Assorted Thoughts for a Tuesday

  • I can feel the balance starting to shift.  I’m starting to tire of all the podcasts.  At work, I’m listening to more music now.  Maybe it’s because it’s easier to do work while listening to music rather than to people talking.  Maybe the job is shifting more than the listener?  I don’t know. Maybe I just need an exciting new podcast to jumpstart me again.
  • The on-going eBay Death Watch took an interesting turn this week, as eBay has finally integrated Skype.  Sorta.  They’re including a Skype link in a Firefox toolbar that very few people will want to install. If the eBay auction you’re looking at has a phone number — not yet a Skype handle — the toolbar will allow you to call up the seller to ask them questions.  Or something.  And who will be silly enough to publish their phone number with their eBay auction?  I imagine that would only be the businesses who use eBay as a side income stream.  Isn’t that the crowd eBay is catering to, to the exclusion of all others these days?
  • Speaking of Apple, congrats to The Unofficial Apple Weblog on their new design.  It’s very nice.  Someday, I’ll do the same to this blog. . .

All things TiVo:

The week’s new DVD releases will be run down here tomorrow.

Red Dwarf Returns

New Red Dwarf Specials Confirmed | News | Red Dwarf

As announced by Robert Llewellyn for Grant Naylor Productions this week at the UKTV seasonal press launch, the project is a short series of brand new specials to celebrate the 21st birthday of Red Dwarf. Doug Naylor will be masterminding the four half-hour instalments, and the regular cast will all be reprising their iconic roles. They are being made by GNP for UKTV’s free-to-air channel, Dave – our new best friends!

Two half hours will be new episodes.  One episode will be a Making Of show.  And the fourth will be a clips show.  Odd assortment, but what Red Dwarf fan could complain about anything new coming out after all these years?

Posted in TV

The Brick

Apple LogoSo, Mac fans are setting themselves up for disappointment again.

The latest thing is the “Brick” rumor. Like all the patent filings that lead to wild speculation on new product announcements, “the brick” is a rumor fueled by speculation and incorrect readings of financial reports. The lower profit margins warned by Apple at the end of the last quarter were explained by the lowered prices on the iPods. but that’s not enough for some people, who demand that the margins are falling because Apple will release an all-inclusive touch-screen tablet that will cure cancer and shore up failing banks — for free! Without Google Ads!

Or maybe it’ll just be Apple TV v3.0, complete with HDTV integration, TiVo functionality, a built-in Blu-Ray player, and a Wii built in!

It’s gotten to the point now where “The Brick” is going to excite Apple and the economy and revolutionize the computer industry on October 14th.  Really, check out all the insane predictions that have been made.

And when Apple announces a simple MacBook upgrade — maybe an aluminum case instead of white, with a moderate chip speed-up — Apple fans will whine and complain that Steve Jobs has lost his touch, and that Mac doesn’t revolutionize any thing anymore.

Can’t we just enjoy the surprise when it comes, and stop feeding into the hype machine with endless speculation that gets mistaken for fact?

I hate people sometimes.

That said, I hope it’s Apple TV 3 — but only as a software upgrade so I don’t have to buy a new one.  Mine’s only 6 months old!

Leftover Link Dump

Twitters for the Week

  • Am now running Leopard on the MacBook. Only a year late to this particular party.
  • If you ever want to feel sorry for celebrities, watch TMZ. Those people are so obnoxious they make millionaire debutantes sympathetic.
  • I’ve only lived in this complex for two months, and they’re already having their second huge garage sale. What’s with this place? 
  • @Ihnatko – I think a lot of the novelty of “Talk Like a Pirate Day” has worn off. Internet memes are not annual events, generally speaking.
  • It’s like I have two jobs some days. . . (CBR keeps me very busy.  Could be even busier, but I ran out of time.)
  • Friggin’ Roxio was creating a backup of every video I ever burned to a DVD. Just deleted them, saving 10 GIG of space. Whoo-hoo! 
  • I’m in the mood for French comics, all of a sudden.
  • Number of appearances Joey Fatone made on the HD version of DWTS but not on SDTV: Too Numerous to Count 
  • Boston Legal is back. I just wish I had the time for it. So sad.
  • Friggin’ Tuesdays. . . One of the worst five days of the week

Gentlemen, Start Your Engines

Kirsten Dunst is now single, though she doesn’t feel like dating anyone at the moment.  Bide your time, carefully.  Pounce at the right time, gentlemen. Macenstein | I guess she was a PC

“They are taking some time off for now,? reveals an insider. Kirsten, who also dated Fabrizio Moretti, another of Drew’s exes, ended the relationship

She was dating Justin Long, of the “I’m a Mac. I’m a PC” commercials.

Links Fresh from Some Dump

  • Want an alternative to ironing?  How about your own clothes steamer?  Looks interesting. . .  Anyone ever use one of these?
  • Adobe Illustrator CS4.  My copy is still “CS.”  I don’t think I’ll be upgrading, but it certainly looks nice.
  • Dear Mr. Watterston” is a documentary on the creator of “Calvin & Hobbes,” as told by his fans.  Or something like that.
  • Laugh Your Abs Away.  It’s stupid.  It’s frightening. But it makes me laugh. Every Time I Watch It.

It can’t get worse for eBay, can it?

Slashdot: News for nerds, stuff that matters

“In eBay’s latest FAQ, they explain that sellers (for the good of the buyers) will no longer be allowed to accept checks or money orders as payment. They can take electronic payments only. So, will Google Checkout, Checkout by Amazon or Amazon Flexible Payment be allowed? No, says eBay. . .”

I’ve sent and accepted checks and money orders in the past.  OK, it was years ago. I would use PayPal for all that stuff today.  I’m not blaming eBay for destroying this. Really, it’s the community that’s grown too large to police it, with too many pieces of spoiled fruit ruining it for the rest.  eBay isn’t killing its customer base.  It’s merely putting itself out of its misery, step by step.

I need an eBay Death Watch logo for this type of thing.

Posted in Web

Groucho Groucho Groucho

Groucho Marx was a genius of comedy.  This weekend, I found a recording of his legendary concert at Carnegie Hall from 1972.  Called “An Evening with Groucho,” it’s not in print on CD.  It is, however, available as a free download through The internet is a beautiful place, isn’t it?

And here’s something else I just learned via Wikipedia.  Groucho and Elton John were friends:

He met and befriended Elton John when the British singer was staying in California in 1972, insisting on calling him “John Elton” because “Elton John” was the wrong way around. According to writer Philip Norman, Groucho jokingly pointed his index fingers at Elton John as if holding a pair of six-shooters. Elton John put up his hands and said, “Don’t shoot me, I’m only the piano player,” so naming the album he had just completed. Elton John accompanied Groucho and the family hosting him in California to a performance of Jesus Christ Superstar, where Groucho offered two witticisms. As the lights went down in the theater, Groucho called out, “Does it have a happy ending?” During the Crucifixion scene, he declared, “This is sure to offend the Jews.”

eBay’s Descent Continues

eBay is selling off StumbleUpon.  And if you’re anything like me, you’re thinking, “Wait, eBay owns StumbleUpon?  Why?  What’s next, Skype?!? Oh, wait. . .”  I think the theory is that under eBay ownership, people might stumble upon more eBay auctions.  Not sure that ever happened, though.

This is minor compared to their other big stumble of the week.  Have you seen eBay’s new Maximum Shipping Price policy page?  Starting in October, eBay is controlling how much you can charge for basic shipping.  If you’re selling a DVD Audio, you can only charge $3 for it.  Cookbook?  $4.  DVD?  $3.

Sellers are required to offer at least one shipping option within the maximum and may also offer other options above the maximums for expedited or international shipping.

I’m sure this is an effort to stop people who charge outrageous fees for “shipping and handling” as a profit center.  I guess eBay is too big now for the community to police that kind of bad behavior. I can guarantee you right now that an awful lot of sellers will not be happy with this attempt by eBay to control their fees. (Thanks, Chad A., for the link!)

Posted in Web

New Releases for 23 Sept 2008

I’ve had enough pink in my life this summer, as we prepare the baby’s room and all its accoutrements.

That said, the big release of the week is:

  • Sex and the City: The Movie

And it’s an extended edition, at that!  Oprah’s fanbase must be going crazy right about now. . .

There’s a full screen edition (read: piece of crap re-edited motion blur edition) that is even pinker.  This blog maintains its anti-full screen position by not linking to it.

The better release of the week is this particular double dip:

  • The Godfather: The Coppola Restoration

They just finished restoring the entire trilogy, frame-by-frame. It’s supposed to look fantastic now, like a fresh print all over again.  It’s also available as a boxed set in plain ol’ DVD format, or as individual movie releases, for about $15 a pop.

  • Leatherheads

George Clooney, Renee Zellweger, and John Krasinski (“The Office”) star in a movie about the good ol’ days of football.

  • Deception

Erotic thriller with Hugh Jackman, Ewan MacGregor, and Michele Williams.

  • Run Fatboy Run

Looks stupid to me, but it stars Simon Pegg and Thande Newton (“Mission: Impossible II”), so I’m sure it has its fans.

Wow, that’s an entire week without a TV show on DVD in the list.  That’ll change next week, though, with the “Sports Night: 10th Anniversary Edition” that I know some of you will be wanting to double dip on.

Posted in DVD

Some Recent Twitterings

I used to do these weekly.  I need to get back to that.  You can follow my every Tweet at  Here’s some recent 140-character-max-musings, in no particular order:

  • MI-5 Season Six is coming to DVD January 20th, before it airs on TV in the States, not that I ever watched those butchered versions.
  • The hardest part of using a video camera? Not flipping it on its side to go portrait instead of landscape. I’m such a photographer. . .
  • Oh, and UGH. Wednesdays. Half a week away from my last day off, and halfway towards my next. Wednesdays are a tease.
  • And last night’s episode of THE SHIELD was brilliant as always. Mackey is going to undo himself this season, I fear. It’s too much for him.
  • @eliopoulos – The last thing anyone should ever want to be is a Mets fan in September.
  • Recorded a proof of concept demo type thing for something I may or may not do in the future. It might be more tedious than fun. (I’m still saying no more.)
  • Put together another IKEA Billy bookcase. Flush to the wall, screwed in place. That sucker ain’t moving. (Not that I doubt for a second that my daughter won’t try in a few years. . . )
  • Tuesday. Whose bright idea was Tuesdays?!?  (OK, so these tweets are in vaguely reverse chronological order.)
  • Recorded this week’s podcast a day earlier than usual. That feels good. Should be published tonight. And it’s half as long as the last one. (And then the RSS feed got lost in the cache for a day, and the podcast wasn’t early; it was merely on time.)
  • So, that football thing seems to have started up again, eh? What’s that all about?
  • Sunday morning and I’ve already put a new screen into a sliding door. It’s a swamp out there, though. Ick. Now, to hang a shelf. . .  (Ah, the continuous joys of home ownership.  I’ve also reglued laminate that came loose from a cabinet this week, put together a bookshelf and a side table, and put in a door stopper before a doorknob punched through a wall.)
  • Scanning is boring. (And scanning at high DPIs, doubly so.)

Posted in Web

Mini Link Dump at Week’s End

;;HISTORY: ;; ;;Nov ’82 – IDS, initial coding ;; ;;Dec ’82 – more coding, hair pulling, general cruftiness ;; ;;Jan ’83 – schedule screaming, rampant insanity, accusations ;; ;;Feb ’83 – semi-winnage, accompanied by cries of anguish and threats;; ;;Mar ’83 – Lucifer announces a cooling trend
And here’s a quote from that aforementioned developer:
“I do remember that [Donkey Kong Jr.] was started in FORTH, and was an ego-driven disaster until that nonsense stopped.”
Somehow, that just shattered a bunch of naive childhood memories.
  • Your Flash Game for the Day: Split Words.  Given a playing board filled with word parts, match up two or three parts to form answers in the board’s theme. It’s timed.  It’s nerve-wracking .And it gets very hard very fast.

Forget the cure, find the cause!

Common plastics chemical linked to human diseases | Health | Reuters

A study has for the first time linked a common chemical used in everyday products such as plastic drink containers and baby bottles to health problems, specifically heart disease and diabetes.

Now that we have a crackpot explanation for diabetes, I expect a crackpot cure to come along this weekend.  The universe needs balance, after all.