November 21, 2005

GYM-free success!

well, i made it through the week without mentioning Google, Yahoo or MSN. fortunately i had bill o'reilly to bitch about and harry potter to look forward to. (totally excellent, by the way... but more on that later.)

it's late news, but hell, i might as well mention some of the big news that dropped last week. first up, Google Analytics. yup, google took urchin, souped it up with some ajax and a killer brand and made it free!

i have the "No Script" extension running in firefox, and i haven't "allowed" the google-analytics javascript yet just so i can see who is running it. nearly half of the sites i visit have already installed the service. hell, the first day it was announced most of the sites i visit on a regular basis were already running it. "like white on rice," as my PM guru larry used to say.

in other Google News, the bloginfamous (did i just create a word?) Google Base officially launched last week. we can officially move on from the "All your base are belong to Google jokes," and just dive right in. at first glance, the UI could use some major fixer-upping, but the depth of the app is pretty impressive. there have been rumours all around the blogosphere that this could be a craigslist/ebay/etc killer. i think it might be a bit too complicated for the average user to dive right in creating content. but as usual, the search aspect is definitely killer.

for example, search for "vegetarian recipes" and you're invited to narrow your search by clicking "recipes (94) cuisine (34) health (30) cooking (30) fitness (28) weightloss (28) more..." clicking cuisine lets you refine your search even more with links (recipes (33) main ingredient (24) vegetarian (20) vegan (5)) or a dropdown list of cuisine types (indian, italian, mexican, etc.). some killer search functionality, but in the end user satisfaction will be determined by content. and right now the content is pretty scattered and somewhat, dare i say, useless.

next up -- Google is officially in the WiFi provider market. they aren't admitting to plans of world domination just yet, but one bay area city council has approved their proposal to provide free Wi-Fi. no, it's not san francisco, but Mountain View, where google is headquartered.

"Essentially there's very little downside for us," [City Councilman Tom Means] said in an interview Wednesday. "It's an experiment. Google wants to do a test market here to see if they can do it, and they're going to pay us [for it]."
some experiment... "very little downside" is right. if GOOG pulls this off, mountain view is the flagship installation in a long line of GoogleNets. not too shabby.

and finally... have you looked at their stock lately?!?!? enough said. bubble 2.0 in full effect.

November 17, 2005

Infographic: Harry Potter 4 is PG-13

Hilarious infographic from the latest volume of The Onion. Timely, of course since HP4 opens tomorrow.

We've already got IMAX tickets, baby!

"Fifteen minute allegory about foreign policy."
"Hagrid's 'Daddy Bear' lifestyle, which is more than hinted at this time."
"Scene where Lord Voldemort cuts off Harry's ear and douses him in gasoline to the tune of 'Stuck in the Middle With You'."


November 16, 2005

DirectTV and XM Radio finally get their act together

DirecTV is now streaming 72 XM radio stations!

As part of DIRECTV's dedication to offering the best in entertainment to its customers, beginning Nov. 15, 2005, 72 channels of XM's quality music, children's, and talk programming will be available via DIRECTV, nearly doubling its current audio programming lineup at no additional cost. In addition to music channels and children's programming, XM will provide XM's Major League Baseball "Home Plate" talk radio channel, and its High Voltage channel, featuring talk radio stars Opie and Anthony.
sure enough, channels 801-879 are now XM radio stations. Channel lineup (PDF)

it took them long enough -- Sirius has evidently been providing Dish with radio content since sometime last year. but better late than never... the stereo sound quality is good, and the "top" stations appear to be represented. my faves are all there -- deep tracks, top tracks, real jazz, beyond jazz, xm live, xm cafe, xmu, fred, ethel, music lab, lucy, the loft. perhaps they'll figure out a way to allow a local traffic & weather station based on subscriber zip code!

the only glitches i can see are that song synchronization is sometimes slow, and some stations provide minimal (or even no) song info -- which is weird since it seems like it would just be a port of exactly what is coming through normally. but hey, it's free!

between this and free internet streaming, i'll definitely be keeping my satellite radio unit in the car!

RSS Compilation Sites for CSS and Web 2.0

Don't Meet Your Heroes -- a compilation of CSS & Web Standards related news feeds. Very useful as I check most of these almost daily.
read more | digg story

Web 2.0 Workgroup -- "a network of premium weblogs that write content exclusively about the new generation of the Web."
read more | digg story

like 9rules, these sites provide an excellent point of reference for those of us whose RSS feeds are increasingly getting out of hand. i have both of these set as my homepage in FF, so i can take a quick look at what's going on in "my corner" of the web.

November 15, 2005

UPDATE: O'Reilly plans to publish list of "internet smear sites." be on the lookout for yours truly -- oh i hope i hope i hope! :)

I'm glad the smear sites made a big deal out of it. Now we can all know who was with the anti-military internet crowd. We'll post the names of all who support the smear merchants on So check with us.
crooks and liars is encouraging people to email him and request inclusion in the hit list. more, more and more.

he's basically called me a traitor for simply living here and voting the way i do. i'm not calling for his resignation or saying that he should be fired. i just think he's an ass.

we are the evildoers.

evil anna 2

evil anna 2,
originally uploaded by hlh-abg.

o'reilly got it all wrong:
I don't think they like the country. I don't think these people like the country. They feel that we're the problem, we're the evildoers, that al Qaeda is created because of us. That's the hallmark of the radical left. It's always America's fault. We're the bad country, and the enlightened citizens of San Francisco, we're not going to be a part of it. We're gonna separate out. We're gonna ban military recruiting.

Bill O'Reilly and San Francisco, part deux


hat tip to monk.

i was in kansas city and missed part one, but here's a link to the audio of the controversial spot on his radio show that started it all. the transcript is below, but suffice it to say that o'reilly launched into a bit of a tirade against my fair city for putting a measure on the ballot last week that would urge city schools to reject military recruiters from campus recruitment.

and because i couldn't have said it any better, here's today's follow-up:
O'Reilly vies for "Best Editing" Emmy.

On last night's O'Reilly Factor, Bill defended his previous statement regarding an attack on San Francisco. How? By completely editing it out. O'Reilly claimed that his statement was merely a "satirical riff."

To prove his point, O'Reilly played the audio clip from last Tuesday's Radio Factor:

"I hate to be pickin' on you guys in California. I hope you don't take it personally. One lady did yesterday. It isn't about you, the individual Californian, it's about how crazy your state is. In San Francisco they're voting on two initiatives. One would ban military recruiting. Hey, you know, if you want to ban military recruiting, fine, but I'm not gonna give you another nickel of federal money. You know, if I'm the President of the United States, I walk right into Union Square, I set up my little Presidential podium, and I say, 'Listen, citizens of San Francisco, if you vote against military recruiting, you're not gonna get another nickel in federal funds. Fine. You want to be your own country? Go right ahead."

O'Reilly chose that moment to end the clip. Here's what he decided to leave out:

"And if Al Qaeda comes in here and blows you up, we're not going to do anything about it. We're going to say, look, every other place in America is off limits to you, except San Francisco. You want to blow up the Coit Tower? Go ahead. "

When one of his guests questioned the editing of the most controversial lines, O'Reilly claimed it was because the clip was too long. How convenient.

You might as well show a documentary about the KKK and stop when they leave the meeting with white cloaks and torches. Are they all going for a nice walk? We can only assume.

via Sweet Jesus, I hate Bill O'Reilly, Intl.

o'reilly is not only defending himself but also going on the offensive, claiming that his rant "needed to be said."
What I said isn't controversial. What I said needed to be said. I'm sitting here and I'm looking at a city that has absolutely no clue about what the world is. None. You know, if you had been hit on 9/11 instead of New York, believe me, you would not have voted against military recruting. Yet the left-wing, selfish, Land of Oz philosophy that the media and the city politicians have embraced out there is an absolute intellectual disgrace.

via ThinkProgress (full transcript and audio)

i guess it's left-wing, selfish, squirrely politicians who drafted the anti-discrimination laws... my in-house attorney (i.e. wifey) tells me that the root of the on-campus recruiting problem stems from anti-discrimination code. schools have rules that say that organizations who support discrimination on its face are not allowed to recruit on-campus. the government does just that -- supports discrimination on its face. thanks to president clinton, we have the lovely don't-ask-don't-tell policy and well, if you tell you're toast. but i'm sure mr. bill doesn't want to make this a gay issue. lord knows that would only fan the flames.

Mayor Newsome had a few words of his own in response:
I've never been impressed with what he's had to say, and I'm not impressed now. Consider the source. Remember, this is the guy who wanted me arrested after (San Francisco sanctioned same-sex marriages last year). He never let his opinion get in the way of the facts.
i like this Newsome guy more and more.

November 14, 2005

GYM-free week: day one

so, without telling you what G-Y-M stands for (think search engines, should be pretty easy), i'll simply refer you to where this blogosphere meme originated. i'll try my hardest to stay GYM-free this week -- though in all honesty i've been gym-free for some months now. ;)

the idea is shift the focus from the Big 3 to some of the little guys, and in that vein i give you wink, magnolia, and i'll pimp rollyo some more.

the funny thing is that om malik just might be onto something. check out the stats at Blog Pulse (key frame is the last, nov 11 +):


November 10, 2005

November 9, 2005

Musings from Kansas

Kansas City, here I come!

Kansas City, here I come!,
originally uploaded by quepol.

i.e. it's good to be a californian!

actually, i'm in kansas city, missouri; but i'm here with my kansas-based company and a heck of a lot of kansans, so i don't feel like the title is too misleading. plus, kansas has gone and gotten itself in the news again. they actually had the gall to rewrite the definition of "science" so that it�s not explicitly limited to the search for natural explanations of phenomena. i repeat, the school board redefined science. and they didn't even have the decency to include other alternatives... have you been touched by His noodly appendage?

meanwhile, back in the land of fruits and nuts*, californians dealt a swift blow to the governator. in what may be a bellwhether moment for the nation, my blue state soundly defeated arnold's efforts to reshape state government (putting quite a damper on his hopes of a 2nd term). and while it was the closest margin of the evening, voters also rejected the republicans attempt to drag right-wingers to the polls -- a.k.a. Prop 73, an initiative that would have required parents to be notified when minors seek abortions.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, the action-movie hero turned governor of California, faced humiliation and an uncertain political future yesterday after a special election he called against most voters' wishes saw the defeat of every ballot initiative he had endorsed.
The governor's agenda was straight out of the Republican Party handbook - a big mistake, according to critics from both major parties, because it demolished his claims to be the "people's governor", viscerally opposed to partisan politics.

California delivers a slap in the face to Arnold Schwarzenegger - The Independent (UK)

And by far my favorite headline:   Arnold Terminates Himself - Washington Post
Why did Schwarzenegger think he could prevail with a warmed-over version [of grover norquist's 1998 anti-tax, anti-union prop 226] seven years later? Particularly since California is just about the only state in which union density has actually increased over the past half-decade?

The answer is: the special election. By calling yet another election in election-weary California, Schwarzenegger was counting on engendering so much voter revulsion at the election itself that only a relative handful of disproportionately Republican voters would actually go to the polls.
between this and the right-wing bating with prop 73, that's two strikes against arnold in one fell swoop. the governator seems destined to follow in gray davis's footsteps instead of nixon or the gipper.

"Newsome for Governor"???   anyone?... bueller?

* my father's term of endearment for the "California Republic"

November 8, 2005

Links with your coffee...

Ebay 2.0 = Etsy: Etsy is a P2P ecommerce company that currently limits its goods to handmade items. But they've architected the experience using web 2.0 principles -- taxonomy, tagging, and useful flash (imagine that!).

Nano lawsuit goes international.

Grokster quits file-sharing fight. More at google.

Microsoft has 'biggest launch ever' -- and is giving away Visual Studio 2005 Express Edition.

November 7, 2005

Links with your coffee...

Microsoft Live is still in the news. I'm inclined to agree with Fred Wilson and John Batelle: "Big whoop." "Windows Live is lame." And it doesn't work in Firefox.

M$ launches SQL Server 2005 to compete with Oracle.

Taking a hint from Google, M$ plans to digitize 100,00 books from the British Library.

Why even Wal-Mart is afraid of Google. And why they should be.

Google Local for mobile launched today. The downloadable cellphone application brings all the google map technology to your phone. If nothing else, check out the song that some guy on the Mobile Team wrote. Priceless.

Yahoo teams up with TiVo! Schedule recordings on your TiVo from Yahoo! TV. Maybe this will force Yahoo to actually put some thought into the UI for this portal. They could learn a lesson or two from the TiVo folks.

November 3, 2005

World Usability Day: 36 hours of events, from New Zealand to San Francisco, celebrating easy-to-use technology.

The creators are styling today after Earth Day, but focused on technology not trees. There are events all around the globe and people are encouraged to submit stories about "everyday usability." I wonder if they would accept submissions of things that* suck.
* via

Today's Google News

Google Print is preserving public domain books. more news here.

Google Video get its own blog. To get your own 15 minutes of google fame, upload your own videos and hope you're cool enough for the boys and girls in Mountainview.

Google Desktop grows up (yup, another google product actually leaves BETA) and gets its own blog. I personally hate the sidebar, but there is some definite cool potential with the plug-ins. Between GDS and ObjectDock, I'm slowly but surely replacing the M$ Start button.

Google blogs the news of both new blogs on their official blog. blog bloggity blog.

By the way, if you use Firefox and you're not using the CustomizeGoogle extension you should be. And if you're not using Firefox, well, then... I don't know what to say.

Colorado Governor Legalizes Gay Marriage

...on South Park!

Despite Mrs. Garrison's efforts, South Park legalized gay marriage... and settled the "butt-buddy" debate.

TheMalcontent has video.

November 2, 2005

Links to procrastinate by...

'NBC Nightly News' to Be Shown on Internet: starting next week (Monday, Nov 7) broadcasts will be archived at

Web Two Point Oh!: ahhh, geek humor. use this web site to create your very own Web 2.0 company. the latest refresh gave me: Meebeetix -- cellphone-based blogs via email invite *only*.

Remember the Milk: the latest addition to web-based GTD apps... though this one might be the current front-runner (sorry 37signals), at least for simple to-do listing. Basecamp still wins out on the full-on project management front. Remember the Milk's feature list is impressive and it's easy to use. on your TiVo (using Galleon, an open-source media browser): if you're not using, you should be... unless you're a hermit... or live in Baxter Springs, KS. Galleon is a free, opensource media server for TiVo -- play mp3s, view photos, listen to online radio, view webcams, read email and RSS feeds and a lot more.

Rollyo -- Roll your own search engine. Create your own personal search engine using any web site you want.

jack-o-lanterns! great flickr pool. some of my favorites are the Griffin family. check out the link under the photo for more Family Guy Halloween.

Family Guy Halloween 2005
Originally uploaded by Irea.

Flickr Printing!!   After many many requests (a.k.a. bitching from users) Flickr has finally made some progress on the printing front. You can now order prints to be delivered by mail, or you can pick them up at the nearest Target. yup, partnering with Target.

They also rolled out a pilot program allowing businesses access to their APIs, starting with QOOP, Englaze and Zazzle. QOOP makes books and posters, Englaze makes DVDs and Zazzle lets you design your own US postage stamp. Interesting choice of partners to get started with, but if they truly mean to open it up then I'm confident we'll see a(nother) Flickr explosion.

Let's hope the folks at Picaboo hop on this! TechCrunch has a recent review which is spot on.

looking at tomorrow's destinationMoon, Sun and Yosemite Align for Photo: forget carbon dating, even though i guess that doesn't really apply... but who cares? Astronomers at Texas State University have pinned down the exact time and date Ansel Adams snapped the famous "Autumn Moon." I'm a little late to this news, but it's so cool I had to blogit. They concluded that the picture was taken at 7:03 pm on Sept. 15, 1948 -- the scene captured at Glacier Point in Yosemite repeats itself every 19 years.

November 1, 2005

Cowon A2 media player reviewed

oh yes. this could be the one i've been waiting for (literally... i've got an IOU from saint nick for an mp3 player). the A2 is currently only available in korea, but PMP Maniac got their hands on one and has posted a review complete with photos. seems that it's got standard (i.e. great) Cowon audio playback, solid video quality and good battery life ("We actually got through 3 full movies and half of the 4th movie before the player shut itself off.").

The Cowon A2 is an excellent entry into the fast growing market of new generation Portable Media Players. It offers an excellent 4� LCD, high capacity battery, stylish and strong design and many features that are desirable by users looking for a quality player/recorder. Recent firmware updates by Cowon have addressed some issues that were present early on such as frame buffering in video playback.
The Cowon A2 is a serious contender and should be placed high on your list for consideration.
read review | lots of pictures | action pics

Official Specs:
  • Size: 133 x 79 x 22mm, 298g
  • LCD: 4 inches, 480 x 272 pixles, 16:9 format, 16 million colors (32-bit!)
  • Video output: NTSC & PAL
  • Built-in stereo speaker and microphone
  • Output: 32mW per channel, 95db signal-to-noise ratio
  • FM radio, 25 presets
  • 4300mAh Lithium battery, internal, good for up to 10 hours video playback, 18 hours for audio
  • 1.8-inch hard drive, 20 or 30gb
  • USB 2.0 and USB 2.0 Host
  • Supports video formats: AVI, ASF, WMV, DivX 3.11/4/5, XviD, MPEG-4 SP, WMV9... at up 720x576, 30 fps
  • Supports AC3 6.1 channel output for movies
  • Music support: MP3, WMA, OGG and WAV
  • Custom 5-band EQ and 7 presets, plus BBE, Mach3Bass, MP3 Enhance, 3D Surround
  • Picture support: JPG, BMP and PNG up to 4 mega-pixel
  • View text files
  • Audio line-in, mic, and radio recording to MP3, up to 192kbit
  • Lyrics display
  • Comes with case, AV cables, USB Host plug, USB and mini-to-mini cable, and earphones
  • A wired remote will be available as an option

Dreamweaver Easter Egg

first of all, kudos to the dreamweaver team over at macromedia. DW8 pretty much rocks. i've always been a hand-coder, using HomeSite for those easy Word-like shortcuts (CTRL-B for bold, etc.), but DW is my new prototyping god-send. i skipped several generations of DW after being pretty put off by the general suckiness of late-nineties WYSIWYG. but it's not just the WYSIWYG that makes DW8 great, the product team has really listened to users and thought of just about everything that could make a coder's life easier.

yeah yeah yeah, blah blah blah... what about this easter egg?? well, if you have DW and are feeling like a little procrastination is in order, try the following (for best results you should un-maximize the app and make it rather small):

1. open any HTML page
2. click anywhere inside the BODY
3. go to the "Properties" panel and find the colors entry box
4. enter "dreamweaver" and hit Enter
5. play DW Pong!

as a side note, it seems to only work in PC versions. also, Flash MX supposedly has several retro games built in!

Via SitePoint