Amazon Prime members can stream an odd assortment of shows for free!

Oddshowchoices

Amazon is making headlines today by giving Amazon Prime members (Amazon Prime, for those who aren't familiar, is a service Amazon provides: for $80 a year you get 2 Day shipping on eligible items. I've been a Prime member for as long as Prime has been an option.) access to lots of streaming movies and TV shows for no additional cost (I would say free, but you do have to pay that $80 a year... though this is a nice addition to the service).

All in all, I'm a fan of this development. Jeff Bezos took to the front page of Amazon.com, as he does, to announce the news with a giant image of a letter. In his letter Jeff highlights an odd assortment of available TV shows (which are also all available via Netflix streaming):

Clearly people who watch streaming TV shows like sci-fi, British shows, and old sitcoms (plus the streaming rights for most of these shows must be pretty cheap).

Stream on, you crazy diamonds!

Oh, and Netflix seems to think I like Canadian TV:

Netflixcanadian

I am not a Marine

Marine993

No one in their right mind would mistake me for a Marine, I'm a little too doughy. That being said, I have nothing against the Marines. They seem like a nice bunch of folks, and I enjoyed visiting the Marine Museum with my mother way back in the day.

Why am I thinking about the Marines all of a sudden? Because I want to buy some new sneakers, obviously. My sneakers of choice are New Balance 993's (which should come as no surprise to you faithful Blankbaby followers). From time to time New Balance comes out with a limited edition color scheme, and they just so happen to have created a pair of Marine edition 993's that have recently come to my attention.

I think they look pretty snazzy (they are pictured above), however, as I've established, I am not a Marine. Would wearing these shoes imply that I was, at one point in my storied life, an active duty Marine? Or would it simply say that I support our boys from the Halls of Montezuma to the Shores of Tripoli?

You can see my quandary. Of course I also happen to own at least 3 pairs of serviceable 993's, so I don't actually need another pair. But they're so cool looking!


Me in three (well, 60) of your words

Scottwithspatula.jpgA little while ago I asked folks to head on over to a wacky Web site and describe me in three words. Furthermore, I promised to post the results and here they are:

  • anti-fruit & vegetable, moderate, and sharp
  • aloof, witty, and introverted
  • funny, interesting, and scottalicious
  • clever, savvy, and erudite
  • friendly, house-trained, and well-groomed
  • zany, tall, and caring
  • witty, dapper, and techie
  • Gay, Large, and Stupid (I don't think this person is a Scott McNulty fan, but I could be wrong.)
  • fluffy, puff, and marshmallows
  • witty, smart, and conservative
  • funny, smart, and brutal
  • Unique, Hawaitastic, and prescient
  • literate, mancandy, and blankbaby
  • insightful, merry, and kind
  • Philly, Food, and Writing
  • smart, funny, and logical
  • Savvy, Whimsical, and Gentle giant
  • clever, friendly, and e-reader-addicted
  • kindle, nook, and another kindle (This one is probably my favorite.)
  • Knowledgeable, Enigmatic, and Shy

And that makes the top three words: smart, funny, witty. I'm blushing here!


The Frontier is everywhere

Palebluedot The above video is making the rounds of the Internet. It was produced by a fan of NASA who thinks that agency could use some help with their communications (and I tend to agree). It features Carl Sagan reading from his book "Pale Blue Dot " (which is a fantastic book).

This video is a little unfair to NASA if only because Carl Sagan was probably the best science educator there has ever been. Just listen to the man, and his words, in this video and tell you don't want to give 95% of the Federal budget to NASA. And the idea that it isn't us who will be colonizing the solar system, but a species very much like us.. that's pretty powerful stuff.

If fan made NASA propaganda isn't your thing, but you still want to hear Carl Sagan's words, check out this short film that uses the same voiceover (and music), set to some beautiful time-lapse photography:


Describe me in three words

I thought this blog was defunct, and I bet you did as well.

Actually, I've just been reading a lot as of late so I have been ignoring my blog readers (I think that the only people who read this blog now are my lovely wife Marisa and my friends Glenn and Julie... prove me wrong Internet!).

Anyway, over on Twitter I came across a Web site called ThreeWords. The idea is you setup an account and people can describe you using three words... so I thought why not ask my blog readers to explain me in three words. Click this link and list the three words that you think describe me best.

After awhile I'll write a blog post about the words that have been used! Won't that be fun?


TEDxPhilly: Over there, earlier today

tedxphilly.jpgToday wasn't an ordinary day. I didn't spend my day working hard at my day job. Nope, I spent the day thinking hard at TEDxPhilly.

If you aren't familiar with the TED conference check out their website. Basically, TED consists of a number of short presentations by people who do amazing things, think astounding thoughts, change the world, or a combination there of.

The TED conference is super fancy, super expensive, and invite only. They do, however, put most of the talks up on the web for free which is cool.

TEDx is an offshoot of TED... think of it as TEDlocal. The thing to keep in mind that all the TEDx conferences are run and organized by volunteers.

Today marked the first TEDxPhilly and by the good graces of Wharton Computing I went to see what all the fuss was about.

I had a fantastic time, and the event went off with nary a hitch. Congrats to all involved, with a special Blankbaby shoutout to my friend Roz Duffy who was the main motivator behind TEDxPhilly. Great job, Stellar Girl!

Oh, and Chris Bartlett (@harveymilk on the Twitter) did a bang up job hosting event.

My mind is brimming with thoughts, and I'll be writing up some more impressions of the event tomorrow on my work blog (hey, they paid for my ticket so they get my thoughts!).


Pimm's Pitcher

Pimm's Pitcher

My drink of choice is a Pimm's Cup. Why? Because I likes it!

I found myself on the Internet the other day, which is out of the ordinary, and I ended up on the official Pimm's website. I poked around and found out about the existence of the Pimm's pitcher (a pitcher in which to make a large amount of Pimm's cups).

I leapt for my wallet, but sadly the store on the Pimm's website wasn't working. Sadness.

Enter eBay. I now own a Pimm's pitcher of my very own (pictured above). Sure, mine is plastic but I'm ok with that. I think I'll break in during my birthday party.


My books, available on the iBook store

peachpitonibooks.jpeg

As you can see from the above image, Peachpit books are now available on the iBook store. If you're into eBooks from Apple, and a fan of Scott McNulty this is your lucky day. That's right, Peachpit is my publisher which means:

scottsbooks.jpg

You can buy my books on your iPhone/iPad. Neat, huh? And here's my author's page (which is kind of lame... I can't change anything about it unlike Amazon's author pages):

ibookauthorpage.jpeg

Just search for Scott McNulty on iBooks and you're all set.

Get to buying, people! I need to pay for all the stuff I bought this month somehow!


November: a month of purchasing nothing?

At the start of this month I told Marisa that I wasn't going to buy anything that we didn't need.

newgraphicscard.jpegI'm lucky enough to have a little bit of disposable income, and I enjoy being able to buy whatever bauble might catch my fancy at any given time (within reason). This isn't a problem, but as I looked around the apartment I realized I didn't really need any more stuff.

My resolve didn't last long, though. As you know I bought a fancy vacuum (which really sucks... get it?), but I thought that would be it!

Fast forward to today and I made a couple more purchases. To the right you can see the new graphics card for my Mac Pro I purchased today. I know what you're thinking, "Scott, why do you need a new graphics card?" So I can power this fancy new monitor
I also bought today:

newmonitor.jpeg

Clearly, I have a problem.


Snagit

snagit.jpegAs a tech blogger, and tech author, I often have to take screenshots for a variety of reasons (for the second edition of my WordPress book I have to re-shot each and every image... over 300 figures!). Each and every one of the images in my books, up to today, have been grabbed using Skitch (which will be undergoing a revamp shortly, I hear). However, Skitch might be finding some company on my Mac in the form of Snagit.

You PC users out there might recognize Snagit, from TechSmith the makers of Camtasia, because it has been out for Windows for awhile. The Mac version is now available, and I decided to download it and take it for a spin.

capvertscroll.jpegFirst off, Snagit isn't as lightweight as Skitch. Skitch makes taking and editing snaps super easy. Snagit includes a beefier image editor which offers more power, the price of which is complexity.

Complexity aside, Snagit has one super awesome change my life feature: Capture Vertical Scrolling area. What the hell does that mean? Often I want to take a grab of a screen that doesn't fit on my monitor. That isn't a problem during the course of computer usage because I can just scroll down (or up) and see the sections that aren't displayed.

In order to caputre the entire window I used to have to take a grab, scroll down, take another grab, open an editor, align the two images, and export it.

Capture Vertical Scrolling area takes a screen grab of the window, scrolls down and grabs another image (and so on) and then combines them all into one image automatically. Which allows you to do things like screen grab all the tweets in Tweetie with one click and produce an annoying image like this (this is an cropped version because the full image is a little over 48,000 pixels tall): TwitterScroll


Theme songs: they just don't make 'em like they used to

I watch a lot of television.. more than I know I should, but I like it so much! When I was a kid all the shows I liked had an intro with a great theme song (well, at least a memorable theme song).

The Greatest American Hero:

The Facts of Life:

Silver Spoons:

Family Ties (a classic, sha lalala!):

Even the not so great sitcoms had great intros, like Dear, John:

or Small Wonder:

Whatever happened to the art of the sitcom intro?


Holy crap, I wrote a second edition

bwpb2ed.jpegTwo years ago (almost exactly!) I blogged about having written by first book. Over the course of those two years I've written two more books (which you can check out here), changed jobs (and then back), and gotten married. I've been busy.

Today, I'm happy to announce that I've revisited my first book, and on December 1st the second edition of Building a WordPress Blog People Want to Read will be available for purchase. This edition has been completely revised, and expanded, to cover WordPress 3.

I'm proud of the book, and very thankful to the wonderful people at PeachPit for taking another chance on little old me!

Now, what will my next book be about?


Dyson: it sucks so good

DysonDC23.jpeg

The other day Marisa and I decided to take the plunge and pony up for a Dyson vacuum.

Sure, it costs a pretty penny but I've always wanted one (shiney gadget!). That being said, I couldn't justify it... but once Marisa let me know she also would like one, that sealed the deal.

We ended up with the Dyson DC23 TurbineHead, which Amazon delivered today.

The Dyson has taught me one thing, so far: we've been living in FILTH! How could we live like this?!


Woody


IMG_1066, originally uploaded by blankbaby.

Last month Marisa and I went to Portland, OR (the land of hippies, outdoorsy people, and Marisa!) to see what we could see.

This is Woody, Marisa's family cat. He didn't trust me, so he only let me pet him a couple times before he ran off.


Pricing: physical vs. digital

digitalCD.jpg

I'm a big fan of digital goods. I buy eBooks all the time, and I can't remember the last time I bought an actual CD. Today, however, I was tempted to break my CD free streak.

As you can see above, Neil Diamond has a new album
out. Since I enjoy Mr. Diamond's work, I wanted to nab a copy for myself. I checked iTunes first, and the MP3 album cost $10.99. I figured Amazon MP3 would have it for a buck cheaper, or so, which they usually do so I headed over there. Amazon had it for $10.99 as well, however, the CD cost $9.99.

I've written before about this phenomenon, though in that case I was talking about physical books vs. eBooks, and I still don't understand it.

As an author I totally get that lots of folks are involved in creating stuff like this, and they aren't volunteers and they need to get paid. That being said, I'm always amazed when a physical product costs less than the digital version.

Oh, and yes, I did buy the digital version even though it cost me a buck more.