Grr

Internet, Ranting No Comments

It bugs me when dumb bugs in popular web pages stick around for weeks or months. The folks at GU have been informed of this problem with their headlines in Firefox, but nothing seems to be getting done about it. It makes me cranky:

Dream Tivo

Ramblings No Comments

Snippet from IRC this morning:

[07:54] < dria> i dreamed most of an episode of CSI last night
[07:55] < dria> murder at an art gallery followed by a robbery attempt by some hamfisted thieves armed with grenades
[07:55] < dria> it was neat because the episode focused on showing how the CSIs and normal people react differently to crime scenes and the stuff that happens in and around them
[07:56] < dria> I, of course, was a CSI
[07:56] < dria> later, i had a dream about a high school, but it was much less intricate

Does anyone else have whole-episode dreams like that? They happen to me relatively regularly and are always quite a lot of fun. During my X-Files days I probably dreamed a half dozen full episodes (one in which Mulder died when he got crushed by a train, but somehow Scully developed a weird psychic link to his spirit long enough to sort out the criminal conspiracy surrounding his final demise).

I’ve also dreamed whole books, including one during my thesis that I really wish actually existed because it was perfect for what I was working on.

Anyhow. I have seriously bizarro-world dreams sometimes. Sometimes they get too scary tho and I wake up screaming. I hate when that happens.

Stormtrooping

Movies No Comments

Someone has way too much time on their hands. Nice replica armour, tho.

Amsterdam

Mozilla, Photography, Pictures, Ranting 2 Comments

First things first, some photos. I took around 400 photos while I was there, and about 1 in 10 are decent as-is. I might be able to save another 1 in 20 with some judicious photoshopping. I really need to learn how to be a better photographer. My excuse is that I was almost incessantly on the run when taking photos, so conditions were not optimal. Also: I really do need a better than point-and-shoot camera. The Nikon 5700 is a great camera, but if you put a filter on the damned thing, it starts vignetting like a mofo. No good.

My future camera will be a Nikon D70 or D70s or whatever the next proper Nikon DSLR turns out to be. I really, really want a proper DSLR. The time will come eventually.

Amsterdam. Tons of fun, met lots of great people, had a ton of good food, walked more in a week than I probably have in the past two months combined. Gorgeous weather, great hotel (facilities, at least…the staff was a bit off, but more on that in a moment), utterly phenomenal coffee.

Europeans seriously know how to make good coffee.

On service: I’m not sure whether it was just a bad week or something, but the staff at hotels and restaurants we frequented during our stay in Amsterdam was pretty universally sub-par. I’m not sure why this is, but we just got generally lousy service every where we went. Some folks were ok, and everyone was generally friendly, but, really, servers at decent-or-better restaurants in Canada are, on average, just much better at what they do. In one Amsterdamian restaurant our waiter was so in-your-face that I found it distinctly uncomfortable.

Whatever happened to Zen Waiters? The basic premise I work under is this: the less I notice the service I’m receiving, the happier I am. If a waiter spills wine on me (yes, this happened), or if I have to flag a waiter down for a second round of drinks (this also happened, multiple times), or if I have to physically back away from a waiter because he’s a total close-talker (also happened), or if I wait for my food long enough that I check my watch (happened), or if I have to physically walk around looking for someone to give me my bill (slight exaggeration, but close to truth)…guess what? The waiter sucks.

The best waiter I’ve ever had was at Acton’s Cafe in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. Quiet, efficient, unassuming, brilliantly experienced, and extraordinarily talented waiter. We sat and ate several courses happily, never once having to ask for anything (water, wine, food, dessert, coffee, bill, whatever). My soup, as I recall, simply showed up like it fell through a tiny hole in space-time. I never once noticed the waiter until we were finished and I realized, all at once, that I never once noticed the waiter. I love service like that. I also, I’ll have you know, tip extraordinarily well for service like that.

If I ever end up walking away from this whole interweb thing and go back into food service, I think I’ll make it my life’s work to be that good a waiter. Really talented waiters who take their vocation seriously can make extremely good money. The problem, I think, is that most waiters think that they’re too good for what they’re doing — most high end waiters probably fancy themselves as a maitre d’, or perhaps as an underemployed sommelier. My god, the in-your-face guy was just unreal. He put me off so badly in the first five minutes we were sitting at the table that I simply didn’t want to talk to him again, and avoided it as best I could. What a piece of work.

Um…anyhow, that rant aside. I had a great time in Amsterdam, waiters bedamned. Oh, and the bartender at the hotel. I mean, seriously dude, if someone asks you “what scotches do you have?”, it’s not an invitation to play 20 questions. WTF?

Unrelated, here are some more photos, but not of Amsterdam.

NetNewsWire screenshot

Internet, Mac Stuff 2 Comments

I’ve been using NetNewsWire all day today, and have discovered two things about it — one good, one bad.

First, the bad: If you’re signed up to a metric crapload of feeds like I currently am and you set NNW to update automatically every 30 mins, NNW will eat your entire CPU if you let it. I’ve cranked the number of concurrent downloads it’s allowed to use to 2, which helps, but not a lot. I’ve also set it to autoupdate every 2 hours instead of every 30 mins.

I’m also paring down on the number of feeds I’m subscribed to. I currently have 1423 unread items in my feeds, and there’s just no way I can keep up on that much news. I need to finesse the list with extreme prejudice.

Now, the good: My wiki has RSS feeds for the Recent Changes and New Pages lists. I, obviously, subscribe to these. NetNewsWire displays these items beautifully and lets me view the entire diff for each change cleanly and at a glance. I love it. Here’s a screenshot, click for full size:

Happy day!

Television 4 Comments

Fox (the same fools who cancelled Firefly without so much as giving it a fighting chance) have redeemed themselves slightly by ordering a third season of Arrested Development. I couldn’t care less about 24.

Update: This is also happy news — Law and Order: Trial By Jury, the first real stinker in the L&O franchise, has been canned. The question is, what will Dick Wolf cook up next to stay ahead of the CSI gang? Stay tuned!

Sometimes software blows my mind

Internet, Mac Stuff No Comments

I’ve been a little unsatisfied with my current RSS Feed Reader of choice lately, so this morning, at boolean‘s suggestion, I downloaded a copy of NetNewsWire. It’s really everything I ever imagined of having in an RSS feed reader, and more. Seriously.

Top of the list mind-blowing features:

  • .mac synchronization ability, including subscriptions and read status. This means I don’t have to do any complicated import/export calisthenics to get my subscriptions on my desktop into my laptop, and vice-versa. If I read something on my lappy, it will remain “read” on compy after I sync.
  • Smart lists — I can create a smart list that will show me all articles, for example, that have “Mozilla” in the title from all my feeds. This is utterly brilliant.
  • One-click feed subscription when using Safari to read the web. Up in the address bar, an “RSS” button will show up if the page has an available RSS feed (this is somewhat eccentric, mind). Clicking that button brings up NetNewsWire which prompts me to accept the subscription. This is so much easier than the weirdness I had to do before. I just wish this worked with Firefox.
  • “Sites drawer” — minor feature, really, but a nice one. The NNW guys have compiled an extremely long list of categorized feeds that you can subscribe to without having to go find them yourself. I’ve now subbed to more feeds than ever before, including several of which I’d not previously been aware.

Those are the core mindblowers right there. The rest of the app is very, very nicely designed, and does everything I’ve tried to do with it (save one minor quibble which is just me being picky and annoying since it involves a feature I wouldn’t have dreamed of, never mind expected before).

If you have a Mac, particularly if you have multiple Macs and a .mac account, I strongly recommend this application. The smart lists and sync capabilities alone are worth the price of admission ($24.95 USD per license, which I will be paying shortly).

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

Internet, Mac Stuff, Ranting 6 Comments

I pretty much live in my browser. When I get up in the morning, the first thing I do is get a coffee then fire up XChat, FireFox, and Thunderbird. The last thing I do before I brush my teeth and go to bed is close XChat, Firefox, and Thunderbird. If I’m in front of a computer, I can guarantee you that at least those three applications are open and being used. This is just how things are for me, and how things have been for me for an awfully long time.

Now, about these widgets. Let’s say I decided I wanted a Google search widget. To get it widget, I have to find it (not hard), trust it to be non-malicious (I’m paranoid, so this is a bit edgy), download it, install it (it doesn’t do that automatically), then start it. Assuming it starts and does what it’s supposed to do, it then sits on the Dashboard and quietly sucks up system resources waiting for me to give it something to do. When I do decide I want to use the widget, I have to hit F12, click on the widget to focus, usually click on it again to get my cursor into whatever text box it’s supposed to be in, then type something, then click on the widget again to make it go (or hit enter), then either hit F12 or on an empty spot in the Dashboard to get back to my desktop.

Alternately, I could just click the Google button on my Firefox quickbar, type something in the webform (which happily autofocuses my cursor in the right place), then hit enter.

Maybe you’re seeing my confusion here. There are eleventy billion widgets out there that do things people can already do very easily in their web browser. Google searches, Ebay searches, Amazon searches, LiveJournal updates, etc etc. Widgets do not make these things easier or more convenient, so…I say to you, “Wtf?”

I just don’t get it.

Internet 15 Comments

Would someone please explain to me what’s so interesting and/or useful and/or whatever about del.icio.us. I’ve had it bookmarked for weeks now trying to figure out wtf the deal is, and I just don’t get it. It is neither useful nor interesting to me.

Anyone? Am I missing something?

You know there’s a problem when…

General No Comments

If you don’t have enough time to make or purchase a cup of coffee in the morning and instead resort to hauling around a 1-pound-2-ounce self-heating latte in a can (NYTimes, Reg Required), then maybe you should take a time out, reassess your life, and maybe try to learn what good coffee actually tastes like.

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