Monthly Archive for October, 2004

I’m a geek

I can now define myself as a geek, all thanks to Kasia:

” • Instead of sitting and eating in an airport, like the rest of the population, you walk around until you can spot a power socket.”

Last night at Chicago Midway while waiting 2 hours for my flight, I walked around the terminal looking for a power outlet. There were two in the vicinty of the four gates I was close to. Two power outlets in the whole damned place… why? And they were on the wall, no chairs in sight. So, I stole a chair from behind an unoccupied gate desk, and proceeded to juice up my laptop while checking email.

Yes, I’m a geek.

Are you a geek? If you meet one of the criterian on the rest of her “You know you’re a geek when…” list, then you are.

70% Spam sucks

This is ridiculous:

70% spam this month. Sucks.

Time to seriously consider installing a server-side spam filter.

Airlines are Stupid

Since ATA filed for bankruptcy today [more], I figured this was a timely post.

Yesterday, I booked an appointment with a client in Moline, Iowa. I did so yesterday because the airplane tickets were anywhere from $600 – $700 to a direct flight to and from Austin to Chicago, and I can drive to Moline easily. I booked the appointment yesterday and didn’t think about booking the plane tickets until today when I confirmed the appointment (who buys refundable tickets today anyways).

Well, this morning I logged onto AA.com and low and behold, the tickets were $1,200… more than double what they were yeterday. So, I logged onto Orbitz: same thing. Expedia: same thing. United.com didn’t have any better prices and Southwest Airlines doesn’t get to Chicago early enough for my appointment. Rather than check all of the other airline’s websites I called my friendly local travel agent.

The travel agent took the time to listen to what I needed, understood I was willing to spend up to around $700 for the tickets if she could get that for me, and understood when I needed to get there and when I wanted to get home.

She called me back in 30 minutes with a few options in the $700 range, and we finally booked an itinerary that’ll work. Now here’s where the “Airlines are Stupid” part comes in:

Preface: Realize that the airfare-only part is now ‘valued’ at $1,200 from the airlines at this point (according to their websites).

So, my itinerary now looks like this:

1. Last Minute Travel Deal: Austin to Chicago
   a. Departing Austin on 10/28 at 6:00, arriving in Chicago at 8:30 (when I need to be there).
   b. Departing Chicago on 10/31 at who cares what time…
   c. Includes a rental car (that I won’t be using)
   d. Price: $350 or so

2. ATA flight from Chicago to DFW (no ATA’s bankruptcy filing doesn’t scare me for a flight I’m taking in a couple of days)
   a. One way ticket on the day I need to fly back, when I need to fly back
   b. Price: $150 or so

3. Southwest flight from Love Field to Austin
   a. One way ticket on 10/29 back home at 7:00 in the morning… won’t miss any work
   b. Price: $150 or so.

So, by not using over half of this stupid last minute deal (see item #1 above) I can get the early direct flight that I need from Austin to Chicago, and then combine it with an over-night layover in Dallas (which works because I have family there that I’d love to see) and I’m happy paying $700 for the trip. Now, realize that they have to pay the rental car company for that rental car I’m getting in 1.c. above. This is why the airlines are stupid. I was happy to give them $600 or $700 all for them, but no, by making the price of the trip $1200, they forced me to find a way around their pricing.

And I did.

And in the process, they lost money.

In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll point out that if I could guarantee I could make it back to the airport in Chicago by 5:00 or so, I could have flown home direct on Thursday, instead of spending the night in Dallas, but since I have family there, and I’d rather spend the night there than miss the flight out of Chicago, I’m more than happy to make that accomodation.

Airlines are stupid.

Blogcards Discovered

I just discovered Gapingvoid Blogcards by Hugh Macleod.

Fucking awesome idea. Gonna have to order a few.

cfa.jpg

update: I ordered 100 cards with the above image printed on them and my name and email address on the back… I figure they’ll be great as conversation starters at parties and the like. Figured I’d share that with you all.

Listening to Longhorn football on the internet

Today’s been a good day for me (so far) with respect to college football. My boys (Texas A&M) beat Colorado… who’d have thought they’d have a 6 game winning spree this season after last year?

So, then I wanted to listen to the t.u./Texas Tech game after the wife and I walked around the block, so I turned to the internet. The game isn’t being televised (why not? I have no idea) and I don’t have a AM or FM receiver in the house, so the internet was the only option.

I found the game being broadcast on the internet for free at AM 1300 The Zone (I could have paid for access to the game through CollegeSports.com, but that seemed stupid). If the stream URL doesn’t change, this is what I’m listening to now, and here’s the direct Windows Media stream URL (which works better on a Mac than the stupid HTML player they have available).

I also found CollegeSports.com’s cool “Gametracker” which is a flash app that shows the game and the plays, and shows a quick animation of each play as it happens… super cool! (To find the gametracker for the game you want to see, goto the “today’s games” page and click to see the gametracker you’re interested in watching. I’m watching this one right now.)

The radio station is doing a great job of covering the game, but that’s because they’re just repurposing a primary content distribution system for another distribution method. The CollegeSports Gametracker seems to have sleepy little hamsters behind it… they seem to miss a bunch of plays that the radio guys get, and then add them all in to beat the radio guys to one big play, then go back to sleep for a little while…

Oh well. It’s nice to know there are a couple of good sources for listening to Texas Football games on the internet because TexasSports.com (UT’s official sports website) sucks as far as offering live content goes.

iGo Juice from Mobility Electronics is busted

I just sent this email to the customer service folks at Mobility Electronics:

TO: [email protected]
FROM: [email protected]
SUBJECT: Juice Problems
DATE: October 21, 2004

I bought a Juice product through Amazon.com about a year and a half ago, and lately I’ve noticed that it hasn’t been charging my laptop very reliably… then, today I plugged in my cellphone to it, and noticed that it wasn’t charging the cell phone, but that the cell phone was getting charged for a few seconds, then not, then was, then not, ad infinutum. So, I looked at the connections and the power brick piece, and the blue LED that indicates that the power brick is plugged in was blinking.

What should I do? Is the power brick busted? Can I buy a new one, or fix the old one?

I’m not looking for a total freebie here, though I didn’t expect a $120 power solution to break in a year, but I am looking for some guidance.

Thanks,
John

I’ll post an update when I hear back from them, but if you own a Juice power adapter, or buy an iGo, treat it gingerly… mine’s busted after a year and a half or so…

Funny thing is, I was just telling a buddy of mine at work how cool they are, and how useful they are for travel purposes… Just my luck it dies after I started evangelizing it.

Upgrading to MT 3.1

I’ve been threatening to upgrade to MovableType 3.1 for a little while, and have decided I’m finally going to do it.

Last night I backed up my website, and will be doing the upgrade either today, or later this week (just maybe over the weekend, but more than likely I’ll be doing it earlier than that).

Why the upgrade you might ask after being satisfied with MT 2.64 for so long? Well, I’m starting a new project, and I need the subcategories feature, and don’t want to just use another plugin on 2.64, and I’m hoping I get a little performance boost out of MT 3.1. I was a donor back when I first started using MT, so I’ll get a little price break, if I decide to pay for 3.1 after the upgrade.

If things look funky around here for a bit, it’s because I screwed something up, and I’m apologizing for that in advance šŸ˜‰

Mobility inside a company

Jeremy Zawodny moved jobs inside Yahoo recently, and his post about it hit me like a hammer (emphasis mine):

“And on that note, I love the fact that I can move around within Yahoo. Many companies talk about how employees are free to look at internal opportunities, but not all of them make it easy to pursue those opportunities. They throw up lots of barriers, seemingly encouraging their employees to look elsewhere rather than stick around. My experience at Yahoo has shown that mobility is a fact of life. I know of many other coworkers who’ve tried out various roles over the last few years.”

My last job had a “we encourage people to move around inside the company” policy, but I never felt it was really encouraged or practiced well at all, but that may just be my perception. That being said, my perception of that policy did make me look outside rather than inside when it came time to move on.

Congrats Jeremy.

DailySourceCode Drives iTunes Purchase

Today, I had the day off, so I played with iPodder, and set it up to download Adam Curry’s DailySourceCode Podcast. Podcasting is cool. It’s like talk radio without the radio…

So, I listened to it while I was out mowing the lawn, and at about 6:57 into the daily podcast, Adam played Frank Sinatra’s Come Fly with Me. What a fantastic song.

So, I immediately went into the house, brought up the iTunes Music Store and bought the track… and then I went ahead and bought the entire album that I found it on… seemed like a prudent thing to do at the time.

I then went back outside and finished the lawn, while listening to the rest of Adam’s podcast.

I’m totally digging podcasting at this point… it’s still totally in its infancy, but it’s fun, and fits into my day. Gives you something to listen to on your iPod when you’re not in the mood for a song all by itself, and fills time with interesting bits of information, and is something I can listen to in the background.

Maybe I like podcasting at this point because its so new, but I think it’s really because Adam Curry is so good at developing a good show to listen to… and his politics don’t bother me yet… Adam’s got a directory of Podcasts at iPodder.org, if you’re interested in playing with this new technology.

update: Dave liked listening to the Sinatra tune also, and put the lyrics online.

Airport Express and Rendezvous for Windows

Last night I bought two Airport Express units from Fry’s Electronics. I did this, because I finally surfed on an 802.11g base station over at my buddies house last week and was amazed at the speed of the connection.

I had been using an 802.11b Airport that I bought when they first came out (years ago), and I had been happy with it, but the speed of the Linksys 802.11g unit was pretty darned fast…

I was looking to buy an Airport Extreme Base Station and an Airport Express, but Fry’s was all out of the Extreme Base Stations (interestingly, so is Amazon.com).

Anyways, I bought two Express units, figuring I can always use the spare on the road, and can use it to share my printer between my various Macs on the network, and the Thinkpad I got at the new job last week.

So, this morning, I got the two Express units up and running, configured them with the Powerbook (took all of 5 minutes) and attached the printer. Then I got the printer working from the Powerbook, and started trying to add the printer — It wasn’t in the list of printers available to add to the Thinkpad, so I searched google for information on “sharing Airport Express printer +windows” and found this page, which sent me to Rendezvous for Windows Technology Preview.

I downloaded the Rendezvous for Windows Tech Preview, installed it, then installed the Epson drivers from Epson’s website, and Baam! I’m now using the Thinkpad to print via Airport Express on the Epson…

Thanks Apple for making it easy.

Whither MacKiDo

I saw a post on Forwarding Address: OS X about AppKiDo, and that made me remember David Every’s MacKiDo. MacKiDo was a truly fantastic website back when David was updating it with great Macintosh evangelism and truly useful and intriguing technical writings… MacKiDo was what the Daring Fireball wants to become. I miss MacKiDo.