Rants & Ramblings

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

technology

mar
08
2006

clean slate

One of the best things about getting a new hard drive is that it’s almost like having a brand-new computer. Everything’s clean. Everything’s fresh. Everything’s running really fast because you haven’t installed anything beyond the bare minimum. Now’s the time …

feb
20
2006

unfair use

Interesting … and a bit distressing: This week, Ars.Technica pointed out some language in recent legal filings by the RIAA that suggest that the group is introducing a new argument in its war against music piracy: Ripping MP3s from albums …

feb
17
2006

domain registration

The 12-year-old in me giggles when I read through this list … but it’s still important advice: When you register your domain name … be careful If you don’t you could end up like … “Who Represents?”, a database of …

feb
14
2006

too slow

Looks like my Internet search prowess is too speedy for ticketmaster.ca. While looking for concert listings in Vancouver in early May (woo! honeymoon!), I got the following error message: Please note. We limit the rate of web page requests that …

feb
13
2006

rules of engagement

As my Flickr obsession has deepened over the past year, I’ve learned a few tricks to help boost my photos’ exposure within the Flickr community. That’s not to say that I’ve established any kind of massive following on the photo …

feb
07
2006

tech support to the stars

Who does Bono call when he needs to hook up his XBox? The Geek Squad, apparently. The Wall Street Journal reported last week about entertainers who have added tech experts to their entourages for tech support with a personal touch. …

jan
26
2006

stalkeriffic

Google Maps has added higher-resolution images to its satellite view, offering two more closer-in levels of zoom. It’s so close, I can see the chairs next to the pool on top of my building. I’ve noticed a couple snafus, though, …

jan
10
2006

just one more thing

Today was the big Steve Jobs keynote at Macworld Expo. MacCentral has a nice round-up of the new product announcements. The big news: The new MacBook Pro laptop, powered by an Intel processor and, according to Apple, four times faster …

enlarge photo

I came across a cool CSS/JavaScript-based technique for layering an image on top of the existing browser window — sort of like a pop-up window, but without the pop-up — called Lightbox JS. It’s deceptively simple, and, as used in …

jan
07
2006

moviefone im

AOL introduced a Moviefone bot for its AOL Instant Messenger service in the latter half of last year. I don’t know how heavily used it will be, but it’s an interesting, right-to-the-point way of searching for movie times. Users can …

dec
22
2005

miraculous recovery

If this had happened to me, I think I would have completely. freaked. out: An hour or so later at her home in Bethesda, she realized her purse was gone. Her bank cards, driver’s license, Social Security card, $1,000 worth …

dec
16
2005

zeitgeist

Just as it’s interesting to see what kind of traffic search engines direct my way, it’s also fascinating to see what people are searching for in general. With the end of the year approaching, Yahoo! has posted a list of …

dec
09
2005

delicious yahoo

Yahoo! has been on quite the buying streak lately. del.icio.us, my favorite online bookmark service, announced today that they had been acquired by Yahoo!. It’s a great move for Yahoo!, and it makes perfect sense, given the company’s focus on …

birth of macrodobia

Monday morning brought an awesome Macromedia site of the day, featuring an interactive kitchens site from IKEA with nifty Matrix-like 360-degree freeze-frame images. Monday also brought some changes to the Macromedia Web site, following the completion of its merger with …

dec
04
2005

from spyware to adware

This month’s Wired has a fascinating story about the evolution of Claria (formerly the notorious adware/spyware maker Gator), from ignomy to financial success. (“Don’t Call It Spyware” - 12/2005) Back in 2002, Gator was one of the most reviled companies …

nov
28
2005

driving directions

While looking up driving directions for my trip to South Carolina over the weekend, I noticed an odd quirk between the new Flash-based Yahoo! Maps and the “classic” Yahoo! Maps: Both displayed the exact same directions and distance travelled (446.8 …

nov
22
2005

ie begone

The Cult of Mac weblog points out that Microsoft’s MSN.com, when viewed with the latest version of Microsoft Internet Explorer for Mac, advises visitors to use another browser. Why does MSN look like this? Microsoft Internet Explorer website Why does …

nov
21
2005

detente

I love the way this New York Times story about the rise of text ads sets the scene: Five years ago, Web advertisers were engaged in an ever-escalating competition to grab our attention. Monkeys that asked to be punched, pop-ups …

nov
14
2005

metrics

For having a site with relatively low traffic, I’m unreasonably obsessed with keeping tabs on my site metrics, particularly when people I don’t expect tell me that they’ve visited my blog. I’m always curious about which of my generally banal …

oct
26
2005

preserving my sanity

I’m a big fan of Apple’s Safari browser. (I like Firefox, too, but I find that Safari tends to be a bit speedier and more responsive than Firefox.) I’m also a HUGE fan of tabbed browsing, to the point where, …

happy birthday to you

Ah, voicemail, how I hate thee. I don’t leave good voicemail messages. I ramble. I’ll substitute slow “ummmmms” in place of key information that I’ve momentarily forgotten, only to panic at how painfully bad my message probably sounds and rapid-fire …

oct
25
2005

abort, retry, fail

Error messages like these are really helpful: Thanks, Apple.

oct
04
2005

wikigovernment

In a funny brief that tweaks the failed “wikitorial” experiment at the L.A. Times, The Onion reports: Congress Abandons WikiConstitution September 28, 2005 | Issue 41•39 WASHINGTON, DC — Congress scrapped the open-source, open-edit, online version of the Constitution Monday, …