Saturday, June 28, 2003

19.32939 - Geek -via Circa1977

Friday, June 27, 2003

iSight Camera Makes Being Green Easier
I am enjoying my iSight camera. And now that more than 5 people in the world have one its a lot easier to take advantage of. That does not change one of my lingering concerns about the device: the color. In real life the walls in my room are white, but the iSight paints them green. It's not awful (it is a webcam after all) but it isn't exactly accurate. Not a damning flaw, but I expected more from Apple.

How naive I was.

This article from the always informative indicates that everything from color temperature to white balance to camera focus can be adjusted in software! I won't have to look sea sick forever.

One can only hope that this is one of many improvements that will find their way into a final version that everyone will have to pay for, one way or another.

Thursday, June 26, 2003

SMS 2: The Reckoning
I have raised my personal connectivity to another level with this service from AOL. It seems they have just recently implemented the ability to send text messages to cell phones using AIM or iChat.

Plus, I can even have IMs forwarded to my cell phone as an SMS message when I am logged out, idle or away!

Now, I don't need to be this connected. I don't get that many messages. But I guess that is why it appeals to me. The occasional message now and then is not a problem. If I got them all day long then it would be annoying.

I was talking to my brother about iChat and instant messaging in general when the subject of text messages came up. MSN Messenger has had a feature like this but there was, to my knowledge, no comparable feature in AIM or iChat.

No longer.

Well, maybe. This article points out a feature recently added by AOL that allows you to type in the phone number of a friend that has an SMS-capable phone and send them a text message.

I have not received any confirmation that my message was sent or that it works, but so far, so good.

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

I'm All Alone
I may have the iSight camera but but it appears that few people do. In fact, it doesn't look like anyone on my buddy list has any camera hooked up. Apple's iChat AV software shows me a couple people who have audio but not a soul who is up and running with video. Granted, many of the folks are running PCs, but I might as well try and play checkers with myself for all the good it's doing me. So now what?

This article points me to a potential option called EvoCam 3.1. I guess I could hook this in to my sadly ignored website. I could become a cam girl. People could send me stuff! Goodbye buddy list, hello supplementary income!

I'm gonna be rich!

The Blogger gods did something special and now my RSS feed works. I didn't even have to do my dance, which is good because it probably would have just started a deluge or a plague. You can access the feed here. Hip hop hooray!

In celebration of this moment I busted out my long expired demo of NetNewsWire and bought myself a license.

I'll even update my template to have a fancy RSS button on it. Simple.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

"The most beautiful faces are seen by moonlight, when one looks part with the eyes and part with fancy." - Persian Proverb

Blog Bonanza
I am always excited when I find out that someone I know has a blog. Recent discoveries include the super fancy Circa1977 and the elegant destination-life.

Let me also honor the triumphant return of a blogger who was the catalyst for this odd assortment of foolishness. Go forth and eat from the BitterTree. It's ok if you make a bitter blog face. You're surfing the Internet so I'm pretty sure no one is looking.

Reality Distortion Field Wears Off In Record Time
Looks like there is no shortage of people willing to call into question Apple's claim that they are about to deliver the fastest personal computer ever.

Good thing too. Only those freakishly obsessed with Apple would consider manipulating the benchmark tests fair and square. This is neither love nor war after all.

Real world tests in Photoshop made it pretty clear that the new towers will be stunningly powerful macs, but we'll have to wait for some truly independent tests before we can fully embrace Uncle Steve's hyperbolic claims.

In other news...
I busted out and got one of the new iSight cameras and downloaded the iChat AV beta. But maybe I jumped the gun.

There's NO ONE to try it with. I got to test it with my digital camcorder and a few coworkers yesterday, but at the moment only two folks even have the audio portion functioning. I tried the glorified speaker phone with Pet Junkie yesterday and she had to turn it off because it was scaring her dog.

My video conferencing endeavor hasn't really started off with a bang. It works though...what are you waiting for?

Monday, June 23, 2003

Whoa. All aluminum. Computer controlled cooling. Quieter than the current G4. Impressive. 3 models:

• 1.6ghz - 1999
• 1.8ghz - 2399
• 2x2ghz - 2999

World's fastest PC at less than the cost of a comparable Dell.

The Chip
Hooked up with IBM to make the G5. 64 bit processor...first in a desktop and runs a 32 bit OS. Up to 2 ghz! 1 ghz frontside bus (fastest ever) built for full SMP. Can process up to 215 instructions...16 for the G4.

One more thing...
Yes Steve, we saw what happpened on your web site. Premature specification...what we saw was true!!! World's fastest personal commputer!

New developer tools that can do distributed builds. Cluster computing anyone?

Full motion at 30 fps with built in audio/microphone. Designed a new mounting system to mount on portables or anything else. $149 bucks? Hmmm. Available today. Wouldn't it be nice to be a developer...folks at the conference get a free one.

It better be "one kick-ass release" Steve.

Al Gore!
Visiting professor at UCLA...VP for short.

7 million users...transition is almost finished. So if your in 9 still, get with the program. Even Jaguar is "over."

Over 100 new features:

• Most popular Unix in the world
• Lots of techie ??? stuff that I dont understand
• Brand new finder...user-centric. All the folders you want in the top level of your file directory.
• Fast searching and labels!
• Dynamic network browser
• Improvements in iDisk - Automatic sync of files of local folders in the background
• Exposé? Solve the clutter problem...holy crap! Gives you a thumbnail view of all your open windows! It can be application specific is you want. Triggered by keyboard, 2 button mouse or a hot corner. I think I will be changing the option key modifier on my mouse soon. Quartz Extreme based.
• FileVault: file security for notebooks. Secures your Home folder by encrypting/decrypting on the fly.
• Mail is "faster"...Safari rendering...addresses are objects so they're easier to manage in your emails
• Industry-standard VPN
• Built in fax - Every print panel has a fax button
• Pixlet: studio grade codec for film quality (HD) material with no noticeable compression artifacts.
• Preview...will be the fastest PDF reader in the world. Good thing too because it sucks now. 3x faster than the Windows version. Includes search. Create PDFs from any app with on-the-fly PostScript conversion.
• Fast user switching - change users with menu in top right corner...slick!
• font management. Lists all fonts at any size with font preview
•Best for last...iChat is now iChat AV. Adds audio and video chats. Video conferencing for the rest of us with zero configurations. Works with any FireWire camera including camcorders. Broadband required for video.

1,000,000 iPods as of today...5 million songs in the iTunes Music Store. Safari: best browser ever! 5 million downloads of the beta. Final release is today. Apple servers are going to be busy today along with Safari SDKs so there will be some of those functions in thrid party apps.

He's just recapping now...17 million visitors to the now 58 stores. Store coming in Japan.

Steve Note Live From The Apple Store!

Just getting started with the keynote. We'll see what happens...hopes are high and there are a ton of people here.

Thursday, June 19, 2003

Woooo! Sort of.
A Senate Committee has voted to deny the new FCC rules that would allow even greater media consolidation. Who knows what will happen as it is voted on in the House and the Senate, but for now, yay!

In other legislative news...

Hi Tony. My name is The Mollusk and I am addicted to Civilization

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

My Blog Sucks
My posts are too erratic to be of any value, but my blog is not alone in its suckiness. Here are a few things I found today that also suck:

Your marketing sucks.
Your selection sucks (for now).
Orrin Hatch sucks.

Now, lest you think that I am just some miserable little man just seething with anger over petty and insignificant issues, let me temper my little tirade with a bit of good news: Blogger launched a version that allows me to post from Safari (unlike version 4.0 (beta) over at Cosmic Lattice.)

No worries Colin. Blogger took nine million years to get this up and running. You've got plenty of time

Thursday, June 12, 2003

Sid Meier, What Have You Done To Me?

I am not much of a computer gamer. Video games in general are a big challenge for me, and not in a good way. I die quickly. I think the highest level I have passed in any game is four. This deficiency has usually kept me from participating in gaming in any significant way.

And then came Civilization.

I bought this game about 2 weeks ago and installed it on my computer a few days later. And then all hell broke loose.

For those of you who are not familiar with the parameters of the game, you are basically the leader of a civilization that you help create and develop. You are responsible for its economy, its citizens, its defense and its progress. It's an exciting proposition: being able to call ALL of the shots.

And having a military waiting to execute your commands.

I was totally sucked in, my personality transformed. In real life I yell at bad drivers and that is about it. As the leader of "Rome" I was a tyrant and a madman. I spent centuries trying to destroy Greece and defend my territory from coalition forces that would not tolerate my open aggression. I built cities. Infrastructure. I was founding an empire that would stand tall and remain strong for ages!

I lived through millenia in 18 hour stretches. On consecutive nights I was up until 4:30 and 6:30 in the morning tending to the needs of my citizens while I turned my back on real people. Emails were ignored. Phone calls were not returned. Questions were answered in 5 words or less. I was having "fun" and would not be distracted.

But all this "fun" had a strange effect on me. At one time during my marathon of game play I took pride in my decision to go outside and get food, something I had not done in over a 24 hour period. When I went outside everything seemed artificial. Strange. Foreign. I felt altered. Disconnected from the world I lived in.

I eventually finished the game, my civilization in ruins, wrecked by centuries of warfare and civil unrest. I continue to pay a physical price for my adventure as my back is still knotted from 18 hour sessions in front of the computer. Mentally and physically unhealthy, I have been examining the factors that could have led to my obsession. The lure of imaginary power has affected me in unexpected ways and illuminates deficiencies in my real life. I could use this to form all sorts of conclusions about gamers, but for now, I'm just working on spending some more time outside.