ZIPDeCode is a very cool Java app that displays the location of a zip code, visually. Try it. It’s very cool.
If you are a creative individual (and most everyone bothering to read this blog is) then you need to know about the Creative Commons.The Creative Commons is the creation of Lawrence Lessig, the Stanford School of Law, Harvard Law School, and many others, that allows people to license their works in ways that actually make sense. You can create something, be it text, music, video, images, etc. and then pick out a Creative Commons license that makes sense for you; options for licensing include granting all rights, granting all non-commercial rights, or combinations thereof. It’s sort of the creative equivalent of the GPL/Open Source thing software developers have been using for their projects, and I think much good can come of it. Check it out.
Well, I got my Treo 600 a little over a week ago, so I’ve been using it and getting to know all the features. I have to say that this is hands down, the best phone/PDA combo I’ve ever used. It is a triumph of industrial design.
I thought the loss of the cover would bother me, but have screen protector, will travel. And I certainly don’t miss the rocker on the side of the unit, which has been replaced with the awesome “four way” rocker, that allows you to just about everything short of typing with only one hand. Menu navigation, quick dialing, it’s all a snap.
The keyboard is smaller than the 300, but honestly, it’s still very usable for a chiclet keyboard. I can thumb almost 30 wpm.
There are some drawbacks, which are actually a little silly:
The camera has no flash
The screen isn’t high-res
Considering how much obvious thought and effort went into this design, to leave those two things out seems really stupid, actually. The are the only things stopping this from being a perfect combo for me. I’m not sure what they were thinking.
But overall, I love the thing, and would recommend upgrading to anyone with a 180/270/300… and if you are considering a cell phone/PDA combo, the Treo 600 is definitely one to take a very close look at.
Well, it’s finally done! Actually, it was done on Sunday, and I’m just getting around to writing about it, but that’s a good thing, believe me!
The wedding was a huge success… nearly everyone we’ve spoken with has agreed that the ceremony was the right length, the food was delicious, and the cake was one of the best they’d ever had. There were a few snafus, which is to be expected, I suppose. We had some family issues that were hard to deal with… a crisis here, some hurt feelings there… none of which were intentional, but I suppose that is the way it goes. You can please some of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people… I’d say overall we were pretty successful.
I slept the best I’d slept in months on Sunday night… the relief of having all the wedding planning pressure over was incredible. Then we took a few days off to just be with each other, which was very nice. We’re going to shoot for our honeymoon over the holidays… it’s hard to get away when you’re both starting small businesses! But we’re both as happy as you can be!!
24 Hours from now, I will be in the middle of my wedding ceremony. And yes, I am nervous as hell! However, I’m not nervous about the actual marriage part. I’m worried that I’ll be late to the boat (we’re getting married on a yacht on Lake Michigan) or that the cake will be messed up, or that the flowers won’t be there… and about standing up in front of 120 people!
It’s been so much work planning this wedding, and dealing with all the problems that crop up along the way. My friend Kate said, “A wedding is a terrible way to start a marriage” and now I know what he meant! If we could go back to March when all this was set in motion, I think now we’d elope.
But I guess tomorrow it will all be over, and that will be a big relief, and I will be very happy!!
Okay, I love my Mac. It’s actually not even my primary machine, my laptop (PC) is due to some software issues for client compatibility. However, ever since I bought a Mac two years ago, I’ve been singing the praises of the Mac to anyone who’ll listen. OS X is a fantastic operating system, no doubt about it. Final Cut Pro is simply amazing, and I hope it gives Avid the slow and painful death they deserve. DVD Studio Pro 2 is an amazing piece of software too. I think Apple is back, baybee…
However, when I bought my Mac, it came with OS X 10.0, which was useless and buggy as all get out. With 10.1 we saw major improvements, and I was satisfied. But then Jaguar came out. I’d owned 10.1 less then a year, and now I was forced to pay $130 for the “ugrade”. I was pissed then, and I’m pissed now.
Yes, Jaguar was full of great features, and I love it as an OS. But not having an upgrade price for users who’ve owned the software less than a year is just plain insulting. I suppose it’s not surprising, coming from a Steve Jobs Apple, but Microsoft has more respect for users at this point! Here we are, another year later, and another $130 full price OS upgrade. For a .1 release. I read the reviews, I know Panther offers some cool new features, but once again, Apple is telling me “As a loyal Apple Customer, who purchases upgrades for our advanced software, like FCP and DVDSP, we think you should bend over and take it on our OS.” This is getting ridiculous. So I’m not upgrading. Apple can bite my shiny metal ass.
Okay, I have both a PC and a Mac, and I use both a lot, however for very different work. Generally, I use the PC for writing, bloggin’ and technical work, and I use the Mac for video editing…
Well, today I had a client in who was trying to tell me about a song… they said “1000 Miles” by “Melissa Carlton”. On a lark, I said, I wonder what’s on the iTunes store? So I downloaded iTunes (never installed before) and in less than five minutes I was previewing “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton. Wow. It was quick and simple, and the preview allowed the client to let me hear the song without having to buy it. Then we moved on in the edit… but later, I came back, and I ended up buying a bunch of singles… it was super easy, and then I burned them to a CD, no sweat.
Amazing, Apple gets it. The RIAA doesn’t.
I don’t think you can use one of these Autotuners to correct your vocals and in any way, shape or form, call yourself a “punk” band.
Last night I went to see Bruce Springsteen play at US Cellular Field (that’s Comisky Park to most of you out there). I have to say that I never would have called myself a Springsteen fan, even though he’s a decent songwriters. I mean, have you really listened to Born in the USA? It’s hardly the patriotic anthem some dumbass jingoistic republicans* make it out to be… it’s actually a very critical song of America. Come to think of it, have you ever read the lyrics to Dancin’ in the Dark? Most people probably remember it from the silly video where Courtney Cox is pulled up on stage. But check out the lyrics… it’s a bitter song about lonliness and desparation.
But I digress…
Springsteen played for over three hours, with no opening act. He came out and did a half a dozen songs without stopping… which is pretty impressive. But what really got me was the sheer level of emotional (if not physical) intensity that the entire band, and especially Springsteen, put into their performance. They just plain rocked. And in a world where fans are now suing performers for lousy shows with overpriced tickets, it’s pretty refreshing to come away from a concert not only feeling that you go your money’s worth, but that the performer cared about their music deeply, and wanted to share that passion with you.
*Ronald Reagan invoked Springsteen and his song “Born in the U.S.A.” while campaigning in 1984. But Springsteen didn’t like being quoted by Reagan, saying that instead of it being “morning in America,” as Reagan claimed in his TV ad, he’d seen places where “It’s midnight, and like, there’s a bad moon risin’.”
Moving in with your partner often means duplicate things: CDs, books, kitchen gadgets, and even living creatures. But unlike having an extra toaster, you can’t just give your extra feline friends to the Salvation Army. And so it came to pass that Kristyna and I shared our living space with not one, not two, but four, count ‘em, four long haired cats.
Not only do we have four long haired cats, combined, they pretty much cover the entire visible spectrum of fur. Alex is black and white, Simon is “shaded” silver. Stella is a tortie, and Emily is a calico. Black, white, grey, silver, brown, red. There is no surface in our house nor clothes in our closet which do not bear visible cat hair of some kind.
Last summer, we had heard of a technique which could not only help eliminated stray hair, but also those hairballs that are so pleasant to step on in the wee hours of the morning on a bathroom run. As a bonus, it would also help the cats cool down. That technique is the “Lion Cut”. Now, if you haven’t seen a formerly long haired cat who has been “Lion Cut” let me assure you, it will inspire fits of laughter. The poor cat is shaved pretty much to the skin all over, but with some hair left on the lower portion of their legs, a tuft of hair at the end of their tail, and of course, their “mane”. Needless to say, three of our cats hated their new do, and one (Stella) loved it.
Well, humor aside, the other benefits of a shaved pussy quickly became apparent; we did indeed see fewer hairballs, and magically, only some of the surfaces in our house still showed cat hair! Clearly, the Lion Cut was worth the $50 per cat we had spent.
Summer past and winter came. We let the cats keep their natural hair during the colder months, but then spring came, and in Chicago, lasted about 3 days before we plunged into summer heat. It was time: shave the cats.
This time, however, the economy wasn’t do well (it still isn’t, as the time of this writing, may your reading find you in better times). So money was tight, and the cats needed to be shaved again… so I announced to my fiancé ”You know, $50 per cat seems awfully steep. How hard can it be to shave a cat? I have some good clippers, and it would save us a ton of money.”
My fiancé looked up from her computer and said, “What?”
“I’m going to shave the cats myself. It’ll save us $200!”
She responded with hysterical laughter.
A little miffed by her lack of confidence, to the bathroom I went and set up my little cutting station in the bathtub. I had my clippers, my kitty shampoo, my towels, etc. all ready to go. Now for the cats.
The first cat was our oldest, and our grumpiest. Surely, I thought, she will be the worst. So I started with her. She growled and whined, but overall, was a pretty copacetic kitty. I was able to do her underside, and even the dreaded “potty cut” without too much trouble. When I was done, I washed her, dried her, and sent her on her way.
Thinking the worst was over, I grabbed my little angel, Alex. Okay, he’s hardly a little angel. He’s a co-dependent, jealous beast who pees on my bed if I come home smelling of another cat. But he also likes to play in the shower when I get out and takes a bath okay, so I figured he would be easier.
I got Alex when he was a kitten and, because I don’t believe in it, I had never had him de-clawed. Normally, I put Soft Paws on him, but he had a few missing as I started to shave. Big mistake. It didn’t take long for me to realize that Alex was going to be trouble. It might have been the growling, but I suspect it was the blood coming from my arms that really clued me in. I tried to reason with him, “It will be over sooner if you cooperate. It doesn’t hurt, see? When we’re done, I’ll give you a treat.” But Alex was having none of it. What took me half an hour with Emily was taking well over an hour with Alex. But I persevered. Soon he was shaved and we moved on to the bath. By this time, I was about as wet as he was, drenched in sweat from all the kitty wrasslin’
I though the worst was surely over. After all, Simon and Stella were both much smaller than Emily or Alex, and they were pretty good natured cats. I think the heat was making me delirious, because it slipped my mind that one of our nicknames for Stella is “Squirmy Girl”.
Perhaps you’ve heard of Hell Hounds? The beasts that guard the gates of Hades? Well, let me introduce you to one in disguise, she takes the earthly form of a cat, and her name is Stella.
She growled, she hissed, and worse, she bit. And she did this all while writhing and squirming. Greased pigs are easier to hold than this cat. She would alternate between trying to bite me and bite the clippers. After an *hour* of wrestling and clipping, wrestling and clipping, I had her one-half shaved… trying to hold her was like trying to hold a ten-pound water snake… she’s lucky I didn’t have a bench clamp handy. And I was extremely lucky that she had been de-clawed. Had she not come into my life minus claws, she would have surely eviscerated me there in the bathroom.
I was more determined than ever to complete the job. I was soaking in sweat in our hot little bathroom, I was bleeding from many scratches, hair was *everywhere* and she was only 3/4 shaved. She was howling, twisting, and snapping. Beware the Jabberwocky? With jaws that bite and claws that catch? Fuck the Jabberwocky. Beware Stella. It was a standoff. She finally escaped my grasp and stood at the door, staring me down with the fires of hell illuminating her eyes.
Well, she’s still only 3/4 shaved. I just had to give up. She was the last. Our youngest kitty escaped the ordeal altogether. I had not the strength to go on. And I still had to give her a bath.
Licking my wounds, I managed to give her a bath. Or at least to wet her hair down and get rid of the clippings. When she was done, she shot out the door and I collapsed on the bathroom floor.
Never, never, never ever again will I bitch about paying someone else to groom the cats.