Saturday, December 31

Finally... Firefox

Well, I'm finally using Firefox 1.5... Hit-a-Hint has been updated, an extension called MenuX will suffice for text enlargement until TextZoom is updated, and Mihai recently updated all those fancy-schmancy Greasemonkey user scripts for the new version.

Finally! I can use this nifty new browser, since my customizations are now all available. Whew...

Friday, December 30

The top 10 weirdest USB drives ever

Just click the link and look at the pictures of these oddball USB flash-memory devices...

Thursday, December 29

Microsoft's Software Subscription Fiasco

This article (linked below) by John C. Dvorak details his thoughts about Microsoft's new idea to consider moving to a subscription-based model for software purchases. I think he's right for consumer-level users, but a subscription service could be great for corporate users.

See the latest episode of Inside the Net to hear a discussion of subscription-based software models. Microsoft couldn't switch to this for consumers who are used to flat-fee installed software, but the constant security updates of a Web-based subscription service could definitely help corporations stay on top of the latest version of Office... Microsoft could even sell a version that the corporation could host on their own server rather than jack into the main M$ mainframe.

Wednesday, December 28

The Chronicles of Narnia - Reading Order

I read C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia three times as a kid (well, the first time I was 8 or so and quit partway into The Last Battle because I didn't understand it). Each time, I went through the series in the order the books were published - Wardrobe, Caspian, Voyage, Chair, Horse, Nephew, Battle. This was the order in which "full sets" came at the time, and I think it makes a lot of sense. After all, this was the order in which Lewis thought of and created the world of Narnia. (Well, that's not quite true: The Horse and His Boy was actually composed slightly before The Silver Chair.)

I noticed, when visiting my neighborhood Barnes and Noble about six months ago, that full sets are now being ordered semi-chronologically according to the order of events - Nephew, Wardrobe, Horse, Prince, Voyage, Chair, Battle. I say semi-chronologically because the events of The Horse and His Boy actually take place between the penultimate and final chapters of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

You'll notice, in the essay I've linked to below, that these two reading orders sharply divide fans of the series. I won't go into any detail here since it is so plainly laid out in the essay I'm referencing, but suffice it to say that I agree wholeheartedly with the philosophical points raised by the author. The series is neither fantastical history nor allegory (in the strict senses of the words); so an attempt to use reading order to apply either of those descriptions loses the idea of the whole thing.

In any case, the next time I read the Chronicles, I will read them in the order in which they were actually penned (publication order, with Horse and Chair switched), in order to see them more closely through the eyes of their author.

By the way, the BBC recently aired dramatizations of Nephew, Wardrobe, Horse, and Caspian, which are still available to be listened to until next Sunday by visiting this BBC7 Listen Again page.

Thursday, December 22

Top 10 Software Euphemisms

I know Philipp posted these more than 2 weeks ago, but the post is still funny.

Wednesday, December 21

My Wife Made Me Do It

My wife put this up on her blog, and it seems she'd like me to do it as well, so here goes...

7 Things I Hope To do Before God Calls Me Home

  1. Visit Europe
  2. Sit in the audience for a recording of BBC4's "Just a Minute"
  3. Figure out what career God has in store for me
  4. Become fluent in German
  5. Learn a programming language other than BASIC
  6. Own a home
  7. Figure out the Question for the Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything

7 Things I cannot Do
  1. Touch my nose with my tongue
  2. Push-ups from my toes
  3. Drive a stick-shift automobile
  4. Watch my wife be upset without trying to help
  5. Drink a gallon of milk in one sitting
  6. Tolerate injustice
  7. Satisfy my quest for knowledge

7 Things that Attracted Me to My Wife (and still do!)
  1. Beautiful smile
  2. Infectious laugh (and how I can bring it out of her fairly easily)
  3. Thirst for knowledge
  4. Passion for the Truth
  5. Godly lifestyle
  6. Ability to share herself and her thoughts through writing
  7. Knowing just what I need, when I need it

7 Things I say Most Often
  1. No problem.
  2. <tone="sarcastic">Riiight...</tone>
  3. You got it.
  4. Yes, Dear.
  5. (to Lauren) Slow down; get some rest.
  6. (to Lauren) I love you.
  7. (When asked what I want for dinner) Food.

7 Books or Series That I Like Most
  1. C.S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia (I want to read them again after I read Mere Christianity)
  2. J.R.R. Tolkein, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
  3. Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Trilogy
  4. Terry Pratchett, The Color of Magic
  5. Isaac Asimov, Robot Novels (incl. Robots & Empire)
  6. Peter Kreeft, A Refutation of Moral Relativism
  7. John Grisham, The Firm

7 Movies I Watch Repeatedly
  1. The Saint
  2. The Shawshank Redemption
  3. Sneakers
  4. 10 Things I Hate About You
  5. That Thing You Do
  6. The Matrix
  7. The Thomas Crown Affair

7 People I'd Like to See Make Similar Lists
  1. Lauren (but I already did)
  2. Jeff
  3. Christian
  4. Simon
  5. Vincent
  6. Ryan
  7. Ivan

Tuesday, December 20

iTunes as a podcast client

I wrote this post yesterday, but somehow it was lost in the ether of the Internet. So now here I am again to rewrite it...

I listen to podcasts. I use iTunes and have an iPod nano (2GB, black). iTunes works pretty well as a podcatcher-- much better than any of the standalone apps, even-- but I have a few gripes/feature requests that could make it even better.

1) Separate podcast subscriptions into groups

This would work like playlist folders, and allow the user to create groups of podcasts instead of needing to view all shows and episodes in one big conglomeration. For instance, I would use this feature to put all of my video podcasts in one group, all of the Radio Leo podcasts in another group, etc.

2) Convert Podcast MP3s to regular MP3s

I'd love to be able to remove episodes from the Podcast view, but keep them in the Library still for future reference. This way, I'm only seeing new podcasts in the Podcast view, but still have access to past shows I've downloaded.

3) More options for episode longevity

I currently have iTunes set to keep "all unplayed episodes." It would be great if iTunes could leave the episodes in the Library after they're played instead of deleting the files entirely (see #2 above). Also, it would be great if the episodes could be set to automtically be deleted or moved out of the Podcasts section after a certain amount of time has passed since either the episode release or the time of download.

4) Longevity options for individual shows

I'd like to be able to set the options discussed in #3 for each individual podcast. Maybe I want the episodes from Channel Frederator to be moved out of the Podcast section after one full play, but completely delete all episodes of Jawbone Radio after they've been on my iPod for two weeks whether they've been listened to or not.

I think these enhancements would make iTunes the perfect podcast client. Let me know what you think in the comments.

Friday, December 2

Firefox 1.5 is out!

I suppose I would be remiss not mention the fact that Firefox 1.5 is now available at However, I'm still not using it.

It runs really well on my Mac. The speed is great, and it feels much more integrated into OSX than its previous counterparts. However, it doesn't yet support my browsing habits. My most important extensions, TextZoom and Hit-a-Hint, don't work just yet (though momokatte has poked his head out after a five-month hibernation to let us know that TextZoom is presumably being worked on). Also, the app loses keyboard focus when hitting command-W to close a tab. This is horrible for me, since I basically do all my browsing with the keyboard and it's very annoying to have to keep reaching for the mouse to click into a window and regain focus.

It looks like a really great product, but unfortunately I won't be able to make it my primary browser for a while.

Thursday, December 1

Blogging through the mire

Anybody who looks at this blog (and who gets here from somewhere other than a search engine) has probably noticed that the entire month of November only produced 10 posts from me.

This is not an apology.

I do this blog for myself, and because I like to make comments about tech developments. Without ripping entire pages from Greg Dean's I'll-update-when-I-choose-to-update playbook, I'd just like to say that I do plan on continuing to update this blog when I have the time and/or inclination.

If you want to read something that's updated more regularly, go to Google News or something :).

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available by emailing the author (use the link above).

The Geek Code desperately needs updating, but in any case here's mine (as of 2010-02-28):

Version: 3.12
GIT/MU d+(-) s:+>: a C++> ULXB++++$ L+++ M++ w--() !O !V P+ E---
W+++ N o++ K? PS PE++ Y+ PGP t !5 X- R- tv+@ b++ DI++++ D--- e*++
h--- r+++ y+++ G+

If you really care about knowing what that all means, you either know the code already, or you can get it decoded for you here.