text messages, Facebook, and Twitter are jam-packed with well-wishers wanting to congratulate you on surviving another year. My hetero-life-partner even wrote a blog post for my birthday which, considering he almost never blogs anymore, was a really great end to an amazing day.

Which, oddly enough, was 31 hours long, since I started the 24th in London (7 hours ahead) and flew home to re-live a big chunk of my day all over again. I guess if it can't be your birthday every day, crossing time zones to make the one day you get last longer is the next best thing.

The flight home was somewhat torturous thanks to The Most Boring Man In The Universe sitting in the seat behind me. Seriously, this bastard rambled non-stop for nine-hours-and-twenty-minutes, loudly (LOUDLY) going on and on about mundane shit that even my iPod at full volume could not obliterate. Since he had an English accent, it was if I were trapped in the most horrifyingly boring documentary ever. I still have no idea how the poor person he was talking to the entire time kept from killing herself. I would have dashed my brains out on the seat-back tray after the first hour.

Coming back the USA was about as painless as it's ever been. I used to loathe going through border control and customs because the agents were always such assholes. But they truly have been improving over the past couple years, which makes foreign travel so much nicer. It's as if they knew people hated them and their hostile, shitty attitudes and decided to try being more pleasant. This time, I actually felt welcomed back to my own country, which would have been impossible for me to even dream of just five years ago. Having to wait less than ten minutes in line was also a nice bonus... especially after having suffered through Heathrow's 25-minute wait at border control twice. You'd think that one of the world's busiest airports could have more than two measly desks open for plane-loads of passengers, but apparently they just don't give a fuck. I kept looking for the sign saying VISIT THE UNITED KINGDOM AT YOUR PERIL, YOU FILTHY FOREIGN BASTARDS! But, being British, they're much more subtle about it. They just make you suffer a long wait in silence to show their disdain for your existence and their contempt at your desire to set foot on their soil.

But at least I didn't have to give my fingerprints, retina scan, and a stool sample like foreigners visiting these United States of America. I guess that's something.

My birthday also happens to be the birthday of Mac OS X, which turned ten years old yesterday! It's odd how Apple's OS is so young, but seems to have been around forever. I usually celebrate the occasion by booting up an antique Macintosh running an old, old, old version of Mac OS, just so I can appreciate how far we've come. The problem is that last year when I did this I actually came across some old features that I miss in the "modern" OS, so I'll probably skip this year. Nothing quite so sad as longing for technology advances from twenty years ago. What I wouldn't give to have each of my fucking folder windows remember their fucking Finder view selection and fucking sorting preference every fucking time I fucking open them... but, alas, that's only possible with technology from fucking 1990. Nothing like taking giant steps backwards as you head into the future, eh Apple?

And now I get ready to face my Friday, knowing full-well that there will be no Matt & Kim concert at the end of it. It's times like this I wonder how I manage to go on day after day, but I've got another birthday coming up next year where people will (hopefully) take the time to once again send happy thoughts my way... so I'll just hang on to that for the next 365 days* and see where that gets me.

Thanks everybody!

   
*Usually, I'd be waiting 364 days, but 2012 is a leap year, giving me a whole extra day before my next birthday. How much does that suck? Thanks a lot crappy flawed Julian calendar system!

   

Bullet Sunday 228

Posted on Sunday, April 17th, 2011

Dave!I can't believe it's the two-hundred-and-twenty-seventh episode of Bullet Sunday! That's like 60% of a full year's worth!

   
• Needle! Today is the 50th anniversary of the ground-breaking for Seattle's Space Needle. Originally created for the 1962 "Century 21 World's Fair," it quickly became a symbol of the city (if not the entire Pacific Northwest). What I love about the structure is that it doesn't look dated despite its classic 1960's styling. On top of that, it's a beautiful cornerstone of the Seattle skyline and a cool tourist attraction...

Sunny Seattle

Space Needle Seattle

View out the Space Needle

Seattle Panorama Photo from the Space Needle

I've visited dozens of times, and the view from the top still takes my breath away. If you'd like to read more about the history of Seattle's landmark, there's a nice wrap-up at Wikipedia.

   
• Happy! What's kind of a mash-up between Friends and Coupling but somehow manages to be uniquely hilarious television in its own right? It's Happy Endings! I have to admit, I thought the whole "group-of-six-friends-half-girls-half-boys" sitcom concept had been played into the ground (usually to horrible effect). But I was dead wrong. Happy Endings is funny, funny, stuff. The premiere episode is available for FREE on iTunes and well-worth your time to check out...

Happy Endings Cast

   
• Proof? On the other end of the spectrum... the new television drama Body of Proof is just so bad. Dana Delany is great as a surgeon-turned-medical-examiner, but just about every other character on the show is total crap. The writing is so lame that it's almost comical. It's as if they set out to make everybody be intentionally annoying and unwatchable. I was hoping for another Quincy, M.E. but got Cliched B.S. instead...

Body of Proof Cast

   
• Collectorz. If you're a Macintosh whore who wants to enter your comic book collection in a computer database, you're pretty much screwed. Years ago I used a program called "ComicBase" which was originally created for Macs, but then they switched to Windows and dropped development for the Mac version (nice!). Over the years there's been a few new programs for Mac, but they haven't been very feature-rich. Enter "Comic Collector for Mac OS X" which is coming May 17th. It looks fairly complete and very affordable ($29.95 or $49.95 for a "pro" version)...

Comic Collector for Mac OS X

It pulls data and cover images off their web server, and allows for quick and easy barcode entry. In anticipation of its release, I've been using a trial membership for their companion "cloud" service: "Comic Book Collector Connect." It's a little cumbersome for adding comics, but still very cool. What's sweet about this company is that even if their OS X software sucks, I can still use the online Connect service to index my collection (unlimited access and database size for $19.95 a year!). If you're a fellow Mac whore with a comic book collection, check it out.

   
• AirPrint. One of the more serious omissions from iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, etc.) was printing. Apple finally addressed this a while back with a technology they call AirPrint. The problem is that this "feature" is half-baked at best. First you either have to buy an AirPrint-Enabled printer or find a 3rd party solution which makes your non-Airport printer be recognized by the iOS. And then the fun begins... figuring out which apps can actually print worth a crap. Most don't. Apple's "Photos" app, for example, doesn't allow you to fill the page with your photo when you print it. Instead, it prints a tiny image in the middle of the page. Other apps print okay, but the lack of control over orientation, scale, and placement is a serious detriment. Only apps which are specifically designed for printing (like Pages, Numbers, and Keynote) seem to produce expected results. This is kind of embarrassing for Apple. Usually they don't release something until it's polished and functional, and AirPrint isn't there yet. Still... it is a promising glimpse of the functionality that devices like these will need in a "post PC world."

   
Annnnnd... now it's time for the new Burn Notice movie... The Fall of Sam Axe! As a huge fan of Bruce Campbell, it's must-see TV.

   

Private

Posted on Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

Dave!This morning after my daily toast and jam, I checked my email and saw a new one pop up with the subject line "How does it feel?" which came from an email address I didn't recognize. Naturally, I thought this was some kind of creepy spam that was advertising male "enhancement drugs" or some other crap, but I was also curious because usually one of my two spam filters manages to intercept stuff like this. So I opened it.

Much to my surprise, it wasn't spam. It was a reader(?) who was overjoyed to be telling me that "Your hero Steve Jobs is spying on you" and was asking "How does it feel to have your privacy raped by Apple?" Then there was a link to a website for an application called iPhone Tracker.

Apparently, your iPhone is constantly keeping track of everywhere you go and "secretly" saving this data. Then, when you sync your iPhone with your computer, iPhone transfers this information to your backup file. It also transfers the data when you migrate to a new iPhone or restore your data for some reason. Two guys names Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden stumbled across it and decided to write a program that allows you to display the data on a map, like so...

iPhone Tracker Map
Everywhere in the USA I've been for the past ten months.

iPhone Tracker Map
The tracking is surprisingly deep. This is a drive I made out of Chicago last July.

iPhone Tracker Map
Three or four trips to Europe, all tracked!

iPhone Tracker Map
The dots are obviously not actual locations in Corsica I visited... probably just cell towers iPhone signaled.

iPhone Tracker Map
A drive down the Amalfi Coast in Italy.

Now, my first reaction when I opened the program on my Mac was THIS IS SO AWESOME!! I mean, heck, I actually bought an iPhone app called "Trip Journal" to track my travels... I could have saved some money if I had known the feature was built-in! My only disappointment was that the data only goes back to June 30th, 2010 and I wish it went back further.

But then the implications began to sink it.

The iPhone Tracker developers don't believe that this data is transmitted to Apple in any form, but that doesn't mean that Apple couldn't take a look at it in the future. This alone doesn't scare me much since AT&T already has a record of everywhere I go (they log call locations for billing purposes). What does concern me is that Apple doesn't disclose that this data is being collected. If somebody were to steal my laptop, they could potentially see everywhere I've been and I'd be none the wiser because nobody told me it was there when I bought my iPhone. Not that I really care... I always blog where I'm at and log my every move with Gowalla anyway, but still... this is not a good thing.

Mostly because this data could be used in devious ways now that everybody knows about it. Want to know if your wife is cheating on you? Pull up iPhone Tracker and you can see exactly where she's been at any point in time. Want to know what your kids are up to? Run iPhone Tracker and know everywhere they go. Want to stalk somebody? Break into their house and run iPhone Tracker on their computer so you can track their movement patterns. The list goes on and on.

Obviously I don't think there's any evil motive behind Apple logging this information. They're probably working on some cool new feature for iDevices which will use the data in an interesting way. But they really, really should have warned people that their location is being tracked and definitely give people the option to turn this "feature" off if they should so desire. At the very least they should be encrypting it so that it's not so ridiculously easy to view.

I'm not very paranoid by nature, but every time something like this pops up, I can't help but wonder what other aspects of my life are being analyzed and collected. Then I conclude there's probably no part of my life that isn't on a computer somewhere, and just accept the fact that very little of what we do or say is private.

Welcome to 1984.

   
If you want to spy on yourself, you can download the Mac app to view your iPhone tracking data here.

   

Bullet Sunday 233

Posted on Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

Dave!ZOMG! IT'S BULLET SUNDAY!

   
• Stars. I swear, if there is a single thing in this world you can count on outside of death and taxes, it's that any time Justin Timberlake hosts Saturday Night Live you're in for one hell of a show. The May 21st season finale was no exception. Not surprisingly, I haven't laughed this much at an SNL episode since the last time he hosted. What was surprising is that musical guest Lady Gaga made a couple very funny appearances throughout the show. I may not be the biggest fan of her music, but she killed it last night in the sketches. As if that weren't enough, we got another The Barry Gibb Talk Show installment too...

SNL Timberlake Finale
Your eyes do not deceive you... that's Susan Sarandon and Patricia Clarkson
making cameos on the funniest SNL Digital Short
since Dick in a Box!

Can I just say that I long for the day that the real Barry and Robin Gibb make an appearance on The Barry Gibb Talk Show? I think the universe would probably explode from so much awesomeness.

   
• Dogs. As I was spending my entire paycheck on a bag of groceries last week, I noticed that MorningStar Farms Veggie Corn Dogs were back. I used to love them, but they were recalled and discontinued a couple years back because of of a heinous contamination at the manufacturing facility. Apparently that's (hopefully) been all sorted out, because I've discovered a new magical formula...

Morning Star Farms Corn Dogs PLUS Grey Poupon Creamy Mild Mustard EQUALS Orgasm

Is there anything that Grey Poupon Mild & Creamy Mustard doesn't taste good on?

   
• Bears. One of the single coolest people on earth would have to be Bear Grylls. The guy has racked up so many amazing feats that he makes ordinary men look like hamsters by comparison. It all started when he was the youngest person to climb Mount Everest at age 23. Since then he's continued to make awesome expeditions, and even went on to become a best-selling author and (somewhat controversial) television star...

Bear Grylls in an Ice Cave!

And yet, this morning as I was watching television, I heard something which puts all of Bear Gryll's astounding adventures to shame. His ultimate feat of coolness has to be naming his three kids Jesse, Marmaduke and Huckleberry...

Bear Grylls and Marmaduke
"Holy shit, dude! My name is MARMADUKE!"   (Photo by Rob Loud - Getty Images)

I don't know how to feel about Jesse. On one hand, he side-stepped a landmine by not being saddled with a name like Marmaduke or Huckleberry. On the other hand, he doesn't have a kick-ass moniker that guarantees him a reality TV show. Oh well. Goes to show that just when you think Bear Grylls can't possibly be cooler than he already is, something comes along to prove you wrong.

   
• Trains. Dear iOS developers... I DON'T HAVE TIME FOR GAMES, SO STOP MAKING AWESOME NEW APPS I WANT TO PLAY! Especially all these terrific new board game apps for iPad. As a board game addict, it is really cool to see great games like Neuroshima Hex and Carcassonne being released, but now Days of Wonder has gone and dropped the awesome Ticket to Ride game for a mere $6.99 (my board game version cost $25!)... and it is stellar. It's better than stellar. It actually improves on the original by making it easier and more straightforward to play. But they didn't stop there, they made it Game Center aware, so you can play against other people anywhere in the world...

Ticket To Ride for iPad

The object of the game is to build railroads. You do this by drawing Destination Tickets which give you two cities to connect. You then play colored Train Cards to build your routes, with longer routes being worth bigger points. It's easy to learn, but the strategy is where the fun is. Do you complete your own route, or block your opponent from completing theirs? Do you risk drawing another Destination Card to increase your score, or do you play it safe because you're running low on train cars? The variations on play are endless but, just in case you get bored, you can add expansion sets with an in-game purchase.

This is the future of board games right here. You can play against your friends no matter where you are, or connect with other players online when you don't have somebody to play with! Granted, it can be tricky to get a Game Center game started up, but other than that it's a flawless app. About the only thing I miss is the socializing that happens when playing a "real" game in person (talking smack over chat isn't the same!), but that's a minor detail when you consider how hard it is to get people together to play in "Real Life." For iPad users, Ticket to Ride gets my highest possible recommendation!

   
• Trolls. This past week my blog was linked to by some kind of newsletter from a wacky organization seeking to "protect marriage." Since the post they linked to has me supporting marriage equality and calling equality opponents "weak," I suppose it was only a matter of time. I got around a dozen comments, all of which were deleted because they were nasty or didn't contribute to the conversation in any meaningful way. Apparently, their only argument against marriage equality was to bad-mouth me, which is not commenting. It's just name-calling. Somehow I am not surprised that this is all they have left, considering a recent Gallup poll now has the majority of Americans supporting gay marriage for the first time...

Gallup Gay Marriage Poll

This has me envisioning a future where Americans look back at this point in time and think "What the fuck was that all about?" Which will be nice, because I can't for the life of me understand what the big deal is over a person's sexuality not restricting their rights. If somebody writes left-handed, you don't see right-handed people demanding lefties can't get married... so who gives a fuck about two consenting gay adults getting married?

A lot of very insecure people who are worried that they are going to be tempting into getting gay-married, apparently. Which brings me to something of sheer awesomeness tweeted to me by @Galaxyfighter (Not Safe for Work)...

   
And on that note, I suppose I should be getting back to work.

   

Board

Posted on Monday, May 23rd, 2011

Dave!Tomorrow I leave for Chicago. And, despite having work piled so high that even light cannot escape its gravitational pull, I just spent the last 90 minutes playing Ticket to Ride. That game is SO addicting. Like crack cocaine. Or so I've heard. If I didn't already have an iPad, I'd probably end up buying one just to play this game.

I finally had to pull myself away from playing with trains so I could write in this blog.

Thanks a lot, blog.

In the interest of full-disclosure, however, I should tell you that I am not really concentrating on whatever it is I'm writing here. Most of my brain is still playing Ticket to Ride.

For example, when I typed the words "Tomorrow I leave for Chicago," I immediately started thinking of what route I would take to get to Chicago if I were playing the game. In case you're curious, it would probably look something like this...

Ticket to Ride iPad Route Seattle to Chicago

Then I find myself compelled to count how many cities I haven't been to (Six: Winnepeg, Sault Ste. Marie, Duluth, Omaha, El Paso, and Helena). And note which are the most connected cities (Helena, Denver, and Pittsburgh). And worst connected (Vancouver, Las Vegas, and Boston). And calculate which route would be the most disastrous if your opponent blocked you (Seattle to Portland, which goes from one train car to fifteen).

Etc. Etc. Etc.

Like I said, my brain won't stop playing.

Maybe it will stop if I play just one more game?

Or ten.

   

Bullets?

Posted on Monday, June 6th, 2011

Dave!Well smack my ass and call me Sally... it's Bullet MONDAY?!? Given all the crazy crap that's gone on since yesterday, I guess it's going to have to be!

   
• STEEEEEEVE! I don't know what it is about a Steve Jobs keynote event that brings out my maternal instincts, but every time I see one I end up thinking about how much I'd like to have Steve Jobs' baby. Today's spiffy keynote from Apple's Worldwide Developer's Conference was no exception. So much cool stuff in the pipeline for all my Apple Whore toys... including Mac OS X Lion... iOS 5... and the all-new iCloud service...

WWDC Stevenote 2011

I could spend the next half-hour writing about the many new features which had me soiling myself with happiness, but that's a full-load in my pants that nobody wants to hear about. Might be better if everybody just watched the Stevenote for themselves and decide which features are worth freaking over.

   
• WEEEEEEINER! And so Representative Anthony Weiner now admits he's a freaky-ass pervert who likes to send shirtless photos and pictures of his schlong to young ladies. A few thoughts...

Weiner's Nipples
If I was in this good of shape, I'd send photos like this to everybody I know. Everybody.

  • In my humble opinion, this in no way makes Andrew Breitbart any less a worthless pieces of shit because he happened to be right this time. His reprehensible, disgusting, and wholly unwarranted lies that ended up crucifying Shirley Sherrod have branded him a worthless turd for life in my book.
  • It DOES, however, make Anthony Weiner look more like a worthless piece of shit because he got up in front of everybody and lied about it all by claiming "I WAS HACKED!!"
  • I am now deeply conflicted. On one hand, I am a huge fan of Weiner's wonderful no-bullshit politics. His handling of the First Responders' travesty is the stuff of legends. I loved him for that rant.
  • On the other hand, he's a douchebag liar. Why he couldn't have just said "no comment" instead of burying himself so stupidly like that? Did he learn nothing from how things worked out for President Clinton when he lied about his affair with Monica Lewinsky? I mean, come on. In two minutes I've gone from thinking Weiner is one of the smartest people on earth... to thinking he's a complete idiot. So sad.
  • In all honesty, I'm not sure where I stand on all this. Do I think Weiner's cheesy flirting with shots of his wiener and bare chest affect his ability to do his job? Of course not. I honestly don't give a fuck what people do in their personal life so long as everybody involved were consenting adults. That's between him, his wife, and the women he made throw up. But then again... he's apparently learning-impaired and a liar. This makes his effectiveness as a political leader plummet.

So... to sum up... whatever. Color me disappointed, but not surprised. These asshole politicians don't seem to know how to act any other way. About the only positive thing I can say is that at least he wasn't a total hypocrite here. It's not like he railed against homosexuals and was then caught trying to hook up for gay sex in a bathroom somewhere. In any event... way to stay classy, Representative Weiner.

   
• LEEEEEE! In much sadder news... Lee J. Ames has died. You may not know who he was, but I assure you that you've undoubtedly seen the result of his efforts. In fact, since you are looking at this blog, I can guarantee it! Mr. Ames is famous for his art instruction books, of which I am a massively huge fan...

Lee J. Ames Books

He has an uncanny knack of being able to effortlessly break down objects to base elements, and his "Draw 50" series of books taught me to see things this same way. Lil' Dave... Bad Monkey... and most everything I've ever drawn here... it's all using techniques I first learned from studying Lee J. Ames. As with all things which are done well, his books still hold up even today. If you know a kid who is interested in learning how to draw, you could do a lot worse than to track down these wonderful publications at your local library or art store. Rest in peace, Lee... and thank you.

   
• BULL SHEEEEEET! So much for the separation of Church and State. Such fucking bullshit.

   
• SLAAAAAAAAYER! It's the International Day of Slayer today!

Dave Slayer

♫ The root of all evil is the heart of a black soul... a force that has lived all eternity! ♫ A never ending search for a truth never told... the loss of all hope and your dignity! ♫

   
Annnnd... now I have to spend a couple of hours preparing for another long, hard day of work in the morning.

I'd add a long, hard photo here to drive that point home, but I think we've all seen enough wieners for a while.

   

Reviewed

Posted on Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

Dave!Getting a whole six hours sleep last night (pharmaceutically-induced, alas) was everything I dreamed it would be.

Anyway, just a few things I keep forgetting to review...

   
• Chilly Pad! A while back I was shopping for a soldier at AnySoldier.com (which I talk about here and here) when I was told about a product by Frogg Toggs called "Chilly Pad." It was billed as some kind of "cooling towel" that sucks the heat away via evaporation. That sounded like a load of crap to me, but who am I to deny a soldier something to make his life easier... especially if it only costs $12? Just for kicks, I ordered one for myself too.

Imagine my shock when, holy crap, it actually works!

Frogg Toggs Chilly Pad

Just pour some water on it and be amazed as the super-evaporation cells go to work, causing the darn thing to become cool to the touch! Amazing! For the ultimate test, I wore one around my neck on my trip to Waverly Hills where there was a heat index of 105° and was pretty darn comfortable the entire time. I now keep one in the trunk of my car and will always have them on hand to send with my AnySoldier care packages. Worth checking out! I got mine at Sports Authority, but I'm sure they're available other places too.

   
• Spotify! Europeans have been enjoying the music mega-service Spotify for years, but Americans have been left out. Until now. For those unfamiliar, Spotify has a massively huge database of music available for streaming. In order to get at it, you have to sign up for an account. Free accounts are ad-supported and have a song limit. Unlimited accounts ($4.99/mo.) are ad-free, allow unlimited songs to be streamed, and have added sharing and organizational features. Premium accounts ($9.99/mo.) have even more features (like the ability to listen offline and stream to your mobile phone) and better sound quality. Free accounts weren't available yet, so I went for the $4.99/mo. Unlimited package.

The biggest selling point of Spotify is that they have a plain crazy-huge collection of songs. They pretty much boast that they have any track you want...

Spotify Creed

Except they really don't. There are many songs both obscure and popular I wanted to listen to which aren't available. That alone is a bummer, but what makes it unbearable is that a big chunk of their library is karaoke versions of songs, and every frickin' search you make is literally overwhelmed with karaoke crap I have absolutely no interest in.

Here's an example. Today I wanted to listen to Miley Cyrus's The Time of Our Lives (don't judge until you listen to it... it's a nice song!). Spotify doesn't have it available. What they do have is four karaoke versions...

Spotify Karaoke

WTF? And it gets worse when you do more generic searches like "Hall & Oates" where you get all kinds of karaoke shit mixed in. After a while, I figured out that you can do restrictive searches to cut out karaoke. Well, most karaoke... not all karaoke songs are described properly...

Spotify Karaoke Minus

This should be an option in preferences to get rid of karaoke tracks if you don't want to see them, but I couldn't find one so I have to instead add "-karaoke" to every search, which is a pain in the ass. Other irritations? The Spotify app is clutzy and unintuitive compared to the iTunes interface I'm used to. I've also experienced "outages" of a sort, where certain artists simply will not play. Today I tried for quite a while to listen to Weird Al's new Alpocalypse album without success.

As you might guess, my final verdict is more negative than positive. I will be happy to keep my free account for occasional ad-supported listening, but I'm going to cancel my $4.99 "Unlimited" membership. Perhaps eventually they'll address my issues and I'll find it worthwhile, but for now I'm giving it a pass.

   
• Suits! Burn Notice. White Collar. Covert Affairs. Fairly Legal. Psych. When it comes to successes, USA Network has a pretty good track record for airing some really good television shows. Because of this, I'm willing to give any new show they come up with a shot. Their latest, Suits, sounded good on paper... but I wasn't sure how it was going to play out on the screen...

USA Network

The story premise is that of a very smart guy with a photographic memory, Mike Ross (played by Patrick J. Adams) who tries to escape his dicey past by going to work at a prestigious law firm. He passed the bar on a dare, but doesn't have a law degree. His new boss (played by Gabriel Macht) is impressed enough to hire him anyway. The result is an uneasy partnership that is beneficial to both of them, even if they have to hide Mike's true nature from everybody at the firm.

And it works.

It works very well.

The cast is fantastic (Gina Torres!), the writing is sharp, the stories are smart, and the show as a whole is entertaining. My only concern is how long they can keep the premise interesting. Will people eventually find out about Mike? Will his scary past catch up with him? In all honesty, it doesn't really matter, and I hope they don't keep hanging the show on them when there's no need to do so.

Right now? Highly recommended. Only time will tell if they can keep it that way.

   
• Fotopedia! If you're a fan of travel photography and have an iOS device, run... don't walk... to the iTunes Store and grab everything you can from Fotonauts. Their Fotopedia apps have always been great, but the new stuff they've been cranking out has been amazing. North Korea (free) and Dreams of Burma (free) are well worth your time... but their latest collaboration with National Geographic, Above France ($2.99) is stunning...

Above France App!

Above France App!

Above France App!

They work on iPhone but, obviously, have a better presentation on iPad. Highest possible recommendation.

   
And now... bed. And hopefully another night of half-way decent sleep.

   

Lion

Posted on Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

Dave!And so Apple released the latest iteration of their Macintosh operating system, MacOS X 10.7 "Lion."

As a Certified Apple Whore, I am compelled to blog about it. But it's kind of a silly prospect, because other sites have done such a comprehensive job of going over the features. What I think I'll do is just go over some of the things I really like and really hate. Starting... NOW!

   
• Installer. In a move that harkens back to the day that Apple decided to abandon the floppy disk with the iMac... then abandon the CD drive with the MacBook Air... Apple has abandoned the media for distributing Lion at $29. No installation CDs or DVDs... you buy the upgrade directly from the Mac App Store (though apparently there's a USB thumb-drive version coming in August for $69). This gave me some pause, but I had TWO full backups, so I just rolled with it. Everything went flawlessly. There's even some wizardry in the background to give you a "magical" partition on your drive so you have an emergency backup available if something goes wrong since there's no DVD to boot from. Nice! Eventually I probably will burn a DVD and do a clean install just to clear out some junk I've accumulated over the years, but overall, things couldn't have gone better.
SIMPLICITY FACTOR? 9.9 (out of 10)

   
• Fuller. One idea that I've historically hated is the idea of an app taking over the entire screen. It just "feels" wrong to not be able to see and manipulate stuff in other windows while you're in the current window. But after playing with iPhone and iPad for a while, you just get used to it. And now I actually prefer it. Yes, it makes things like "drag-and-drop" impossible, but the tradeoff is that you get maximum screen real estate to work with. On a cramped laptop, that's gold! Lion provides developers the ability to make their apps go full-screen with the click of a button. As of now, only Apple seems to have the feature baked in, but hopefully other apps will be getting the ability to go full-boat soon. HOWEVER... there is one small, yet highly frustrating, problem. When you go full-screen, the menu bar disappears. To get it back, you put your cursor at the top of the screen... AND WAIT AND WAIT AND WAIT AND WAIT! Well, that's an exaggeration, kind-of, but if I need my fucking menu bar, I NEED IT NOW, dammit! I have no idea if this is because of some animation going on or what, but it completely sabotages the usefulness of going full-screen.

MacOS X Lion Full-Screen

It is absolutely ridiculous that you don't have an option to "Always Show Menu Bar" for full-screen apps! There's some useful shit up there... like a clock... and your battery level... and all kinds of stuff I want to be able to look at. But you can't until you shove your mouse up there and wait. And wait. And wait.
IDIOCY FACTOR? 10 (out of 10)

   
• Gestures. The "new school" way of providing computer input is "gestures," which is done by swiping, pinching, rotating, and performing other motions on a touch-screen or touch-pad or track-pad or touch-mouse. The iPhone and iPad have used stuff like this since day one. Want to shrink a photo? Pinch it! Want to enlarge a photo? Stretch it! I find such input to be natural, intuitive, and efficient. Apple obviously agrees, because they've expanded the use of gestures in a very big way. There's lots of them...

MacOS X Lion Gestures

And, let me tell you, once you get used to gestures, you will never want to go back. Just having the ability to swipe with two fingers to go backwards and forwards through browsing history without having to move the cursor up to a button you press... well, it's genius...

MacOS X Lion Swipe Gesture

I am adapting to the gestures very, very quickly. I love them. A lot. So much, that I will be buying a "Magic Track-Pad" for my desktop Mac.
AWESOME FACTOR? 9.9 (out of 10)

   
• Mission Control. Apple has done a really cool thing in combining "Spaces" (virtual desktops), "Dashboard" (widgets), full-screen apps, and open windows into a single interface called "Mission Control"...

MacOS X Lion Mission Control

And, thanks to gestures, it's always available! Just swipe up with three fingers and BLAM! there it is! In theory, I like it a lot. In practice? Not so much. Partly because its kind of a mess to take in all at once... but mostly because YOU CANNOT FUCKING REARRANGE YOUR "SPACES" VIRTUAL DESKTOPS! They're just stuck there. This sabotages the usefulness of another gesture I love... swiping right and left with three fingers to switch between your full-screen apps and your virtual desktops. Have ten Spaces open and want to arrange them so that you can swipe between them with the most efficiency? TOUGH SHIT! You can't! You have to swipe through nine fucking screens to get back and forth between two that you'd really like to have next to each other. Your only choices when configuring the arrangement of Spaces in preferences is whether you want them auto-arranged or not. NO option to manually arrange them.
DUMBASSERY FACTOR? 8.8 (out of 10)

   
• Save Me. The "Save File" dialog box is now hopelessly fucked for productivity. It used to be that you option-clicked on an existing filename in the dialog, and you would get that filename automatically populated in your filename save field. This is handy for overwriting a current file... but more useful as a way of modifying an exiting filename into a new filename (e.g. clicking on "BigFile_001.jpg" so you can save a file as "BigFile002.jpg". ANYWAY... now you just click on the filename instead of option-clicking, which is no big deal. But in MacOS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, the system highlighted the filename automatically (sans extension) so you could very quickly overwrite the name OR hit the right-arrow to add/change characters at the end to create the new filename. Now? Not so much. No text is automatically selected for you, so hitting the right-arrow key inexplicably sends you into whatever folder you're on. But even worse than all that? It takes FOREVER for your files to show up in the browser. (UPDATE! See below)
TIME-WASTING FACTOR? 9.2 (out of 10)

OSX Lion Save Dialog Box

   
• Lag. UPDATE: Apparently the horrible performance lag was due to two things... my Mac re-indexing the drive for Spotlight searches and the presence of MacFUSE on my system (which is supposedly not yet compatible with 64-bit Lion). In addition to the delays you find when waiting for the menu bar to appear in full-screen apps and the file browser to be populated in the save dialog box... there are several other areas. So many things just seem... slow. It used to be you'd press the space bar to preview with QuickLook and a window would appear instantly. Now? There's a huge delay. A delay so long that I'd argue it's probably faster to just double-click on the damn thing to open it in an app. It goes on and on (just try opening a Finder window so you can count the SECONDS it takes for the files to show up). Again, this may be due to the fancy animations going on, I don't know, but it is absolutely UNFORGIVABLE. Why the fuck would you make an operating system slower so people are waiting around all the time? It's a productivity killer on a massive scale because all those wasted seconds add up. This alone has me hesitating to recommend the Lion upgrade... if, like me, you YOU WANT TO GET SHIT DONE! This is so very, very frustrating.
STUPIDITY FACTOR? 38.6 (out of 10)

   
• Dock. Some freaky-ass stuff is going on with the way applications are run. Part of this has to do with the way Lion is taking control of your apps to better manage resources. If it's running low on memory, it can now tell an app you aren't using to quit itself. Then, when you need it again, Lion will reopen it exactly in the state it was in when it told the app to quit. I don't necessarily have a problem with this, but... it's not working right. You now have a choice whether the Dock displays a little light under running apps, but it's lighting up under apps which I've quit before a logout. Other times it refuses to light up apps I've just run. It's irritating. There's an option to turn off the indicator light, but I like to have it... when it works.
CONFUSION FACTOR? 5.7 (out of 10)

   
• Login. I have no fucking clue how Apple ended up with one of the ugliest login screens I have ever seen... and I'm including DOS-based logins from the 1980's. How the fuck can Apple, who is so sensitive to beauty in design, botch something so badly?

MacOS X Lion Login Screen
This is a crappy photograph of a crappy login, because I can't take a snapshot of it directly.

Everything about it is off. The circular pictures with the high-gloss reflections are tacky as hell. The "linen" background is boring as fuck. The Apple logo is wandering and distracting. The buttons are diminutive and lost. Everything about this piece of shit design screams amateur hour, and I cannot believe that His Holiness Steve Jobs okayed this. I've come to expect shit like this from Microsoft. But I am both disgusted and deeply saddened to see it coming from Apple. And so THIS is what I have to look at every morning when I start my day at work now? Why? WHY, LORD, WHY?!?
UGLINESS FACTOR? 18.2 (out of 10)

   
• Backwards. In an effort to make window scrolling act more like an iPad, Apple has introduced "natural" scrolling in Lion. The idea is that you click and pull window content in the direction you want it to move... just as if your mouse pointer was your finger. It seems like a smart idea, but it doesn't work... at least not for me. On an iPad, my finger is moving the actual content. On a Mac, my finger is moving a pointer which, in turn, moves scroll bars. From this perspective, using "natural" scrolling is backwards from how it should be and is, in fact, not "natural" at all. I turned it off after only an hour because I could not see myself getting used to it, nor training my brain to make sense of it. If I ever get a touch-screen on my Mac, then sure. But now? No thanks.
BIZARRE FACTOR? 8.0 (out of 10)

   
• Dash. Apple's widget repository, which they call Dashboard, is a nice feature that I use all the time. My "Dashboard" is filled with widgets which do everything from give me the weather forecast to track packages to taking notes to dozens of other things that widgets let you do. But not is all wine and roses in WidgetLand. The first time you open Dashboard, you have to WAIT AND WAIT AND WAIT AND WAIT for the widgets to activate. Subsequent access is still slow, but not horribly so. It's always been like this but, for some reason, I really thought they would address it in Lion. I'm sure it's a memory thing (why waste resources if somebody isn't going to even use Dashboard?) but I am ALWAYS using Dashboard, and the waiting drives me insane. If that wasn't enough, Apple changed some of the widgets so they're uglier. The font in calculator doesn't even frickin' fit in the display properly.
BOREDOM FACTOR? 5.1 (out of 10)

MacOS X Lion Calc Widget

   
• Mail. If there's one program in OS X that I borderline hate, it's Apple Mail. It sucks on so many levels that I end up wanting to punch my computer at least once a day. It's slow. It's illogical. It's stupid (functionality-wise). It's unbearably frustrating for anybody who does more with email than just the basics. Well, Lion's new-and-improved Mail is, in fact, new-and-improved in many ways... but still kind of stupid in others. You get a new GMail-inspired "conversation view" but it ONLY displays your replies if they were written on the computer you're using! It doesn't matter if you have IMAP and store messages on a server for ALL your computers... Mail completely ignores anything you replied with when using other machines. This is almost laughable in just how fucking stupid it is. At first I thought it was my fault... I had stuff configured differently between them so Mail couldn't figure it out. But I use iSync, so that can't be the reason. So why? Did nobody TEST for this? Inexplicable bullshit like this drives me fucking crazy. Hopefully I'll eventually get it figured out, because right now "conversation view" is less than useless when it's incomplete. And yet... there are other things. Other cool things. I LOVE LOVE LOVE being able to flag mail with different colors. That's been a LONG time coming since I had this in every MacOS 9 mail app I ever used in the 80's and 90's! I still have a lot of exploring to do but, in the meanwhile, color me half-impressed.
INDECISIVE FACTOR? 5.0 (out of 10)

   
• Miscellany. I've only been using Lion for half-a-day, so this is going to be a really incomplete list. Some things I haven't experienced yet... like auto-file-versioning, AirDrop file sharing, and some of the security features. Other things I've run across have been cool, but not yet explored. Like the new three-finger-double-click to get a contextual dictionary...

MacOS X Lion Diction

And the hold-key character-picker...

MacOS X Lion Character Picker

And the three-finger-pinch Application Launcher "Launchpad" which is SO much nicer than digging through the Applications Folder...

MacOS X Lion Launcher

Still other things are just plain crazy... like the new-and-unimproved tiny-ass window control buttons...

MacOS X Lion Buttons

Annnd... there's a lot more... I really like the new "All My Files" view available in the Finder windows. The whole-disk encryption is a godsend for somebody who travels all the time like me. There's additions to iCal and Address Book that help them not to suck so terribly. There's tiny little improvements everywhere that are nice. For the most part. I just wish Apple had taken a little more time to get rid of those frustrating changes and omissions that can make the OS less than what it could be.

AND FOR FUCKS SAKE, GET RID OF ALL THE LAG-TIME THAT MAKES ME WANT TO PULL MY HAIR OUT EVERY TIME I OPEN A FUCKING WINDOW!

FINAL SCORE? 7.5 (out of 10)

   

Roar

Posted on Thursday, July 21st, 2011

Dave!I am writing my Thursday post on Friday morning.

Not because I wanted to or I ran out of time... but because I had to. After a full day-and-a-half with Apple's new "MacOS X Lion" installed, I started experiencing one catastrophic system failure after another. For no discernible reason, the program I was using would suddenly lock up, followed shortly thereafter by the entire system. I'd then have to do a complete power-down and reboot. Again and again. I have tried disabling every extra system extension I can find, but nothing I try does any good.

I have no clue what's going wrong. I think it had to do with the file system crashing at random and taking my entire computer with it. Most crashes happen when I am trying to load/save, but not always. This morning my MacBook crashed when I was adding an attachment to an email. I pulled up the file browser to select the files and... nothing...

Lion File System FAIL

After a few minutes of Mail going non-responsive, the program fails...

Lion File System FAIL

After a few more minutes, the Finder and everything else goes non-responsive. The system has died.

I've got a 2.53 GHz Core Duo MacBook with 4 GB RAM, so my machine is more than capable of upgrading to Lion. And yet... something is going wrong. Some hidden extension that I've got installed somewhere is not compatible. Or so I'm guessing. All I can say for certain is that I have lost an entire evening's work because of this crap.

Guess today I get to do a Clean Install.

My hope is that this will not only stop the crashing... but also solve the riddle of my slow-to-respond file system that I was bitching about yesterday.

I guess sometimes Apple doesn't "just work."

   

Fresh

Posted on Thursday, August 4th, 2011

Dave!After a week, I can't say that I'm a big fan of Apple's new "Lion" OS.

At least not yet.

So far for me it's been a buggy, slow, crash-prone pile of crap. But so many people are raving about it that I'm sure it's just some legacy stuff from four years ago that's lurking on my hard drive and causing problems. Doing a clean install tomorrow should fix things right up.

At least it had better.

Because I am sick to death of having to reboot a minimum of twice a day... and if I get one more "Application Not Responding" freeze I'm going to go all homicidal...

APPLICATION NOT RESPONDING!!!

APPLICATION NOT RESPONDING!!!

APPLICATION NOT RESPONDING!!!

In the meanwhile I've got one last task left to do tonight before I wipe my hard drive. After that? Say good night, Gracie.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I have to get back to a Very Special Episode of...

...

...

... nah, that would be telling!

   
UPDATE! Wheee! In the 35 minutes it took me to complete my project, my MacBook froze twice, had to be rebooted once, and started sporting really odd behavior in the Finder with files popping up which could not be deleted unless I restarted it...

Shitty Lion Finder Crap
WHY THE #@$% NOT?!? IT'S NOT BEING USED... HELL, IT DOESN'T EVEN REALLY EXIST!!

I hope everything goes well tomorrow so I don't have to set my laptop on fire.

   

Bullet Sunday 244

Posted on Sunday, August 7th, 2011

Dave!YEEEEEEEEE-HAW! It's a rootin' tootin' six-shootin' Bullet Sunday!

   
• Masked! I am not such a big fan of the new TNT series Franklin & Bash. Nobody likes a smart-ass more than I do, but the lead characters all too often cross the line from smartassery to dumbassery, and I spend much of each episode rolling my eyes back into my head...

Judge: You're asking to bring a corpse into my courtroom?
Franklin: No! That would be ridiculous!
Bash: We want to bring the court to him. Jury field-trip to the morgue!
Prosecutor: A field trip. Really. You sure you got signed permission slips from your moms?
Franklin: Actually, we got one from yours.
Bash: Last night!

Bwah ha ha ha! From your mom... LAST NIGHT! How high-larious is that?!

Who wants to listen to lame, cliche, stupid-ass dialogue like this? However, the show has Malcolm McDowell in it, which is one of my favorite actors, so I keep watching.

This dedication to Franklin & Bash was rewarded in their season finale which featured a guest-appearance by the delicious Tricia Helfer! But the bigger surprise was a guest-star playing a masked Mexican wrestler named "Ultimo" involved in a lawsuit...

Mystery Wrestler on Franklin & Bash!

Until he removed his mask at the end, I had no idea who it was. And this drives me nuts, because I should have known! I'm a big fan of the actor! (SPOILER! Highlight the inviso-text if you want to know: Danny Trejo). Oh well. The series has been renewed, so I'm hoping that the writers go more "smart-funny" in season two.

   
• Roar! I finally did a clean install of Lion on my crippled MacBook. I was going to attempt this with the "recovery partition" that Lion makes on your hard drive, but decided instead to start over from scratch by making a bootable Lion Installer on a USB drive. Cut to a half-hour later, and my computer was operating "normally" again. I still have some real problems with the way Lion does certain things and some of the choices that Apple made, but at least I have a useable computer. Now starts the scary task of reinstalling my software in the hopes that one of the programs I rely on wasn't what was causing all the problems.

   
• Hidden! And speaking of installing my software... I ran into something new in Lion that I can't figure out. Why has Apple decided to hide the "library" folder in a user's home directory? At first I thought it was to protect all the settings, preferences, and support files from being tampered with... which I kinda get... but then why wouldn't they hide the "library" folder for the System? In any event, this makes it tough for people to transfer their prefs or delete faulty prefs when there's a problem. Fortunately, you can show hidden files in the terminal with...
      defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles -bool true
      killall Finder
And you can hide them again with...
      defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles -bool false
      killall Finder

   
• Wrong! Since I haven't installed Photoshop back on my laptop yet, I started up Apple's photo manager/editor Aperture 3. All I needed was to crop that wrestler photo, so it wasn't a big deal. Except it was. I cropped the image to 500 x 330 like I wanted...

Aperture Crop

But when I open it... not so much...

Actual Crop 499x329

Which finds me once again wondering who in the hell is beta-testing Apple's shit. The more I use their software lately, the more problems I run across. Problems which should have easily been caught during beta testing. I mean, seriously, if you were in charge testing of testing the crop tool, wouldn't you VERIFY that it actually crops to the size that it said it cropped to? Wouldn't that be job one? This is beyond lame and has me wondering if Apple has gotten too big to give a fuck anymore (see: Microsoft).

   
• Reed! A while back, a company called "Black Pixel" bought out the awesome feed reader I use, NetNewsWire. They promised to give us a road-map of future released after WWDC back in June... but... nothing. So I decided to check out the Mac version of the feed reader I use on my iPhone, Reeder. It's nice. It's polished. But I couldn't find a "next unread" shortcut when reading through my full list. This is a pretty basic feature, so now I'm looking elsewhere. Sometimes "progress" can really suck.

   
• Cloud! I have entirely too many computer files. So many that I could never store them all on my laptop. So I went and signed up for DropBox, thinking I would be getting a magical hard drive in the sky where I could remotely access my files without taking up local hard drive space. WRONG! DropBox doesn't have a cloud storage option... anything you put there is mirrored on your hard drive which, while useful in some cases, is the opposite of what I wanted. Sure you have the ability to not sync certain folders, but then you have to either sync them when you want to use them (a huge waste of time and bandwidth) or use their web browser interface (slow and inconvenient). Enter ExpanDrive! Available for both Mac & Windows, this nifty app can mount remote volumes (such as FTP or Amazon S3) as a local drive which acts the exact same as a drive plugged into your computer. It works shockingly well, and assures me that I can have easy access to my files even if I don't have room for all of them on my Mac. If you have a need for such a thing, there's a free 30-day trial available for download.

   
And, on that happy note, I now get to sort through a batch of crap that I took out of my storage unit a couple months back. That aught to be a boat-load of fun.

   

Senselessness

Posted on Monday, August 8th, 2011

Dave!"Some men just want to watch the world burn."
— Alfred Pennyworth, The Dark Knight

   

In total seriousness, why can't I block incoming call numbers on my iPhone?

Or, to be more accurate, why do I have to "jailbreak" my iPhone to block incoming call numbers on my iPhone?

How "smart" can a "smart phone" be if you can't tell it to block calls you don't want?

Last week somebody had my mobile phone confused with a FAX machine. For two hours. After the first hour, I added the caller to my address book so I could assign a "silent" ringtone. Because that's the absolute best you can do with an iPhone. For the past couple days I've had to once again ignore my phone because of a number I don't know keeps calling. Today I couldn't stand it any longer and answered. It was a company wanting me to take an opinion poll. My opinion was that they could shove their fucking poll up their ass since the call was eating into my minutes.

Pathetic.

The fact that Apple doesn't allow people to manage who has access to them is pathetic.

In other bad news, this is London...

London Riots

The above map shows incidents of "rioting" in The City and its surrounds.

I can pretend to understand the thinking that would cause somebody who feels poverty-stricken, oppressed, and abused by The System to resort to violence and destroy the property of innocent people who are just trying to make a living... but not really. Especially when people are being endangered and hurt.

"London shops that survived the German blitz bombings and fires, now being burned to the ground by their own in 2011."
— @felix85, via Twitter

Sadly, this kind of mentality feels like a sign of things to come. And it's only a matter of time before it reaches our shores. With each passing day, US citizens grow more and more tired of the fucked-up political bullshit that's destroying their lives and this country. There's no respect, compassion, understanding, or compromise any more. Just hate. And all that hate has to go somewhere.

It's just a matter of whether the world can survive it.

"No, I don't mind being the smartest man in the world. I just wish it wasn't this one."
— Adrian Veidt, Watchmen

Though right now, I'd settle for a smarter smart phone.

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Worship

Posted on Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

Dave!Hero worship is a strange thing.

Mostly because people who don't have the same hero as you will never understand it. And believe me, I get it. I have a friend who worships the singer Adele. Can't get enough of her. Listens to her music constantly. Would sell their should to attend an Adele concert. Of course, I don't understand it at all. Sure Adele seems to have some talent, but I can't stand her music. Every time Rolling in the Deep is playing, I just roll my eyes because listening to it makes me want to stick my head deep into a microwave.

So when I tell people that I worship Steve Jobs and they roll their eyes at me, that's okay.

I've been getting the same reaction for 27 years...

Steve Jobs and the Mac 1984

Of course I knew of him before then. He (along with Steve Wozniak) was already famous in 1979 when I got my hands on an Apple ][ plus. But it was his legendary introduction of the Macintosh on January 24th, 1984 that make me such a big fan. This was a man who believed in changing the world but, unlike so many, he actually did stuff to make it happen.

And my hero worship of Mr. Jobs never abated. No matter where he ended up. Even his time away from Apple while heading up NeXT was an amazing era to be a Steve Jobs fan. And, naturally, things only got better from there...

Steve Jobs Intros the iPhone

Now that he's stepped down as CEO of Apple, my feelings haven't changed.

His legacy there will touch every product that comes out of the company... and untold other companies... for decades to come.

Speculation is that Steve Jobs left his position because of his continuing health problems. I can't imagine him leaving otherwise, so all I can do is reiterate my best wishes for his recovery. And be grateful that he'll still have a voice at Apple as Chairman of the Board for the company.

Because I am now, as I have been for most my life, an "Apple Whore to my Core."

   

Scuzzy

Posted on Saturday, September 3rd, 2011

Dave!One of the projects I worked on this morning required that I access some old design files from 1996. And while 15 years may not seem like a lot of time in the grand scheme of things, in "computer years" it's positively ancient. This poses a number of problems.

The first problem is that the files were on an Iomega JAZ disk. This is a hard disk cartridge drive that was discontinued almost a decade ago. Fortunately, I have one of these drives... and it still works.

The second problem is that a JAZ drive uses a SCSI interface to connect to a computer. Apple hasn't had SCSI ports on any of their machines since 1999. Fortunately, I also have an old Power Mac which can handle a SCSI peripheral... and it still works.

The third problem is also the biggest. SCSI sucks ass. It never worked very well, and just getting a drive to mount can be a long and frustrating experience... back in the 1990's. Today it can be almost impossible. The drivers are incredibly old, and so the OS you run it on also has to be old. Needless to say, there's no technical support. Fortunately, after hours of goofing around... I got it to work.

What a wake-up call this has been.

Legacy format obsolescence happens all the time. 8-inch and 5-1/4-inch floppy disks were replaced by 3-1/2-inch floppy disks. Floppy disks were replaced by CDs and ZIP disks. ZIP disks were replaced by DVDs. CDs and DVDs are being replaced by large-volume hard drives.

Now hard drives themselves are being replaced by solid-state drives.

And it would seem that online "cloud" storage is eventually going to be replacing everything.

Guess it's time to get all my data off of CDs and DVDs. Apple has already eliminated these drives from their MacBook Air and Mac mini machines. I'm betting that MacBooks will lose them any day now. Will the desktop computers be next? Since Apple has distributed their latest OS upgrade online and seems intent on selling their software that way too... I'm guessing yes.

How long until we just plug this stuff directly into our brains? Most people don't seem to be using their heads for much anyway... might as well put them to good use.

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Bullet Sunday 248

Posted on Sunday, September 4th, 2011

Dave!This morning I woke up, decided life wasn't worth it, then went back to bed. But after I realized I didn't have any bread to make toast, I had to get up so I could go to the store. Without toast, life isn't worth living.

   
• Star Redux. I've been in a real renaissance with the original Star Wars films lately. I've been re-watching the real movies on LaserDisc... taking another look at the amazing "Making of" books... re-reading the novelizations... going through the comic book adaptations... that kind of thing. This is probably in anticipation of the movies coming out on Blu-Ray later this month. And even though there's a lot of controversy raging over George Lucas once again crapping all over the films, I still can't wait to see them in high-def. I especially can't wait to have all the deleted scenes with one of the more interesting characters in the entire franchise... Biggs Darklighter...

Biggs Darklighter

Now, if you've only ever seen the original movie, you might remember Biggs being mentioned in passing when Luke is whining to Uncle Owen... and again when the Rebels are off to attack the Death Star... and then again at the end where he gets blown up by Darth Vader. But, in the original Star Wars script, there is more to the character than that. Unfortunately, those scenes got cut (though some snuck through to the novelization). And while these cuts were probably a smart move story-wise, they're disappointing fan-wise... especially for fans who have read Biggs' back-story in the "Expanded Universe" books and comics. These rumored "never-before-seen scenes" will help add yet another dimension to an important character we only thought we knew (or didn't know).

   
• Dance Redux. On a list of things that I couldn't possibly give a crap about, Dancing with the Stars would be near the top of the list. As far as entertainment goes, it's right up there with Pauly Shore movies and diarrhea. But once I heard the controversy over the casting of this season's contestants, I decided to investigate who would be on the show. After taking a look, I admit that I am very upset. I simply cannot fathom how such a popular program would intentionally decide to attack this country's sense of decency and our respect for the Natural Order. I am disgusted at the thought of children tuning in and being exposed to a total freak show and abomination towards God. I am mortified that this "person" will be given even more media exposure so they can further destroy all that is good on this earth with their reprehensible behavior. I am, of course, talking about Nancy Grace...

Disgusting Evil Nancy Grace

This vile, disgusting, evil, pathetic excuse for a human being has absolutely no business being on television. And it only goes to show that the people behind Dancing with the Stars only care about one thing: stirring up controversy to get ratings. Just like Nancy Grace, they obviously don't give a fuck how many people they hurt in their effort to attract viewers. For once I agree with the lamestream conservative media... this is absolutely disgusting, and just one more reason I won't be tuning in for this stupid shit.

UPDATE: Oh. Some readers have pointed out that all the controversy isn't about Nancy Grace after all (as one would expect)... it's instead over Chaz Bono?!? I don't get this at all. So he used to be a woman. Big deal. I'd argue Chaz Bono is more of a man and less sexually confused than Marcus Bachmann or "Doctor" Keith Ablow, yet you don't see anybody complaining about them being on television...

Chaz Bono Marcus Bachmann Keith Ablow

What a crock of bullshit. I have to wonder if all the people in an uproar over this are just confused about their sexual identity, and are taking it out on Chaz Bono because he has the balls to get it all sorted out. Or they are sexually attracted to Chaz Bono and don't know what to do with their self-loathing. Or they really, really hated being subjected to Cher's auto-tune travesty, Believe, being constantly blasted on the radio in the late 1990's (if that's the case, I guess I see their point... Cher's not on television much anymore, so I suppose torturing her offspring is the next best thing?). Whatever the case, I find it fascinating that people are still freaking out over this kind of stuff in the year 2011.

   
• TV Redux. I have more than a couple friends who are "periphery Apple fans." Meaning that they're not Mac users, but they do like their iPods, iPhones, iPads, and whatnot. This morning I got a call from one of these friends with an Apple TV. He knew I had one, and was wondering why I haven't blogged about it...

Apple TV

I explained that my older television didn't seem to support it because the picture was all fuzzy and jumpy. And since I'm unable to use it, the thing has been collecting dust in my closet for over a year. That's when he drops the bomb and tells me that the Apple TV firmware had been updated a while back which fixed the video display problems for a lot of people. So I dig it out, plug it in, and apply the latest software. Now it works perfectly. And it is awesome.

I love being able to use "AirPlay" to stream stuff from my MacBook, iPhone, and iPad. I really love how much easier it is to use Netflix Streaming (compared to using my Xbox like I do now). And iCloud makes it dead-simple to stream all the television shows I've purchased right to my TV without having to download them to my Mac first. It's an amazing little device and, now that I can use it, worth every penny of the $99 price tag. If you've got an HD television with HDMI, it's worth a look.

   
• Mercury Redux. In anticipation of his new novel Mercury Rises being released next month, Thrice Fiction contributor Rob Kroese has unleashed a FREE Kindle eBook short story... Mercury Swings...

Mercury Swings Cover

You can get your copy at Amazon and have it sent to your Kindle or any device with Kindle Reader installed (like Macs, PCs, iPhones, and the like). It's funny and it's free, so what are you waiting for? Go and get Mercury Swings today!

   
And that's all she wrote for this edition of Bullet Sunday. Tune in next week when all my bullets will be double-jacketed.

   

Steve Jobs

Posted on Saturday, October 8th, 2011

Dave!As I write this, I am sitting in the beautiful Air New Zealand lounge at Sydney International Airport. Very soon now, I will be hurling back across the Pacific Ocean to go home.

But I'm not thinking of my impending trip yet to come, my mind is set on October 6th. Which was still October 5th back in the USA. Time, like all things we experience and attempt to describe, is relative to the observer.

Previously...

After a run with the dolphins the boat headed back to Fiji and dry land. As we approached the shallows, my mobile phone came into cellular range and I heard a muffled "beep" telling me that a text message had arrived. I ignored it while I loaded up my gear and went trudging to the shore. I had intended to check my new text as I waded back, but the sandy floor was squishy and slick with plant growth. This made the risk of slipping and dropping my iPhone into the ocean a bigger risk than I was willing to take.

So inside a waterproof pouch which sat inside a waterproof bag, my iPhone waited.

As did I.

And it was a torturous wait because I rarely get texts. Especially when people know I'm out of the country. On those rare occasions when I do get such a text, it's almost always bad news.

My mind was not in a very happy place when I finally got back to the Scuba Bula shop. A part of me wanted to continue ignoring the text for fear of what it might say but, as you can imagine, this is really impossible.

Of the hundreds of nasty scenarios that went through my head, a text from my brother telling me that Steve Jobs had died never entered my mind...

Steve Jobs has died!

As I said, texts always seem to bring bad news.

One of my heroes for the past 27 years was gone.

As anybody who has read this blog for any length of time can probably guess, I was devastated.

I tried to avoid the crush of chatter online, but you couldn't be online without reading about it. And so much of it was beautiful and touching and everything one would expect. But not all of it. A common thread emerged mocking those who were grieving by saying "How can you be so sad and pathetic? You didn't even know him!"

Which is wrong, of course. So very wrong.

Just as you can come to know an artist by their art... Steve Jobs was probably one of these easiest people on earth to get to know through the products Apple makes. And though a great many people contribute to the design, manufacture, and experience that makes these products intrinsically "Apple"... Steve Jobs' fingerprints are on everything. It's his beautiful, singular vision that drove the company to it's massive level of success and created legions of fans worldwide.

As I type this blog post on my MacBook Pro while uploading television episodes for the flight to my iPad and charging my iPhone, I know Steve Jobs. He surrounds me every day. I spend more time with him than I do anybody else.

And so I grieve as I would for any friend who has passed on.

And I remember, because it's impossible for a Certified Apple Whore to forget.

I'm sure this is not the last thing I'll have to say, but it is the only thing I can say right now.

I've got a plane to catch so I can travel back in time.

Goodbye Steve.

   

iCloud

Posted on Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

Dave!Where to start.

Well, I don't know about anybody else, but Apple's release of iOS5 and iCloud have proven to be an absolute and total failure on every possible level for me. My Apple TV is dead. My mom has lost all her photos and her MobileMe/iCloud/Apple ID is so hopelessly fucked up that she can't even send email. My computer is in some kind of hybrid MobileMe/iCloud state that doesn't seem to work with either. My keychains are no longer syncing. Every single device has some kind of problem.

Here's the rundown of my day...

MobileMe to iCloud Migration...
UPGRADE? Failed. "Cannot be completed at this time."
UPGRADE, TAKE TWO? Failed. "Cannot be completed at this time."
UPGRADE, TAKE THREE? Failed. "Cannot be completed at this time."
UPGRADE, TAKE FOUR? Failed. "Server connection lost."
UPGRADE, TAKE FIVE? Failed. "Cannot be completed at this time."
UPGRADE, TAKE SIX? Success.

Mac OS X Lion Update...
UPGRADE? Success?
NOTES: Converted MobileMe crap to iCloud crap, but kept me subscribed to both, forcing me to manually go through and delete all the old MobileMe crap that wasn't going to sync anyway. But it's still trying for some reason. iCloud no longer syncs Keychains between my Macs, which was one of the major reasons I signed up for MobileMe in the first place.

iPhone 4 (Mine)...
UPGRADE? Failed. No explanation, just a reboot.
UPGRADE, TAKE TWO? Success.
NOTES: Lost all my app data and have no idea how to recover it.

iPhone 4 (Mom)...
UPGRADE? Failed. Unknown error occurred (-18).
UPGRADE, TAKE TWO? Failed. Unknown error occurred (-18).
UPGRADE, TAKE THREE? Success.
NOTES: Apple ID is now hopelessly screwed up.

iPad (First Generation)...
UPGRADE? Failed. Some kind of "update can't be verified" error.
UPGRADE, TAKE TWO? Success.

iPad 2...
UPGRADE? Success?
NOTES: Deleted all images from Photos with no warning and no way to recover. Apple ID is now so hopelessly screwed up that she can't send email.

Apple TV (Second Generation)...
UPGRADE? Failed. Generic "Update Failed" message.
UPGRADE, TAKE TWO? Major failure. Unit goes dead with rapidly-blinking light. Trying to restore direct from my Mac (with unsupplied cable) doesn't work.
UPGRADE, TAKE THREE? There is no Take Three. I now have an Apple TV paperweight that will have to be sent to Apple to be fixed. Or whatever.

   
So, in the end, Apple is running 0 for 7, and I've got days of troubleshooting, recovery, and research to do in order to get things running properly again.

Starting with my poor mother's screwed-up Apple ID. The problem being that I have no fucking idea where to even start. Probably with a call to Apple because I don't have an Apple Store handy, but I have no idea how to approach it or who to call.

She registered her Apple ID with an Gmail address, but now Apple doesn't like that, so she switched over an Apple me.com address. Except now I can't get rid of the Gmail address. When I try, I get a nonsensical error message...

Apple ID cannot be changed?

Well, dumbass, if THAT'S now her Apple ID, then why the fuck can't she actually USE it as her Apple ID? Why is Gmail stuck there? And why can't she use the iCloud SMTP server to send email? Oh probably because it will only send for an Apple email address, but there's no way of defining that address as the sender address because I can't change the Gmail address.

What a clusterfuck.

Apple is the new Microsoft. Nothing works right.

The only difference being that once you finally get all the myriad of problems solved, at least you can enjoy using the Apple products.

Apple had better get their shit together before somebody comes along and does it better. There's only so long that people will put up with stupid crap like this.

Even me.

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Apologista

Posted on Thursday, October 13th, 2011

Dave!It took several hours, but I managed to un-brick my Apple TV and fix all my iDevices. There's still some issues (Apple ID is a creation of Satan... except, unlike the devil, Apple doesn't give you tech support in exchange for your immortal soul), but at least everything is mostly working as it should.

Yay.

Now I need a drink.

DAVETOON: Bad Monkey and Jäger

Sometimes being a Certified Apple Whore is a lot more work than it should be.

   

Television2

Posted on Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

Dave!I'm kind of late to the AppleTV game. Unlike just about every other Apple product, I didn't jump in with AppleTV 1.0 because it was something I simply had to own. For one thing, there just wasn't much content available. For another, it was basically just a big hard drive with video output. Not very compelling considering hard drive space eventually fills up. Or, worst case scenario, the hard drive fails and you lose everything.

But then AppleTV 2.0 came along. It most decidedly wasn't a "hard drive with video output" because it didn't even have a hard drive. It streams everything from the internet, including any television shows you've purchased from the iTunes Store, streaming video from Netflix, Vimeo, and YouTube, streaming photos from Flickr, Podcasts, and even iTunes movie rentals. As if that weren't enough, you can use Apple's "AirPlay" technology to stream video, photos, and music from your computer, iPad, or iPhone.

All in a tiny, tiny little box...

Apple TV

Thanks to Apple's new "iCloud" technology with "iTunes Match," AppleTV is becoming even more useful. Soon you'll be able to stream all your music not from your computer or iOS device, but from the internet. I am hopeful that eventually digital movies you purchase will also be able to be streamed.

What Steve Jobs once described as "just a hobby" is quickly becoming a core Apple device as it matures.

And, apparently, the game isn't over yet.

The internet is abuzz with juicy details coming from the Steve Jobs biography about his plans for an actual Apple Television. As told to biographer Walter Isaacson, Jobs said "I'd like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use. It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud. It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it."

Just one look at Job's philosophy for remote design should explain exactly why this is such a tantilizing prospect...

AppleRemote.jpg
My Logitech "Harmony One" remote on the left, AppleTV remote on the right.

   
I, for one, welcome our new television overlords.

First of all, I'm excited about the idea of just paying for what I want to watch. Right now, if you have cable or satellite television, that's not an option. You purchase "bundles" of channels that includes crap you may never want to watch. For example, I have an "Expanded Basic" package bundle so I can watch Food TV, USA Network, and some other channels I enjoy from time to time. But that same package also includes stupid shit that I would NEVER want to watch (like FOX "News") but I pay for it anyway because I don't have an option to remove it from my bundle. The cable company controls where the money goes, not the consumer. If Apple's plans for television change this, I would be thrilled not having my hard-earned dollars going to support crap I hate.

Second of all, I really like the idea of not having to pay for shows when there's nothing new being produced. In other words, I don't want to pay to watch reruns. Now when you purchase a show via the iTunes Store, you can re-watch it as often as you want on any of your Apple devices at no charge. You've already paid for it, and you don't have to pay again.

Thirdly, I am really, really freaking out over a the business model which could arise from all this. Rather than advertisers paying networks to pay studios to pay for television content, you'd just pay the studios directly. Voilà, no more having your TV shows interrupted by annoying ads.

But the biggest bonus of all? Apple could take down the whole television network system.

Think about that for a second.

Let the ramifications of that really settle into your brain.

No longer will networks control what shows make it to air... which shows are renewed... which shows are canceled. Consumer purchases decide! Sure Apple is going to get a cut of the money that studios take in, but you're purchasing from the studios directly, so the majority of the purchase price goes to the people producing the content. All of a sudden, the fate of amazing shows like Veronica Mars aren't being sabotaged by network execs who require a massive profit margin so they can get paid to sit on their stupid asses and ruin television. The studio either gets enough money to produce the show and continue doing so... or they don't get enough money and the show is canceled. And I'd like to thank that it would be more profitable for them with only one middle-man in the mix (Apple) instead of the dozens of greedy assholes with their finger in the pie now. Suddenly, smaller shows and smaller studios actually have a chance at survival. Instead of competing against stupid reality show juggernauts and network money-makers for ad revenue, they instead compete for viewers directly.

This will require a radical shift in how television is produced, but I think it will be worth it. Perhaps television networks can reinvent themselves as television investors or something... I don't know. All I do know is that putting the consumer in control of the shows they want to watch and giving control of the content back to content producers is a very good thing.

Though there are many problems to address. How does a new show get noticed? Maybe by giving the first episode away for free? Perhaps Apple's "Genius" technology can be used to recommend shows you might like based on what you watch. And how are advertisers going sell their shit? Well, maybe through sponsorships. Choose to watch an ad, and maybe you get the television show for free for your trouble. Consumers get to decide how to spend their time and money. And when they do decide to watch an ad, they can get ads tailored to them so advertisers are getting the most for their money too. Win-Win.

Not that there won't be losers, but there are always losers.

So long as I win in the end, I'm okay with that. Ask consumers, and they'll probably agree.

But a part of me thinks there will be a lot of other winners if this plays out the way it should. Technology can not only be used to deliver a better experience for television viewers, but for advertisers and content providers as well.

I want my Apple Television! It's long overdue.

   

Match?

Posted on Monday, November 14th, 2011

Dave!Sorry, but this is a geeky computer post most of you will probably want to skip.

And so Apple finally unleashed their iTunes Match service today. I say "finally" because we were told that it was going to be released on October 31st, but then it wasn't. I can only guess that it wasn't ready yet, and Apple wanted to take some extra time to make sure everything was working perfectly before launch.

Or not.

Because, from my experience, iTunes Match is mostly crap. For now, anyways.

The idea is that you pay Apple $25 a year, and they manage all your music for you via iCloud. Songs in your iTunes library that Apple sells in the iTunes Store, regardless of how you acquired them, are immediately available online from Apple's servers. Also... no matter how poor quality your music files are, Apple automatically upgrades them to high-quality 256-kbps DRM-free files. You can then either A) Stream these files from iCloud over the internet to your computer or iOS device any time you want... or B) Download them to your computer or iOS device any time you want for offline listening.

If the song is not sold by Apple, it will be uploaded to iCloud so you can access the original file via streaming/downloading as stated above. It will not be upgraded in any way, however, because Apple doesn't have it for sale.

When it works... it's pretty special.

For example, I bought the CD Cruel Summer by "Ace of Base" years ago and ripped it into iTunes. Since the album is also sold by Apple, I am supposed to get the full benefit of iTunes Match. But not really...

iTunes Match Screen

Above you see iTunes Match in action. Or not.

The songs with NO cloud icon after them have been recognized by Apple as being sold in their store and I can stream or download them immediately to any device or computer I have registered with iCloud (but my original ripped file is left untouched on this computer). The songs with a dotted cloud icon after them are in-process and may or may not be recognized... if NOT recognized for some reason, they have to be uploaded. The songs with an exclamation(!) cloud icon after them have some kind of problem and return an undefined error when iTunes attempted to match/upload them...

iCloud Error Dialog Box
What's the cause of the error? Who the fuck knows! This is APPLE we're talking about!
Usually re-processing them will work, but not always.

Anyway, to demonstrate how iTunes Match is supposed to work, I am going to delete the Ace of Base song Adventures in Paradise from my library (since it's one of just three measly songs iTunes Match has recognized off this album as being sold by Apple)...

Sure you want to delete?

Note that I am net telling Apple to delete the song from iCloud. I'm guessing that I would lose it permanently if I did this (assuming I hadn't backed it up). From what I can tell, ONLY songs you purchased directly from Apple are permanently available from iCloud (whether your membership is current or not).

After the song has been deleted, the file is no longer on my MacBook, but the song is still listed as being available. I can then click the standard little "Download from iCloud" icon to the right of the title and get it back. Here it is downloading to my MacBook (a little "progress pie chart" is on the left there)...

iTunes Match Download!

Now here's the cool part...

iTunes Match File Comparison

On the LEFT is the new high-quality Apple file I just downloaded. On the RIGHT is the original low quality file I dragged from the trash. iTunes Match is working as advertised. I just traded my old "low-res" music file for the fresh "hi-res" one that Apple sells in their store. Assumably, since the file was uploaded direct from the record label, it's the best possible version of the song available in a condensed digital format. To do any better than this I'd have to rip the file from CD in a "lossless" uncompressed format... but I don't have room on my MacBook for large files like that and, given that I'm not an audiophile, probably wouldn't notice the quality improvement anyway.

BUT... what if you don't want these audio files hogging up space on your hard drive? No problem! Apple allows you to "stream" songs to your computer for listening without downloading. KINDA. Technically the files are downloaded to your computer to a temporary buffer. This way, you can fast-forward, rewind, and skip around instantly... which is something you can't usually do with streaming music. As to how big this buffer is and how long it lasts, I have no clue. But it's a very nice way to handle streaming audio. To "stream" music that's not on your computer/device just click play or double-click the song anywhere except on the "Download from iCloud" icon.

So, yeah, when it works, Apple's new iTunes Match is pretty darn cool.

But, for a huge chunk of my library, it most definitely does NOT work...

  • Songs I own which Apple doesn't sell... NO MATCH!
  • Songs I own which Apple does sell... but they randomly aren't recognized for no reason I can fathom... NO MATCH!
  • Songs I own which Apple doesn't sell... which won't upload for some reason I can't figure out... NO MATCH! and NO iCLOUD SIMULATED MATCH!

And here's where it gets strange.

Just for kicks I deleted a song that I know Apple does not sell... The mono version of Baby's in Black from the album Beatles for Sale (2009 Mono Remaster). Apple only sells the Stereo version (which is not the version I want because true fans know that The Beatles only cared about the mono tracks on their early albums... stereo releases were considered a novelty at the time, and the band was rarely involved in making them).

After deletion, I immediately clicked the "Download from iCloud" button to get it back. Now, since Apple does not sell this song, I should have gotten the same mono version file I just uploaded. But, as you can probably guess, I didn't. I got back the stereo version that Apple sells... but they left the song label the same...

iTunes Match No Match

A quick look at the graphic equalizer confirms that this really is the STEREO version with two unique left and right channels...

Beatles Stereo Version

Just to be sure, I also took the graphic equalizer to my original file so I could confirm is really is the MONO version with the same channels...

Beatles Mono Version

   
So, to sum up my iTunes Match experience...

Sometimes it works as advertised and it's all good. But an alarming number of times there are problems...

  • Songs I own that Apple sells which ARE NOT recognized means I don't get Apple files.
  • Songs I own that Apple doesn't sell can be recognized WRONG and I get Apple files I don't want which are labeled incorrectly.

Needless to say, this is a bit frustrating. Whether or not Apple can fix this is anybody's guess but, for me at least, I just paid $25 for something which is fatally flawed.

What Apple has to do is find some way of letting customers manually correct the iTunes Match information. The problem is that I can't even figure out when Apple has made a match... or when there was no match and they had to upload my files (UPDATE: Actually, I can, see below). So even if I could correct the data, I wouldn't know which files needed it. Unless I delete each and every one and downloaded it back. Then matched files would be flagged as "Matched AAC Audio File."

In the meanwhile, there are still a lot of questions to be answered. Like... what happens to all my downloaded "Match" files if I don't renew my membership? Do they evaporate? What happens when a record label jerks their music from Apple's store? Do you lose your music? And so on. And so on. Since this is only my first day with the service, maybe my questions will eventually be answered. But Apple is Apple, so I've resigned myself to the fact that they probably won't be.

As for iTunes Match?

The potential is there... but I can't recommend it. Yet.

Check back in a bit.

   
UPDATE: iTunes does have a column you can turn on which will show you the iTunes Match status of your music...

iTunes Match Status in iTunes

Still no way I can figure out why some tracks are recognized and others are not on the same frickin' album. You'd think that once Apple figured out I own the album, they'd recognize ALL the tracks. But, alas, no.

Finding this feature lead to my discovering something very interesting...

iTunes a-ha

a-ha's amazing final album, Foot of the Mountain, was never released in the USA. I had to import the CD and rip it into iTunes. HOWEVER... iTunes Match totally recognized and matched it! Apparently, iTunes Match gives you access to ALL of Apple's music stores worldwide. This is very cool, but is it intentional? Time will tell.

   
UPDATE: One of the reasons I was so keen to sign up for iTunes Match was that I could finally get rid of all the DRM-Protected music I bought and replace it with fresh DRM-Free downloads. I had already upgraded most of my music to "DRM-Free iTunes Plus" but there were some songs that never wanted to upgrade for some reason. Such as the album Play by Moby. iTunes Match recognized all but one song (even though I bought it from Apple!), but I deleted them all anyway so I could test whether songs I uploaded were still intact when I downloaded them. Sadly, the answer is NO! Trying to download the DRM-Protected song I had uploaded fails completely...

Cannot Download!

Cannot Download!

Needless to say, this is a load of shit. I BOUGHT THIS SONG FROM APPLE AND YET APPLE CAN'T MATCH IT? WTF?!? Just goes to show... buying DRM crap will only end up punishing paying customers instead of the criminals it's supposed to.

   
UPDATE: And things just keep getting worse. Holy crap is iTunes Match a mess! Take a look at this...

PURCHASED files from the same album MATCHED AND PURCHASED AND UPLOADED?!?

This is an album I bought from Apple's iTunes Music Store. Note that all songs are recognized as having been purchased. Note also that the status of the songs in iTunes Match is "Matched" or "Purchased" or "Uploaded"... seemingly at random. ALL OFF THE SAME ALBUM! They should all be registering as "purchased" but are not. If Apple can't even get the stuff THEY SELL YOU right, how in the hell can they be trusted to figure everything else out? And who do I talk to about getting all this straightened out?

   
UPDATE:I was hoping that re-importing a CD directly into iTunes with Match enabled would make it so that the entire album was recognized instead of just random songs. No such luck. iTunes is apparently matching by digital fingerprinting... and doesn't have very accurate fingerprints from CD rips to match against. Crap. I can only hope that their service will get smarter in time.

   
UPDATE: Despite a few minor bugs (like skipping to the next track when the current song isn't buffering fast enough and iTunes runs out of data to play), I have officially deleted (almost) all my music files from my Home Mac, my Work Mac, and my MacBook Pro. The only files I keep are unmatched protected songs, which won't play from iCloud for some reason. Since I mostly only use these devices when I have internet, it seems crazy to waste the hard disk space when I can just stream everything. For plane rides sans WiFi or other situations where I don't have internet, I'll just listen to the music I've got loaded on my phone (which is always with me). I gotta say... if Apple could just do a better job of recognizing the 800+ songs that are currently "unMatched" in my library, this whole iCloud thing would be absolutely killer. Until that day, it's just merely awesome.

   

Pocket

Posted on Thursday, November 17th, 2011

Dave!And so tomorrow I'm flying to Atlanta.

Assuming the snow that's been forecast doesn't close down the airport. That would be a huge problem for me. On the bright side, being stuck at home would mean I could stay in bed all day. I've been working from the time I wake up to the time I go to bed every day for the past three weeks, so I could use a break.

Hopefully all will go as planned, in which case I'll just have to take my break on the plane. I've become addicted to digital comics, so I've got a bunch of those loaded up on my iPad... along with episodes of the Hey That's My Hummus podcast... so I should be good to go.

Well, maybe not "good" to go... probably more like "good enough" to go.

In other iPad news, one of the best iPad games ever, Ticket to Ride, has been shrunk down to fit on the iPhone with Ticket to Ride Pocket. It only has the USA map, and internet play is absent, but it's a very good translation (and you can still play against somebody on iPad/iPhone/iPod locally via Wireless or Bluetooth!). I thought the game would be hard to play on the small screen but, thanks to the iPhone's Retina Display, it's actually quite easy...

Ticket to Ride Pocket

Ticket to Ride Pocket

If only I had time to play it.

   

And now it's probably time to pretend I don't have insomnia and go to bed.

I've got a long day tomorrow.

   

Bullet Sunday 257

Posted on Monday, November 21st, 2011

Dave!It's Bullet Sunday on Monday from the great state of Georgia!

   
• Hurt! After arriving at the gate of Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, I was pulling my backpack from the overhead bin when some guy decided he simply couldn't wait for me to get out of the way... and pulled down his pack right into my face. He had some kind of wooden easel or tripod attached, which ended up scraping across my eyelid. So now I've got a good cut there that's nice and swollen. His excuse to being such a dick? "Sorry, I've got a tight connection." And if my eye would have been poked out? Well, he's got a tight connection, so sorry about that. I swear that manners and courtesy go right out the window when people get on an airplane. The really terrible part? This is not the first time somebody has nailed me while retrieving their crap.

   
• Dino! Since my work was pushed back until late Monday, this left me all day Sunday to goof off in Atlanta. I started out by visiting The Fernbank Museum of Natural History, as suggested by Coal Miner's Granddaughter and The Muskrat...

Fernbank Museum Atlanta

It's a very cool museum... though a bit expensive at $17.50. As a holiday bonus, a group of young girls were dancing Christmas-themed ballet amongst the dinosaur skeletons in the main atrium. I wish I could say that was the oddest thing I've seen in a museum but, alas, no.

   
• Shop! From the museum I went to the Lenox Square Mall so I could go to The Apple Store. Along the way, I passed the shameless PC-based copy that is The Microsoft Store. Inside there were a handful of customers and a small group of employees. Once I got to The Apple Store, however... madness. Dozens of employees were helping wall-to-wall customers. The place was packed. And while there were a lot of people just looking, a good chunk of them were buying, as customers were leaving the store with Macintosh computer boxes and Apple-logo bags at a steady clip.

This is kind of an odd turn of events given the sorry state Apple was in just fourteen years ago. I remember a time when there was a very real possibility that Apple was going to fail...

Wired Cover Apple Pray

Microsoft isn't going to lose their massive PC market share over Apple any time soon, but it's nice to see how well Apple is doing now-a-days after being an underdog for so long.

   
• Pig! In previous years coming to Atlanta during the holiday season, I was introduced to Priscilla The Pink Pig. It's a train ride for kids that is put on by Macy's each year. As you might imagine, it's a very big deal. And, if you must know, I'm kind of obsessed with The Pink Pig...

Pink Pig Sign at Macy's

Priscilla The Pink Pig Character Balloon

The Pink Pig is Stoned!

The Pink Pig Train!

Stuffed Toy Priscilla the Pink Pigs!

One of these years I'm going to ride that pig. Probably because my love of Invader Zim demands it...

Ride the Pig! From Invader Zim!

   
• Eat! Copasetic Beth and Houston's Problem were kind enough to join me for dinner at The Var