Microsoft Gadgets

Microsoft has a hep new site: Microsoft Gadgets. "Have you ever wondered how new technologies get developed in Microsoft? Wonder how a cool idea goes from incubation to release?" MS had a totally original idea: create a web page that shows the projects that they're working on and let you try them out. They're also introducing another innovation: Microsoft Gadgets. What are Gadgets you say?

Gadgets are a new category of mini-application designed to provide information, useful lookup, or enhance an application or service on your Windows PC or the Web. Examples might include a weather gadget running on your desktop or on your homepage, an RSS Gadget that pulls in your favorite feeds, or an extension of a business application providing just-in-time status on the pulse of your business.

Amazing idea! I've never heard of anything like that before. Microsoft, where do you get these great ideas?

My TechTV appearance

This is the clip of my netcam call into The Screen Savers, back before it died. You can also watch this in higher quality Quicktime here. Epilogue: Kevin Rose recommended Debian because it has a utility named apt-get that makes installing apps much easier. I ended up using Ubuntu, a distro that is based on Debian, and apt-get turned out to be one of my favorite things about Ubuntu. I haven't even bothered trying to compile a program since I switched to Ubuntu.

Emma's new video (again)

I'm experimenting with YouTube's embedded video player. Click on the play button to start the video. I've also added a tab at the top of the page called 'Videos'. Click on it to get a list of my videos (also embedded from YouTube.com). I really like YouTube so far. There are a couple of things that would make it even nicer. I would like to be able to choose which frame from my video becomes the thumbnail image for the video. I would also like to have some code to display the video that doesn't use the depreciated 'embed' tag. (Thanks to STK in the forums for giving me the valid code to use.) The watermark in the lower right corner bothers some people, but I don't really mind it. I still think I'll generally want to provide a direct link to a bigger, higher quality Quicktime (H.264) version of my videos for those people who want it to look nicer and to be able to save a copy on their computer. But YouTube works great for an easy, compatible way of showing videos. I would be interested to hear what people think. Do you use the high-quality version of the video, or the easy YouTube version? Do you think having the video right on my page is nice, or too much? I could also make it so that you have to click 'Read more' to see it, but since the video doesn't start loading or playing until you click the play button, I don't think that is necessary.

The Iliad

IliadI'm reading Homer's Iliad, translated by Stanley Lombardo. I tried once before in college and didn't get very far, but I'm really enjoying it now. The fact that I'm not trying to read it on top of homework might have something to do with it. I'm into Book 5 now and the battle is well underway.

The story is exciting, but I think my favorite part has been the writing, the poetry. It's translated from Greek to English by Stanley Lombardo. His translations aren't strictly literal, but try to bring the words of Homer into more modern language. He came to Truman once and visited my Greek class where he taught us some things about reciting Greek. Then he did a performance that night. The way he brings the beauty of the poems into English is stunning. Here he's describing how a Greek hero slaughters a ram as part of an oath with the Trojans:

He spoke, then slashed the rams' throats
And put the gasping animals on the ground,
Their proud temper undone by whetted bronze.

I may post some more of my favorite quotes here (unless someone convinces me not to).

Emma 3 1/2

I finished a new home video: Emma 3 1/2, and I've added it to my youtube.com videos. Or, if you want a higher quality version, you can download this file (Requires Quicktime 7).

PC-com

On Brendon's recommendation I've been using QuickSilver, a powerful keyboard-based launcher for the Mac. Once you've programmed some commands, you just hit the hot key to bring up QS, start typing in the command and it will auto-complete you command after a few keystrokes. Hit enter and you launch the app or whatever it is you programmed. You can make it do just about anything. I've set it up to connect to the brendoman.com command line interface so I can start making website changes quickly.

But I still use a PC part of the time, so I went looking for a similar program for Windows. Thanks to Leslie S. Russell, I was able to find PC-Com.

PC-Com was created by Boletrice Software and it works about like QuickSilver. Bring up PC-Com with a hot-key, start typing a command and press enter when the auto-complete is showing the right command. Three steps, your hands never leave the keyboard and you can do just about anything. You can launch programs, open web pages and files and search the web in various ways. It also has something that QS doesn't have: macros. You can record a complex set of mouse and keyboard actions, then play it back at an accelerated speed with a single PC-Com keyword. There is a free version available for download (limited to 100 keywords) and a pro version for $10. The keyboard is still the fasted way to interact with your computer, and PC-Com is the tool you need to be able to more with your keyboard.

Michael D. Brown

Michael D. Brown - Wikipedia

First some disclaimers: Mike Brown didn't cause the hurricane. And no, FEMA is not the only agency responsible for helping disaster victims. (But with a disaster of this size, stat and local resources get tapped pretty quickly.) Ok, no let's look at some interesting facts from the Wikipedia article.

Before joining DHS/FEMA, Brown was Judges and Stewards Commissioner for the International Arabian Horse Association (IAHA) from 1989-2001, a position from which he was forced to resign after an onslaught of lawsuits over disciplinary actions.

The IAHA was in such dire financial straits that they were forced to merge with another horse-type organization.

After President Bush entered office in January 2001, Brown joined FEMA as General Counsel. He was hired by his old friend and college roommate, then-FEMA director Joe Allbaugh[7], who also ran George W Bush's election campaign in 2000.

So Allbaugh got the job because he helped run the 2000 campaign and Brown got hired into FEMA because he was a pal of Allbaugh's.

On September 1, 2005, Mike Brown told Paula Zahn of CNN that he was unaware that New Orleans officials had housed thousands of evacuees in the Convention Center.

From what I understand, the Convention Center and the people housed there had been all over the news for about 24 hours by this point.

In January 2005, U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler publicly urged President Bush to fire Brown, citing reports that FEMA disbursed $30 million in disaster relief funds for Hurricane Frances to residents of Miami, Florida, a city which was not affected by the hurricane. Brown admitted to $12 million in overpayments, but denied any serious mistakes, blaming a computer glitch.

Perhaps the shortfalls in FEMA aid are part of a larger pattern. You know, the kind of pattern that you get when you appoint an incompetent horse judger as the Undersecretary of Homeland Security.

What is New Orleans?

I just finished listening to the latest episode of Le Show with Harry Shearer. He has recorded the show in New Orleans several times over the last year, so I knew he was going to have a lot to say about the hurricane. It wasn't what I expected, though. Railing on the Bush administration is a normal part of the show, but there wasn't one word about that. There was no blame, no outrage, not really even any sadness. It was a whole show celebrating the culture of the city. This was a refreshing surprise. The episode features several songs from the city (which is surprising again, because the podcast edition of the show usually cuts out the music, but not this time). Here's a direct link to the mp3 file, and here's the feed if you want to subscribe to the podcast.

"I Don't Want Your Freedom"

As much as I hate to admit it, I am often a follower. So, as I read Dave and Kyle's posts about the horrible songs in 1998, I felt I just had to reciprocate with a horrible music post of my own, but with a twist: I actually like this artist(s).

The other day, I was watching Behind the Music: George Michael (I know, gag), and it made me remember how much I loved him when I was in Jr. High. I loved WHAM! (where is that other guy, anyway?)and even convinced my parents to listen to "Faith" in the car. (They liked a little known song called "Kissing a Fool" because it had a jazzy feel...OMG, I can't believe I am reviewing a George Michael album. I also can't believe I said OMG.)

Anyway, I downloaded some of my favorite songs and am currently reminiscing about the days before teen angst and Eddie Vedder set in. Times were so much simpler when the hardest question to answer was, "Who is your favorite New Kid?" (Mine was Jordan.)

There you go, boys. Someone with relatively good taste in music extolling the virtues of 80's pop. If you were brave, you'd admit the horrible songs you liked, too.

Try a Mac Mini free for 30 days

Mac MiniTry a Mac Mini free for 30 days - If you've been wanting to try a Mac, this might be a good time. Buy a Mac Mini from the Apple Store and use it for 30 days with your monitor, keyboard and mouse. If you decide to go back to your PC, you can send it back and Apple will give you a refund. The only cost you'll have is the return shipping. That's a pretty cheap way to test drive a new computer. The Mini's tiny form factor and pretty design are nice, but the best part of a Mac is the operating system: OS X. It's more secure than Windows. I'm not using anti-virus software, anti-spyware software or anti-adware software. I haven't had one problem. Surfing gunk free with a PC takes a lot more work. It's also nice to buy a computer that actually comes with useful software. The iLife suite, which comes on all new Macs, includes iTunes, iMovie, iPhoto, iDVD and Garage Band. You can have some fun with that stuff. But you don't have to take my word for it, grab one and try it for 30 days.

(via Digg.com)

1 ... 35 36 37 ...38 ... 40 ...42 ...43 44 45 ... 105