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Sunday, November 20, 2005

The end (or a new beginning)

I am pleased to announce my shiny new blog: Futurist now. Futurist now is part of my efforts to keep up with new media and start to explore new trends in the web such as Web 2.0.

I'm going to keep Sparktoblog! up for a while (I'm paid up for another 9 months with TypePad) but this will be my last post. Futurist now is being powered by Wordpress and is based on free, open source technologies. I highly encourage you to check out the new blog, and subscribe to it's RSS feed.

Long live Sparktoblog! May Futurist now live even longer!

http://codeforfood.org - the best new blog on the internet!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

It has been a long week. Yesterday Brien had a tough day and I almost wanted to say we should cancel our plans to see the opening night of the new Harry Potter movie, but I felt that it might be something good for him to escape into a fantasy land. We mixed up the movie start times and got there just as it was starting - normally not a big problem, but given that it was opening night we had to sit in the front row. Both of us got sore backs from the movie seating and craning our necks.

The Goblet of Fire is the best movie (and book) yet. It's very adult, very dark. I was quite pleased to see that the kids are now allowed to be growing up. The story did a good job of focusing on the value of friendship, and as always the special effects were spectacular.

In unusual news I'm announcing the EOL (End of Life-cycle) for Sparktoblog! and a new blog that will take it's place. There are a number of reasons I'm doing this, most of all I think it's time to retire this blog. I've had it for about three years, and it's served its due course.

I'm going to be migrating away from TypePad and to Wordpress. There are a number of reasons for this, but the primary ones are that I'm getting the "web dev itch" again, and I love how easy to work with Wordpress is turning out to be. Open Source Software really is the future - it's easy to modify for your own needs, and offers the flexibility that every developer wants.

The new blog will be announced shortly here on Sparktoblog! with a final post. I will keep this up for a while to make sure everyone gets a chance to read it, and enjoy all of mind mindless drivel. Hopefully the new blog will not be so mindless - it's much more tech oriented and I plan to go in some interesting new directions with the content.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Sony DRM rootkit is a dangerous thing

Sory Electronics: My personal project to help make more people aware of the dangerous and malicious Sony DRM rootkit. Check the site out and do yourself a favor - don't put money in Sony's pockets. Help support the creative and empowered future we all deserve!

Information systems: keep it simple to win

Adam Bosworth of Google has written a fascinating article on information systems and how old proven technologies (like ascii text) are significantly better than more complex binary systems. Simple systems are easy to run in parallel and quick to develop and improve. Check it out!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Something in the works

Today both sucked and ruled at the same time. After getting almost no sleep I was not feeling too well and nearly went home sick from work at one point. Luckily something really cool happened. I came in contact with someone that started a chain of events that will produce something really cool. More on this later - I'll be sure to let people in on my little project rather soon.

Wired News: Boycott Sony

Wired News: Boycott Sony: Finally a high profile news organization willing to stick their neck out and say what we have all been thinking - it's time to boycott Sony. Early on I was a Sony fanboy - in the late 80's and early 90's they were innovating, they were great. Unfortunately their quality has declined and now most of their products are no longer the best of the best. Sad also is the ethical decline - with the recent flurry of DRM rootkits on Windows and the security implications of hiding gaping security holes from millions of people who simply put an audio CD in their computer. The ethical slippery slope does not stop there however - it continues when they lied on the End User License Agreement (EULA) and said it did not phone home or spy on users, but it does. They also tried to infect Mac's but the technical side of that was a bit wonky and it does not seem that they have had much luck. It's ridiculous and a travesty. I agree with Wired - boycott Sony - I won't be purchasing another track in their music library, won't be buying a Sony laptop (and now not merely for their legendary driver problems), and certainly won't be buying any of their mediocre consumer electronics.

Sony - I salute your crap, and am done with you.

OhGizmo Review: The X-UnderWear and X-Socks

OhGizmo Review: The X-UnderWear and X-Socks: Someone once said "build a better mousetrap and people will beat a bath to your door." I wonder if the same holds true for underwear and socks? When I started reading this post this morning I was slightly incredulous that form fitting underwear of the future could really be all that great, but now I'm half tempted to try the stuff out. The two piece underwear set has special "3D Bionic Sphere System" that (according to the manufacturer):

a labyrinth of tunnels and channels that traverses the back area where many sweat glands are located. This construction greatly increases the area available for evaporation. Depot niches are created for the regulation of moisture. They are activated by body heat and, like biological catalysts, give off moisture to the surrounding air. In this way, moisture is not trapped near the skin.

Now the part that boggles me is that this seems to actually work. The OhGizmo guy was as surprised as I am. The socks apparently work too, with their silver threads helping to reduce odors and their x-support system increasing comfort.

Now that I'm getting ready to start going to the gym again I'm half tempted to get some of the underwear just to try it out. I'm known to most as a heavy sweater, and it's one of the parts of working out that I truly hate. If I can wear a special layer that will whisk the moisture away and keep me fresh as springtime then I'm game.

He Makes Things

I Make Things: Bre Pettis, Seattle based web junkie art teacher has a video blog. MAKE:blog just turned me on to it and boy am I excited. He's funky, he's funny, he's creative and while all his video posts don't cry out to me more of them do than any other vlog I've seen yet. Check him out!

On another note every day that goes by I'm more and more sad that with my health problems I missed out on Seattle Mind Camp. I had been helping Andru organize it and then when my stress problems happened flaked out on it. Not only do I hate being a flake, but I really think I missed out on something cool and amazing. Hopefully it will happen again and I'll be able to at least attend and be a part of the creative mind meld that occurs at this kind of event.

Oh yeah - and why am I posting at 6:00am? Because I woke up and can't get back to sleep. Sucks when that happens to you doesn't it. At least I have NetNewsWire to keep me company.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

A happy time and even more objects of desire.

The last few days have been quite entertaining. Last night some co-workers and I celebrated a few deals we had made recently and went to Daniel's Broiler to celebrate. It's always nice to go have some steak with a few friends and kick back once in a while. I take fire in the office often enough for being anti-social and not coming out drinking with the gang, but once in a while it's not too bad. I guess I really am 24 going on 45 - I just want to sit on my couch, watch movies, and relax.

After dinner I went back to the office and got a bit more work done before going to my friend Alissa's birthday party. It was at the College Pub and was a decent little time. Obviously I didn't stay for long, but I felt that going for a round was the least I could do to honor her birthday. She got a copy of Fluxx - the most creative and wonderful little card game for drunken parties. We played a game of it in the bar and it was quite strategic and entertaining. I may just have to pick up a set for myself. The only problem with the evening was that I left my debit card at the College Pub so I guess I have to head down and pick it up here shortly.

In other news a Canon EOS 5D Review was just posted over at DPreview.com. I am pretty excited about this camera - although it would mean that my cheaper lenses would have to go I really want that full frame goodness for some wide angle shots I have seen in the past. The $4k price tag is hard to swallow, but it gives me something to save for. I might start putting a small bit of money into a camera fund every week and once I have the $6k I would need to get the body, a 17-40L lens, and an 85mm Macro I might make the switch.

Kill Bills Browser

OK now this is cute - someone has put together Kill Bills Browser, a funny little switch to Firefox site. Even if you already use a browser other than Internet Explorer I suggest checking out the website because it's damn funny. Now I admit I'm a bit hypocritical for posting this because I don't use Firefox myself, but it's still a good cause. If you happen to be on Windows Firefox is a great browser - you should also check out the (now free) Opera. Opera is cleaner and faster than Firefox (not to mention more fully featured as a base install) but lacks the plugin architecture that so many people love (and hate) about Firefox. If you are on a Mac the best thing I can point you at is Firefox's little Mac oriented cousin - Camino. Camino is my current browser of choice even though it's still in beta. It's based on the Mozilla Gecko browsing technologies, but is made for OS X using Apple-centric design philosophies. Seriously - check Camino out and if you are on Windows don't use Internet Explorer or you will be sorry later. If you are looking for other OS X browsers you should check out the Macintosh browsers past and present - it's an informative read and sheds the light on some 80 odd OS X browsers available, mostly for niche uses. They (along with a number of my Apple-cohorts) seem to highly recommend Omniweb but I personally think Camino offers the features I want and the FOSS price I like: $0.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Ches Goudy

Last night Brien and I were introduced to possibly the most creative and wonderful hidden little secret on Capitol Hill: Ches Goudy. It's a wine/tappas/unique bistro with some creative twists, a hidden back alley entrance, and decor to make you snuggle up with your party. Everything is self service from the wine to the nosh toppings and fruit/cheese creations - you get charged by the plate color at the end of the evening (ala conveyor belt sushi) and you just grab bottles of wine as they strike your fancy from the bookshelves littering the place. They bring free cheese and vegan bread to enjoy your selected delicious findings with alarming regularity. The chef in back cooks up delicious and tantalizing entrees and desserts to suit his whim (there is no static menu) and wait-staff walk around telling you about the creation of the moment and offering it to you.

It's hard to explain fully, but I encourage everyone to check it out. A bit on the spendy side unless it's Sunday or Tuesday night, but worth the expense. A local newspaper put it thusly, and I couldn't have put it better:

"The drink menu is gargantuan and eccentric, and the ramshackle d├ęcor is like a seedy literary salon, a Faulkner novel, and an opium den tossed in a blender and set to frappe."
--The Seattle Weekly

Monday, November 07, 2005

Comcast sucks

This is the last straw - tonight I came home to discover that my cable was malfunctioning again. I think I've finally had it with Comcast and their big media bullshit. I've had my media center down more often than not of late and I'm through with it. I called Comcast tonight and canceled my cable - no more TV for me. I've decided to put my $50 a month towards buying shows I like on DVD and being done with it. Eventually I will be able to get a good IPTV solution (via Microsoft or Apple it would seem at this point) and I will put my money to that, but Comcast and the rest of the media monopolies are out of my life for now.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Internet meme time!

Check out Forbes e-mail time capsule project. It's a total rip off of futureme.org but it seems a bit more reliable (Forbes, Yahoo, and some no-name consulting company are behind it). The concept is simple: you write an email to yourself and they will hold on to it and deliver it in a set amount of time. Forbes suggests 1, 3, 5, 10, or 20 years. It's an interesting way to see if you live up to your dreams and hopes. I sent myself a 1 and 3 year letter. They both were based on the same basic form - a summation of where I am now, and where I hope to be in 1 or 3 years. I also "called" some things - basically where I think I will be, and some things I hope not to fail at.

Go ahead - write yourself a letter. Hell - write me a letter using futureme (forbes requires email authentication) and tell me where you think I'll be in a year.

Spark Wars

So the week was actually a rather good one. On Wednesday I went to see my neurologist and got a clean bill of health. He blamed stress plus not taking good care of myself. I've been thinking quite a bit about ways that I can improve my life and really help reign in on my health problems. I'm taking a slightly different approach to life and am making a commitment to stress relief. I'm going to be doing some yoga and meditation and going to start working out again.

This weekend in an effort to relax I held another one of my movie marathons - although somewhat rather more tame than my normal ones. This ones theme was Star Wars - I ended up watching the entire series (although out of order) and am now going through all the bonus content and am having quite a good time with it. George Lucas is right - they really are meant to be watched back to back to back and doing so really does help improve your user experience.