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September 2004
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November 2004

October 2004

Youse want that wit

In the Land of Philadelphia Cheesesteaks are king, and now if you money to burn there's a cheesesteak for you:

The traditional Philly cheesesteak has gone precipitously upscale at one new restaurant, where the chopped steak and melted cheese standard includes goose liver and truffles -- and costs $100.

Barclay Prime owner Stephen Starr admits the haute cheesesteak is a marketing ploy for his steakhouse, which opened Tuesday. And he thinks it will sell.

I plan to have this with a nice Kobe beef hamburger.

Considering I am on orablogs now, an Oracle post

RocketBoots chronicles the steps it takes to install Oracle 9i on a Powerbook:

It seems that on every big project I've worked on over the years, the geek held in highest reverence by the project has been the Big Iron DBA - we're talking CICS-IMS, DB2, Informix, and Oracle here, not your wussy-point-and-click SQL Server, nested-selects-still-alpha mySQL or (gasp) Access. There's something about that "I know where your data lives and I can toast the lot in a single line of PL/SQL" look that simultaneously evokes an impression of raw power and unconcerned laziness in the awestruck observer.

Most of the post consists of 'follow the directions,' but it is interesting to read nonetheless.

Guess who is an opera goer

If you guessed me, then give yourself 2 points!

That is right folks, I spent 3.5 hours watching the Opera Company of Philadelphia perform Faust, and best of all it was free.

Unfortunately, I have a medical condition which makes it almost impossible for me to stay awake in a darkened theater with classical music playing. I have gone to countless recitals, concerts, and choral groups and without fail I fall asleep.

I fell asleep at the Bolshoi as well, so it isn't a matter of the country I am in.

However, the parts of the opera I was awake for were very good. I highly recommend it, though if you're a big guy like me be forewarned, the seats are cramped.

UPDATE: I have been informed by a medium sized woman that the seats (other than orchestra) at the Academy of Music are cramped for her as well. Don't say we didn't warn you.

Shatner's 'Has Been' amazing

There are those among you, my dear readers, who assume that when I go home at night I slip into a Starfleet uniform and Spock ears and sip Romulan Ale as I play three dimensional chess.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Heck, I don't even like chess.

Anyway, as I mentioned earlier William Shatner has released a new album entitled 'Has Been,' which was produced by Ben Folds (Shatner did a song or two on Ben's side project 'Fear of Pop').

Folds and Shatner made the very wise decision to have the album mostly spoken word with music behind it (all the singing is done by popular artists of our time).

There is even a touching piece that seems, to me at least, to be about the untimely suicide of Shatner's wife.

Good stuff if you ask me, of course I do have odd musical tastes, so take from this post what you will.

And the album even has a website.

Yoshida Brothers

The Yoshida Brothers are :

What’s new in music? These guys are BRAND new. No doubt about it. At twenty-something years old, the Yoshida Brothers (Domo Records) bring their centuries old traditional based sound to the world, packaged in a uniquely 21st century manner. With a nod to the past and their eyes squarely focused on the future, these Yoshida dudes are something different.

Sure they enjoy cars and girls. They’re in their twenties. But in the hands of these wizards, the brothers’ “axe” of choice Tsugaru-shamisen (pronounced Tsoogaroo shameesen) makes musical magic. Ryoichiro and Kenichi drive exotic sports cars and buy stuff at Dolce & Gabbana. Since they debuted this old school meets New York hip music in 1999 (a debut sold 100,000 plus copies in Japan), in 2004, the Yoshida Bros. are back at it in America. They’ll tour the country from coast to coast.

At least according to that website, all I know is their music is very interesting, and they will be playing an instore at the Tower Records a mere 3 blocks from my apartment on Oct. 16th, and I will be there. Will you?

Everything is coming up Shatner

First he gets an emmy, then a new series and now William Shatner has a new album out:

William Shatner's got a new album out tomorrow. It's called Has Been and it's awesome (really). Like an indie-rock Santana, he got Ben Folds, Aimee Mann, Henry Rollins, and others to lend a hand.

Listen to it here.

The first song 'Common People' is pretty good, and you know I am buying this.

UPDATE: It is available on the iTunes Music store, and I now own it.

Common People - William Shatner

New Gmail Features, Including Atom feed on your inbox

InsideGoogle reports on New Gmail Features:

This morning, new features appeared in Gmail. The official Gmail new features page just says "New features coming soon!", presumable because they take a while to reach everybody, but I've got them, so here's what I've found: Contacts list: Moved to the main screen. New list of frequently used contacts Drafts: You know have the ability to save a draft Atom: You can now receive your new mail notifications in your RSS reader

Do I hear Dave pounding out a post where he accuses Google of throwing its weight around in the syndication market?

Wondering what to get me Christmas?

Wonder no more! The Lifetime AAirpass will do nicely:

  • With a worldwide lifetime AAirpass membership, you can globe-trot whenever and wherever you like.
  • The rules are wonderfully simple: each AAirpass membership allows you to book seating in any available cabin.
  • Enjoy VIP privileges on any open seat for American Airlines' 4,200 daily flights to 250 cities in more than 40 countries around the globe. For the rest of your life. Period.
  • Lunch in Paris or sightseeing in Buenos Aires? No problem. If the radio piques your interest in the London Symphony Orchestra, you can be on your way there in First Class luxury, with the world's largest airline at your service.
  • For downtime during your jaunts, your AAirpass membership also offers the relaxing privacy of access to the 42 American Airlines Admirals Club lounges around the world.
  • Looking for something different to do December 31? With lifetime AAirpass memberships, you and your significant other could chase the new year across time zones.
  • What are you waiting for? Limited quantities of these exclusive memberships are available.

One for 3 million, and 2 for 5, that's a price that can't be beat.

Surround Sound at last!

This is slightly embarrassing for me to admit, but since I am not an A/V geek I think it is ok.

When I first moved to Philadelphia I took it upon myself to purchase a home theater system. I went with a Sony Dream system. It was easy to setup; within minutes I had a surround sound setup.

A few months after the purchase I noticed that the sound wasn't as surround as it should have been. In fact, the back speakers weren't emitting any sound at all. I fiddled with the speaker wires and came to the realization that the speakers themselves, and the wires, were fine.

Yet surround sound eluded me. I tried a variety of other tactics, including but not limited to sacrificing to goat to Odin, but nothing helped. I even thought of calling Glenn (my audio equipment guru) and ask his opinion, but I didn't.

Fast forward to this evening; I just popped in the Empire Strikes Back DVD and looked down at the DVD player's remote. What's this button called 'DVD Setup' do I wonder?

I pushed the button and a menu with a variety of options appeared on the screen. One of the options presented to me was 'Speakers,' and so I selected it. Turns out my center speaker and the two rear speakers were turned off from some reason in the software of the DVD player. I turned them all on, and like magic I was able to watch the Empire Strikes Back in surround sound.

Thin Client Computing

Maybe I should add a Sun category to this here blog. Anyway the Sun Ray 1g Ultra-Thin Client looks pretty cool:

Sun Ray ultra-thin clients provide customers with an interoperable desktop computing solution that reduces the maintenance, upgrade, and operational costs associated with most "fat" PC client environments. The stateless nature of Sun Ray ultra-thin clients allows for complete session mobility, improves workflow, and helps ensure the protection of data.

Dumb terminals are nothing new in the computing world, but what with constant patching and security risks I think that Thin Client computing might be poised to make a come back in enterprise level settings.

And if anyone at Sun wants to send me a Sun Ray, I would be more than happy to put it through its paces.

Good job, Apple

evhead writes about his easy transition to a new Powerbook thanks to Mac OS X's new Setup Assistant:

I just switched from an old Powerbook to a new Powerbook. When you boot up a new Mac, it asks you if you're moving from an old Mac. If so, you plug a Firewire cable in, which you borrow from your co-worker, and it just copies everything over. Your files, apps, and accounts. Two hours later, you log into your new Mac, and everything's the same. And it works! Bravo.

Maybe I need to get a new Mac to experience this.

Good job,

This post about Amazon shows you how good customer service pays for itself:

Ah yes. The portable DVD player I bought her. From That nearly didn't arrive in time. Enter Sota. Superhero. Sota, who personally delivered said portable DVD player at 9.45pm UK time last night to my delighted sister in Finchley, North London.

If the same happened to me, I would be a lifelong Amazon customer.

Does your Powerbook run Windows XP?

Another fine post from Daringfireball:

There are millions of nerds who have simply decided to stick with Windows. The games, the advantages of widespread hardware and software compatibility, the availability of cheaper hardware, just plain stubbornness — all are factors. And for many people, probably most Windows users, Windows is working just fine for them, thank you very much.

But nerds are people who at least realize Windows is a choice. I’ve never seen any sign that large numbers regular people are even aware of this. Until now.

Lastly, #3, how this affects Apple. What’s good for Apple about this isn’t that all of these people are going to switch from Windows to Mac, but simply that they’re considering switching from Windows at all. The simple fact that more people are becoming aware that there are choices other than Windows, and that there are easy-to-understand reasons why one might do so, could be the best thing to happen to Apple’s market share in a decade.

I know Apple will most likely never be the dominant force in desktop computing, but I wouldn't mind if it had a few more percentage points of the market, something which I think is very possible if Apple keeps introducing products like the iPod and the iMac.

Oh, and the title of this post was a question posed to me by a former boss of mine. She saw my new Titanium Powerbook and asked me what kind of computer it was, and I told her. She then asked me if it ran Windows 2000 (XP wasn't out at the time).

Shawn King's Non-Review of the 20" Cinema Display

Shawn King, the host of Your Mac Life has posted a Non-Review of the 20" Cinema Display, I am not sure what is so non-reviewy about it, but here is a snippet:

The problem is, I'm a Powerbook user. Even worse, I'm a couch Powerbook user. Which means, I generally sit on my couch, watching TV, with the 15" AiBook either in my lap or on the coffee table in front of me, within arm's reach.

So, why do I need an extra 20" of 1680 x 1050 silver edged goodness?

Ummm....I don't, really...

But now that it's here, I'm going to use it, dammit!

Getting home was the easy part. It's unbelievable how light this display is (Apple says it's 14.5 lbs. It feels lighter). I can literally pick it up by the base/leg and carry it around comfortably. Now, I don't recommend doing this around the owner of the display (it makes them jittery) but it's very easy to carry around.

I am a Powerbook man myself, but if I ever decide to go with a desktop again I am definately going to buy one of those Cinema Displays, they are super sweet.


I'm with Dori and Hack the Planet, Podcasting is not for me.

What is podcasting you ask? Well according to the Trade Secrets website it is:

Think how a desktop aggregator works. You subscribe to a set of feeds, and then can easily view the new stuff from all of the feeds together, or each feed separately.

Podcasting works the same way, with one exception. Instead of reading the new content on a computer screen, you listen to the new content on an iPod or iPod-like device.

Think of your iPod as having a set of subscriptions that are checked regularly for updates. Today there are a limited number of programs available this way. The format used is RSS 2.0 with enclosures.

In the future, radio shows like All Things Considered and Rush Limbaugh will be available in this manner, and perhaps other syndication formats will support enclosures.

Why do I need to listen to blog postings? I can read much faster than I can listen to someone ramble on about something, and let's face it, not everyone's voice is cut out for broadcasting. I should know, I had a radio show for three years at Lehigh, it is tougher than many people think.

That reminds me, I have a few cassette tapes of a couple of radio shows I did with Chris, I really need to get those converted to MP3's so I can listen to them (since I have no tape player).

Anyone have any ideas about that?