ReadyMade – Sprout a Couch

Gotta admit – It would be sooo much fun to invite people over for a party and have couches and chairs like this. I wonder if I could do a table? Definitely wouldn’t have to worry about rusting furniture…

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Wendell’s ordination

September 26, 2004

Doran, Wendell, Brenda, Warren

NOT5150 Website

Now this is the type of product testing that I could get into. I love the observation that “…It was quite easy to find five people who wanted to line up and shoot a monitor…”. Heh.

I may have to look into these Airsoft guns – they look fun.

Ladies Village Improvement Society – Crazy Train or Emotional Subway Attack

I’m having a flash of insight… either that, or it is too late and I’m doing something besides sleeping.

Anyway, it just occurred to me that people who are somewhat ‘inflexible’ in their thinking, their outlook on society can’t deal with randomness and surreality? If you follow the link above, you will notice that instead of adjusting to their surroundings the street preachers responded with a pre-planned attack. When it didn’t work, they left.

Now, what would have happened if they had joined in? My imagination paints a picture where after a song or two the protagonist and antagonist join together for a conversation. They don’t have to agree with each other, but they talk.

Wouldn’t happen, of course. Still…

AudioScrobbler fun…

September 16, 2004

I’ve been playing around a bit with AudioScrobbler for the last couple of days. While their servers are having problems, it is still an intriguing concept: You play music on your computer and your music player uploads what you are playing to a central server. After you play enough, the server matches your playlist up with others and points out what you might like. There is even a radio-like service to stream songs that you might like and every song you skip or bad updates your profile.

Like I said, a nice concept – it doesn’t work yet due to server problems but it will be fun to see if it does.

On other feature is that the site provides a RSS feed of the last ten songs that you played. Well, someone in the WordPress community wrote a plug-in (which I customized a bit) to display that list on your site. Cool…

Oh, it also requires a plug-in for your media player. I use QCD which is a great player. However, the plug-in is… well, buggy. Very buggy. It does work, usually, but if you are using a different media player there is probably a plug-in for that out there. I may have to write my own plug-in if this keeps behaving badly since the developer got it kind of working and then dropped it. Twit.

Okay, that might not be very fair. However, the developer has no working method to receive feedback on his product and he doesn’t respond to questions in the forums. In the absence of information I’ll use my imagination. Probably something involving ducks and bears…

NewsReader blues

September 8, 2004

A few weeks ago, I gushed about a new feed aggregator called SauceReader. Don’t get me wrong; there is a lot of great things about SauceReader. Unfortunately, there are a few critical problems.

First problem – it is slow. Really slow. I trimmed my feeds down to a paltry 100 feeds from the 200 or so that I had before. Still slow. Slow starting up, even.

Second problem – I’ve got 512 Megs RAM on a Pentium IV running at 1.7 gHz and it sometimes takes up to 100 Megs of resources. Not even Outlook hogs up that much!

Third problem – It locks up. Mind you, it is occasional, but really frustrating. I try to read a specific message and everytime it locks up tighter than Superman trying to make a diamond by clenching a lump of coal with his buttocks. I can understand that the program can’t handle something but it should handle it gracefully, not lock up and consume even more resources.

Fourth problem – Okay, this may seem like a nit-picking point, but it is important, possibly the biggest issue for regular use. Since I have a few feeds I can end up with 1500-1600 items to review if I don’t read for a few days. As such, I read fast, moving from item to item and only lingering on something of interest. When I was using SharpReader, the space bar moved to the next new item. I could click on the master node, sort by date and then read through them in 45 minutes or so. SauceReader requires a CONTROL-J to read the next item so I either have to use two hands or stretch one, causing cramps after a few minutes. I use the keyboard; if I have to fall back to using the mouse it takes a lot longer and breaks up the routine. The keyboard is ALWAYS the fastest method for navigation and data entry but if an application isn’t keyboard friendly then it can be a real productivity killer.

Fifth problem – it won’t export feeds that don’t have any items in them. This is a real headache as I’m trying out SauceReader and I had added several feeds to SauceReader and deleted a bunch of obsolete feeds. Now, I’m having to go to the properties for each feed and copy the URL then paste it into another reader since that feed only gets updated every couple of weeks doesn’t currently have any items. However, this is only frustrating if you want to leave SauceReader; it imported my SharpReader subscription OPML just fine.

Anyway, SauceReader has a lot of good things going for it – integrated utility for submitting to a weblog, automatic discovery of RSS feeds from a web page in the internal browser (but it won’t recognize a RSS feed URL? What’s up with that?). Maybe when they get some of the kinks out I’ll try it again. For now, though, I think I’ll switch back to SharpReader until I find my ultimate tool.

UPDATE: After a bit of discussion with Nathan, I’m still using SauceReader. I still want to be able to use the spacebar (or another easy to reach SINGLE button) but I’m able to make it work for the most part.

[Now listening to Don Henry, ‘Beautiful Fool’, from ‘Wild in the Backyard’]

Kelly and Brant’s wedding

September 7, 2004

David discovers ‘The Court Jester’ starring Danny Kaye while on the road to Portland.