Archive for March, 2006

h1 Webmail: Powered by Google

March 31, 2006

I’ve had a gmail account for a long time now, but I have never found it to be of any use. I like to use my own domain name for my email address ( rather than the name of some company ( or I figure I own the domain name so why not use it? And in fact, I do use it. My registrar,, provides me with a way to do so. I pay them $20 a year and I get to use their webmail app with my domain name. I have been ever since.

Back to gmail. I recognized that it was a pretty neat web application, but I didn’t want to be to use it. So the very first message I sent with my gmail account was to google itself: please let me use this application with my own domain name. I even offered to pay them the $20 I was currently giving to godaddy. No response.

Then a beta service surfaced that allowed you to use gmail with your own domain. I signed up to be a tester, but never heard from them. My gmail account languished and I suffered on with a cool email address and a lame web app to go with it.

Until yesterday. Yesterday I mysteriously got an invite to join the beta test. I think it was no coincidence that I’d been talking about this gmail-with-my-domain issue with some folks over at Methinks someone saw my comments and hooked me up. Thanks!

Check out my new mail system. Coolest part about it is, judging by information gleaned from inside the application, I think google may eventually offer some level of this new service for free. Save $20, get a better app. I like this deal.


Bush: Saddam Chose To Deny Inspectors

March 31, 2006

For the third time since the war began three years ago, Bush had falsely claimed that Saddam refused the U.N. weapons inspections mandated by the Security Council. For the third time, he had denied a reality witnessed by the entire world during the four months when those inspectors, under the direction of Hans Blix, traveled Iraq searching fruitlessly for weapons of mass destruction that, as we now know for certain, were not there.

But forget about whether the weapons were there for a moment. The inspectors definitely went to Iraq. They left only because the United States warned them to get out before the bombs started to fall on March 19, 2003. But for some reason the president of the United States keeps saying — in public and on the record — that the inspectors weren’t there. – Joe Conason at

I remember this. I remember wondering what the urgency was. Why did we need to invade immediately instead of letting this play out, inspectors and all? I remember being extremely uneasy, but figuring that the president probably knew things I didn’t. I can’t believe how naive I was. I suppose this is the kind of thing that when I’m an older man and some other leader tries this, I’ll know better. I’ll be more distrusting. I’m reminded of Bush’s own words: “Fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.” Amen, brother.


More Bike Adventures

March 29, 2006

The other day I resolved to give up running and get a bike. I found a bike at a local store, Wheel & Sprocket. (The one in Delafield, WI.) I didn’t want to wait two weeks for their big sale to get a good deal so I called them up and asked them if I could please have the deal now. They said no. That was Monday.

I still wanted the bike and I didn’t want to wait for the sale so I went to the store after work today. With the help of a salesperson I confirmed that the Trek 7000 I had previously picked out was indeed a good choice and that the 17.5″ one was the correct size. There was one problem, though. The price on the web site was $249 while the price tag in the store said $269. I asked young Mr. Salesman about the discrepancy. I also told him about my previous conversation regarding the $30 price reduction and how I’d been denied getting the sale price early. He offered to speak to the manager about both issues.

The manager checked the web site and confirmed that it was $20 cheaper there. He said he would give me the web site price. I thanked him and asked about the impending $30 markdown. He said he didn’t know if there would be a discount on that bike or how much it might be even if there were. I told him that was odd since I’d talked to one of his employees yesterday and she said it would be $30. The manager seemed genuinely bewildered, but said that if indeed they ended up selling the bike for less I could return to the store for a refund. That was good enough for me, so I bought the bike.

When I got home I discovered two things. First, a comment on my previous blog entry:

Hello from Wheel & Sprocket! Sorry about your experience- I would love to get you on that Trek 7000 for the State Fair sale price! Call me personally if you need help- I apologize on behalf of our company for that- you should have gotten the sale price ahead of time. Thanks for your business -James Beck Internet Sales Wheel & Sprocket

Woo! I love the internet. You better believe I’m going to call Mr. Beck tomorrow. The second thing I discovered when I got home was not so good, though. I checked the receipt from the bike shop and discovered that they didn’t give me the web site price after all.

Stay tuned!

PS. Check out my new Trek!

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Weblogistan Outpost

March 29, 2006

In the conservative Islamic Republic, where the government has vast control over newspapers and the airwaves, weblogs are one of the last bastions of free expression, where people can speak openly about everything from sex to the nuclear controversy. But increasingly, they are coming under threat of censorship. – Wired

If anyone from Iran (or anywhere else where free speech is restricted) would like to start a blog I would be glad to host it here on my home web server. Drop me an email and we’ll work something out. Consider my closet the newest outpost of the Weblogistan empire.

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Plan B: Cycling

March 28, 2006

Wheel & Sprocket (bike shop): Hello?

Me: Hi. I want to buy a bike from you.

WS: Okay.

Me: But the thing is, I happen to know you’re going to have a big sale at the county fairgrounds in two weeks. Maybe the bike I want will be cheaper then.

WS: Let me check and see if we’re going to be selling it there. What model did you have in mind?

Me: I thought I’d go with a Trek 7000.

WS: Okay, let me check. [On hold for 30 seconds.] Yes, we will be selling it for $30 cheaper then.

Me: I see. So, how about if I come down there tonight and you just give me the $30 discount right now?

WS: Uh…no.

Darn it. But I think I’ll buy the bike anyway. I hate to spend the money, but it’s time to face facts: I can’t run anymore. All I’m doing is babying my knees at the expense of getting a proper workout. When I started running I couldn’t get around the block without stopping, but I persisted. Through injuries, cold weather and barking dogs, I persevered. I went from couch potato to five mile runs. I showed my mettle. I proved my grit. But those days are over now. I admit defeat.

It’s time for plan B: cycling!


Fruitcake Attribution

March 26, 2006

Re: Using your Flickr photo in our film

Mr. Dallis:

You may use the fruitcake photo for your project. All I ask is that you credit me. “Fruitcake photo courtesy of” would be good, but please feel free to credit me any way that works for you. As long long as my name is there, it will be fine.

Good luck on the project! How can one order a copy once it is completed?


scott d. feldstein

Subject: Using your Flickr photo in our film

Dear Mr. Feldstein:

I am writing to let you know that I am interested in using one of your photos posted on for an upcoming project titled A DVD Advent Calendar. According to the web site, you participate in Creative Commons and offer an attribution license.

Could you please verify that this is still correct and also provide the exact wording for how you would like to be credited in our work? The photo we are interested in is of fruitcake.

Thank you for contributing to the website and for sharing your creative talents with artists worldwide. We are a small family based company and could not do what we do without photographers such as you who make their works available through programs such as Again, thank you.


Tom Dallis
Ensign Media

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Microsoft Tasteless, Vista Pointless

March 24, 2006

“…500 tech buyers sat there in the dark, their eyes glazing over from the sheer mind-numbing pointlessness of most of this stuff.” – Forbes on Windows Vista

Microsoft is on my mind again today. Check out this scathing article at In it you’ll learn that Microsoft’s upcoming operating system has been delayed for the sixty-seventh time. Forbes seems to think the reason for the delay is that Vista sucks. In fact Slashdot is discussing a report indicating that 60% of the Windows Vista product now has to be rewritten, such is the colossal nature of it’s current suckitude. Forbes’ advice? Maybe you should go Linux – or Macintosh.

Apple’s new operating system is stable, reliable and easy to use. The applications are simple, gorgeous and work well together. And they’re here. Today.

On a side-note, I ran across this fantastic piece over at Presentation Zen about the contrasting presentation styles of Steve Jobs of Apple and Bill Gates of Microsoft. The photos are absolutely striking and clearly contrast the spare, Zen-like style of Jobs with the horrific, focusless visual cacophony of Gates. I feel strongly that this is related to the nature of the products made by their respective companies.

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