Monthly Archives: December 2005



Is it just me, or does it seem like the whole multilayered brouhaha (yes, I used the word ‘brouhaha’. Wanna fight aboudit?) about DRM, DCMA, RIAA, MPAA, WTFA is really a sideline from a more important question? The question is, why are we accepting this crazy model of top-down entertainment? Why aren’t we making music for our friends (and only for our friends), or stopping by a neighbor’s house when they’re doing a little play? Why are we even looking for entertainment instead of expression and communication? Why are we afraid to believe our own stories could be as enthralling as those enacted by someone who wouldn’t deign to appear for less than $10 million?


Tabbed browsing

Ya know, when I first heard people talking about tabbed browsing, I was skeptical that there was any real value to it.

But now I’m rather addicted, and I’ve also kinda figured out why. What’s good about it is that it allows me to better manage my attention within a hyperlinked space. I can set the browser to work fetching a linked page of interest while minimally disrupting the reading flow on the current page. I can pop back and forth between the linked-from and linked-to pages as necessary. And I haven’t disrupted the history mechanisms in the meantime. So I’ve basically got a multidimensional space of recently-requested pages, instead of a linear one. That’s cool.


Ice wuss

I’m an ice wuss, I admit. I really, just really, don’t like walking on ice. But I’m trying not to be such a wuss about it, so I made myself walk home under icy conditions today. Had a couple slips, but no falls.

Well, until the very last step of my route that had any ice on it. At which point I fell forward, but in a rather brilliant way such that I landed with both hands in some fairly cushiony snow, and no other body parts making contact. I’d like to see it on film, actually; it must have looked pretty cool.

So, anyway…


Social isolation

I notice that some people present a statement similar to “technology x is socially isolating” as if that was a self-contained argument that technology x is ‘bad’. Putting aside for a moment the fact that any technology which can be used in a socially isolating manner can also be used in a socially inclusive manner, I think it’s quite a good thing that there are technologies available to do things in a manner which reduces social interaction.

Looking at my personal psychology, and I don’t think I’m at all alone in this, I have limits in the amount and types of social interaction I have in a day. If those limits are exceeded, further interaction of the wrong types can be disproportionately annoying. Even if I acknowledge at that moment that I’m ‘overreacting’, I remain annoyed. If I was pushed way beyond those limits, I suppose I could end up alienating people or, ya know, mauling them.

I think many people labelled ‘jerks’ and many of the ‘random’ violent acts we hear about could be explained mainly by social overload. This world has a whole lotta people, packed in insane densities in some places, so the availablility of ways to modulate and balance one’s social interactions becomes an essential skill to reduce one’s stress and hostility.


HD upgrades are easy

Being a veteran of a number of hard drive replacement-upgrades (probably 15… not a huge number, but not a little one), I’m accustomed to a good deal of annoyance in the process, especially with laptops. But the technology has settled down somewhat and I’m happy to report that my recent HD upgrade in my laptop was a relief relative to my other experiences.

I used Hitachi’s Notebook PC Upgrade kit. It was only $20 more than the competing product that didn’t include an outboard enclosure, and I can always use another enclosure if I’m going to be orphaning a hard drive anyway.

The enclosure and software came from Apricorn, a company I hadn’t heard of but am now suitably impressed with. The software was miles better than any other bundled drive migration software I’ve used before. This product isn’t the only positive factor in my success today (for example, OSs are better at dealing with changed hardware and connectors and compartments are more standardized), but I’m still impressed.

Here are some of the pains I didn’t have to deal with in this upgrade that I’ve had to live with in the past:

  • having Windows get confused and fail to boot because the drive letter changed
  • having to clone my Windows and Linux partitions with completely different processes
  • having to boot off a rescue CD and restore the boot loader to get dual-boot back
  • dealing with file-in-use problems
  • waiting 3 hours for the clone to finish
  • cursing myself for having trusted the bundled software and restarting the entire process
  • having a drive hanging out the side of the machine attached by an IDE connector (I assume those things aren’t made to bear a load…)
  • having to image the drive to a network drive and then back because there was nowhere else to plug in the new drive



“LEDhead: Classic Electronic Handheld Game Simulator”

Cool enough idea, though I never did like these things that much.
Peter Hirschberg – LEDhead Classic Electronic Handheld Game Simulator


I’m not sure I want [blank]

I’m not sure I want [blank]. ‘cuz then I’d have to find a place to put it, get a box to hold it, lock it up when I’m gone, justify my keeping it even when I’m not using it, watch that it doesn’t get burned in a fire, buy insurance against it, pay taxes on it, make sure it doesn’t get stolen, clean it, decide each day whether I might want to trade it for something else, check to see whether some part of it has decayed and replace that, remember where I put it, remember not to sit on it, push it aside when the couch wants to go there and push it aside to the first place when the couch moves again, count it when I’m counting my things, give it to my girlfriend when she needs it and make sure she gives it back, watch the new ads to see if there’s a new coating to put on it, assess its value from time to time, categorize it, catalog it, wait for it to appreciate, wonder if it will ever stop depreciating, compare it to my neighbor’s, water it, test to see if it’s where that smell is coming from, remember the specs so I can tell others about it or decide when I need to upgrade it, know how to operate it, forget it when I actually need it, tell people not to buy it for me because I already have one, search around for the label that says where it was made and chastise myself because it’s not the right place, move it with me to the next apartment, hide it when my mom comes over, keep it warm, keep it dry…

On the other hand, it is pretty fuckin’ cool.


Better than DQ

I was gonna get a burger at Dairy Queen, but then I thought, how about I microwave a pre-cooked burger, toast a kaiser bun, pre-melt a slice of pepper-jack, add some Miracle Whip, Mrs. Dash, cayenne pepper, garlic salt, and stir-fried spinach.

That was definitely the better choice.


Blogging as a tool to prevent stalking

Ya know, if someone decided to stalk me, they’d do a web search on me, find my blog, read a few entries and decide “this guy isn’t as interesting as I imagined” and give up.

The other good effect would be that they’d increase my blog audience by 25% or so, briefly. When’s the last time USA Today had a 25% jump in readership?


Feed Your Reader

Feed Your Reader is one of those nice little Firefox extensions that you know as soon as you wish you had it, that someone must have written it. It lets you send auto-discovered syndication links (RSS, Atom, etc. feeds) to an external reader rather than making Live Bookmarks. I like it. Thank you, Mr. Koziarski.