Archive for July, 2008



July 31, 2008

I mentioned that I was looking for a car, and now I’ve got one. I’m the proud owner of a 2003 Chevy Tracker. That’s the 2WD, 5-speed manual, convertible model. In white, as you can see. It has 52,000 miles on it, and after tax, title, service fees and all that other crap, I paid $5,500 cash for it.

If this puppy gets me another 50,000 miles without a major repair, I’ll consider that a great deal. It’s a smaller vehicle than I was looking for. But on the positive side, it’s a great compromise between my longing for the 95 pathfinder and my desire not to have to take out a loan to gas it up. The Tracker is an SUV and has a manual transmission, but also is has small 4-cylinder engine. It’s a wee baby Pathfinder.

What of the Saturn? I’m bequeathing it to my son, Dan. He doesn’t seem thrilled, but hey, it’s a car. (I mean, it’ll be a car once it has a muffler put on it.) And if he’d rather sell it or whatever, I don’t care.


GT in the NYT

July 31, 2008

I sort of know someone who made some ink in the New York Times!

Publisher, blogger and tech smarty Gina Trapani and I aren’t exactly BFFs or anything, but she did publish some of my stuff on Lifehacker. Plus, she says I write good.

I should probably read her book.



July 29, 2008

Should I write a book? Someone recently suggested it and it’s not the only time that idea has been floated my way.

Those of you who only read the poorly composed missives on the pages of this blog may be smiling to yourselves, but let me assure you: I can write passably!

What would I write about? A novel is almost out of the question. I can’t imagine anything harder or anything which I’m less prepared for. A technology how-to? Too many smarter people out there to compete with. Maybe something autobiographical. My life isn’t that interesting, but it’s all in the telling anyway, right? Right.

I think I need to go read something for inspiration.


The no-beer blues

July 24, 2008

I was in this bar yesterday afternoon. Just me and another chance-met conference attendee killing a few hours on Beale street before getting a cab to the airport. Wanting to make the most of visiting a strange city, I asked the bartender what locally brewed beer they had. He simply shook his head–there wasn’t any locally brewed beer. So I had a big national brand. I don’t even remember what it was (except that I was given the choice between regular and “big ass” size).

How could a major metropolitan area, an old city with a rich history and culture–not to mention a 24/7 party zone like Beale street–not have any beer of its own? I pondered this sadly while drinking my big ass beer and listening to Albert King’s grandson (supposedly) sing the blues.


Slash this

July 24, 2008

It’s annoying when people say “forward slash” when giving you a web URL, right? I mean, everyone knows that web addresses only contain forward slashes. Just saying “slash” is quite enough.

What’s ten times more annoying, however, is when people say “back slash” when giving you web addresses. And there are people who do this. People who should know better.

I think we should round up all the slash confused and send them to a slash reeducation camp.


Things that the cool kids love that I still don’t really get

July 22, 2008
  • Twitter. It was kind of a relief to hear Barry Dahl today say that he had been on the virge of ditching it after giving it a try. Then, however, he realized that he hadn’t been following enough of the right people–the people that really interested him, and who also tweeted a lot. Maybe that’s the challenge for me. I guess I should give it another go.
  • Yes, it’s true! I don’t use it or any other social bookmarking tool.
  • Meebo. You know what, though? I think I was like one of the first meebo users out there, two or three years ago. At that time it struck me that its main purpose was to see other IMers who were near you geographically. Perhaps I misunderstood the service, or perhaps it’s focus has changed some since then. Now it seems to be pretty much a web-based IM congregator for AIM, MSN, etc. And that’s still pretty cool. But I don’t often miss the people on Yahoo! or MSN. And I don’t know that the web interface is ever going to make me as happy as iChat does–plus, no video!
  • Linux. I don’t hate Linux. I used it for years to serve up It’s just that it’s still not a great solution in terms of usability on the desktop. For years I’ve listened to the Linux crowd say that some new distro or another is ready for prime time, but they never really are. “Oh, yeah? Well did you try—-?” No, I haven’t. I’m waiting for a more compelling reason to give the next one a try, such as evidence that the fundamental problem of desktop Linux has been overcome: it’s made by nerds for nerds. I reiterate my oft-stated Linux predictions: one day a distro will be desktop-ready. That distro will be instantly hated by the current Linux crowd.
  • Firefox. I know, I know. Everyone who’s anyone loves it. Quite aside from it being a nice piece of software, there are other reasons for its popularity: A political statement against tyrannical software vendors, and because a lot of smart Windows users needed to get away from IE. I never had either of those concerns with my browser. Plus, as a practical matter it launches slower than Safari and I love how Safari handles my bookmarked RSS feeds. Which brings me to..
  • Google Reader. Or any other web-based or thick client RSS aggregator. None of them are as convenient to me as just using Safari bookmarks. I’ve written about this before, so I’ll say no more about it now.

Guess who I ran into last night?

July 22, 2008

Speaking of rock legends, guess who I ran into on Beale street last night?

Robert. Fucking. Plant.

I fully understand that there are people to whom this means very little. To those stodgy, non-hip people I say: it must have been a long time since you rock & rolled, okay? Okay.*

So anyway, Robert Plant was chillin’ in this blues bar and then just walked out into the street where I was hanging around (like a complete tool, cameras at the ready).

I did not have an opportunity to shake his hand or introduce myself or anything like that. I got within five feet of the man, took his picture, and cleared off when he and his entourage indicated that they had had enough street photography.

I’d had a bit to drink, truth be told, so when I got back to the hotel I had to examine the photos, just to be sure. Yes, it’s really him.

(*Yes, I appreciate the irony of my attitude here in light of what I just had to say about Elvis.)