January 29, 2005

JHymn keeps iTunes alive

I haven't had a need to use this program yet, but if each of us in Casa Allen has a couple computers & music players in the future, I might have to use a tool like this:


It's nice to know we have some options to keep our purchased tunes alive forever. I'm reminded that I've had several Macs over the past 20 years starting with System 6 (I think) and I can't run a single program that I bought that long ago--but I can still play that Police Synchronicity CD. I like to think that I'll be able to run OS X software that far in the future, but I'm not going to bet all my purchased music on it...

January 21, 2005

Paul Graham's Graduation Advice

I found a lot of truth in this essay.  Note that Paul Graham is a hacker/programmer, and his essay comes from that point-of-view, but he certainly has a way with words.  I like to think that I have followed his advice along the way to where I am, but in some ways I know I haven't.  I think I'll make a point of re-reading this off-and-on.  I'll also be forwarding this to my niece in high school.


January 18, 2005


I finally found out where Paul Haeberli is: http://laminadesign.com/

As always, very cool stuff.

[Paul Haeberli is a graphics futurist who had an office near mine when I worked at SGI/AGD in 7 Upper. He's quite well-known in the 3d graphics industry. Here's a pointer to his Grafica Obscura page.]

January 15, 2005


I posted this to the TiVo Support forum:

I'm very interested in using the TivoToGo service to download shows to my PC. This should be a great new feature. However, as I wait for my first shows to download, I thought I'd send my feedback in the hopes that it will reach the ears of the developers...

1) Wow, that's a lot of hoops to jump through...
> download software
> install codecs separately
* oh, now I have to wait for the system's software to update. Ug...
> sign up to get on priority list for software
* wait for a week
* okay it is updated...try connection, denied.
> oh,I have to enable the system on *Tivo's website*--what the heck is that? why not on the system?
> force the tivo to connect to get this permission
* still, errors while connecting--denied
> oh, in the fine print I need to disable parental controls
* still, errors while connecting--apparently the system is killing transfer
> reset the system as I read on some forum post
* okay! finally, I see my shows, but...
> still have to muck with parental controls (that are already temporarily off) to get some programs

It should go without saying that this is not what I expected from a company that prides itself on ease-of-use.

2) The Parental Controls switching is really not ideal

This should be something completely controllable via the Tivo Desktop. Having to muck with this on the Tivo means I have to be in front of the TV when I transfer shows. I won't disable parental controls--is there any other way to fix this up? I hope this is the first feature they add to Tivo Desktop 2.1.

Otherwise, this looks like a great new tool and I look forward to using it.

January 12, 2005

Hibernating in Summer

This seems very interesting--a lemur that can actually hibernate in the
summer. I wonder what we'll find after studying this little monkey...


January 09, 2005

Wendy's first use for the Xbox

Wendy finally found a use for our Xbox--besides making us all feel guilty for wasting time in front of it.

We found an aerobic/yoga/fitness "game" called Yourself Fitness. Basically, it is a glorified areobic tape, but it appears to be a great way to get personalized aerobic workout without the repetitiveness of a VHS/DVD. It does an interview to find out your fitness level, asks about your goals and creates an individual program for you. The instructor appears onscreen and leads you as in a regular tape, but she's completely computer-generated. The graphics are very well done.

See more at http://www.yourselffitness.com

January 05, 2005

Jan 5, 2005 Word of the Day


/kruhfts´m@n·ship /, n. [from cruft]

The antithesis of craftsmanship.


January 03, 2005

Happy New Year + Comet Machholz

Happy New Year!

There's a new comet passing by and I finally found a clear night to check it out. I went out about 9:15pm tonight, found the Pleiades and moved the binoculars down and to the right a couple fields-of-view. When moving, the "fuzzy blob" is fairly easy to notice. As usual these things are FAR more pretty in the pictures you can get online--it's just a grey, fuzzy blob in my binoculars. I couldn't see the tail from my light-polluted back yard.

The comet will be moving towards the Pleiades over the next couple days. Perhaps it will get a noticable tail. The finder chart from Sky & Telescope should help with locating. Just click here.

Although not that impressive, its a nice reminder of our tiny little place in the overall universe... Consider our solar system as a little bubble a light-year across (that's overly generous, but bear with me). Then consider that our galaxy is 100,000 of those little bubbles in diameter. It's something like a million bubbles to the next-closest galaxy. And there are billions of galaxies out there.

What a collosal waste of space if it is all created only for us.