Nov 30, 2000

On the serious tip...
Tomorrow is the Day With(out) Weblogs in honor of everyone who has died of AIDS. I read a weblog today that criticised the whole thing saying that this nice idea doesn't do much and they might be right. It is nice to pay respects to these people but I am sure that rather than that they would prefer action. In light of this fact, I thought I would send you over to VolunteerMatch.org to see what needs to be done in your neck of the woods. Volunteering isn't for everyone so you can also donate some of your money to research at AllCharities.com. Anyway, think about what AIDS has meant to this world and see what you can come up with.

Nov 29, 2000

Objects of lust

No, I am not talking about Elizabeth Berkeley (even though she is one of the Lettuce Ladies). No, I am talking about 3 of the coolest things I saw at Comdex 2000.

1. Eupa Interactive Appliances
eWeek already beat me to the punch with photos of this in their print version but the Eupa Interactive Appliances monitors and PC's were the coolest. They are primarily a kitchen appliance manufacturer and it shows. Here are a few photos, just click for a larger version of each.
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2. HP's Photosmart 912xi
HP released their first digital camera with an SLR style viewfinder. HP has always been a favorite of mine for printers and scanners but their cameras were always a bit lame. The Photosmart 912 is their flagship in a new, very cool line of cameras. All of the features my Nikon 800 needs and more. If you want to be my secret Santa this year. I will happily send you a shipping address.

3. Sony's Media Bar (all-in-one box)
click for larger It's a Sony VAIO computer with built in DVD player, CD burner, MiniDisc, Memory Stick, 1394 ports, volume control, jog shuttle, led readout (Media Bar), remote control and AV in/out. Whew! The marketing rep said currently it is only available in Japan and retails for ~$3000. I am guessing the dollar is a bit stronger than the yen right now.

Remember Netscape?
Is this the new Netscape website redesign? I am underwhelmed. Supposedly, AOL / Netscape / Nullsoff / Spinner / maybe Time Warner / your mom is announcing the release of Netscape 6 after 32 months of development. Sheesh. I said it here first, I am now in development on my own web browser. Please look for it in early 2003. I expect to capture all of Microsoft's market share and whatever is left of AOLTimeWarnerKraftDaimlerChryslersoft's. Wish me luck.

Nov 28, 2000

James Brown? No. Not Soul. Seoul.
Yep, getting all my visa and passport stuff together for an impending trip to Korea, Hong Kong and mainland China. I have never been to any of these places before so suggestions on nightlife, culture, clothing, bootleg software requests and the like would be appreciated. Also if you have a spare DVD player for a Dell Latitude CPx, I wouldn't mind borrowing that thing for the 12 - 13 hour flights I am looking at. Drop me a line.
Border Collie Training: Day 3
I taught the new dog a trick I didn't want her to learn. Jumping the doggie gate. It was really easy. I just closed the gate, waited 10 minutes and over she went.

Crap. Time to buy a house with a dog run.

Nov 27, 2000

Worst fears realized
Ugh! Dack and I have written back and forth a few times since the election. In part of my last email to him I wrote...
This seems so Third World to have an election contested. I expect to see villagers throwing rocks at the Governors mansion soon.
Now today, I hear we are actually getting advice from Gadhafi, formerly know as "Gadhafi the Infidel", on how to settle the election. Furthermore, his advice is not far off from a skit Saturday Night Live did on Bush and Gore as the Odd Couple sharing the presidency. Not good kids. Not good at all.

[VNY link via Megnut]

Spanish lessons: Part 1
Feliz Navidad roughly translated means "Your secretary doesn't have a virus scanner installed. Time to reinstall Windows."

I flipped the bird

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. This was my first time playing host for Thankgiving dinner. Allison took on the task of cooking the bird. (Do they make a tofu turkey?) I got to help by turning the bird after an hour (a Fitzpatrick family trick). I did this primarily so that when my Mom came over I could tell her "I flipped the bird". How childish.

Dinner was great. All of my family and all of Allison's family. No fistfights and one surprise guest. My brother-in-law, Peter, brought his brand new border collie named Phoebe. She was the hit of the party. I liked her so much that I decided to buy one for Allison and I.

That's right. I am a dog owner. I have never thought of myself as a dog person. I had a couple of bad dog experiences growing up. From the Scottish terriers next door getting into our yard and chasing me (c'mon they are scary when you're 5) to the girl I dated who had a Boxer the size of a Porsche who loved to bound up to me and go paws first towards the family jewels. Never had a reason to love a dog, until now.

Our dog is named Penny (sorry for the blurry shot, she moves around a lot). She is 9 weeks old and is Phoebe's sister. She is my very first puppy or dog for that matter. The only other pets I have owned have been fish. It was pretty sad when we were little. We used to have goldfish named Rover and Fido. Just add that to the long list of things that I never knew I wanted when I was a kid. It wasn't that my Mom was strict, I just asumed it was out of the question. An aside, if you knew your Mom would let your youngest brother play the electric guitar any time he pleased after you moved out of the house, wouldn't you be the least bit peaved? I never knew to ask for an electric guitar or a dog. Makes me wonder about that machete I had my eye on too.

So here I sit at work with my dog at my side (asleep of course) a dog owner. My neighbor told me that raising kids is easier than training a puppy. I should hope so. If kids needed to go on the lawn every couple of hours I would have considered the priesthood.

Nov 20, 2000

NASCAR tryouts or simple cab ride

Click for larger photo
First off, I am back in the Bay Area in one piece but it wasn't for lack of trying.

I landed in LA and promptly got in a near-death experience generator, I mean taxi. The cab to my hotel was driven by a half-blind gentleman who locked up the rear wheels no less than 3 times in a 10 mile area. He was shouted at, honked at and screamed at. Needless to say the one finger salute was dished out as well.

The next day I thought I was safe taking a very short 2 mile cab ride. No such luck. The driver intentionally cut off a BMW and flipped him off. Again excessive braking and yet I still tipped him!? I actually took a few more cab rides that night and there was nothing interesting to report.

On the way to the airport my driver, Elijah, was very amped up and happy to get me to the airport as fast as possible in morning rush-hour traffic. I don't know whether to congratulate the man for our narrow escape from disaster. We were almost the 4th car in a 3 car pile-up right in front of us. Lot's of skidding and cursing from Elijah. As I looked on wondering if the passengers of the other very mangled cars were ok, Elijah pulled around them and announced "It's OK. That was a close one but we will still make the airport ok." Here I was thinking of jumping out and helping and he was thinking "Man, this guy needs to make that flight". I have mixed feelings about that one.

A final cab story, the above photo is the very same cab, this one in Las Vegas and not all that interesting but a good warning for all of you heading to Vegas in the future. When you tell the cabbie that the destination is the new hotel "Paris" you might want to add "You know, the one with the miniature Eiffel Tower" or you will end up at "Harrahs". Paris. Harrahs. Paris. Harrahs. Good thing he wasn't a private jet driver. That could really screw up your plans to see the Louvre for the day.

Nov 14, 2000

Live from Los Angeles
About the only thing worthwhile at the Webnoise show was the free bag for conference attendees. Coincidentally, the same bag kottke recommended after a recent search for THE END ALL BE ALL LAPTOP BAG.

I was going to see Paul Oakenfold while in LA but Ryan ended up sick and unable to scare up tickets anyway. So a decent second choice was to go to the record release party for Fisher at the Temple bar in Santa Monica. This is the famous MP3.com act that is now signed to the Farmclub / Interscope label. A great singer, very Tori, Sara, Jewel, and Natalie Merchant sounding. A recommend for fans of those female rockers(?). Of course it wouldn't really have been an LA experience without a little star spotting. Valerie Bertinelli was in the crowd and is an ardent Fisher fan. Absent however was her husband, Eddie Van Halen. He must have had babysitting duties.

Now for some sleep before the noise and bustle of The Strip and more engineers than you can shake a stick at.

Nov 10, 2000

shellen.com roadshow
I will be hitting Los Angeles next week for Webnoize 2000 and later in the week Las Vegas for Comdex Fall feel free to come up and say hi if you are at either of these shows. I will be at both events taking the pulse of the digital music industry and maybe breaking out a defibrillator if necessary.

Also thanks to Dack for the link to my new book The Presidency for Dummies available at bookstores in Brigadoon, Ireland. Get yours today.

Nov 9, 2000

We have bigger problems than missing ballots...
AP via New Jersey Online:
"Palm Beach voter Kenneth Horowitz, owner of the Miami Fusion soccer team and a registered independent, filed a lawsuit along with two others Thursday, saying poll workers told voters they only had five minutes to cast their ballots, and anyone who took longer would have their ballot tossed out."
From MSNBC:
"The Rev. Jesse Jackson said he got calls on Election Day complaining that blacks had difficulty voting in Florida and other Southern states. Jackson said some voters were told there were no more ballots, or that polls were closed."
Justice is needed. Might I recommend an industrial-sized can of whoop ass?

Nov 8, 2000

Where am I going to put these?
FedEx just dropped off 9 suitcases full of ballots from Florida at work! Man, I don't need this headache today.

Nov 7, 2000

I think were going to be ok here...

Almost as if it were written just for GW BushI just found this book on Amazon and sent it over to ol' GWB. Phwew! Just in the nick of time too.
Apologies to IDG Books
Election thoughts revisited
A while back I set up a discussion room on this site about the election and my brother, Taylor left his thoughts on the whole affair. I am reprinting it here because I could really use a laugh today.
Hi,
I live in the republic of PatoBantanMishuMishu, so my vote may seem unimportant but, I think I should express my opinion. I will vote for the first candidate that addresses the wild boar issue and pushes for funding to erect a fence around the huts. Just yesterday two young ladies were dragged out of their beds by wild boar.

I would also support candidates in favor of poison dart control. I think that a waiting period for poison darts would give time for an enraged citizen to cool off, and there's alway's the opportunity to battle with clubs in the meantime like sensible adults. I hope that I've swayed voted with my insight about these important issues. Good night and Goballatubulla bless.

Taylor

I implore you...
Ok, I rarely implore. I sometimes imitate, obfuscate and reiterate but I rarely implore. Today I ask that you vote. Please. Nader needs you, Gore needs you and even the frat boy needs you. Seriously.

Nader is up in the polls and I feel it is time to send a message that picking from the lesser of 2 evils is not the way to run a government. I rarely get to vote for a candidate who stands up for what I believe in. Anyway, Nader or not go out and vote. By the way, due to the busy voting schedule Republicans are asked to please vote on Wednesday. Thank you.

Nov 6, 2000

Last Thursday I met real life web rockstars

At Web2000 in SF, I met Evan Williams and Paul Bausch at the Pyra Labs booth. Pyra is the fine company that brings you Blogger the tool that makes updating this site a breeze and is now so easy to use that any day I expect to see a Koko the Gorilla weblog (with much more traffic than mine). Pyra is putting the final touches on an enterprise version of Blogger that will include spellcheck and all kinds of other goodies. A must in my company budget if I have my way.

Also present at the show was new SF resident, Jason Kottke sporting this shirt from 37signals. Sorry ladies it does look like he is off the market after all. He was flanked by Pyra employee Megnut. She didn't flank him in public though which I appreciated.

Overall, Web2000 kinda blew. Very small, the scent of dead dotcoms in the air. A very heavy software vibe, it might as well been a side room at Seybold (cue chuckles from all desktop publishers and graphic designers). Seriously, I don't know how they will get butts in the seats next year if it continues at such a miserable pace. How many people will pay money to hear that Photoshop is a great tool for the upmteenth year in a row?

The one bright spot of the show was the heavy promotion of CNET Radio 910 AM. They broadcasted live from the show and are a welcome change in the Bay Area. Hearing relevent tech news on the radio at all hours of the day means a whole lot more productivity during the rush hour drive. If you live outside the Bay Area you can stream it to your computer and soon onto your internet radio (shameless plug for my new project).

They need to idiot proof the back button
The other day I wrote a post for this site that would have made Faulkner, Steinbeck and Bradbury weep. Dave Barry would have been jealous of my wry wit. J.D. Salinger would have been stunned at the sweeping picture I painted of my surroundings and the brutal honesty from which I drew.

Alas, I was using an iMac at an internet cafe in San Francisco and when I meant to hit publish on my screen I accidentally backspaced. This triggered the back button wiping this modern literary morsel into the ether.

Now I can't remember what I had written exactly and it would be feeble for me to try so I will have to fill today's page with more drivel to soften the blow.