Rants & Ramblings

random commentary about culture, media, politics, technology and whatnot.

technology

nov
21
2007

(don't) give up on vista

Apple has a rather ballsy advertising campaign (Quicktime movie) right now in which they’re seemingly taunting Microsoft about problems users are having with its Windows Vista operating system. They’ve upped the ante with an ad buy on CNet’s guide to …

oct
06
2007

minor annoyance

On Wednesday, I had an hour to kill in between flights at Chicago’s Midway International Airport, so I decided to use the airport’s wifi service to check my e-mail. The service’s login page opens first with a big advertisement, then …

oct
02
2007

quote of the day: planning ahead

Woman: What do you really want to do? Chuck: Workin’ on a five-year plan. Just need to choose a font. - Heard in the series premiere of Chuck

aug
29
2007

don't resize — retarget

This demo of a new technology for resizing images is pretty interesting: (If you can’t see the video above, it’s available on YouTube.) Obviously, since the photo is being materially altered, it has no place in a news context unless …

may
10
2007

nabaztag

Aside from serving as an adorable alarm clock, the Nabaztag (or “wifi bunny”) really has little practical value for me. But with its ear “tai chi” and its jaunty British accent, it really is the cutest thing ever. (And, given …

may
07
2007

i've gotta think i'm saving the day

Verizon Broadband has this new “Be an Action Hero” promotion where users can upload their pictures and insert themselves into a short 3D action movie. It takes a good while to see the completed film (in my case, it was …

feb
08
2007

quote of the day: tivo prayer

Oh, so true: MARSHALL: To make sure it records, maybe we should bow our heads and say a quiet prayer to the TiVo gods. (Ted nods, and the two hold onto either end of the TiVo remote.) TED: Almighty TiVo, …

jan
31
2007

uptime

I just rebooted my PowerBook for the first time since … Oct. 16, 2006. That’s 107 days without restarting my machine. I don’t know if that’s an achievement or utter folly. I did have five Apple system updates waiting to …

jan
29
2007

problem solved

I just came across a baffling problem in Flash … and a simple, but equally baffling solution.

jan
28
2007

first life

For the past year or so, academics and media-types alike seem have fallen over themselves trying to praise / hype / study the virtual world that is Second Life. I just don’t get it. I understand in theory why observers …

dec
18
2006

joining the tivo herd

Rob and I got a TiVo last week. I’ve had a Comcast DVR for the past three years, and while I’ve certainly made use of it — it’s completely changed the way I watch television — I’ve been rather unhappy …

dec
05
2006

whee for wii

I had a chance to play with a friend’s new Nintendo Wii this evening, and boy is it fun. It’s a rare thing that I just have fun with a game. We played Wii Sports, sampling the boxing, baseball and …

nov
22
2006

quote of the day: wasted

Rob spent some time this evening going through a couple boxes of random papers. On occasion, he would hold a document up and ask if I felt it was worthy of saving. Sometimes, our snobbier judgments about design elements tipped …

nov
19
2006

what i'm reading now: interface culture

I’ve been doing a lot more reading since I started taking the Metro to work every day. In my mind, this can only be a good thing. Right now, I’m reading Interface Culture: How New Technology Transforms the Way We …

aug
15
2006

a story in search terms

Much has been made recently of AOL’s inadvertent public release of its logs of user search terms. Doug took a look at the data and came up with some fairly sad, PostSecret-like narratives, told through individual users’ interactions with the …

jul
11
2006

problem-finder

The New York Times today makes an interesting point about NASA’s extreme cautiousness about space shuttle safety: So many of the tools the space agency has built since the 2003 Columbia disaster can detect new problems that weren’t necessarily detectable …

jul
06
2006

tentative

Merlin Mann of 43Folders today pointed out an ingeniously simple way to differentiate between scheduled and tentative appointments: Just put a little upside-down question mark — ¿ — in front of the subject of your appointment, and you’re good to …

may
14
2006

virtual dollhouse

The New York Times ran an interesting story last week about how some children have begun to eschew real dolls (i.e. Barbie and the like) for the more interactive virtual “dolls” offered by games like The Sims. Francesca and Richard …

apr
09
2006

weekly roundup

Random things that have caught my eye in the past week, but which didn’t get their own blog entries: Before documentary filmmaker Robert Greenwald appeared on The Colbert Report on March 30, he asked his blog readers for advice on …

mar
30
2006

sorting

I use Microsoft Entourage (sort of the Mac equivalent of Microsoft Outlook) for my e-mail at work. I was cleaning out my “Sent Items” folder this morning and, to help prioritize my deletions, sorted my messages by file size. Instead …