Warning: This post is not idiot-proof
May 30, 2006
Why some bugs are left to run free in my software.
April 9, 2006
If I try my hardest, I might just be able to recall a day when I would sit down and fire up the old internets to check my email with great anticipation. I can almost hear the modem connection now (remember how high-tech that screeching noise used to sound?), followed by the "Welcome!" message from AOL, if I were so lucky to find a connection number that wasn't busy (remember how low-tech hearing the busy sound through your modem speaker was?). Then, with baited breath, I would wait. Wait for those three little words.
You've got mail.
The Greater Good
November 9, 2005
As someone who spends quite a bit of time in Canadian airports, you can understand how this made me feel a bit uncomfortable, but probably not for the reason you think.
Customer Service: A Two Way Street
October 19, 2005
Selling software is fun. Especially when you have accomplished it all by yourself, mostly between the hours of one and three a.m., and never thought it would amount to much. An added bonus is it lines your pocket with a few extra bills, which comes in handy. But its not all rock star stuff.
Take customer support for instance...
On My List
October 10, 2005
Yes, it has been forever since I wrote here, *insert normal excuses here*, but after a weekend chock full of sports, I figured now is a better time than any to let you know who is on my good and bad sides.
December 6, 2004
A year ago today, I tentatively stepped into the blogosphere with a post aptly entitled, "As If I Didn't Have Enough to Do". One year, 64 posts and 180 comments later, here are some favorites from the first year:
- A Tough Day for Sports Fans (Dec. 7, 2003) - Still relevant one year later...
- Pete, Tell us something we don't know (Jan 6, 2004) - Also relevant in light of recent baseball events
- Handling the Heat (or Lack Thereof) (Jan 26, 2004) - I found my niche: self-deprecating humor
- iTunes Music Store: My First Twenty Bucks (May 20, 2004) - My unconditional love for the ITMS
- Weekend Reading (June 5, 2004) - A pretty intense rant about the state of personal computers
- The Oprahtization of Televised Sports (July 14, 2004) - Post All-Star game frustrations
- Why I Love the Internet (to be Followed Closely by Why I Hate It) (Aug 25, 2004) - Ups and Downs of our friend, the internet
- The Great Toilet Paper Incident of 1997 (October 31, 2004) - The Classic.
Here's to another year of banter...
The New Telemarketers
November 29, 2004
I have always hated talking on the phone. There is just something awkward about it to me, and I always seem to forget the things I needed to say. That is why I love email. I can ponder over a note for a few minutes, read it a few times, make sure it gets my point across. Because of this, the ratio of emails I send and receive far exceeds that of phone calls. Some stats to back that up: Since last February, when I first started using the new PowerBook, I have received some 2000 emails, excluding junk and auto-generated stuff like Word of the Day. In that same period I have sent around 1000 emails, proving I do in fact have twice as many ears as mouths. Now, on to my point...
Comment Spam: Oh How I Hate Thee
November 20, 2004
If you have cruised through the archives in the past week or so, it is likely you have seen a comment that didn't quite fit in. It probably contained a link to Viagra, an online casino, car insurance, or any other subject that good 'ol email spam refers to. Basically, these bots go around and automatically drop comments on blogs like this, increasing their ranking with Google. Why? The more links Google sees to your site, the more likely it is to come up in search results. I have finally put them to rest (for now). Here's how I did it...
Worst Job Ever
September 15, 2004
Am I the only one who feels really sorry for this guy?
Why I Love the Internet (to be Followed Closely by Why I Hate It)
August 25, 2004
First, the love. I like many of you have been watching the Olympics off and on, and as always I am just about as interested in the commercials as I am in the Games themselves. I find I get a lot of design/creative inspiration while watching what others are doing with television production, particularly surrounding a big event like the Olympics.
DMB :: Music For the masses, as long as you use Windows...and IE
July 27, 2004
I wrote not long ago about my infatuation with the iTunes Music Store. Apple has now sold over 100 million songs through the service and upon opening the European version immediately became the market dominator throughout the continent. Everyone loves iTunes. Well almost. Who doesn't you ask? The Dave Matthews Band, my favorite act anywhere.
The Oprahtization of Televised Sports
July 14, 2004
Where are you Uecker? Will you help us Costas? After watching the Major League Baseball All-Star Game last night, we sure need you.
Run, Don't Walk...
July 1, 2004
After my recent blazing of IE and Microsoft, you might be quick to skim over this, writing it off as another rant from a MacHead. Not so fast. Do you use online banking? Do you use Internet Explorer to do so? Do you like to send everything needed to access your bank account to a hacker? If not, you better read on.
Let's get right to it. This article from Business Week Online and this one from eWeek say it all. You are not safe handling online financial services with Internet Explorer. Hackers and makers of spyware can implant software on your machine to track your input when accessing online banking, and walla, they have full access to your money. Sound fun? I didn't think so.
UPDATE July 2: More ammo, now the Dept of Homeland Security is recommending you use another browser.
So what do you do? Well, get another browser. Now. There is a problem though, many online banking services require Internet Explorer, nothing else. If that is the case, I would shoot your bank a quick e-mail directing them to the above articles. Most provide an alternative, however, usually Netscape. Some will even work with the best browser out there for the PC, Firefox. Just check with your individual bank for their browser requirements. If you are on a Mac, you have already been through all this and are not susceptible to this bug. Nice isn't it? Who says being on a Mac is more expensive. At least my financial data is safe.
So if no other factor will make you change browsers, this one should. This is serious business now, run, don't walk, to a new browser. And who knows, you might just like it...
June 30, 2004
We're baaaaack. After a wonderful 9-day tour of south Florida, we are back to a little bit of normalcy here. But of course I wouldn't go without sharing some randomized thoughts of our little journey...
June 5, 2004
A busy weekend ahead, T-minus two weeks to the wedding day and there is plenty goin' on around here. I did want to post on something that has been on my mind the latter half of the week. But first, a story to set it all up....
June 3, 2004
This has been an exciting week for me, with two (1, 2) listings on public sites that made my head swell even bigger than its' natural proportions (Right, Doy?). It has, however, introduced me to a relatively new idea I have been getting to know over the past year: Public Scrutiny. As a Communications Director, I often have pieces of my work floating about through Canada and even the US, whether it be on the web, in print or in the form of a video. What have I learned? A couple of things....
When Will They Ever Learn...
May 25, 2004
In my work with the CCSB, I run into all kinds of people who use PowerPoint, some rather religiously (pardon the pun). Obviously I see the whole spectrum of quality in these presentations, depending on the user's ability and experience with the program. The rather shocking thing to me is how often I see old school clip art (circa 1992) creeping into today's presentations which, without such graphics, might look halfway decent design-wise.
Well, after taking the new Office 2004 for the Mac for a test drive, I know why these little buggers continue to plague us...
iTunes Music Store: My First Twenty Bucks
May 20, 2004
I have seen the light...and it burns.
In the course of the evening last night I heard a song that made me say, "Hey, I wouldn't mind having that one in the vault." Later on, I opened up iTunes and in about 2 minutes the song was in my Library in the beautiful AAC digital format (Bye bye mp3...). Just for fun, I jumped over to my "Purchased Music" playlist to see how many songs I had forked over a buck for since the inception of the ITMS. The answer? Twenty. Twenty stinkin' songs since I started using the service back in February. Do you see the beauty of that? If you do, see ya next time. If not, read on...
Used to be, you headed out to Wal-mart to find the CD which housed that catchy hit everyone just loved on the radio. Then the buyer's remorse was palpable as you discovered that every one of the fourteen other songs on the disc belonged on a made for TV compilation disc with New Kids on the Block and Aaron Neville. The result: 1 song you really like, 14 songs you really don't and 20 bucks down the drain. Then came Napster...
Napster changed everything. Now you could find that one song and download it without a) paying for it and b) listening to those other 14 songs while trying not to be sick. A few problems though, one of them being insanely long download times. Also, the lossy, hissy mp3 files. And mainly, it was illegal. Try all the self-righteous arguments you want (believe me, they used to flow out of my word bucket too), but any way you turn it, you were stealing from someone.
Now we have swung back towards center. We can go online, buy 20 dollars worth of music and like every bit of it. 20 bucks, 20 songs I really want. Not to mention that they come in a near CD quality digital file, download in less than 30 seconds thanks to dedicated, always on servers and to boot it's all above board and legal. Not too shabby.
And now, some of the highlights of my first 20 purchases:
- The Last Resort - The Eagles
- 3 AM - Edwin McCain
- More than Words - Extreme
- Hallelujiah - Jeff Buckley
Et tu Bruté?
April 9, 2004
I was planning on knocking off a little early today (hey it is good friday) to catch some of the second round coverage of The Masters. I knew usa networks were doing the honors thursday and friday so I figured I would check from my desk what time coverage started. Logically, you would think that USA would take advantage of the new .tv domain, and therefore usa.tv would take me straight there.
Instead I found this, a page letting me know that usa.tv was available for only 100,000 bucks...per year! And that is only if you opt for the two year package...yikes...(For those of you wondering, a .com domain is about 15 dollars a year) No wonder USA networks chose usanetworks.com instead...
By the way, coverage starts at 4pm EST...
UPDATE: Upon closer inspection, some .tv domains are prorated depending on someone's ranking of how desirable they are. For instance, business.tv, news.tv or sports.tv would cost you 1,000,000 per year a piece. It doesn't seem to be working though, as they are all still available...
Not Quite Wireless
April 6, 2004
Recently when speaking with friends in the US, I have realized that the wireless craze hasn't quite hit the States as much as it has here in Canada. Upon moving to the apartment and setting up my office, none of my three computers connect to the internet using cables. I have my cable modem connected two rooms away, feeding a wireless router that spreads an encrypted network through the house. The three computers all have cards in them to connect to the internet and local network, and it is all very cool. Why? Well, let's say I need a change of venue or want to do some surfing at night before sleeping. No problem, I can grab my laptop and roam around the house without fear of losing my connection to the internet or being tethered by long ethernet cables. Ok, you really are a geek aren't you? Perhaps...
Wireless (or WiFi) is also a hit among coffee houses and other public hangouts. Hotspots are appearing everywhere, and many are free. Every major airport in Canada has free wireless internet floating through it, a nice touch when you travel once a month. Hey, I know most of this, why are you opining so much about it? I'm getting there...
The joy of wireless always seems to be cut short by the run back to an outlet to plug in before the battery runs dry. Take the airport for instance. Many people take advantage of the free wireless, but wouldn't you know it we are all hovered around a power outlet. Wireless my ankle... Can I get some cheese with that wine? Yea, but I will have to charge you extra.
I ran across a story this morning about Samsung's current development of portable fuel cells that could be utilized in cell phones, PDAs and laptops. The article speculates that such batteries could push laptop battery life to 10 hours. My reaction? Big flippin' deal. I don't need a battery that I would imagine costs a college fund and a half and lets me run for 10 hours, I need a battery to run a laptop for 10 weeks...10 months, something like that...not 10 hours. My cell phone will go for 10 hours, but I still have to remember to plug it in every night or I am up a creek the next day. Everything is becoming wireless...mice, keyboards, printers.. and yet we still are bound to the holes (obscure Seinfeld reference, aka the outlet).
It is not that we want to use our laptops for hours and hours on end. I was thrilled when my new laptop had a working battery life of around 4 hours without need of a recharge. I remember the first Calgary to Montreal flight I took and being excited because the battery would last almost as long as the flight. Well, I used it for a good hour before sleeping the rest of the flight away. So it is not the marathon use we want, it is the freedom to use it whenever, wherever we want and not have to be thinking about tucking it in at night next to an outlet. How cool would it be if our chargers sat in a drawer most of the year, only to be brought out once every six months for to juice our gadgets back up? We can dream....
The Best...and Worst
January 16, 2004
Even while in Calgary (or any part of Canada for that matter) I get plundered with news coverage from my homeland, feeding my insatiable hunger for news, news, news. In the midst of it all I couldn't help but notice a startling contrast between two major stories of the week.
Ironically enough, the epicenter of both stories was found in California. In Pasadena, a group of people who probably didn't attend their prom (and if they did, it was stag, baby) drove an oversized remote control car off of a small platform, covering a distance of about two and a half feet. What's the big deal you say? Well, this "rover" was on another planet some 300 Million miles away. Not to mention navigating the spacecraft for months and nailing the landing within 250 meters of their intended target. Think about that the next time you can't find your way out of the mall parking lot...
On the other hand, some of the saddest people in the land gathered in Santa Maria to show their undying support for the "king" of pop. They waved signs, cried, screamed and showed how blinding the light of fame can really be. Mr. Jackson himself added to the spectacle, leaving his court appearance (during which he excused himself to use the restroom without the judge's permission) and doing a little ditty for the crowd. And just to top it off, a private party at Neverland which doubles as an alleged crime scene.
So it came as no surprise that the media coverage was 100:1 in favor of the Jackson story. We love the freaks, the crime, the show. Meanwhile people who dream unbelievable dreams, and do truly out of this world things carry on with little fanfare. So you landed on Mars, did ya? But have you heard Billie Jean?! That's genious!
Another Milestone for CNN
December 16, 2003
Gotta give it to them, they keep us on our toes. So was it any surprise Sunday, as a truly historic event was taking place and the President was about to speak on that very event, that this is the graphic that CNN used to frame the shot. Some video engineer has quite a bit of confidence in himself...
A Tough Day for Sports Fans
December 7, 2003
If you know me very well, you know that I bleed two colors: Jayhawk Blue (basketball) and Georgia Red (football). And at this time of year those two passions overlap for around a month as the football season winds down and the basketball season limps into stride. All these facts combined made Saturday a taxing day, as #1 ranked Kansas fell to Stanford in California and the 5th ranked Dawgs lost to #3 LSU in the SEC championship in Atlanta.
It is now Sunday morning, and I have some distance from the night before. I no longer have the urge to throw random objects at my television (or streaming radio feed of the Kansas game). And now I have a fresh perspective on what happened yesterday, as two teams suffered very different losses. That difference sums up everything that is great about college basketball, and also everything that is horribly wrong with college football.
First we look at Kansas, who played rather poorly but still almost won against a good Stanford team. But that's OK. KU will almost surely lose again this year, perhaps several more times. But come March, open up the paper to that beloved 64 team bracket (ready for the office pool) and you will probably see KU, maybe even with a high seed, with a roadmap to the championsip laid out in front of them. Free to win their way right to the Final Four and also free to lose to Ball St., Gonzaga, or any other Cinderella (kid out of nowhere..). That's the beauty of the tournament.
The mood in Atlanta however was much different. The Dawgs fate had been sealed a month ago with a loss to Florida, and the only thing a win would give them was a BCS bowl birth, but not THE BCS bowl birth. Now UGA goes to the ever prestigious Capitol One Bowl, or maybe the Peach. So make sure you are prepared when you head for the office tomorrow, because I am sure the Bowl Prediction Pools will be flying around...or maybe not. The pool got even murkier as Oklahoma got throttled by Kansas State. Thanks KSU, now go away and leave the other teams to play for the national championship.
So now we have three teams with legitimate credentials (according to the BCS anyway) to play for the title. So let's split that Superdome field into a three-legged piece of turf, ready for a three team deathmatch, maybe Vince McMahon can help. Hey, it is just as preposterous as our current system.
So why not a playoff? Div I-AA does it. The NFL does it. Just think about it. Take these teams: Oklahoma, USC, LSU, Michigan, Texas, Ohio State, Georgia. Now put them in an 8 team playoff and let the chips land where they may. You don't have to do away with the Bowls. Let teams who didn't make the playoff compete there (kinda like the NIT) and then use the big-time bowls to play the playoff games. Naaa, I am probably crazy, who would wanna watch that...