Oh no.

30 Sep 2004


Well, it's time our little site here, or at least this 'blog part of it, grew up a little.

Tinderbox has been great, but that archives.html file has been killing my bandwidth and download times.

It's hackable, Tinderbox is, and I probably could spend the time and effort making the templates export proper archies split up by month and topic and then adding content to the body of my RSS feed... but I've got other stuff to do, like.

So we're moving on over to http://redsoxnation.blogthing.com/

See you over there.


So we've moving again! Just nearby this time, in fact. http://supertart.com/qi/wordpress/

24 Sep 2004

Ellis Burks is Back

Oh man I wish I could have seen this game (or, like some lucky people on their birthday, get to attend the damn game).

All right, so the outcome (and the Sox pitching) sucked, but to get to see Ellis come in to pinch hit for Pokey Reese and see him get the ovation he got... oh man, I would have loved to see that. Instead of relying on the Herald (link above) and Beth to report it. L just got to hear me saying, while watching the MLB Gameday window at home while dinner was cooking, "Ellis is gonna bat for Pokey, how much you wanna bet they bat Ellis for Pokey?!" And when he got a single I could just imagine... but man, what it must have been like to be there.

I used to love seeing someone that fast playing centerfield for the Sox back in the latter part of the 80s and through Morgan's Magic.

They let Brady Anderson go because Ellis was filling that spot so well.

I'm glad, in the end, they brought the guy back for one last tour.

23 Sep 2004

What's Going On

So a little update, for those who care.

The project with Adam Pacther is going all right, finally back on now that he's got little things like having a daughter out of the way. Expect more news... well, soon. Soon may be a relative term. Meaning anytime from now to slightly just after never. You know how I can get sometimes.

God Coffee, I Miss You is not, in fact, some fantasy of mine, it actually exists. Well, sort of. Still working on it. Trying to make it exist a little more substantially than it does presently. L has been very good about lighting fires under my butt, I've just proven, as time goes on, a lot better at sitting on flames than you might have thought. Those asbestos underpants really help.

Other than that, still managing a huge staff over at Sane every week and various life events are keeping me from being too active on the writing front. We'll see how that changes in the coming months.

22 Sep 2004

Cat Stevens, Safe in... Maine?

The thing I don't get about this story, which is weird on a few levels, sure, is that the security officials, worried about known 70s singer Cat Stevens (now Yusuf Islam) aboard a flight in progress from London to Washington DC decided that he posed such a threat that they diverted it to Maine.

If I were a Mainiac I'd be pretty pissed off right about now. I mean, you compromise our security up in lovely old Maine so those a**eholes down in Washinton are safe? Jesus, now we've got Cat Stevens running around! Peace Train! Look out! Last time I checked Maine is still part of the Homeland (don't know why, but I hate that term, it sounds like something out of a bad adaptation of a James Fenimore Cooper novel).

I can just picture some emminently bored security agent going through the passenger lists for the flights that day, flicking through the pages, maybe sipping a coffee every once in a while, slumped in his chair, head resting against one hand. Suddenyl, he bolts upright. "Damn!" He looks wildly around the room. "Damn, damn, damn!" He rolls his chair quickly over to the phone, almost upending his coffee when his headphone cord attached to his computer sproings tight and clips the lid off the top of the cup. The cup rattles and totters but finally settles back down, with slightly less coffee in it than before. He picks up the receiver, hits the blue button... "Listen, we've got a code... blue. Jesus, man! We need immediate action! Cat Stevens coming to Washington. From London. Quick, what do I do?" A beat passes. The kid looks around wildly. Unfortunately, his thrashing head does upset the cup of coffee finally. Which is okay, because the spilled coffee from earlier had already screwed up his keyboard as it was, so the extra dousing doesn't do too much extra harm.

"Okay, right, divert, divert, get him out of the country, cool, got it."

Now this kid, being from just around Washington DC, or maybe out West somewhere, has to wrack his brain, where the hell do I send him, somewhere far, far away. But where they speak English, mostly, so he can convince the foreign airport guys to let this plane land there in this emergency. Maine! I've got it! Even though I've heard they speak French up there!

He puts down the phone then picks it up again. Sliding out a drawer with all the airport phone numbers on a sheet of paper stuck to the bottom, he begins dialing... "Yeah? Maine? Listen, we've got an emergency. What? Jesus, is that English?"

"Yes, sir. We have a code blue. We've got to land a plane in your neck of the woods. Yes, we appreciate your compliance. We have always been friendly neighbours, the US and Canada. Err, right, Maine. Sure. Umm, listen, I really can't understand you. It's Flight ---. From London. England. Just let it land, we'll send people up. Right, okay, 'y'eee-ah' and 'they-ah' to you, too. Bye."

And so Cat Stevens lands in Maine. Which, by the way, is still inside the borders of the US of A. Doh. But this kid can at least get back to calmly perusing our flight lists and listening to his iTunes.

22 Sep 2004

Manny Being Manny

You've just gotta love this guy.

Manny gives advice to Rachel Nichols. Rachel's a bit much, but I love Manny's advice for approaching girls and his answer to how busy he is (which is pretty similar to my standard answer when people ask what I do): "I don't really do that much."

10 Sep 2004

Whiskey Tango Ghost

Tanya Donelly's latest album Whiskey Tango Ghost is available for download online. Not from the iTMS, but from 4AD, her label. You can buy and download it from here, it'll cost you around £8.

4ad.com seem to love Hersh and Donelly, Hersh's new project, 50 Foot Wave is on there, as well. Their album you can download from the iTunes Music Store (50 Foot Wave - EP).

Whiskey Tango Ghost is an incredible album, Tanya's got a beautiful voice. Highly recommended. Oh, and if you're a Mac user you'll want to try and purchase the album with Internet Explorer, as their little buying applet (or whatever it is, to be honest with you I didn't check into it all that closely, or at all, in fact -- it didn't work, I tried IE, standard practise, really) doesn't work with Safari.

10 Sep 2004

Forgeries... or something bigger?

I think there's something bigger at stake than those documents of BushyChimp's(tm)* military records being forgeries...

Obviously, the military has had copies of Microsoft Office for decades now! How else could they have written the documents pertaining to Bush on Microsoft Word 2004!

Found via BoingBoing and SBJ.

* It's not that I hate Bush, it's that I hate traveling abroad and havig people constantly saying, "Oh, you're American? Bush, huh?" With a look of either 1) pity or 2) condescension. Both looks are given in the spirit that the giver of the look either assumes you are 1) burdened by the yolk of being led by an idiot, 2) enjoy being led by an idiot and wholeheartedly agree with him that no other nation 'cept the good ole U S of A counts for anything or 3) you've also had a full frontal lobotomy and they're hoping you don't take this kind of look as a cue to start speaking to them. Seriously, I read an interview with Kerry in Newsweek the other day in the gym, and then proceeded on to the other interview, with Bush, in an attempt to be fair and balanced and everything and try and get both sides of the story. Then I had to go back and re-classify the Kerry responses as wonderfully articulate, smooth, and sensible. Because Bush's grasp of the English language (I suppose you hav to forgive him, his first language being Texan) is disgusting. Any suspicions he wanted that "No Child Left Behind" thing because he was never taught to speak in complete sentences? I mean that's a failure of the system right there. Actually, thinking about it, I do really dislike Bush.

Ps. I saw the latest comment on BoingBoing about these docs potentially not being written in Word. This is an attempt at humour.

9 Sep 2004

Pedro's Wednesday Night Masterpiece

What a beautiful game. All right, so it got a bit boring, when Pedro lost his bid for a no-hitter, but you've got to like an 8-0 lead going into the 7th inning.

But to be sitting down the right field line, spitting distance (I didn't try, this is just a rough guess estimate) from the Red Sox bullpen, surrounded by scores upon scores of Red Sox fans, watching Pedro stymy the A's and watching the Sox bat around against Tim Hudson was pure magic.

Network Associates Coliseum is a big, not particularly nice ballpark, which A's fans never seem to manage to be able to fill. At a rough guess (another one, this post is just full of them, I know) I would have to say 30% of the crowd, at least, were there to cheer on the Red Sox.

The ovation that Trot got, when he took over in right field in the 8th, and caught a sinking line drive was thunderous. In a visiting ballpark. It was really something amazing to behold. I know the folks at home were saying it seemed like the Sox were being given a hard time by the Oakland fans, but, at least in our section, we routinely outshouted the A's fans. So much so that the poor guy in front of me, one of three A's fans in two complete rows of Sox fans, had to content himself with showing his... well, I suppose he thought it was clever, sign to his fellow A's fans, and then he only brought it out in the 7th inning or so, when he was getting desperate and shouting all about 1918...

Everything willing, if I live long enough, I'll come back to Oakland in 60 years and try and start up the "1989" chant. Or maybe, just maybe, I'll have better things to do with my time. I don't know, I'll pencil it in the old calendar, anyway, just in case nothing better comes up.

8 Sep 2004

Garden State

Damn that Zach Braff.

I was very impressed with Garden State.

And Zach had/has a blog for the film here. Which he wrote and directed.

Great soundtrack, brilliantly written screenplay, just an amazing all around film.

Much better than, say, Godsend.

Go out and see Garden State, I highly recommend it. And that goofy kid you'll see in the film, the one from Scrubs? Yeah. That's Zach Braff. Bastard.

7 Sep 2004

Sox-A's Tickets Still Available

If you're a Sox fan stranded out here on the West Coast, don't look now but there are a lot of good tickets still available for pretty cheap for tonight and tomorrow's (Pedro!) games against the A's...

We're hitting Petey's game tomorrow night and managed to get field box tickets for pretty cheap.

I'd love to see the Coliseum turned into Fenway Park West like SBC/PacBell Park was back in June. Of course, I'd not like to see a repeat of Schmidt's performance against the Sox, but we'll see how that goes. Think they'll play Tessie (Tessie) for us if the Sox win?

30 Aug 2004

And we're back...

We're back from our jaunt across Massachusetts, Clare, and DC, and just about settling back into work.

That was, of course, after I cleared away the cardboard box filler with which the guys had helpfully filled my cube. For some reason, everytime anyone leaves for any period of time we fill their cube with boxes... and man, those Xserve RAID boxes are heavy, even when they're empty.

And look at the Sox, I can't believe my eyes, reading through the papers today... people seem... positively positive... about things. What the hell happened to the Boston media in the last few weeks!

Oh, and the Dropkick Murphy's Tessie is on the iTunes Music Store.

The EP includes a slightly rockier version of Fields of Athenry, which they played at Claire's wedding afters.

10 Aug 2004

Humor, Humor, Humor And, Ehm, Games

Before anyone else flips out on me, especially those statheads that seem to litter baseball fans these days, my comments to Joe Sullivan and on various sites, the ones about Nomar being re-signed as a free agent in the off season by the Red Sox, and all of us having a great big laugh at the press conference where Larry and Nomar kiss and make up?

I was joking. Gallows humour, if you will.

Maybe everyone's a little cranky after the Nomar trade, maybe I've just underestimated people's sense of humour. But I'm the guy who wrote, for Sane Magazine (hell, the guy who writes, and founded, Sane Magazine) the story of Nomar's trade with the headline Breaking News: Boston Devastated By Terrorists. Does that sound serious?

Oh oh oh man, forget this little mini-rant about people without a sense of humour... mid-rant, I found this: Atari2600 reviews... ohh... and Atari 7800 a couple favourites:

Congo Bongo - 2600

Kool-Aid Man! - 2600

Pele's Soccer - 2600

Pitfall (and Pitfall II, which you got sneak peeks of (in the mail) if you took a screenshot, literally a picture of the television screen, if you scored more than 20000 or so on the original) - 2600

Racquetball - 2600

Smurf - 2600, for the soundtrack alone...

Desert Falcon - 2600 The game above this, Demons to Diamonds, we couldn't play so often because we really abused that circular controller you needed to play this game.

Superman - 2600, this one gets panned, but I loved this game. Perhaps shows how simple I am...

And my personal favourite for the 2600:

Raiders of the Lost Ark. To name just a couple...

Food Fight - 7800

Hat Trick - 7800

Winter Games - 7800

But there's no review, just yet, of my favourite on that system: Dr J. versus Larry Bird... ah, correction, they do have it...

3 Aug 2004

More Nomar Reaction

More Nomar reaction around the web: Of course, everyone's favourite magazine has a reaction, what those terror warnings were actually all about was, in fact, Nomar's departure to the Cubs. And Joe Sullivan has a pretty good article in the Union Leader.

I feel exactly the same way as Joe... I felt like I'd been divorced Saturday afternoon, sort of a "Funeral Blues" kind of:

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;

Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;

Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood,

For nothing now can ever come to any good.

W. H. Auden

I swore off the Sox that afternoon (been following them since I was a kid in the mid-to-late seventies, a child of Worcester, Mass)... but I wound up coming back... a lot like I did just a few years ago, getting over my long state of discontent over the strike year (I'll grant you, this turnaround was a bit shorter). I'm a lot more wary now, and have, unfortunately, accepted it as a business, that's the way things go. It was nice, for example, to see old Timmy, whom I'd liked as Pirate, and was thrilled when the Sox acquired him, go out and pitch pretty well after a little two run hiccup. But not instant messaging scores around to L, who is also a Sox fan (learned, not born), like I would with a resounding "MANNNNYYYYY! Off the Coke bottles!" or "NOMAAAAAAR! Two run shot!"

I think the biggest reason I've come back around to watching the team through my fingers again (well, metaphorically... as we're stuck in California for a few years it's more like watching the Sox through the throttled stream of WEEI via mlb.com over a 56k modem) is that I think we may still be in for a reconciliation. It's stupid, I know, but don't you think that way in a divorce? And why not? Nomar's a free agent in the autumn, why wouldn't the Sox throw their hat in the ring, pick him up in the offseason, dust him off, and give him a great big hug. "Nomar, welcome back. We were just testing you... and," as Lucchino turns to the fans standing at the foot of the stage, "you guys. We were just kidding." And with that he hands back Nomar's #5, and Nomar flashes one of his smiles, and grabs a bat from some lackey on the edge of the stage, and he looks at his most comfortable, leaning on the bat like he's stretching out before a game or something. And Theo's just standing there on the side of the stage, smiling, with his arms folded across his chest, resisting the urge to wipe the little bead of sweat off his brow. Plausible, right?

Ohh, I'm sure the harsh realisation will hurt, but until then it gives us something to look forward to, come October...

2 Aug 2004

No More Nomar...


Oh well. It really sucks that things got to that point, that there was really nowhere else for Nomar to go but out but there you have it -- a couple of rejected contract offers, a lot of bad press about injuries, the missed trade, and he's out.

Nomar, for the record, is what brought me back to baseball after those years after the strike year, when I just lost interest... and Saturday night I really thought I was just going to pack it in again... after all, baseball is a business. Maybe not so much when you're younger and don't read the goddamn newspapers so much and just have your posters on the wall to tell you about your heroes (Steve Grogan, Ray Bourque, Larry Legend, Roger Clemens...).

It's just a bit saddening, really.

Here's hoping they manage to not make so many errors and the bats come alive...

28 Jul 2004

Bill Simmons on Missing the Sox Games

Bill Simmons (aka The Sports Guy) has a beef with the decision not to show the Sox-Spankees game on Saturday by Fox.

Right on, brothah!

(Umm, yeah, I'm white. At least I don't follow the NBA any longer.. sorry.)

I was gutted to find, after rushing home from a mid-morning softball game in sunny Silicon Valley, leaving the car as the Sox were coming up to bat in the bottom of the second (found it on ESPN radio, thankfully), slamming round the corner, up the stairs, off the walls in the hallway, into the door as I tried to jam the key in, flung the door open -- L. (my own personal Sports Gal) standing there, staring at the tv: "It's not on."

I dove for the couch, flipped up the clicker, flicked through the usual suspects, 2, 38, 39, 40, 41, a couple more north of there just in case we were having channel displacement and every channel had been shifted a couple of numbers. I went back and tried 3 and 4 just in case that theory had legs.

No. Friggin'. Game.

Correction. Giants-Cardinals game. To quote Bill: "I'm sure there were pennant implications and stuff. It's just that I don't care. I don't care about the National League. I care about the Red Sox. "

Unfortunately, we don't have a radio, we've made due with a combo of WEEI from mlb.com over our crappy little dial-up or listening to music off the old iTunes. And the internet wasn't an option because, as soon as she found out the game wasn't on the television L. started in on some phone calls back home to Ireland she had to make. I could feel the great primal scream coming from somewhere deep inside me. The same primal scream our ancestors probably made when they first crawled out of the sea and realised there weren't any cabanas or chaise lounges set up just yet. The same ones that remember Smokey Joe Wood.

So I ran the whole way down to Walgreens, literally. This isn't as impressive as it sounds, as Walgreens isn't particularly far from the house, but I did do it in sandals, which has to up the difficulty factor a little bit. Rummaged through all the aisles in Walgreens looking desperately for a battery-powered AM radio. Got a little huffy with a woman and her cart who obviously didn't realise the guy running around with the sweaty 'B' cap was involved in a quest of monstrous proportions.

Finally found the radios near the front of the shop (damn this new and newly laid out location they've put themselves in... last year, before I started work over here I would have found those radios in milliseconds, that's how well I was acquainted with the old Walgreens building), grabbed one that mentioned AM and battery on it, grabbed a pack of 9V batteries, and ran out of the store, back up the street towards home.

I had the bright idea to open the battery pack and radio to try and listen to it on the way home, sooth the savage soul, as it were. Only bits of radio really need to have a table or something to rest on, if you're going to take them apart, I think that might even be mentioned in the instruction manual, because the parts just seem to flip out of your hands way too easily and are made out of that plastic that hits a surface and instantly skids out of reach and, if one is available, under a fridge. And using a plastic bag, which is filled with the plastic bags that contained the radio box and the radio inside the plastic box, as your table is not a great substitute.

But I did it. I managed to get the battery in. I had to stop running at this point, and to get those little caps on the nubs I had to stop completely. I probably had my tongue stuck out and my mouth twitching at this point, as I apparently do when I'm concentrating on something. I've never seen it, personally, as I'm usually concentrating on whatever it is at the time.

And no sound. Damn. It. I flicked both dials around to see if there was no sound due to the fact that I wasn't on a proper frequency or maybe had the sound down too far. Still no luck. I bolted across the road, finally, glaring at the back of those cars that didn't realise you're supposed to stop to let pedestrians cross at crosswalks in the civilised world (of which California doesn't fall, but hey, we're hoping they all learn someday), especially when there's a Red Sox game on. I would have chucked the radio at them if 1) I didn't need it to listen to the game and 2) this were the movie world, where I could get away with such a thing, especially if it wound up hitting the car and breaking their rear view windshield or something and 3) I thought it would make me feel better.

So, with my lifeless radio back into the apartment, L. still on the phone, television quiet.

I plugged the radio in in the kitchen, and flipped through frequencies. Scared L. out of the room when sound, just nonsensical, incredibly loud sound blasted out. I settled down. Breathed in deep once or twice. This may have also been due to the fact that I hate running and was sucking wind like nobody's business. My hands were shaking slightly, I thought. It made it difficult to tune the radio. I made a slight placating gesture to L's back as she left to room to continue her conversation in a room in which she could actually hear and turned back to the radio.

Finally, struck gold, got the ESPN radio announcers, and settled in.

At the next break, I took it outside, plugged it into the outdoor outlet, which seems to like it better if the plug isn't pushed all the way in but rests sort of halfway out, tempting little kids' fingers (should there be any around), set up on of the patio chairs, grabbed some juice from inside and proceeded to, at long last, enjoy the game.

Man, living on this coast is tough.

26 Jul 2004

Giambi's Mystery Illness

Now, every time this story comes up I have to wonder... why, with all the crap, almost completely unsubstantiated journalism going on out there, has no one really asked if Jason Giambi's decline in health has been due to his extreme weight loss over the offseason (notice how I didn't even mention the rumoured kicking the BALCO steroids that has been snickered at as the reason for his weight loss and not, as he put it, laying off the hamburgers)?

The only place(s) I've seen this raised thus far is in the nyyfans.com forums (and the people who suggested it were quickly shouted down with cries of slander! slander! -- Jesus, guys, it's a forum, a fan forum, there's going to be all kinds of crap...) and in the NY Daily News online. Has this been commented on elsewhere?

It's not a sign of disrespect. Forget the playing aspect of it (I think it's a joke he was voted on to the All Star team, especially after the stink that was raised when Nomar, who hadn't played by that point, was leading the shortstop voting... the guy looks like a scarecrow and he's the starting first baseman for the American League? Over write-in Papi? Come on.). The guy's really sick.

I just wonder why no one's asking the obvious questions now... Or maybe they are, if they are, please show me who's asking them.

26 Jul 2004

Oh Tessie! Sox Win, Sox Win!

Tessie, you are the only, only, ooo-oo-oo--oooonly!

Man, what a weekend.

Lesson number 1) Never let people try to make plans with you when the Yankees roll into Fenway.

Lesson number 2) Maybe it's a good thing, for your heart, that you missed Matsui's grandslam, leaving the house with the Sox up 8-2.

The video for the new version of Tessie is here, which is the 56k link, as even on a pretty hefty Internet connection the DSL version kept crapping out.

Here's hopin' all the good vibes carry over from the weekend's series into the road trip... I'd love to see some vintage Pedro by the time we get to visit Worcester in mid-August...

20 Jul 2004

Don't Bother Holding the Debates

I would say we don't really need the debates for the November elections... this film says it all pretty much in a nutshell.

It's that time of year again, when you should leave the country and try coming back when it's in a better state.

Or just watch a lot of films... Sane's getting into the swing of it with movie reviews lately.

19 Jul 2004

Bindings and NSTableView subclasses

Just a tip, for anyone wanting to use bindings with a custom subclass for NSTableView (say you wanted to create a subclass so you could handle a user pressing the delete key ) is that, if you want sorting to work automagically you need to do a little extra work... don't worry, it's not a lot.

Instead of just hooking up the content binding to your NSArrayController you will also have to explicitly hook up the selectionIndexes and sortDescriptors bindings.

A picture might help. Your bindings inspector is going to look like the following in InterfaceBuilder:

And just one more picture. You'll use the dropdown menu to select the sortDescriptors (in the screenshot) or selectionIndexes. You should leave the Model Key Path text field empty.

You can find this advice, as well as loads of other good advice with regards to binding at mmalc's Bindings tips and tricks.

14 Jul 2004

Set My People Free!

This is a load of, well...

Why do people think blogging is the end all be all? Not only am I getting disillusioned with the state of journalism these days, it's not like "participatory journalism" is any better.

"Some of my pleasantest hours were during the long rain-storms in the spring or fall, which confined me to the house for the afternoon as well as the forenoon, soothed by their ceaseless roar and pelting; when an early twilight ushered in a long evening in which many thoughts had time to take root and unfold themselves. " - Walden, somewhere in the middle.

Of course, we all know Thoreau cheated by hanging out down at old Emerson's house half the time, don't we?

12 Jul 2004

Good Old Manny

Man oh man.

I'm beginning to think that it's not going to be down to a blockbuster trade that'll put the Sox over the top towards winning it all... it'll be the media in Boston putting a big fat cork in it, for Pete's sake.

Manny took a day off yesterday, and the media get stirred into a frenzy. Nick's response seems to be the most level headed, but come on... is this an issue? Who cares if Manny takes a day off? He's been on a tear for the last month or so, coming into the break with MVP numbers and hasn't had too many days off this season so far (you can tell I swear by the cold heard stats of the game)... between him and Ortiz the Sox couldn't really afford to rest either of them, seeing as how they were carrying the team. And now that Nomar does, indeed, seem to be back, and Johnny Damon appears to have been possessed by the spirit of Teddy Ballgame (you can only imagine Ted wondering what the hell he's doing with all that hair), Terry can afford to give Manny a little breather.

I think Ed had a good idea when he abstained from the Boston media for Lent... and you hear the talk of clubhouse cancers...

Hopefully the CHB gets in a good article about this one, as he seems to enjoy misery like this.

At any rate, let's get this joke of a show out of the way this week and let 'em roll on into Anaheim, where we'll be making the trip down to catch Saturday's game (Wakefield to start, I believe), I'm looking forward to seeing the Sox bats light it up once again.

1 Jul 2004

Sox v the MFYs

Surviving Grady has a great entry about last night's game... I think I'm worried, now, about the prospect of Butch Hobson's ghost visiting me at night...

And Bill Simmons, the Sports Guy, has a great article, as well, about last night's painful one... Hopefully tonight Petey can pull it together...

1 Jul 2004

What Kind of Bird is That?

It's a whine bird. Or a couple of them.

Robb (who must have been enslaved and beaten daily in a previous life by someone who wound up working at Apple) and David K Every seem to be getting more and more vitriolic these days, don't they? Jesus.

To be fair, though, I never thought much of DKE... I've never run across... ehm, journalism, sure, journalism, as rife with broad, sweeping statements that have no basis in fact. I suppose he'd make a good columnist in the Dan Shaughnessy mold (please, we don't need another one... or even the first one, come to think of it), but for pete's sake I wish he wouldn't pass it off like he's an objective observer. I did enjoy his little full disclosure note at the bottom, though... nice touch.

John Gruber has a pretty fair assessment of the recent controversy.

Weblogs shouldn't be mistaken for journalism, kids. You're more like the wackjobs muttering to themselves (mind, not the ones on the actual soapboxes) at Speaker's Corner.

Just figured I'd point out some... well, not quite interesting, but, well, it's writing, anyway.

The standard disclaimer applies.

[Also, in the interest of fulll disclosure I once had a 'blog entry all ready to go, all about DKE's terrible writing style and miserable attempts to pass himself off as a real journalist, but never ever published it. Go figure. Just so you're informed. I also once had a dog named Coffee. No lie.]

29 Jun 2004

Counting Crows at the Mountain Winery

Caught a great show last night from the Counting Crows Counting Crows and the Graham Colton Band Graham Colton Band at the Mountain Winery... what a place to see a concert, the views from the top of the hill are fantastic (almost killed the car, but that's all right, kudos and thanks go out to the Santa Clara Sheriffs Department and their crack staff of former Ford mechanics)... highly recommended, if you're in the South Bay area (the trip up, not the (minor) car troubles).

29 Jun 2004

Irish interviewers

Man, did she kick his a**e. L's mom had noted something of the tough questioning the eejit was getting on his trip to Ireland, but this is funny.

Can he not string a sentence together without stuttering? F**kin' eejit.

Being back here (the States) just over a year, I'm embarrassed by our newspapers and journalists...

From Boing Boing.

23 Jun 2004

More Nomar Lovin'...

Okay, so maybe L doesn't quite understand (yet) why Nomar's so important to the Sox, but shocker of shocker, Dan (aka the CHB) has produced a nice article about Nomar after last night's performance (and not just in the game, as you'll see).

9 Jun 2004

5 Alive!

At long last, Nomar's back up playin' for the big boys!

My favourite response so far? Off of SoSH (Sons of Sam Horn): this post.

1 Jun 2004

Manny & Other Sox News

A little while ago... I think it was a month or two, I had to eat crow and admit that I was wrong. Over the winter I was having a chat with my dad and asked him whether or not he was excited about the prospect of A-Hole... errr, Rod, A-Rod, playing for Boston... and he wasn't. He preferred Manny, he said. "Sure, Manny has his little quirks, but man that kid can hit," he said. Now that I'm back in the States and able to follow baseball once again, I've been able to listen in and watch, on a couple of occasions, the man, himself, hit. And man, can he hit. We've been playing softball a bit recently, and since L's never played before (hurling comes close, but not quite, to hitting a base/softball), she can't do much worse than follow the tips from the bottom of Manny's youth page...

Manny has really turned it around this year. John Tomase has a great article in the Eagle Tribune about the man, himself, and his sidekick, Kevin. In which his attitude has finally caught up to that unreal hitting ability... Boston Dirt Dogs have a decent scoop from "someone who's close to Peter Gammons" about part of the genesis of that turnaround, but they don't have permanent links (maybe that'll change with the boston.com acquisition?), so you may have to dig around for it.

Everywhere you see homages to the guy's hitting prowess, including this one, in the Herald.

In other news.. the Red Seat shirts arrived! Here's one, modeled:

1 Jun 2004


We celebrated the Memorial Day weekend, our first long weekend... well, since Christmas, I believe, by heading out to Yosemite.

See Sane Magazine this evening for more...(That link won't work until Sane gets published...)

21 May 2004

Nomar Day to Day to Day to Day to Day...

Jeez. Even a Nomar shirt is delayed.

It doesn't bode well.

20 May 2004

Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister

Just finished reading Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, by Gregory Maguire last night. A rough estimate, during the process of muddling through it I started and finished four other books. My strategy for finally buckling down and finishing it? W. Somerset Maugham's Of Human Bondage.

I had expected, based on the back cover and basic idea behind the story (take a fairy tale and tell "the other side" - this could be very funny, a bit like Christopher Moore's Lamb). "What a clever idea," I had thought.

By the end, hell, by shortly into the book, I'd amended my previous notion, it wasn't at all what I expected, not clever, not funny in any way. It was okay, I suppose. Which is the strongest praise I can give it, I'm afraid. The writing was all right. It was paced... mostly well, ish. It wasn't paced brilliantly, obviously, because it took me over a month to finish the thing.

This book was painful. I expected a bit more wit from a book effectively nicking its story directly from a fairy tale. And he's done it more than once. So I figured, ' There is no way he can simply rip off the tale of Cinderella, the Wicked Witch of the West, and... the next one... it's, ehm, Mirror, Mirror, so I'm guessing it's Snow White's tale. Only *behind the scenes*! Wow!


The only way I managed to finish this book was by picking up something from a writer with a reputation for being even more painful, Maugham.

If you're interested in Dutch history and the tulip crash, interested in hackneyed portrayals of Dutch portraiture and just a story written from a young girl's perspective where something just doesn't quite feel right... something's off in the depiction/storytelling, well, this book is for you.

20 May 2004

Tony Conigliaro

The rumour on Boston Dirt Dogs at the moment is that the Sox are going to be retiring Tony C's number 25 at the end of 2005, when Ellis Burks is done playing.

This guy was one of my mom's favourite players ever to don a Red Sox uniform.

As he was many fans' favourite.

Even though a lot of people on Sons of Sam Horn are conflicted about this one (no Hall of Fame numbers), I think they should. Or, at the very least, which seems to be the general consensus, honour him in some way... with a statue or something. Native son and all. Hell, the center field stands in the triangle are still Conig's Corner...

If you're a baseball fan at all I highly recommend going to read Shaun Kelly's story.

20 May 2004

For Geeks Eyes Only

Man, what a way to kill your readership. But here goes, anyway, for those that are interested.

Following on (and highlighting jcr's post) from this thread about the relative merits of C++ and Objective-C: a decent explanation of the differences between message sending in Objective-C and C++.

There's been another little spurt of arguing about the supremacy of certain languages lately.

I'm pretty biased for Objective-C (and even Java, if you're using com.webobjects.foundation and the patterns you get used to in Objective-C).

In other language-related news today Tcl/Tk Aqua is out.

17 May 2004

Newsfeed Readers

The other day PulpFiction launched, which you could have followed, had you been reading Erik's weblog. So I downloaded it to give it a go.

The winner, and still champion, in my book isn't NetNewsWireLite (the link to lite is at the bottom of that page), it's MacReporter.

PulpFiction is very, very slow (sure I only tried the lite version... somehow I don't envision the heavy version having speed improvements). And I get the good old Application Not Responding when I try to use the Dock menu on it with my normal set of subscriptions.

This is my biggest complaint against both NetNewsWire and PulpFiction... I mainly only use that Dock menu to quickly scan what's new and judge, based on the headline, which post/story I might be interested in. I don't care about built-in browsers, filters, all that rubbish. I've been using NNW at work for the last... year, probably, only because I'm far too lazy to take my license key off my home machine and drop it onto my work machine. Or buy a new license. And I hate having to relaunch the damn thing. How it forgets what posts I've already fetched and what news I've read. I really like that MacReporter remembers this stuff.

PulpFiction apparently remembers this stuff, but I don't think I'm going to have the patience to stick with it for much longer... just clicking back to that main view is painfully slow... it's a nice interface and everything, very clever, bolting on the mail paradigm to news feeds, but I miss my lightweight feed fetcher.

So, kids, once again, that number is: MacReporter. Well worth the $15.

Or, if you're one of the Linux-y, let's recompile kernels this weekend type of kids, you could always roll your own with an out-dated tcl-based RSS parser.

6 May 2004

Coming to you live from Shandy Hall... Asterisk*

Via Mark: an online focus for narrative study and development, based at Shandy Hall, where good old Laurence wrote my personal favourite book The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman.

Ladies and Gentleman.... Asterisk*.

6 May 2004

C**sed and First

Beth's 'blog on all things Red Sox is usually a good read, and today, after last night's win, she's in inspired form.

Well worth a bookmark.

5 May 2004


Well, it's still early yet, but Chelsea look like they have a shot at advancing in the Champions League... wouldn't that be something?

[This is obviously just me taking time out of supporting the Red Sox, who, once again, have reminded me why cautious optimism is always the way to go with them... supporting a team who used to be my "local." I loved sitting in Finch's watching the crowds stream down to Stamford Bridge. Never went in for a game, but Stamford Bridge, the hotel and all the stuff surrounding it is quite nice.]

Update: Ohhh, it's 2-1 now. Chelsea need two goals to win, one to tie and force a shoot out...

Update2: Hmm, I seem to have spoken just slightly too soon. It's a shame... I like Chelsea, especially Damien Duff, I just guess it wasn't meant to be.

4 May 2004

Cocoa EOF alternatives

NB. This is not an official statement from my employer.

Cocoa EOF would be a great way to develop a desktop app with database connectivity. That thread usually comes up on most Mac OS X developer lists sooner or later. And last for weeks. It also comes up in most WO User Group Meetings (and can get mildly... frenzied, let's say).

But there's a small problem with the license, if you're planning on distributing those apps.

So what do you do? You've heard EOF is the bee's knees. You like Cocoa. A lot. It's also the bee's knees. Man, wouldn't it be cool to do both?

Well, listening to the recent thread on webobjects-dev, it sounds like what some people want could be a client-server app, if worse came to worse (or at least their environment suggests it). I understand a lot of people want self-contained desktop apps that'll have database access. This is not what I'm talking about here. I'm talking about these apps you might potentially want to centralise your datastore and have clients on the desktop that don't have to use the sometimes limiting UI of a web browser/html pair.

You don't have to necessarily use the built-in web services support in WebObjects, you can roll your own web services-like behaviour. It's fine, but hell, you're writing both ends, you don't need people downloading wsdl's and figuring out what your service offers. You could just hit DirectActions that'll give you the Enterprise Objects you want and perform your saves and edits and whatever based on the DirectActions you hit with the formValues you're providing.

Or give a thought to JavaClient... it's actually a pretty robust technology...

If you do want to use the built-in web services stuff there's some good sample code on the developer site, and I may post some of my examples one of these days (Q.I. Software's been a bit quiet lately due to work and other stuff) to give this post a little more meat to it.

4 May 2004

Apple patented by Microsoft

Oh boy, those guys are really diversifying these days.

Microsoft patents Apple.

This is the sort of thing that takes their focus off the pedal and results in Longhorn shipping in December 2019.

28 Apr 2004

4.5 and my playlist

Okay, time to play DJ for a couple seconds:

Here's my playlist.

20 Apr 2004

The Morning After Hangover...

So, even with a brilliant Andrew Raycroft and their pumped up lines with Gonchar and Nylander the Bruins couldn't pull it off. Jose Theodore sounded like he had an amazing night in goal for the... well, all right, maybe we're not quite ready to write their name.

It was exciting, boys, but, as a few of the journalists over at the Globe are noting this morning, this always had the sniff of a last ditch effort. A lockout next year, a couple of free agents not being signed from this decent crop (Knuble, Nylander, Murray, Rolston...). Ah well, our last chance, possibly ever, at Lord Stanley's Cup. Damn.

[I'm a Boston sports fan... I'm supposed to be melodramatic, that one was for the journalists.]

19 Apr 2004

God. Damn. Habs.


I have a feeling, as some sort of rite of passage/welcome back I'm doomed to see each of the New England teams battle an old nemesis and lose. Ihave a few more choice words in mind, but I'm keeping this a PG-rated 'blog.

Goddamn Canadiens. Okay, PG-13.

16 Apr 2004

Scooter and Fox Network

To paraphrase my brother, "Scooter sucks."

Nice one, Fox, teach the kids about a knuckleball while Bill Muellar makes an excellent play...

And this one's for the bash brothers: BAL-CO! BAL-CO!

16 Apr 2004

Big Weekend

If only the Celts were playing the Lakers (and if only they didn't suck), this would be one storied weekend. Maybe throw in the Pats playing the Dolphins.

Yanks v Sox tonight with Tim "Where'd I Leave My Medication" McCarver and B's need to put away the Habs once and for all... not that we ever had NESN in our house, but at the very least all of this stuff would have been on the radio easily enough... sometimes it's hard, this West Coast thing.

13 Apr 2004

Boston Sports Nation

I was thinking this a few weeks ago...

It's amazing how high the hopes are this year for so many of the old New England teams, except the one team that was so good at winning throughout the 80s.

12 Apr 2004

Coupla Updates

So a coupla updates on the writing front:

- God Coffee has been turned down by two out of the three agents it's been submitted to this time round. Which is par for course, from the sound of it. A good friend who's reasonably well-known, and has had two books published in dead tree format, he's recently mailed me to say he's been around to 30 agents, none of whom have bitten on his latest. It's a tough old world out there.

- I'm in the process of finishing off and submitting a few shorts for a project on the Boston Red Sox, fiction inspired by the team and the sometimes obsessive fandom that follows. We'll be hearing in the next few weeks, just post the end of April, how it all goes.

- And Sane celebrates another Monday with another issue sometime later this evening. It just keeps going.

7 Apr 2004

Pete's Follow-Up

A quick follow up on yesterday's post. Boston Dirt Dogs posted something off of the Sox message boards that points to an earlier article by Dan about Roger Clemens leaving the park early in 1996... Nice.

6 Apr 2004

For Pete's Sake

Oh man. Dan, Dan, Dan. Will you ever just shut up? Is it any wonder you've got your very own tshirt?

All right, it's not ideal, Petey walking out following his abysmal second inning. I thought he settled down nicely, though, after that, and pitched well. Well enough to get the win if he'd gotten a little support from the offense. But they stranded 4 billion base runners (By my count. And I've never been very good at maths. It may have been more like 17, accounting for the wind chill factor and ESPN2 distortion from Baltimore.) during the course of the evening, including a bases loaded scenario with Manny getting ready to come up to the plate.

It's not just Pedro's fault.

And sure, Petey's got a little problem when he walks out on his team and doesn't bother sticking around for the final few outs. He's a brilliantly talented individual who has been both built up and vilified (occasionally) by guys like Dan, and he's at the stage in his career where you're left only to coddle him, as a manager.

Because of whining little... well, Dan. Because of Dan. He sounds like a friggin' teenager - "Oh why oh why does this always happen to meeeee? Err, the Red Sox. Why do bad things happen to good people?"

Well, Dan, why don't you make it about the baseball? You're the eejit that writes all this stuff. Screw Pedro. He took off early. He's a bastard for it. Write about the fact that the Red Sox couldn't drive in any runs. Write about Manny's playful attitude and stellar fielding. Write about Pokey's brilliant fielding and somewhat odd decision to bunt with two outs and a couple of runners on. Write about Timlin's horrific return to the mound after last season's heroics.

You talk about Pedro having this thing about getting no respect from management? I actually think you're a little off, there. I think it's from you guys.

Sure, he's pissed off after a terrible outing (second inning). He knows he's going to get grief. He's been getting grief all spring about his fastball. You guys are going to write about it. And the Sox have got a day off, so it'll get an extra day's worth of play in the papers right there. Petey's decided this sucks, and he's not going to talk to you guys, because it rarely goes well. His only way of talking is out there on the mound, every fifth day. So I'm happy to let this one slide, him taking off when he knows postgame is not going to be any party. There's nothing Terry can do about it but wait it out, let Pedro come back and answer you whiners on the fifth day, back at Fenway.

Meanwhile, you give lip service to having respect for him, but you've already got him in pinstripes, for the love of all that's holy and good. Cut the guy some slack, let him get back to what he's good at, and you go figure out what you're good at, maybe hand the reigns over to someone that doesn't feel the need to sensationalise things quite so much. Eric Wilbur's not a bad candidate...

In other news, there's more Sox goodness over at Sane Magazine this week...

25 Mar 2004

WebObjects Introduction

Jon has an excellent movie, showing you how to get started in WebObjects (5.2.2+). Now, it's 10.2 MB or so, so mind your poor little modem.

It's a great addition to his intro to WebObjects 5.

If you're interested in playing with WebObjects at all these are excellent places to start. Couple these with the WO docs and finally you've got a good picture of what you can do with WebObjects.

Remember, you can always try out WebObjects by logging on to connect.apple.com and choosing to Download Software > WebObjects, where you'll find an evaluation copy. You'll only need the free ADC account to get playing. If you're on Panther you should download that WO 5.2 and update a couple of times to get up to at least 5.2.2 (5.2.3 is out now). Download it from here if you don't see it in Software Update.

23 Mar 2004

Too Good to Last

I had really high hopes for MLB.tv, as well, but today's game is proving a bit painful. The Saint Paddy's day broadcast was excellent.

Today sucks. Frames aren't updating, I'm getting great stretches of blank screen, and I haven't seen anyone take a swing or throw a pitch in about three innings. The audio seems all right, but I'm getting a lot of skipping, and it sounds like they've got severe hiccups. And this is on one of the larger company networks you're going to find (bandwidth-wise), so it shouldn't be a bandwidth issue on my end. It's not worth the $14.95 a month, not at all. I think the audio will do me fine.

Oh well. Maybe someday they'll get their act together. Or at least take a page out of the NHL's playbook and provide excellent audio feeds.

22 Mar 2004

Timmy Wakefield

Just a pointer to an article on redsox.com about a real class act, Tim Wakefield.

I remember really liking the way he threw when he broke through with the Pirates, and I'm thrilled that he's back in Beantown for another go... why was Grady the goat and not Tim?

I think it's because Tim just gets out there and does his job. As they say in the article, knuckleballers don't have that ego a 98 mph fastball fosters, they're out there for the team.

12 Mar 2004

God Coffee Update

God Coffee, or significant portions of it, anyway, are winging their ways to a few separate agents at the moment.

For those of you that haven't found Writer's Market or any of those standard publications (actually, an interesting one that I flicked through for this particular foray into agent-land is called Writer's Guide to Queries, Pitches & Proposals, by Moira Allen, see the link below), I included 50 pages for a couple of them, 100 for another (because she asked for 100), a five page synopsis of the novel, and a two page cover letter. So we'll see how effective this all is in about 4-8 weeks.

8 Mar 2004

More Travel

Following a thread from Mark's weblog to Norman Walsh's about a country-counting game, I found this: Virtual Tourist.

I got sick of entering cities after a while and one's like Corofin (or Dysert O'Dea) didn't seem to want to show up. But I'm at 17, following the ISO code rule... (so California doesn't count as a separate country to, say, New England).

5 Mar 2004

What's Bruin...

Have we turned back the clock to some bizarro version of the 80s or something lately?

Well, a quick look at the Celtics will tell us probably not, anyway.

But the press are talking about the Bruins challenging for the Stanley Cup... now, I'd love to see it, because it'd mean I could finally see Patrice Bergeron (WBZ is great for hosting the live broadcasts, but I miss the visuals) and the new additions to the Bruins scoring prowess. But... I don't know... is this right? First the Patriots, winning the Superbowl (again), the Sox looking stacked, the Bruins on a tear... where does it end? What the hell is there going to be to complain about?

4 Mar 2004

The New Season

[Not to slight the Bruins, whose two signings yesterday make them look very attractive, heading down the home stretch, but, well, look at the Boston press these days.]

So L's boss is a big Giants fan (I know, I know... there's no accounting for taste), and he has these killer season tickets --seats in the premium lower box. We got to see the Mets (oh man, oh man) play the Giants last year when we first arrived, because he couldn't make some certain game. A steroid-enhanced Bonds hit one out that night. ; ) Anyway, PacBell Park (or whatever it's called) is all right. It's not Fenway, but it's a hell of a lot better than the Oakland/Network Associates Coliseum and I think it's even nicer than the Skydome in Toronto (and better than the Braves stadium, if they haven't moved since 1992 or so, anyway)...

So L just stopped by my cube holding... wait for it... TWO TICKETS TO SEE THE SOX TAKE ON THE GIANTS IN JUNE!!!

WOOHOOOOOOOOO!! Hopefully it'll be Curt or Pedro... Or Tim... Or maybe Derek... Or, okay, if he's done flipping off the fans, maybe Kim (I like his sidewinder delivery, anyway).

23 Feb 2004

Sane Update

Man, I've been busy today.

Three updates here, and, later tonight, Sane Magazine gets a long overdue facial.

The main issue, contact page, about page (oooh, new stuff), archives, fables, and... I think that might be it. They've all been updated to look good on almost all modern browsers, a little new content, and eleven years of dust swept under the carpet. So don't go poking around too much.

Drop me a line if you love it, hate it, or have any other sort of opinion on it.

23 Feb 2004

Greens, Blues, and Black and Blue

Skied for the first time ever this weekend.

Being, previously, a non-skier, I couldn't really fathom the difference between blues, greens, and reds (black diamonds just sound inherently dangerous).

Well, on my second day skiing (the first was up at Squaw Valley, the second at Sugar Bowl) we decided, first run, to take on a blue.


Let me tell you this much: your second day skiing? Don't try any of the blues on Mount Disney at Sugar Bowl. Unless you're keen on sliding down the mountain on your back.

Still, once I got my feet I think I might have been able to take it... and then from there, well, there can't be too much difference between a blue and a red, can there?

23 Feb 2004

Great Tinderbox tip

Great tip from the man, himself, on Tinderbox formatting:

Use something other than Geneva for your outline view font.

Optima looks really good.

You can set this on a document basis or app basis by going to the Edit menu and choosing either of those Preferences options (or the standard Mac OS X location for preferences, underneath the app menu). The preference you want is under the Maps tab, and this is how it looks on my weblog document:

13 Feb 2004

Getting Close...

Well, I'm getting close, I believe.

It's been in the works since... well, late 1997 or so, and the road may finally be at an end. This weekend I'm shopping in San Francisco for a new agent to try and get God Coffee out the door.

It sucks that this has to be Valentine's weekend, but L's been good about it. More than good about it, she's been a saint. Don't tell her I said that, though.

This [http://supertart.com/personal/writing/] is what I've been doing all week. Well, that and work stuff.

You can download three old short stories, and I'll be throwing up the first three chapters of God Coffee later today.

So here's hoping, eh?

9 Feb 2004

How to fix the National Hockey League

How do you get fans back watching the NHL?

I've seen a lot of articles and posts about this since being back in the country. Especially from one of the big hockey fans in the area.

What do I think? Dissolve all these new teams and go back to the original six: Boston, Montreal, Detroit, Toronto, the Rangers, and Chicago.

Okay, okay, maybe not.

I'm with Glen Murray, I think the defensive style of play will go out of fashion again, and we'll get back to exciting hockey again someday.

But, for the love of all that's holy and good could they stop opening up a new NHL franchise in every city that thinks they might want one? I'm still reeling from Gretzky going south to frigging Los Angeles, of all places... No offense to people from Los Angeles or, say, San Jose, but it's damn hard to get hooked on hockey without being able to play a game or two on open ice on the local pond...

2 Feb 2004

Omniweb 5 Beta

The new Omniweb 5 Beta looks pretty good to me, so far (this is around 5 minutes in on both a Panther and a 10.2.8 machine). I like the workspaces functionality, and the ability to restore from snapshots you can take.

Staying on the mind-sprawl thread, tabs, well, they have tabs now. The implementation is all right. I never really found tabs all that useful, anyway, until I hit Safari's implementation. Now I can't get along without them. I think the big thing about Safari's implementation, for me, was that they didn't clutter the screen up too much. The Mozilla versions just seemed that little too clunky, they took up too much screen estate for my tastes. Or maybe I just never used them enough. With Omniweb's pass, I like that you don't need to have the preview of the website for a particular tab if you choose the 'list' view. Still, that drawer takes up a fair amount of space... and, hey! Wait a minute...

One thing I don't like is the change in the Bookmarks window... in that it's a window now. Always. Either the same one you're viewing websites in or a separate window that's spawned when you ask for Bookmarks. No option for it to be a drawer.

Even back in Openstep, when it was a window, your bookmarks were kept in a drawer-like container off to the side, from which was incredibly easy to drag in the next website in your morning browse. And when you were browsing it was unobtrusive, off to the side, your frequently checked bookmarks turning green when it found new content. Or, more often than not, your bookmarks going red when the site they resided on no longer existed, or was bouncing for some reason.

But they've changed the Bookmarks to look a little more like Safari... which is all right, for Safari, I suppose (still not a huge fan of my bookmarks overlapping the content I'm browsing - I guess it's down to that distrust of the web you got in the early 90's, when you'd print out pages as well as bookmark them, because you weren't entirely confident that was going to be there the next day)but I really like the way Omniweb used to do it.

One last comment on the Bookmarks: The smart groups sort of feature they've got going on looks interesting, anyway, adding an Unviewed Content, Unreachable, and Most Visited bookmark folders, in addition to some others.

Overall, I like it. It's pretty snappy, workspaces, again, seem like a nice idea implemented pretty well, the addition of tabs will probably make a lot of people happy. A couple things I'd like to see: more preferences around the behaviour of Workspaces. They're just another way of managing windows and the ever increasingly messy browsing experience (both good and bad messy), like tabs are, so why can't you have applications open new Workspaces? And I'm also assuming certain UI-funkiness (like the non-rounded URL textfield in the toolbar coupled with a rounded Google search field in the same tooolbar) will be sorted out once they go GM. And the tendency to hang, at least on my Panther machine, when I go away for a few minutes, I'm assuming is either a clever RSI-prevention device or something to be ironed out for the GM, as well.

2 Feb 2004

Countries I've visited

Kind of fun little exercise; here's where I've been, the last few years:

create your own visited country map

[Updated, again because I think they changed the visited= string. And before I had forgotten Canada... how can you forget Canada?]

30 Jan 2004

Superbowl Sunday...

So this is what I was missing, living in England while the Patriots were beating the Rams a few years ago...

(Thanks to boston.com for the borrowed pic...)

21 Jan 2004

MVC is new?

This post, by Robert Scoble, is depressing.

Now, don't get me wrong, MVC is great. All programmers should be able to work with distinctly separated bits of logic. It makes life a lot easier.

As my old boss said to me when I joined the big fruit back in the UK: "You can't go back. You'll just never want to program in anything else again."

This system he's talking about, from Kinzan, it looks fine. But the thing that really bugs me is this line, from Robert:

"I'd never seen a coding environment that was like this. Just plop a component down on the screen. Draw a line to connect it into the system. No code."

Argh. What's this, then? Well, that's Interface Builder. Which has been around since the early NeXT days. And it's all dragging and dropping your UI. I could never be bothered with building a UI programmatically -- not the whole way. You can see it here, on Rhapsody, here, on OpenStep (for Windows), and, for good measure, one on NeXTStep.

There was no code generated (which is my personal pet peeve). Hell, for most demos you didn't even need to write any code. You just hooked it all up and away you went, a (mostly) fully functional TextEditor, the standard demo of any of us demo-monkeys.

And when you did do a more in-depth demo, or perhaps a little training, so you added a few IBOutlets and IBActions to the header file, no biggie. Most of the time you were just programmatically changing the contents of a textfield or two. Not a problem. And then you went back to IB and dragged outlets around. And my old boss is dead on right -- there is no going back once you've done it.

About time, I suppose, people are catching on. Just a shame it wasn't with NeXT or Apple...

19 Jan 2004

Go Pats!

Wow, what a year this has been, back in the country and both the Sox and the Pats have gone on tears! (And the Bruins, despite the little hiccup in Ottawa the other day, are flying it... up 2-0 right now against NYR.)

Like megnut (image below borrowed from there), I'm anxiously awaiting, now, two weeks from now... bring on Carolina!

The really incredible thing is that yesterday, watching the snow fall in Foxborough, is that I was running around outside picking up the shorn off rose bush pieces L had left in shorts, sandals, and a tshirt... this California winter is rough, I tell you.

One last note, if you're a Boston sports fan, check out http://bostondirtdogs.com/.

14 Jan 2004

Word Processors

God Coffee, I Miss You is ticking along now, after yet one more long hiatus, and I look like I might even finish it this time round. Which is handy, because I'm heading out to that agent meetup in the middle of February, in the hopes that I can, at long last, get someone to pick up God Coffee.

I've used a combination of Word, TextEdit, and Tinderbox on this novel (Time was written using Word and notes were kept either in Simpletext or other Word documents -- or Storyspace, when they appeared in Sane Magazine, and before Sane leapt out of Storyspace and into BBedit or vi.)

But this morning I found an excellent-looking potential replacement for Word: Mellel. It looks like an interesting application. Very snappy, looks nice, uses built-in Cocoa features like the spell checker and services and everything, so my muscle memory is pretty happy with it. I haven't yet used it at home, but if it can take advantage of the new text features in Panther and export Word documents, I might consider moving the next novel to Mellel.

I don't mind Word, but it's big, it's slow. Spellchecking is painful. Some of the autocomplete or autocorrect features of Word I find myself fighting against almost as often as they help. Saving often sometimes hangs for me (which is probably down to the slow hard drive more than the app... but still). At home, I'm on Panther, and I've considered switching over to TextEdit, which supports the .doc format, but TextEdit doesn't do headers and footers, or page numbers, so I've stuck with Word and more and more my notes go into Tinderbox.

But I plan on playing with Mellel, anyway. And $29 bucks isn't too bad for a Word processor.

Oh, and one more note, ZDNet/UK has a (very small) review of Word. I wasn't that impressed with the demo during the keynote last week (most of the interesting features were integrations with Entourage or other Office apps, which I generally don't use). The new notebook functionality looks a bit lame, really (why do people keep thinking making your document look like lined paper is something people want?). Besides, that's what Tinderbox is for. The only feature I might use, that was announced, is the ability to record audio notes... I've never ever worked that way, dictating my next article or clip of a chapter to anything, but it's the only thing I can think of that I might use from what I've seen.

12 Jan 2004

Cam Neely Night

I only caught it on WBZ's internet feed, but the one defining image I have of Cam Neely is him rocking the absolute stuffing out of someone to the tune of "Black Betty". Bam-ba-lam!

That used to be Channel 38's theme song for the Bruins (possibly NESN, as well), man, I loved watching those guys play... it sucks because the only version of NHL '9x-'9x+1 I have access to now is '98, and I can no longer use Cam exclusively on the right wing to score, get the puck back, and win my fights.

My favourite Neely moment?

I think it was Derek Sanderson explaining how the '88 Canadiens were keeping the crease free from all traffic, you skate through the crease, and you were going to come out the other side looking like freshly squeezed orange juice - with no pulp. And not three seconds after complimenting them Cam goes running right through the middle and drills one home, taking out at leats one defenseman while he did it.

The best hockey player I've ever seen.

8 Jan 2004

WBZ - Hockey Live

See? Major League Baseball should take a page from the NHL (no, not the potential strike next year): Live Game Broadcasts.

Bruins v Penguins right now... now I just need to wait for the Bruins to come to San Jose...

5 Jan 2004

iSight tip for iBook users

Gave my sister (the baby in the family) an iSight for her birthday this holiday season. After installing Panther we got to the real goodie, which was the iSight... and it didn't show up. The little green light lit up, but no joy in the Video Preferences of iChatAV... digging around, we found out what happened: this was a 400mHz iBook. iChatAV and iSight required a 600mHz processor. Doh.

So I've been doing some digging, being the older brother responsible for the non-working gift.

Okay, so this is the way to use your iSight with the older iBooks :

You need to download this thing called iChatUSBCam. You can get a demo here: <http://www.ecamm.com/mac/ichatusbcam/iChatUSBCam.dmg>

There's a discussion about this on Apple's discussion boards: <http://discussions.info.apple.com/webx?13@207.VYe5a00cqsK.249682@.599c4afa/2> and <http://discussions.info.apple.com/WebX?13@@.599e94a9>

Once you've that installed you should be able to open the Video Preferences in iChat and see the video from the camera. It may be a little slow on your machine, but it works.


The software's around $9.95 right now, so if the demo works, you should definitely drop 'em the cash.

16 Dec 2003

Mind Yourself (Holiday Mac buyers)

Before you place that order for your 7 new G5s, you might want to make sure the site you're buying off of isn't this one.

Over at MacSlash they go into the particulars, but I figured it was worthwhile throwing a heads-up here, too.

I wouldn't want to see anyone too disappointed when all that horsepower never arrives.

Oh come on, just go hit the Store, you know you want to.

12 Dec 2003


There's a really touching tribute to Nomar over on boston.com at the moment.

It'll be a real shame if he has to go...

The baseball offseason really is more interesting than the regular season.

2 Dec 2003


Found this today. which led to the thing you see on my sidebar now... yes... it's books!

This site looks like a lot of fun... brilliant idea and, so far, after a couple sporadic hours browsing around, logging in and so forth, it's very well-executed.

Nice job, guys.

18 Nov 2003

Rock Star

By the way, that version of Rock Star in the latest iTunes TV commercial?

I'm almost certain it's the Jason Nevins remix, which is rubbished here.

13 Nov 2003

Getting Someone Else to the Dirty Work

Chris has a very valid point.

Just because programming with AppKit and friends is a pure joy, a lot of people are claiming to have some proficiency in it, and trying to learn along the way.

Well, as easy as it is, there is the dreaded learning curve.

Now, for years I've hated that this term was applied to WebObjects, by the marketing and education teams, of all people. Since, well, I would guess 1998-9 that ceased to be entirely true for good old WO. Sure, in the early days it was true, because what the hell was an application server, anyway? But with the Java boys coming along to play, Vignette (*shiver*), AOLServer and more, the paradigm was a little more well-understood.

To take full advatange of WebObjects (and AppKit) involves a little more of a Model-View-Controller vibes than most app servers out there (who remembers in-template SQL with Vignette?), which I would argue isn't a learning curve, but a new mindset. You can write ugly apps in AppKit (and WO). I've seen a lot of them. This is one of the huge benefits of taking either Aaron's course or the official Apple-sanctioned ones; the trainers at Apple are absolutely top-notch, and if a Cocoa Development track is available in your neighbourhood (UK folks can look to Cassini Division), I highly recommend taking it.

You don't have to know it all, generally those first few days, when they go over MVC, will be enought to get you off and running with a copy of CocoaBrowser or AppKidDo or a similar application nearby, the Objective-C AppKit and Foundation references bookmarked in your bookmarks bar. Or go to Amazon (or a real, live bookstore) and pick up Aaron's Cocoa Programming for Mac OS X, Simpson and Garfinkel's venerable Building Cocoa Applications, or Scott Anguish's (et al) Cocoa Programming. Or all of them. Bill Cheeseman's Cocoa Recipes is also pretty good. They all contain little tips and tricks and handy hints for thinking about things in a more MVC sort of pattern. And whatever you're working on will then take you through the AddressBook frameworks, or Rendezvous, or maybe the new NSController stuff. But it's those first few days that so many people are lacking knowledge and experience in that are important in making really good AppKit apps, as opposed to applications that happen to link against the AppKit.framework.

4 Nov 2003


This looks like it could get interesting.

You can guess where I headed first...

17 Oct 2003


You didn't want to believe it could happen again.

Gaaaaaaaaargh, for Red Sox Nation.

16 Oct 2003

Hell Froze Over

Cool, it's here.

Now everyone gets to play.

14 Oct 2003

Tuesday, Game Five

One quick note: whoever runs mlb.com (and I can't check right now, because their sites are flooded) is an idiot (collective idiot, for one or more people responsible for today).

Don't you think they might have taken into account that today's Sox game is on during working hours, and that more people would tune in to the web gameday pages than the television?

Stupid, stupid, stupid...

13 Oct 2003


James Duncan Davidson has a little rant about people violating (at least the spirit of) NDAs.

I can understand Aaron's point of view, and often, when working on as-yet-unreleased software you sort of, like, forget, you know, that what you've got is only in the hands of a privileged few (or many, depending on whether or not a copy has made it on to BitTorrent). Or you just want to show off.

I agree with James, though, this sort of thing is happening way too often these days. I get a lot of mail from people asking for source for other projects I work on from seeds that probably really don't belong in those people's hands. And I can't help but feel it's just the age of these kids now coming up as developers that helps contribute to it.

Before I let that sit too long, what I mean is: The developers working now, the 1x-ers, they grew up with the internet and the free flow of information you expect after looking up news on the BBC (no TV license fee, no handing over change for the paper). If high schools today are anything like colleges when I went, most of your software is free, whether or not the developer/distributor knows anything about that we used to get most of our software off the Gopher servers at Stanford or Michigan or somewhere. You start to forget that all software isn't free, and you start believing Richard Stallman a little too much, and then you wind up coming home with long hair and what's probably a goatee/full-on beard. In fact, it was an attitude that stayed with a lot of us until only recently... perhaps becoming a developer of software people pay for and working for a company that does pretty well off its' own software sales changes that perspective.

That attitude (the old one, not the new 'corporatised' one I seem to have picked up somewhere along the line) might lead people to believe that they're just giving out information on something everyone should have already. Which is fine... just don't be too surprised if companies start cutting you off from developer seeds and stuff like that. And then you won't be able to brag any more, will you?

9 Oct 2003

Good 1, Evil 0

I love the headline on boston.com/sports right now:

8 Oct 2003

Go Sox!

Game 5 in Oakland... whew.

6 Oct 2003

Walking London

Posted at rodcorp, a London tube map with walklines.

When I first arrived in London I had a habit of walking at the weekends from Chelsea (which isn't very well-serviced by the Tube, but this isn't necessarily a downside... unless it's raining) into the Tottenham Court Road area and beyond, and it isn't really that bad a walk.

So instead of taking the District line from Gloucester Road or South Ken, stopping at South Ken, Sloane Square, Victoria, change to the Victoria line, Green Park, Oxford Circus, and get off there and walk around, or taking the Picadilly line from Gloucester Road or Earl's Court or South Ken (depending which part of Chelsea I was living in at the time) to Covent Garden, I would just walk up Queen's Gate to Kensington Gardens (past the memorial bench to Richard Instance in the flower walk -- I always liked that surname) to Hyde Park, through the park and all the rollerbladers to the Marble Arch end of Oxford Street and usually down there to Berwick Street where all the good secondhand CD shoppes are.

So I usually did get to walk a lot of these stops between stations -- it really isn't that far, and London's an imminently walkable city... we missed a little bit of that this weekend, so we headed in to San Francisco (and watched Trot Nixon save the Red Sox for a trip out here, eventually)... it wasn't quite the same, I have to say.

Continuing the slightly... forget that, continuing the not very well-constructed narrative of past lives in London, while Chelsea is always maligned for having poor Tube service, White Hart Lane had much, much worse. I can't tell you how many matches I was late for because of the half hour run-walk down to the ground from Seven Sisters tube station.

So I wouldn't be one to complain about Chelsea at all... it's definitely one of my favourite places to walk around. In fact, walking from there into town following a special pattern, there's a very good chance you'll find a lot of these short walk connections between tube stations. Here's what you do: walk straight, until you hit an intersection with a light. If the light's green, keep going staight, if it's red, turn right or left, and continue on straight until you hit the next light, and repeat. I think I found Charing Cross right off the back of Embankment that way.

One thing that would be very useful would be a Tube map showing you just how far it is you have to walk between connections at certain stops... Embankment and Monument sticking in my mind as the longest walks underground I've ever taken not in an airport (and without a broken down moving sidewalk sitting there, taunting you...). Way too many times, late for some thing or another, I'd make the mistake of assuming changing underground would be faster than getting out and running down a bus or something. Kids, it's not always true. Sometimes you should just get your butt topside and risk the wrath of foot traffic on Oxford Street...

30 Sep 2003


You have no idea how gutted I was to receive, and then give away, one of the new Powerbook G4's over the last two days.

It came in to the office yesterday, I set it up, spiffed it up a little, and then today handed it off to the shipping department to get it on out to Charlton, MA.

Mom'll be one happy camper when this thing arrives, hopefully sometime before the end of the week.

And to add to all the people out there who are marvelling at how quiet the new Powerbooks are: Wow. You really couldn't tell whether or not the thing was running... the hard disk spinning was louder, a lot louder, than the fans. And the disk speed (this one was 4200rpm, I think) was all right. I really suffered with the last Powerbook I had (all right, suffered might be a bit of an overstatement -- Java development sucked more than Java development usually does, at any rate, how 'bout that?), the disk would grind and grind and grind... and the fan pretty much killed watching DVDs and any expectation of being able to make out the sound at the same time.

Before sending it out the door, I couldn't resist a little iSight action... so I proudly present a video by myself, iMovie, and iSight, with all apologies to Elvis (which is what the text at the end says), here it is.

29 Sep 2003

More fun music

Pearl Jam's version of "Last Kiss" is fun... (That link'll work if you've got iTunes 4)

24 Sep 2003

The dumbing down of American readers

Harold Bloom is great.

I particularly love the comment: "I went to the Yale University bookstore and bought and read a copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. I suffered a great deal in the process. "

In a lot of ways, I agree with Bloom, it's a shame the way literature courses across the States have been vastly dumbed down. But, I don't wholly agree with him, 1) because I'm not 73 as well and frustrated with how things seem to be moving when you got to study the classsics when they were a bit more rigidly (and perhaps rightly so) defined and 2) I've started to relax my old snobbishness a little these days.

That's right. Put your damn jaw back up.

Whether your jaw dropped because you've read Sane and don't really see how it's possible I could be in any way snobbish about writing or you've listened to me talk about books and know exactly how I can be snobbish (I blame Vassar's English department, really), well, that's fair enough.

After many years of Time:a novel sitting on the shelf, not going much of anywhere, and God Coffee, I Miss You suffering some severe lack of attention, and L's persuasion, I've been thinking more and more these days about marketable literature. This is addition to the support from the embarrasingly supportive and enthusiastic fan-base in and around Worcester, MA.

I think it's great that the Harry Potter series is getting people into book stores. The launch night of the latest book (fourth in the series or so) we attended only because we were back in Massachusetts and it was going to be a present for (as it turns out) both my sisters. I've still not read any of the books, despite people telling me I really need to. The place was packed. It was the Barnes & Noble in Auburn, MA, and the queue was around the building, cars packed into the car park next door as well as two or three deep in the B&N parking lot. It was amazing. We stood outside the window, looking in on all these people who had been there since early in the afternoon, waiting to get a copy of this book, just browsing around by wherever the line had them standing at the moment.

Even if you agree that the writing in Harry Potter is terrible (and maybe I do, I don't know, haven't read the books yet) and limits what sort of writing people are exposed to, it's still exposing them to books, and book stores (okay, at the very least Amazon, which is still probably one of the better online shops at mimicking the offline experience).

It's a bit like spam, for readers. You send out enough people into bookstores often enough and a few of them are bound to pick up other novels, as well.

The nice thing is, is that elitists (and there's nothing wrong with that) have someone to poke fun at, at the end of the day. So it's a win-win, all around.

While I agree with Bloom, to a degree, I can't say I'm all that surprised on the selection of King for the distinguished contribution award -- the sheer number of people he's touched is pretty impressive. And in the end, so what? So what if people get caught up in the story, as opposed to strictly how it's told?

24 Sep 2003

Games on the Mac

Well, the G5, anyway.

Hiawatha Bray has a nice little article on Mac game development and how the G5 is a rockin' platform for gamers... if only the games were there.

And if only we had G5s lying around... we've been begging for a few in our area, just to see how slick Unreal Tournament looks... some day, I suppose.

19 Sep 2003

WebObjects - Objective-C

Any people out there WebObjects developers who remember the good ole Objective-C days?

Looking for a job?

Drop me a line at mhanlon@mac.com. I might be able to help you out.

[The chances anyone with those skills is reading this aren't very high, I'll grant you, but I figured I'd give it a go.]

17 Sep 2003

iChat AV

One quick note that might help people stopping by here, if you've recently gotten an iSight, you'll want to read the following article: http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=93208.

If you have your firewall turned on (like I do), you'll need to punch a few holes to allow video chatting to work.

And yes, this means I've just gotten another geek toy, as well.

12 Sep 2003

A Boy Named Sue

Eerily, Sane Magazine is somewhat prescient again this week.

A worthwhile purchase off the old iTunes Music Store is Johnny Cash's American IV - The Man Comes Around. It's an excellent record.

5 Sep 2003


Woohoo! Greg's back!

5 Sep 2003

Code Generation

I don't quite get why people haven't gotten that code generation is a Bad Idea (tm)*.

It's quotes like this: "Supporting a single database table in an EJB framework requires building up to seven different classes and interfaces " that make EOF look like such a gorgeous alternative.

Maybe I'm lazy, but I'll take Interface Builder or EOF over something like Visual Cafe or EJB any day of the week, just to save myself having loads of extra code sitting around. Instead of something having to translate your object graph into actual code, the environments understand how to use your object graph and to make the connections you've set up without spelling it out for them.

Remember, kids, the big message to take away from the article is the following:

"Writing EJBs by hand is a waste of effort and time "

You could, ostensibly, edit out the "by hand" part...

* With caveats. EOGenerator is nice, for when you write custom code in your EOs and don't want to have that written over, if you create your custom classes from EOModeller. Accessorizer is also very nice for churning out boring old accessor methods.

5 Sep 2003


Oh dear.

The Santa Cruz Sentinel ran a story about how Californians are so misunderstood, so ill-treated by everyone else in the country.

As someone who grew up outside of Boston when the Celtics were taking on the Lakers, and you were supposed to hate Californians (sorry, it's the way it was) and is now living in California not all that far from Santa Cruz, I think the writer of this article has to get out more. Sure, Californians are probably an easy target for derision on the East Coast. A lot like the French are an easy target for the English (well, and a whole lot of other people).

Yes, the tech industry is a big part of California, and there's been a lot of good stuff that's come out of California (my employer, for one). But if it didn't happen here it could just as easily happen elsewhere. Times are really bad in the Valley, unemployment and everything is a nightmare, and for a while there every paper was running a story a day about somebody with a couple of degrees living out of storage sheds and their cars. It sucks.

And California is a big grower of oranges, which a lot of people like.

So yes, California has made some important contributions to society. As a right coaster, I acknowledge that (okay, so maybe I'm not "the elite on the East Coast has [been] ignor[ing] California's problems .")

The article's biggest whinge is about how the media and political centres on the East Coast are missing the story when it comes to California... well, to be honest with you, they're missing a lot of the real stories. It's like California (or, to be fair, the Californian writing this particle article) has youngest child sense-of-humour failure when it's been teased too much.

Or maybe the style of the article just rubbed me the wrong way, and someone writing a blog-style whinge in a newspaper is okay these days, just to say that "We have a news story for them: California and its people live their lives in far more complexity than that." Shocker.

3 Sep 2003

The Lovely Bones

Just finished The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold last night.

While it got a little suspect in one part, for the most part it was an excellent read.

Highly recommended, the writing's very solid.

26 Aug 2003

Cash influx

Of course, he didn't buy Spurs, he bought Chelsea.

'"Ah, Tottenham," he said, excitedly. "I nearly bought that." '

That would have been way too convenient.

Anyone know of any decent live audio feed providers? It sucks having to pay $20 everytime you want to catch a Premiership match (let alone having to get up at the crack of dawn on a weekend)...

21 Aug 2003

Orwell v Huxley

John has a very interesting note on what's going on these days...

I don't like talking politics, personally (which is why this is just a referral, not an extended commentary), but it's a really good read.

18 Aug 2003


Aerosmith, like or loathe 'em, has been around for a pretty damn long time. And yeah, they've probably sold out. A couple of times.

But I've always found them an interesting band (even though I haven't really heard much or bought much of their stuff in the last... 15 or so years now.. damn), they had an excellent collaboration with RunDMC back in whenever it was with "Walk This Way", and seem to be exploring some, ehm, different artists to work with these days. I think the RunDMC thing came just after or before the whole drug rehab thing, where they went from looking like they were going to drop off the face of the Earth, Spinal Tap-style, to producing the pretty well-selling Permanent Vacation and Pump.

The guys come out with greatest hits albums every few years, as well, which is another place to point to their having sold-out. So it's not just concerts to open football seasons with popstars. They're out of control! The Rolling Stones do it, too. Well, the greatest hits thing, anyway.

All right, so it's an op for them to appeal to a set of fans that might not normally tune into Aerosmith (RunDMC, Eminem, with his "Sing for the Moment", Britney, [insert whichever boyband it was]), which probably means a few quick sales. Yeah. I liked "Walk This Way," though, and it introduced me to RunDMC, who I probably wouldn't have heard otherwise.

I mean, REM was doing some heavy work on ITV or the BBC a few months ago advertising some new series or another... it's all a matter of the degree of selling out, I suppose. And is exactly the reason I just sort of shrug these days when talking about sell-outs... it's difficult to set your line in the sand for when someone's become a sell-out and when they're just managing to stay in the public eye.

Or maybe it's because they're (mostly) Boston boys, and you don't mess with Boston boys.

12 Aug 2003

More Advice to the Young Writer

This is a quick one:

You know that stuff I said about writing about what you know?

About writing about yourself, if need be? Well, be very, very careful with that.

Especially if members of your family, significant others, friends, and whomever else might be inclined to use the email address and/or phone number they have for you and are prone to leaping to conclusions happen to read what it is you write. Or at least let them know that what you're writing, though it often has elements of non-fiction, is mostly fictitious.

Otherwise you might end up with lots of phone calls because suddenly everyone seems to think you're going to propose to someone else because you wrote a story about a rock, a very pretty and small rock.

And then you won't have time to write because you'll be on the phone or on email or explaining on your 'blog how you didn't realise small rocks (which you have a reasonable knowledge base on, having combed beaches from both coasts of the Americas as well as several others around Europe and so on) would possibly be construed in the sense in which they were. Go figure.

11 Aug 2003


Now, I've never really found a use for that particular exclamation before, but this weekend was one for the books.

The surf down in Santa Cruz and Capitola was pretty weak, but it reminded me just how much fun it is to be out there, thrashing around and taking big long lazy turns off the bottom (which isn't too far from the top), and then thrashing your way back out with kelp preventing your ready return to the lineup.

Possibly the greatest fun of all, though, is seeing someone else enjoying it so much... the look on L's face as she came back out to the rest of us after getting up on her third or fourth wave of the day (she was rockin', really, on only her second time out!) was pure magic... and we're heading back down next weekend... aloha!

8 Aug 2003

Tinderbox export tricks

If you haven't seen *protoTyping yet, it's an excellent resource for figuring out how the syntax for template html files works in Tinderbox.

I've been tinkering with those from the grey flannel weblog (available off the Eastgate site, which I use for this site), to get descriptions in the rss file properly (so people using something like NetNewsWire will see something a little more helpful in the preview pane), as well as playing occasionally with the work I was thinking about for coding templates (ObjC Cocoa only, for the moment, I'm afraid).

The best advice, if you're getting to know Tinderbox, is Take Small Steps.

1 Aug 2003


Guess what we got today (and yes, lunch is one of the things...)?

The Canon A70, really looking forward to playing with this at the weekend.

30 Jul 2003

Tinderbox for Programmers

Okay, this is a request for comment:

Do you do this? Do you think that would help you organise your applications better, code-wise?

If you organise your app's logic with Tinderbox or would, if it had better Project Builder integration, drop me a line (my email's over there on the side)... I'm thinking of making a Tinderbox Cocoa Development template and a few associated tools to turn your Tinderbox document into a Project Builder file (and vice versa) and am soliciting ideas and trying to guage how much demand there is for this sort of thing.

You'll note that this'll be coming out of Q.I. Software (and not any of the other places at which I might be rumoured to be working).

29 Jul 2003

Intelligent Software

Steven Johnson has an interesting little blurb on intelligent software, and how Word's formatting behaviour falls in the "dumb intelligence" category.

This is one of the big reasons I hate using Word. I've even thought about converting the manuscripts for Time, God Coffee, and the others into either TextEdit format or going Tinderbox whole hog.

Of course, I'm not going to do that. But it's tempting, let me tell you.

This sort of behaviour is why I hate going back to Windows, where those items that aren't commonly used in your Start menu disappear, and you have to access them with either extra mouse movements or key strokes. So the way I'm comfortable using Windows (all right, an uneasy sort of comfort, but still), using the keyboard to navigate everything[1] becomes painful, because it's a lot of arrow-return-arrow-arrow-return-arrow-arrow-arrow-return, instead of just being a matter of arrowing around. Having the arrow (or hidden items) automatically expand on highlight (be it from the mouse or the arrow keys) is a much more visual, flow-y sort of experience where the UI doesn't get in the way-- your mouse and/or key movements almost follow your eyes' patterns, and you get more use out of the computer.

Probably. That's all conjecture, and it started to veer more towards theory than pure practical experience at a certain point in there, so take it with a grain of salt. You see what I'm getting at, anyway.

[1] For the record, I prefer to navigate Mac OS X the same way; the first thing I do on a new box is turn on Full Keyboard Access, including controls. I just find I work faster that way.

28 Jul 2003


Remember Live? I do.

On the iTunes Music Store at the moment they've got an acoustic version of their latest single "Heaven" that's pretty damn cool.

I'm really going to need to stop talking about every little bit of music I get off the store

25 Jul 2003

Advice to the Young Writer

There's been a lot of this sort of stuff going on lately. Jon's been talking about writing a lot, and referring to myself as an example, and L's sister has been exhibiting a brilliant touch for writing the last few weeks.

Basically, what a lot of writers, including myself, write about when they're starting out is themselves. Or stuff that happens to them. Or that they've seen. A lot of writers, including myself, again, make the mistake of trying to write about, like, I don't know, the life of an airman who's left his fiance behind tending the farm while he goes off to pilot a World War II helium balloon, sneaking behind enemy lines to rescue people after he'd dropped his bombs on the surrounding hillside in a relaxing, floaty sort of manner. And then he falls in love, against his own will, with a Swiss shepherdess, whom he sighted from high up in his balloon, which has to make you wonder where this guy was flying and bombing during World War II, anyway. Interesting stuff, right? Sure. Sounds damn cool. Except what do you know about helium balloon riders and their role in World War II? Know anything about anything that might apply to that kind of situation? Nope. So it gets a bit far-fetched, and next thing you know you've turned into Terry Pratchett*.

Especially when you're starting out, and even when you've been doing it a long time, *almost always* stick with stuff you know. It's cool; you can say to people, "Oh yeah, well, I'm self-centered because I'm a writer, you see. Now get out of my sun." Most people will, finding out you write, get out of your sun and get you a drink, while they're at it, and then camp out at your feet, fanning you with palm leaves every once in a while. What an excellent excuse for being self-centered!

A big mistake a lot of people make is that they like someone (like Terry Pratchett or Douglas Adams or James Joyce or Tom Clancy or A.S. Byatt or Margaret Atwood) a lot (this isn't the mistake yet), go to the book store and spend hundreds of pounds/euro/dollars on their books (still not the mistake), devour them all (still, no mistake), see all the films (well, that *might* have been a mistake, but not the one I'm talking about), and then try and write. *Just* like Terry/Douglas/James/Tom/A.S./Margaret (that's the mistake). It's all fine and good to like someone else's writing style, and to mimic it a little bit, to try and learn from it (and it's very flattering for the writer in question), but you need to make sure you're incorporating it, not "becoming one with their style" as an ancient Chinese master might say if he were talking to you about something else.

That would be my advice to the young writer, starting out. Oh, that and practise. Do it a lot. The more you do it, the more comfortable you're going to get with it. Do it in emails, notes, shopping lists, stickies, birthday present tags. Even if you turn out complete toss, you should just keep on writing. Maybe chuck the toss in the garbage, or shred it, if you're really paranoid about someone getting ahold of it, but keep right on writing.

In fact, that advice goes for old writers. Or medium-aged writers. Any type of writer at all. Unless you're J.K. Rowling, in which case you *can't* practise as much because you've all of a sudden got a LOT of money to spend, and you're not going to be able to spend it if you're writing away all the time.

* I don't dislike Terry Pratchett. I doubt he cares one way or another, actually, I'm just saying it's nothing personal, Terry, you just give kids the impression that it's normal to churn out seventy five books a year, so it's okay to use you as an example in a derogatory-sort-of-way-but-not-really.

24 Jul 2003

English 201 - Hypertext Fiction

I reminisce a little on Slashdot.org about those old lectures in the Vassar English department.

They've got a post about an article in the New York Times about lecture hall back-channeling, and all the IM'ing and all that good stuff going on in classrooms these days.

In addition to the experience at Vassar, standing up in front of a room trying to explain how to create links in StorySpace while the students' Macs blurp with incoming BroadCast messages, iChat and internet access in general have been deadly whenever I have to teach a course nowadays. I learned, after the first experience, to set up Etherpeek, sniff some traffic, and try to show a few passwords I'd snagged in the opening minutes before we get really started in on things. EtherPEG is an excellent tool for doing something similar, only showing off the images being downloaded during the course of the lecture.

As I mentioned in the post, while the IM'ing that went on with BroadCast wasn't particularly productive, our time, as a class, on various MOOs (Lambda is still there, and on the web now... as is BayMOO,and I think VassarMOO is even still going) was incredibly so.

Back-channels could go on inside the MOO while a class was being held there simply by people whispering to others or popping into different rooms. I think this might have been slightly more effective than people back-channeling via IM in a lecture hall because, at least in the case of the class being held on the MOO, everyone was typing, no matter whether they were participating in the classroom discusson or a back-channel thing about how hungover they were or the like.

IM'ing or 'blogging a lecture or speech while it happens may have it's place and time... maybe what we need to do is specify a 'blogging or discussion period while speakers go through a certain portion of their material much like a Q&A session at the end, but the opening, to gain some idea of the context at the very least, could be kept clear and disconnected (network-wise).

Granted, if someone's going to connect, they're going to find a way to connect to something. So unless we start teaching courses in lead-lined halls with speaker-controlled network kill switches, I think it's probably going to be something we're stuck with, and all you can do is ask for respect (either by just asking or by showing off a few passwords).

For more info on MOOs, you can look here.

22 Jul 2003

The Ataris

Wow. This is a band Jamie introduced me to back in London, and I have to say this is a rockin' cover.

I just bought the whole So Long, Astoria album off the iTunes Music Store, and I have a feeling I may need to delete iTunes off my machine here, otherwise the creditors are going to come calling again.

22 Jul 2003

Morning Browse

I've added a selection of my morning browse to the side thing, there.

Needless to say, I won't be doing a DE CA FB AD sort of thing on it with quick links, but this is usually my jumping off point for the morning.

21 Jul 2003

Tinderbox v. VoodooPad

Everyone's raving, still, about Voodoopad, and probably rightly so. It's a really nice app. (L. generally mails me once in a while asking me if I wished I'd developed __APP_NAME_HERE__ , a good test for something that's going to pique my interest... Hydra was one of these.)

I was enjoying the Wiki-style text editor and comparing it to Tinderbox, as you might do, if you've used Tinderbox before. And I was thinking, "man, it'd be nice to have Wiki-style auto-links in Tinderbox." I couldn't remember if this was in Storyspace or not, and I haven't been able to use it in donkeys years, due to a lack of a Mac OS X version.

Well, sure enough, Mark drops a line back in seconds with my pointer to VoodooPad to point out, politely, that that feature is in Tinderbox already. Doh.

If you haven't used it already it's well worth checking out... for anything: code reviews, meeting notes, shopping lists, novel outlines, your 'blog, whatever else you can think to do with it.

21 Jul 2003


On a trip up to Lake Berryessa for jetski'ing and lounging around on a boat in our brand new car (I know, I know, but it's a small one, okay?), I found an album I hadn't listened to in a long time.

My roommate Tim, from freshman year, introduced me to The Wedding Present through Watusi.

I've been listening to that this morning, and man, what a great album. If you're interested in some new music, and like jangly guitar-pop/rock, Watusi's an excellent place to start... then maybe on to George Best, and then drop me a line for where to go from there...

18 Jul 2003


CalendarCreator is something that had been sitting around for a little while, and only got around to being put out today, go on and check it out.

It's a pretty simple service that lets you select some text and it'll add it to your iCal... the nice thing is, because NSDate lets you create dates using natural language text, you can say something like, -meeting Joe tomorrow at 1:30pm at Armadillo Willy's- and it'll do the right thing (tm).

The other nice thing is that the locale setting on that parsing is set by your own preferences, so if you have it set to UK or Irish in International Preferences 08/07/2003 will be parsed as the 8th of July, 2003, and not August 7th, 2003.

Feedback is always more than welcome.

16 Jul 2003

Moving countries

Okay, this may or may not be the reason why I started writing this particular thing.

My advice to you, as a young(ish) kid looking to go earn your fortune overseas (say, England) and then return (for whatever reason you might think sounds good on paper) to the United States at some point in time, I would highly recommend thinking about any bank accounts you have open (especially with, say, Fleet Bank), direct debits you have set up, anything like that at all that people might mistakenly or rightly expect you to keep paying once you're gone, and settling it all.

Because otherwise, you may come back to a few wildly annoying obstacles. Personally, I'm much more a fan of England's way of doing things than this credit history malarky... it's just slightly more... personal.

Kids, don't try that at home.

16 Jul 2003


What is with everyone getting all nostalgic lately?

They bought their NeXT slab just a month ago, Erik's looking for one... I won't begrudge them their nostalgia, but damn, you start thinking that you should never just give that hardware away, with people willing to pay money for it. : )

If this keeps up somebody's going to have to beef up Peanuts to handle the load!

It's nice to see people appreciating nice design decisions, or at least dredging up things that perhaps some people don't appreciate (all a matter of opinion, I suppose).

16 Jul 2003

Big Sur

Myself and L went down to Big Sur for her birthday yesterday, stayed at a lovely little set of cottages called Glen Oaks, about 84 miles down Highway 1 from Carmel... highly recommended.

Our trip took us down as far south as Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Beach (the one with the waterfall spilling off the cliffs onto the beach), and encompassed Pfeiffer State beach (the highlight of the trip, well worth the long drive down an unmarked road), Andrew Molera Park (the lowlight, it has to be said, just very unexciting), Nepenthe (a pot of tea and muffin overlooking the coast), and stops at various bridges and vantage points.

And now, I know I just said something the other day about being ruined for food, but yesterday evening we stopped in Carmel on the way back home for a bite to eat. Well, The Gem... I had the Chicken Francese, and it was stunning... so I'm back on food again, I suppose.

14 Jul 2003

Offshore development

One quick note: I hate working on outsourced code.

14 Jul 2003

Forbes Mill Steakhouse

So L and I hit the Forbes Mill Steakhouse in Los Gatos (on N Santa Cruz Ave) this weekend. It's a relatively new restaurant, just opened about a week or two ago, and man oh man.

Judging by our reaction to the next evening's dinner, I think we might have been ruined for all other food.

If you're in town, I highly recommend the Flatiron Steak with the mushroom sauce and mash... and the dessert's not too bad, either.

Scintillating, isn't it!?

11 Jul 2003

Just Playing

So I'm just playing with Tinderbox.

Note that the preceding is not justification, it's just a statement.

Still in California, too. Who would've thunk it?

11 Jul 2003


So we've moved to California from sunny ole London (well, Teddington, a few ticks down from London, to be honest with you).

I would highly recommend Los Gatos, CA, for anyone looking to lead an active lifestyle: it's sunny, has lots of gorgeous outdoorsy type of stuff to keep you occupied, it has a brewery right on N. Santa Cruz, a lot of apartment complexes have a pool, it's 20 minutes from Santa Cruz and Capitola, and... well, it's close to work. Oh, right, those are my reasons... doh. Well, at least quite a few, if not all (in some cases), apply to others.


So. That's it, that's all I have.

Circumambulate the city of a dreamy Sabbath afternoon.

[For those of you following Sane's most current series, this'll make sense.]

11 Jul 2003

First post

Oh it's a shame. Why?

I dunno.

Sorry. I caved.

(Plus, this then clears any and all accusations that Sane Magazine might be a 'blog.)

11 Jul 2002

Design by Derek Powazek

This template was designed by Derek Powazek, creator of {fray}.

Tinderbox is made by Eastgate Systems, purveyors of fine hypertexts everywhere.

And, ehm, that's it, I suppose. Credit where credit is and all that.

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