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October 2004

The Morning Call, of all newspapers, gets blogs

To all my 'peeps' living in the Lehigh Valley, the Morning call is hosting
BLOG THE VOTE (their caps) this Tuesday. The panel will be composed of Anna Marie Cox of Wonkette, Markos Moulitsas of the DailyKos, and John Hunderaker of Powerlineblog:

Three of the hottest bloggers on the Web - from, and - will discuss politics and journalism on the Internet in a forum sponsored by The Morning Call Tuesday, Oct. 19 from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Moravian College.

The forum to be held in Moravian's Foy Hall, will be free and open to the public. Seating is limited to 400 and people will be admitted on a first come first seated basis.

A free wireless Internet network will be available for the duration of the discussion and the audience is invited to bring wireless-capable laptops and blog about the panel as it unfolds.

And free Wifi for the attendees? That's some good stuff! Considering that this panel is all about politics I don't feel slighted that I was not asked to be involved.

More if I survive

Julie has talked me into going to Terror Behind the Walls at the Eastern State Penitentiary tonight.

I do not handle being scared all that well, therefore if I make it through the night I will post my impressions of the place.

UPDATE: I did survive. Turns out haunted house type things aren't that scary (this is my first experience of one). However, this trip has made me want to take the historical tour of the Eastern State Penitentiary, which apparently at one time housed a criminal dog of some kind.

Hey, Scripting Guy! Why no RSS?

Microsoft's Scripting Guys have a new feature called Hey, Scripting Guy!, in which they answer a scripting question a day.

Unlike most technical writers the Scripting Guys write in an easy, relaxed style that is informative and entertaining.

My only beef with the site (do people still use that phrase?) is that there is no feed.

Come on Microsoft, do you really expect me to visit this webpage every day? Perhaps Scoble can pull some strings for Philadelphia's Most Influential Blogger™ and get them to put up a feed, and perhaps interview them for Channel9.

I want my RSS (or Atom)!

Look at me, I am posting more Mac stuff

This is going to be two, two, two posts in one.

Ain't I clever?

Steve Jobs unveiled Apple mini stores:

The new stores feature a striking new design inside the small space, which is roughly half the size of Apple's smallest and most common retail outlets. The ceiling is an unbroken expanse of white, lit from behind; the walls are Japanese-made stainless steel (with Power Mac G5-style holes around the top of the walls for ventilation purposes); and the floor is a shiny white made, according to Jobs, of "material used in aircraft hangars."

Products in the new stores are half iPod related, half Mac related, according to Jobs. "That's new for us, and we hope to draw iPod customers into the store," he said. Both Jobs and Apple Senior Vice President of Retail Ron Johnson said they hoped the new store's hip design would draw a younger, hipper customer.

Hmm, too bad I am not that 'hip,' but I am a big fan of Japanese steel.

Now, if I were independantly wealthy, or perhaps had a job involving more than 4 Macs I would be going to the O'Reilly Mac OS X Conference. I looks like, as the kids say, a hoot.

I want an iMac G5

james duncan davidson is the proud owner of a brand new iMac and he even took a picture of the innards:

It's a gem. It's pretty. It's white. It's... elegant.

I'm going to go on a limb and say that this is the most Mac-like Mac since the very first model was unveiled in 1984. From the front, all you see is screen and a bit of bezel—not far from the user experience in 1984. Nothing extraneous.

However, unlike that first Mac, this one is powerful beyond anything that could have been imagined as a personal computer twenty years ago. It's powerful enough for just about any task that most users would to throw at it. Let me put it this way: If you are using Motion, a heavy Final Cut Pro user, build huge projects, or you want to use the huge Cinema displays, you'll want to lay out the cash on a PowerMac G5. If you are going to use Microsoft Office, iPhoto, Photoshop, iChat, Mail, surf the Web, and the like—this machine is more than enough for you.

Now, I know some people want to me blog less about 'Mac stuff' and more about them (no, I am not naming names here, but you know who you are), but this is my little corner of the internet and I will do what I want to.

So there.

And go buy an iMac.

Cheaper Netflix? has an interesting article about Amazon entering the DVD rental business and Netflix's reaction: plans to enter the DVD rental business in a move that will put the online retail giant in direct competition with Netflix.

News of Amazon's intentions were disclosed Thursday afternoon by Netflix founder and CEO Reed Hastings during the company's earnings call. Netflix said it would cut prices to ensure future growth in the face of competition from Blockbuster, Wal-Mart Stores and soon Amazon.

"We started hearing rumors about two weeks ago, and we were able to confirm them," Hastings said in an interview. "We think we will compete successfully with them because we have great scale, we ship 3 million DVDs a week, and we have five years of experience in this market."

I love Netflix, in fact if you don't have a subscription to Netflix you need to get one. Right now. I'll wait.

OK, good. The only thing I could love more than Netflix is cheaper Netflix.

Small is the new big

oqo.jpgThe New York Times > Technology > Circuits > State of the Art: Fitting Your PC in a Pocket:

Thanks to some of the very advances in miniaturization that make hand-held gadgets possible (bright indoor-outdoor screens, two-inch hard drives), these guys have devised the world's smallest Windows XP computer: 4.9 by 3.4 inches and less than an inch thick. They pose an intriguing question: why would you buy a bunch of gadgets designed to liberate the data from your PC if you could just shove the entire PC into your pocket?

It's called the OQO (pronounced OH-cue-oh), not to be confused with AT&T's instant-messaging device (Ogo), a wind instrument (oboe) or John Lennon's widow (Yoko Ono).

Check out the company's website, the product looks very well done but what would you expect from ex-Apple engineers?

There is also a video review on the NYTimes review, check it out and see this thing in action. Am I going to get one? No, but it is cool nonetheless.

Hey, OQO, if you want me to review one feel free to send me an unit.

People Pay to Hear Me Talk

You might imagine as Philadelphia's Most Influential Blogger™ are beating down my door to hear my opinions on the matters of the day. You would sadly be incorrect.

Sure, I'm sure, I'm fairly well spoken, and I am one delicious piece of man candy, but for some reason my sphere of influence is rather pitiful. However, I am considered somewhat of an expert in the Millennium community, and as such I have been asked to speak on a panel at the Annual MIP Users Conference in Austin, TX.

In additional to garnering the respect and admiration of my fellow Millennium users I get to wear a nametag with a speaker ribbon on it. Look upon my awesomeness and tremble!

Of course, I was on the same panel last year, and it consisted mostly of me saying, 'Hey if you configure the database correctly you don't really need to do much more,' but I'll take what I can get.

Anywho, anyone from Texas read this little blog? Holla, as the kids say. At least, I think they say that.

Oh, and don't mess with Texas!

Apple to Microsoft, 'Oh no you didn't!'

Macminute has a story about Apple's reaction to Microsoft's claim that iTunes and iPods are a 'closed system':

"This means that the iTunes Music Store, with its catalog of over 1 million songs, works with 65 percent of all MP3 players and 92 percent of all hard-drive based music players being sold today. There is a lot of customer choice happening today, it's just that Microsoft doesn't like the choices customers are making."

Of course Microsoft's 'open' system is open so long as you purchase a device that licenses Microsoft's technology. Doesn't sound too open to me.

Like Henry Ford said, 'You can have a Model T in any color you want, as long as it's black.'

How much does an iPaq cost

O'Grady's PowerPage posted a story about the total cost of ownership of the iPaq h6315:

When considering the purchase of any piece of mobile technology it is important to consider the entire real cost of the item including the accessories. The devil in certainly in the details and with PDA and smartphones especially, you should expect to spend almost the cost of the base unit on the requisite cases, batteries and chargers.

For example, the new HP iPaq h6315 smartphone/PDA costs much more than the attractive base price of US$499 (with activation, US$599 without).

Look at these extra expenses as Total Cost of Acquisition (TCA) and if you dive in and purchase the new iPAQ (or any mobile phone or PDA, for that matter) prepare yourself to buy the following (almost immediately):

I must say that I did just purchase a SD card (512) and on my list of things to get are: a screen protector, a retractable charger, and bluetooth headset, but I don't think that I need to purchase any of these things.

To Philly, From Alaska, w/love

David Miller's blog To Philly, From Alaska, w/love is about, in his own words:

My first year teaching in the Alaska Bush after four years teaching in Philadelphia.

I find this very interesting because I have often thought about moving to Alaska. I am not sure why I often think about this, but I do. I can tell you one thing though, I wouldn't be living in the bush.

Nome or bust!

As they say, 'There's no place like Nome!'

Calling All Philadelphia Nerds

Listen fellow Philly geeks, many other cities are totally kicking our when it comes to the Geek/Nerd dinners. As Philadelphia's Most Influential Blogger™, this makes me sad, and I feel like I should do something about it.

Jim Blizzard whipped Portland's nerd in shape:

We started the Portland Nerd Dinner a little over a year ago. I kept seeing Robert Scoble blogging about his dinners at the Crossroads in Bellevue/Redmond and about the illustrious people who were attending. It sounded really cool, but in Portland we didn’t have many of “big names” coming in from out of town very often like they do in Redmond.

Come on. Portland? Who the heck lives in Portland? Philly can do better than that!

Of course there is an outside chance there are monthly Blogger/Geek/Nerd dinners in Philly and I just haven't been invited. That makes me sad.

For crying out loud Philly isn't even listed on!

Steak, God's favorite meal (and mine too)

I am a big fan of steak, in fact if I could I would eat it at least once a day. Yeah, I said it, once a day.

So imagine my surprise when I happen upon Barclay Prime, Stephen Starr's newest restaurant, a mere stone's throw away from Blankbaby HQ.

I can assure you that I will not be getting a hundred dollar cheesesteak any time soon, but I doubt I will be able to resist the siren's call of an expensive steak for long.

Now I just have to find a lady friend with which to eat with, and I am good to go.

Mmm, a lady and a steak, does it get any better?

Don't think of it as being fired, think of it as graduating

An article in The Chronicle: Career Network written by a recently fired Associate Dean:

We in academe seem to believe that lifetime employment is both the mark of excellence and the reward for good service. We tend not to think about being fired, not least because most of us don't get fired. The long boom in higher education and the constant expansion of programs and services has protected the vast majority of people who land faculty and administrative jobs. Yes, getting the job is difficult, but once you find one, you're in.

Since I happen to work in Higher Education I found this article to be quite interesting. I can attest to the fact that it can be difficult to find a job in higher ed. I had to look for several months before I found my first job at Columbia Business School (Fun fact: I started my career in higher ed planning reunions and other alumni events). Once you get in the door it is significantly easier (if you're competent, and I manage to fool people into thinking I know what I am doing).

Anyway, for those I work with, the fact that I was looking at the Chronicle's Job page is in no way an admission that I am looking for a new job (or am I? No, I am not. Why, have you heard something? Should I be looking for a new job? Why did you ask? Dude, you can't just ask me something like that and walk about).

Mike Davidson on the ABC News Redesign

Mike Davidson pulls back the curtain on the ABC News Redesign:

A collaborative effort between the ABCNews team in New York City, the Disney Internet Group in Seattle, and a few outside consultancies, the new is a refreshing reminder that dramatic change is possible in organizations of any size. I feel lucky to have worked on this project and wanted to share as much as possible about what went on behind the scenes to bring you what we now believe to be one of the best news sites on the web.

And best of all they added a 'butt load' of RSS feeds, and they even used the ugly orange XML badge; I am sure Dave approves.

600 Power Mac G5's + Star Wars Equals One Happy Geek

I just watched the Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi on DVD, and I was shocked by how good the movies look. They look crystal clear, and clean enough to eat off of... if such a thing were possible.

John D. Lowry was recently profiled on Apple's Pro/:

The optimal re-mastering of the trilogy was a keystone project for LucasFilm. “These are absolutely the crown jewels,” says Ward. But polishing the jewels involved epic wrangling of badly degraded master prints by film restoration expert John Lowry of Lowry Digital Images in Burbank, CA.

And take a look at his setup (Quicktime required).

You got your ad in my RSS feed

I have made my love of Engadget known far and wide, and as Philadelphia's Most Influential Blogger™ that carries a lot of weight. Gizmodo was my gadget blog of choice, but then the main writer for Gizmodo was wooed away to start Engadget and so my loyalty followed.

Fast forward to present day, in my apartment. I am looking at my subscriptions in NetNewsWire and what do I find in Engadget's feed? This:


And not just one of them, but one at the end of every single post. How annoying is that? Perhaps, if it were a different ad in each post it might be a little less irksome, but as it stands I had to look at 32 iterations of the same ad.

How many did I click on? Zero.