Critical Section

Archive: June 11, 2005

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Ottmar at the Canyon Club

Saturday,  06/11/05  09:07 AM

Ottmar Liebert - live!Last night we saw a concert by Ottmar Liebert at the Canyon Club in Agoura Hills.  Wow, is he great.  If you ever have a chance to see him live please take it; you will thank me (and have a wonderful time!)  Along with the great music we had great friends along, and of course great wine (Arietta 2000).Arietta 2000  It actually doesn't get any better than that...





RSS feed splintered, take two

Saturday,  06/11/05  09:40 AM

Reaction to my new "splintered" RSS feed has been, well, splintered.  Some people like it, some don't.  It is easy for me to have two feeds, one with aggregated posts, one without:

Splintered feed - separate items for separate posts.
Aggregatedfeed - one item for all posts for a day.

But it is not easy to communicate that I have two feeds.  I can't really have two  icons, and there is a thing called RSS autodiscovery wherein you have a <link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" href="posts/./rss.xml"> in your pages, but you can't have two of them.  Even explaining the difference is hard!  So, what to do...

Here's what I'm going to do, for now.  I am going to have two feeds, and I am going to ask you which one to make the default.  The other feed will be available as a link somewhere, for those smart enough to find it (and nerdy enough to care).  So, what do you think?

I like the splintered feed
(separate items for separate posts)

I like the aggregated feed
(one item for all posts in a day)

total votes = 35

  (ended 06/18/05)


Saturday,  06/11/05  10:24 AM

Have you voted in my "splintered" feed survey?  If not, please do.  Oh, and if you have no idea what this is all about, please see my RSS cookbook.  If you read a lot of blogs, RSS is the coolest thing since sliced bread.  You will thank me, I promise!

Okay, so what's happening?  Well, let's see...

SpaceX Falcon I burns!SpaceX has posted a new update: Fire on the Launch Pad, which means you have to read it.  "As you may have read, we test fired Falcon I on our launch pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base.  Vandenberg, for those that don’t know it, is the primary US launch site for polar or close to polar orbits and is located about a third of the way up the California coast.  The five second test was picture perfect this time around, starting on schedule at 9:00:00 am and finishing at 9:00:05 am."  This is the coolest company, they really are going to make space travel a reality.

So, it's hurricane season again.  Have you checked out the National Hurricane Center website?  A great way to follow the progress and predictions for Arlene or any other tropical storm...

The Economist frets about a post-dot-com bubble: An echo of a boom?  "Investors with stakes in big internet companies, and Google in particular, might pause for thought.  Although revenues and profits are rising steeply, valuations are rising disproportionately quickly—suggesting that another correction is likely at some point."  Google seems lighter than air, for sure...

Here's an interesting discussion on GNXP: Is it really bee-cause of culture?  "There are many good reasons to doubt cultural explanations a priori, but a more direct test is available.  One possible way to control for distinct ethnic values is simply to raise the children of higher or lower scoring racial backgrounds in another ethnocultural environment of purportedly different values."  The question, why do Indians excel in spelling bees?

James Pinkerton on the really intelligent designers.  "The evolution vs. creation debate will never stop.  But that endless wrangle is destined to take some new turns.  How so?  Because the evolution side of the debate, which is to say, the science side, is about to beget some serious creationism of its own -- that is, creations by human scientists."  I sure hope the debate will stop, someday.  We no longer debate whether the Earth orbits the sun...  [ via Panda's Thumb ]

Another bag gets tossed from the balloon: No New Command Line for Longhorn.  Looks like Microsoft is creeping up on Shorthorn, bit by bit.  Except that AFAIK they're not fixing paging, and not fixing networking.

Wes Obermueller after wild pitching in a run on an intentional walkThe other night I saw something I was sure I would never see.  The Dodgers were playing the Brewers.  Dodgers at bat, runner on third.  The Brewers decide to intentionally walk Mike Rose.  Wild pitch!  Runner scores!  No way!!  I have always maintained that the intentional walk is the least interesting play in baseball.  Why not allow the pitcher to say "okay, intentional walk", and let the batter take first?  Why waste time with four crappy lob pitches?  Well now we know.  If you live long enough, you will see everything :)  The picture at right of Brewer's pitcher Wes Obermueller kind of says it all.

wireless service provider customer satisfaction rankingsAre you a Sprint customer?  (I am.)  Do you think their customer service is poor?  (I do.)  Well, you're not alone, apparently; they finished last in a J.D.Power survey of customer satisfaction rankings.  So why do we continue to use them?  Well in my case it is because they are the only provider with a signal at my house.  So I'm locked in.

Fly the friendly skies.  Reassuring, isn't it?  [ via Gerald Vanderluen ]

This site is just, well, weird.  Extremely weird.  Check it out and see.  Just when you think you've seen everything, you realize "everything" is so much more than you thought.  [ via Clive Thompson ]


PC productivity tools

Saturday,  06/11/05  12:23 PM

As an experienced Windows user, I have my little set of "tools I use".  You probably do, too.  Here are the ones I think really improve productivity:

  • Install SharpReader.  (Or your RSS reader of choice.)  RSS is really an incredible productivity enhancer.  Instead of surfing to tens or hundreds of sites in search of "what's happening", the information comes to you.  (See my RSS cookbook to get started, and you can download SharpReader here...)
  • Install X1.  (Or your deskstop search tool of choice.)  X1 lets you instantly find email items, contacts, files, etc.  Really an amazing tool.  Unlike many utilities, this is one that really should be built into the operating system, but since Longhorn is at least two years away (and it isn't even clear whether Longhorn will include desktop search), use X1.  (I use an old free beta of X1 which you can download here...)
  • Install Norton Antivirus.  (Or your antivirus tool of choice.)  On Windows you must have a good antivirus tool, and you must have it setup to automatically download updates.  I use 2003 because it is much faster and less intrusive than more recent versions, your mileage may vary.  By the way Norton Firewall or anything Norton Internet Security are not necessary, IMHO, if you have Windows XP SP2 they only get in the way.
  • Install Stomp BackUp MyPC.  (Or your backup tool of choice.)  You do have current backups, don't you?  You don't?  So what will happen when your hard drive crashes?  Or when your laptop is stolen?  And I mean when and not if...  By the way, these days the best way to backup an entire hard drive is to another hard drive, via Firewire or USB.  Cheap protection.

Later: Wow, left out an important one:

  • Install SpamBayes.  (Or your spam filter of choice.)  If you use Outlook this is essential.  This great tool is free, and integrates easily with Outlook.  Over time it learns what you consider spam, and does a terrific job of separating spam from ham with little fuss.  I've tried various commercial filters but SpamBayers is at least as good as any of them.

Here are some other things which aren't as important or dramatic, but which I use anyway because, well, I like them:

  • Install Elprime Clock Pro.  A cool little analog clock which "floats" over your desktop.  Does anybody really know what time it is?
  • Install Desktop Icon Save and Restore.  This is especially important if you have a laptop or you're a gamer, and you change screen resolutions often.  Very nice.
  • Install Sysinternals Freeware.  Great tools.  I like Process Explorer (a great Task Manager replacement), File Monitor (what is using what files, and how often), and TCP Viewer (what is using which ports on the network, and how often).  Autoruns is nice, too (what runs at startup).  Amazing that all these great tools are free...
  • Install Space.  The best visual disk space manager.

Any tools you use I should know about?  Please tell me.


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this date in:
About Me

Greatest Hits
Correlation vs. Causality
The Tyranny of Email
Unnatural Selection
On Blame
Try, or Try Not
Books and Wine
Emergent Properties
God and Beauty
Moving Mount Fuji
The Nest
Rock 'n Roll
IQ and Populations
Are You a Bright?
Adding Value
The Joy of Craftsmanship
The Emperor's New Code
Toy Story
The Return of the King
Religion vs IQ
In the Wet
solving bongard problems
visiting Titan
unintelligent design
the nuclear option
estimating in meatspace
second gear
On the Persistence of Bad Design...
Texas chili cookoff
almost famous design and stochastic debugging
may I take your order?
universal healthcare
triple double
New Yorker covers
Death Rider! (da da dum)
how did I get here (Mt.Whitney)?
the Law of Significance
Holiday Inn
Daniel Jacoby's photographs
the first bird
Gödel Escher Bach: Birthday Cantatatata
Father's Day (in pictures)
your cat for my car
Jobsnotes of note
world population map
no joy in Baker
vote smart
exact nonsense
introducing eyesFinder
to space
where are the desktop apps?
still the first bird
electoral fail
progress ratches
2020 explained