August 09, 2008

iPhone Photography Awards: The Prize is . . . Vapor?

The deadline for entries was late April '08; no winner has been announced on the site, and no one from the site answers emails. This wouldn't be that big a deal if the entrants hadn't paid a fee for each photo submitted.

Someone spammed several Flickr iPhone groups about the contest early this spring. Last month I followed up with some Flickr discussion threads inquiring about the status. Again, silence.

From what I can determine, Kenan Aktulun organized the contest, or is, at least, the press contact for the site. He doesn't answer emails, either.

The following folks are (were?) finalists. If any of them read this, please email me at the "contact paul" link on the bottom left margin of this page. Thanks!

Armondo Mendez
Audrie Magno Gordon
Benjamin Nickolls
Brittany Thurman
Corey Beaman
Elizabeth Vargas
Gara Gillentine
Greg Schmigel
Greg Wilson
Irfan Rydhan
Ismael A
Jeffrey Crerie
Jesse Wright
Jessica Lim
Jim Starr
Jose R. Gelats
Kimberly Thurman
Leila Djemile
Michael Hopkins
Ricki Goldhamer
Ramona Gillentine
Ron J. Lemise
Russell Ramsey
Saul Quinn
Sean Miller
Simia Ramsay

Posted by Paul at 11:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 30, 2008

Translation:

I think this means she's having money problems.

Posted by Paul at 11:30 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 24, 2008

Advice:

clusterIf your venue puts on live shows, don't advertise that the doors will be opening at 6:30pm and then make fans wait outside the gate, standing in the cold, until after 8 o'clock-- with little or no explanation.

Using the excuse "the headlining band was late and wants to soundcheck" doesn't work.

The headlining band needs to learn that if they don't show up on time for soundcheck, they miss soundcheck.

Posted by Paul at 04:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 17, 2008

Speakeasy is Sucking

I've been using Speakeasy for DSL, email and various other things since 1999.

Last year they were bought by Best Buy. I shuddered, and braced for Speakeasy to begin sucking.

At work we use them for T1 and hosting our website. All our employees depend on Speakeasy for email.

Tonight at 5:15 my email client began repeatedly requesting password authentication for all its various Speakeasy email addresses. Entering the passwords would do no good; the program would just ask again.

I switched to "MySpeakeasy" webmail. Sometimes I could log on, sometimes I got bumped off. Luckily email was still being received and stored.

I looked at Speakeasy's System Status popup:

=========================
04/16/08 06:18:42 AM
MySpeak and Mail Issues
Region : All
E.T.A. : None
Services Affected : Webmail, Mail
We are currently experiencing technical difficulties affecting our mail service including mail delivery, Webmail login, and MySpeak login.

Our engineers are currently looking into the issue.

We thank you for your patience as we work to resolve these issues as soon as possible.

Update: 04/16/08 06:38:22 AM
This issue has been considered resolved at this time.

Update: 04/16/08 08:57:15 AM
Login to MySpeak and Webmail may be intermittent again.

Our engineers are aware of the issue and are now looking to resolve it ASAP.

Update: 04/16/08 10:15:58 AM
This issue is now resolved again.

Update: 04/16/08 06:41:06 PM
This issue has recurred, so customers will experience authentication problems when attempting to access their email or MySpeakeasy. We continue to work on a full resolution of this issue.

Update: 04/16/08 10:10:21 PM
Email services and myspeak are working at this time. The services may continue to be intermittent. We continue to work on a full resolution of this issue.
==============================

It's now 12:10 the next morning. I logged on to my office computer via Timbuktu: still no email downloaded since 5:15pm.

Speakeasy is sucking.

Posted by Paul at 12:01 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 04, 2008

Know Your Asshole Footprint

...dedicated to the young woman who-- while yammering on a cellphone outside Trader Joe's-- grabbed a cart, cut in front of me....then abruptly stopped in the middle of the doorway to make another call.

Posted by Paul at 09:12 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 10, 2008

Talk About the Weather


A huge storm hit these parts on Friday, January 4th. I was without power from 9am that day until 2pm Sunday. I'd bought a gas generator the day before, thinking I could hunker down and maybe keep my fridge going and have some internet access while the lights were out.

But along with the blackout, Comcast cable/phone/internet went down at 2pm Friday and remained out until about 2pm Sunday. I'd drive out along Skyline to a point where my cellphone would work, call Comcast, and listen to them explain there were no other reports of outages in my area (which, go figure, turned out not to be true).

Large redwoods, oaks and madrones had fallen everwhere along Skyline Blvd, and some blocked roads. But not for long. Local residents and CalTrans did a great job keeping the highway clear. And PGE worked incredibly hard to get power back up, flooding the area with utility trucks until everything was working again.

Just west and north of here, the Half Moon Bay newspaper has also been going bonkers with coverage. Note the extreme storm damage in the photo above-- a ten foot section of white picket fence could not withstand the 50mph winds. Gosh. Also note the poll on the top right of the page-- rage over power outages is running the whole spectrum, from A to B.

The Saturday after the windstorm brought thunder, lightning, snow, sleet and hail to my cozy little mountain (well, 2000 feet elevation) neighborhood. It was very exciting. A meteorologic journal of the days' events can be found here and here. Check out them wind gusts on the 4th and the plunging noontime barometer on the 5th-- that's when the hail hit. Good, geeky fun.

A week laster: people in my neighborhood still don't have working ATT landlines, a story that local news has seized upon, and rightfully so. Most cellphones barely work up here under the best conditions, so people get understandably nervous when landlines go down. The only thing worse than Comcast customer service is ATT customer service, apparently. The Kings Mountain Yahoo mailing list has been humming with righteous fury. Warms my heart, it does.

Although folks tell me this was a "five year storm...maybe ten" and it most likely won't be this bad again anytime soon, it was good practice to learn how to fire up a 5000 watt generator and keep it running in a major (by California standards) gale.

However, on Saturday afternoon I bailed. I wrestled the cat into her carrier, and-- in the midst of the hailstorm-- drove down the mountain to SF to try to take advantage of relatively calm weather (and broadband) there and to catch up on work. I ended up sleeping at the office that night.

Some mountain man.

Posted by Paul at 09:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 28, 2006

Quiet Time

So I haven't been around these parts much lately.

Just to backtrack: about three days before the end of the housesitting stint, I was carrying my laptop around the property, trying to see what the wi-fi signal would be like in the guest house where I'd be staying the night my hosts returned from their trip. It had been raining for days, and the stepping stones leading to the cottage were slick and mossy. I slipped and did everything I could to avoid dropping the laptop. In my gyrations I managed to open up the side of my [warning: bloody pic on link that follows] foot pretty extremely. It was one of those clinically fascinating wounds that's equal parts scrape, bruise, and cut. Whee.

It's still not really healed all that well, two weeks later. "You probably should have had that stitched," says a helpful colleague. Uh huh.

So that meant no beach for the last three days I was there. It also mean wearing sandals for two weeks, including on the the plane home, with a large bandage camouflaging the yuck.

So I get into SFO at 9:30pm on the 18th. I grab a cab home.

I walk in, throw down my shoulderbag, and try to determine what kind of damage the cats did while I was gone. After about a half hour I grab the laptop power cord from the shoulder bag and plug it in, then reach for my laptop sleeve.

It's not there.

I left the laptop in the taxi. And I don't remember the name of the cab company.

Four hours, 10 phonecalls to various taxi companies and one frenzied trip back to SFO later, I conclude that my laptop is gone forever. As a hail Mary I post a lost-and-found notice to Craigslist and try to go to sleep.

The next few days are spent trying to get caught up at work and, alternately, self-flagellating about the laptop. On Sunday morning I get very sick and spend the next three days in various stages of extreme flu symptoms, most of which involve laying on the living-room futon being comforted by two neglected cats. The badness relents last Wednesday, morphing into a moderately tepid cold.

Today I feel better than I have in, well, about 12 days. I'm looking forward to that extra hour tonight.

Thanks for listening. You might see more of me around here in the coming days; we'll see. The new laptop gets here Monday. There will be much (okay, some) rejoicing.

Posted by Paul at 03:28 PM | Comments (0)

August 19, 2006

Sleazefest Revisited

In review:

Jon Benet Ramsey's parents were sleazy for pimping their kid out to pre-teen "beauty contests".

The majority of news media outlets were sleazy in the way they luridly exploited the child's death, and the manner in which they tried the sleazy parents on the air.

The paid 'experts' were sleazy for endlessly speculating and profiteering about the tragedy.

The majority of the news-consuming public were sleazy for lapping up the trashy coverage and coming back for more.

The arrest in Thailand has kickstarted the sleaze anew, upgraded [sic] to 2006 cable news standards [sic].

The merciless carpetboming of the airwaves with this voyeuristic bombast continues. Who actually sits still and stays tuned in to this dreck? Can I get a list of their names, for marketing purposes, if nothing else?

If the only other choice of subjects to cover is the Snakes On A Plane irony-bomb "phenomenon," I think it's time to wonder aloud if modern culture has finally bottomed out. I acknowlege that I'm just jinxing the situation, and that-- outside the naive and cranky world of my endearing little neo-reality-- we've got a long way to go until the, um, nadir.

"The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds, and the pessimist fears this is true."
- James Branch Cabell

Posted by Paul at 07:46 AM | Comments (0)

July 25, 2006

Torturing Your Dog and Neighbors on the Hottest Day of the Year

N: Hello?

P: Hey, it's Paul. Look, I don't want to be a pain...but is there any way we could work out an alternate arrangement for your friend's dog when he comes to visit? Ever since you left he's been barking and howling nonstop upstairs. It's been going on for, like, four hours now.

N: Oh...yeah. He does that.

P: [...]

[Thinks. Attempts to regroup].

P: ...I mean, I think you left around four. It sounds like he's being tortured.

N: He's locked in one of those kennel cages. He'll be okay. I'm in the city with my friend for his birthday. I'm not sure what to do. We should l be home a little after 9...

P: (Looks at the clock. It's 7:45pm. Looks at thermometer. It's 90 degrees in my flat). You're trying to kill me.

N: What? It's loud in here.

P: Nothing.

Posted by Paul at 07:05 AM | Comments (1)

April 20, 2006

Subdivision. Strip Mall. Industrial Park. Subdivision. Mall. Subdivision. Strip Mall. Mall...

I'm in Plantation, Florida, commuting to Coral Springs every day for meetings.

The climate is a bit like Hawaii, minus the breeze. It's steamy. Last night I checked into a Holiday Inn Express around midnight. It was 80 degrees out and the humidity felt around 90%. Nasty.

There is an overwhelming, endless flatness to the landscape. On Nova last week I heard that there's a possibility melting Arctic ice could raise sea levels dozens of feet in the next couple centuries. The narrator specifically mentioned that Florida would be under water if this happened. I don't believe this event would put the area in a league with Atlantis, however.

The drive today was bleak. There's very little open space; nearly everything is paved. There are more malls and strip malls than I've ever seen in one area-- even Fremont. Last October Hurricane Wilma swept through the area and a lot of the trees got beat up. The palms look especially sad.

My motel room has no minifridge and the place doesn't seem to believe in ice machines, so I had no choice but to forage for a styrofoam ice chest today. After driving for an hour I realized the strip malls were packed with nothing but dreary restaurants, nail salons and real estate storefronts-- there was no place to go except Wal-Mart. Entering its doors was a sobering cultural experience. I shelled out $1.48 plus tax for a disposable cooler and felt horribly guilty. Still do.

On the way back from Wal-Mart I tried to find someplace that sold alcohol in order to make the motel room seem more bearable at the end of the day-- it took me nearly another hour. There are NO liquor stores here, and few grocery stores. I finally ended up paying $13.00 for a warm bottle of Clos du Bois chardonnay at a CVS.

Driving is an experience in itself. Most of the main roads are 6-lane boulevards with 45 mph speed limiits. People tailgate and weave around slower traffic. Motorcycles blast away from stoplights, popping wheelies as they open it up to speed two blocks to the next red light. There's a lot of pro-war and pro-Bush bumpersickers, and faded/tattered American flags flying from SUV windowframes.

The area is seems full of....well, what I can only describe as McPeople. Zombies staggering through life pushing shopping carts full of cheap plastic crap, emptying them into SUVs. I know that makes me sound like a terrible, misanthopic snob. I'm sorry. And now I think I know one of the reasons why people from Europe are freaked out when they visit the United States. It seems like every second or third person living here is borderline morbidly-obese.

I returned to the motel to discover that the newly-built pool was not yet ready to accept swimming clientele. bah. I did have a really nice dinner, cooked at a suspiciously empty health-food restaurant run by an Indian family. I ordered sauteed chicken with stir-fry organic vegetables. An older woman prepared it for me and the meal was excellent, made even better by the warm and beautiful smile she gave me when I arrived and when I left. I'll go back there again tomorrow.

I am such a blue stater. It makes me appreciate the Bay area more than ever. Even if I do seem like a character out of a certain South Park episode.

Posted by Paul at 07:02 PM | Comments (0)

April 17, 2006

"America Is Not Getting The Benefit Of The Doubt Right Now"

Advice for U.S. citizens traveling abroad.

When do we begin clinics for the ugly Americans within our borders?

Posted by Paul at 08:24 AM | Comments (0)

April 14, 2006

Why I Haven't Been Posting Lately

We can talk about It later. But it has nothing to do with this, that's for sure, nuh-uh. I am so completely over her.

Besides, just mull over the concept of any possible offspring being named Jessica or Dylan Sarsgaard-Gyllenhaal. That's just abusive.

Posted by Paul at 08:17 AM | Comments (0)

February 10, 2006

HBO Wants DVR/TiVo Users To Wave The Broadcast Flag Of Surrender

And in my household, this means war.

Posted by Paul at 07:58 AM | Comments (1)

February 03, 2006

Valleywag | How To Alienate Me

Valleywag is a new tech gossip blog backed by Nick Denton's Gawker Media blogopolis/death star. It's only two days old and still seems to be finding its legs, but it's already developed a familiar sense of smarm and, yes, snark.

With apologies to Dooce: I've added a tag for How To Alienate Me. Some might feel this is redundant; I already have a tag called Complaining, so what's up with that? Let's just call How To Alienate Me a subset of Complaining. Look, I can complain about something and still not be alienated by it. Splitting hairs is a full time job. And by the way, shut up.

When ourmedia.org launched in early 2005 I immediately applied for a username. I was new to blogging and photosharing and podcasting, and free disk space among like-minded wonks sounded attractive. It took two days to get a password returned by email, and the site was glacially slow. I gave up on it after a couple days.

This weekend I found a cobwebbed bookmark for my disused Ourmedia user page and revisisted the site. Guess what? It was slower than I remember. Just loading the groups page took minutes, and the photo I submitted on Tuesday still hasn't shown up. I don't think Flickr or .Mac have much to worry about.

Another alienation-by-web example: streamload.com. The concept of 25gb of free storage is irresistible. I want to back up all my photos and other digital junk I've accumulated, without having to worry about another firewire hard drive failure. Since Streamload makes uploading folders/batches of files hard, I filled out an email form asking for an FTP password.

That was Tuesday night. It's now Friday. Still haven't heard from them.

You get what you pay for with free web storage apps.

Posted by Paul at 09:01 AM | Comments (0)

January 31, 2006

Ladies And Gentlemen, Start Your Cellphone-Hating Revenge Fantasies

The only thing that's been stopping a lot of people from using gadgets like these is their cost. Oh yeah, they've been kind of illegal, too. If you want an overheated dialog online, just engage in debate about cellphone jammers.

Posted by Paul at 08:27 AM | Comments (0)

January 30, 2006

Let's Give Stupid People Their Own Neighborhoods

...so we can more easily study their habits.

And perhaps we can tax their lack of wits by way of exorbitant insurance premiums?

Posted by Paul at 11:13 AM | Comments (0)

January 08, 2006

/holiday

I got back from vacation last night at 10:30pm. I'm still wondering how SFO can call itself an international airport when it takes nearly an hour for baggage to travel from the plane's cargo hold to the claim area. Scandalous.

I'm attempting to force my circadian rhythm to a two-hour recalibration. It's not enough to be called jetlag but (of course) it's enough to complain about. The cats seem to have settled back down into a routine, mercifully. I'm not sure I'll be adapting quite so readily.

I've never taken 16 days off work before, so arriving at the office tomorrow will most likely be an interesting experience. I'm hoping that the act of driving into the Mission district and simply looking for a parking space won't trigger some sort of adverse culture-shock reaction. Perhaps some AM carb-goodness at J. Georgie's Donuts & Chinese Food will make everything better and enable me to face the day more bravely.

And when the deluge of backlogged email, faxes, phonecalls, complaints and interruptions begin to cascade, I'll always have some visual tangents I can use to deflect big mean ol' reality.

Posted by Paul at 10:51 PM | Comments (0)

October 24, 2005

The Sentiment Is Appreciated

..but any hope for improvement is ultimately futile.

Posted by Paul at 08:47 AM | Comments (0)

May 11, 2005

Never Use A Two-Syllable Word Where A Three-Syllable One Will Do

Another BAD WORD:

Using "architect" as a verb; that is, in place of something simple, like, say..."design."

Tim O'Reilly, thanks for reinventing English in order to waste syllables and coin another "repurposed" buzzword.

Posted by Paul at 02:29 PM | Comments (0)

March 19, 2005

Independent Music Business vs Major Label Business Hairsplitting

A recent IT Conversations Voices In Your Head segment found Dave Slusher interviewing Magnatunes CEO John Buckman. A couple things Buckman said provoked responses from me in the
Evil Genius comments section.

Dave calls me defensive, and I guess I am. However, I found a few of Buckman's comments glib and self-serving. I wanted to make sure some significant shadings of the many tiers and sectors of the music business are, at least, acknowledged.

Granted, this wasn't a round-table interview, but a lot of people subscribe to IT Conversations and I'd like to think they deserve something a bit more balanced. Any perceived slant wasn't Dave's doing, or undoing -- I just felt compelled to chime in. Probably comes along with having sentenced myself to working in the independent record business for a lot longer than I'd care (or am often able) to remember...

Posted by Paul at 07:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 11, 2005

San Francisco's Macadam Blames Apple

Macadam was a certified Apple retailer in San Francisco. It was a pure Apple shop-- nothing but Mac software and hardware, both Apple and third-party. They had some very cool vintage equipment set up and an impressive selection of Mac-compatible software. Their location south of Market was very convenient-- if something on our Mac network at work broke, I could get to Macadam and find a place to park in about 5 minutes after leaving the office.

But there was a tradeoff.

Every time I went there I had a bad experience. It was always related to customer service; the problems stemmed from the attitude of the employees. I probably visited the place 8 or 10 times in the past decade, and each time I'd swear to never go back.

But something at work would break or need replacing, and I'd relent, or forget how shittily I'd been treated the last visit.

During at least three visits the 'legacy' printer they used for invoices either broke down or ran out of paper. Since the purchases were for hardware, I couldn't just leave; I needed the receipt and had to wait for 5 minutes or more while they coaxed the thing to work again. No "just a minute," or "sorry, we'll have this for you shortly". Just a sullen silence while they dicked around with a piece of hardware that should have been retired years ago.

During other encounters I repeatedly had to deal with the snotty attitude of the Macadam salespeople. Once I went there to shop for a decent replacement keyboard for the one Apple issued with their G4 "Yikes" desktop model. The OEM keyboard was a piece of crap, so I wanted something with better tactile response and maybe a few extra keys. I asked the Macadam salespeople if they had any unboxed keyboards on display I could try. He snorted and turned away, saying "they're all the same, they don't need to leave the box." I walked out.

During another visit I stepped through the doors and headed for the networking equipment, threading my way through a group of people. The guy behind the counter yelled at me "whoa, there -- hey! Can I help you?!" as if I was leaving the place with a laptap down my pants rather than entering the store in order to browse.

I gave up asking anyone there for advice. Needing advice apparently meant you were desperate and stupid, or at least that was the way you were treated. I've run into clerks at CompUSA who act the same, so the snide vibe wasn't exclusive to Macadam. However, CompUSA's a major chain that pays people minimum wage, or little better. Macadam was a single-store operation catering to smart people-- Apple loyalists. I have no idea why people on the Macadam payroll copped such an attitude, unless someone somewhere told them to be an Apple afficiando meant you were also an elitist-- one who enjoyed trying to make potential customers feel small.

I was willing to let the place rest in peace, but ultimately this rant was provoked by a quote I just read on Think Secret from Macadam president, Tom Santos.

When asked what led to his store's closing in January '05, Tom blamed Apple. "They have made it so difficult to both get product in a timely fashion and treat our customers with the respect that they currently treat their Apple Direct customers. We have tried everything to resolve these problems over the last 4 plus years, yet our requests for help have simply gone unanswered," said Tom.

So now I get it, Tom-- you treated your customers like morons because Apple made it hard for you to treat us any better. OK. So what's your excuse for treating your customers like dirt 8 years ago, before Apple opened up its online store, or 3 years ago, before Apple expanded into real retail locations? You tried everything except treating the folks who shopped at your store decently. I guess people just got sick of your employee's snottiness when they realized they could walk down to Market Street or head down to Millbrae or Palo Alto and get treated like a human. Or maybe your former customers realized they could have a decent online shopping experience at apple.com/store without having to travel to SOMA to endure the disdain of a Macadam clerk.

I'm all for shopping locally at independent retail. But if an indie store wants to provide an alternative to chains, or compete with online retail, they better think about the key way to diffentiate themselves from the encroaching Borg of superstores and direct sales by multinationals: customer service.

Price doesn't mean a whole lot to me-- obviously, if you consider what Mac zealots pay for their machines and peripherals-- if I'm treated like a cretin, or as if my patronage doesn't matter. To Macadam I can only say Good Riddance.

Posted by Paul at 11:04 PM | Comments (0)

And another thing


If you're soliciting or demanding donations for your software in return for a serial number that activates additional features, SET UP AN AUTOREPSONDER so the person giving you money doesn't have to wait 24 or 36 hours for a code to unlock the software! Thank you and goodnight.

Posted by Paul at 12:25 AM | Comments (0)

February 08, 2005

Night of the Living Deadheads - A Trip To Rainbow Grocery

I'm standing in line at Rainbow Grocery. It's busy. A colleague is standing in the express line. Afterwards, he fills me in on the backstory:

The woman currently in front of me was in front of him in the express line before I walked up to the non-express line immediately adjacent. She had about 40 things and was still unloading her cart. He asks her, gently, "did you know this is the express line?" She glances at the "10 items or less" sign, and ignores him as if he'd just asked her if she farted.

At roughly the same time the express checker notices her and begins gesturing wildly to the next line, repeating "express line only! express line!" The transgressor groans mightily, throws everything back in her cart and moves to the next line.

This is where I come in. Her stuff's being rung up while I put my 11 items on the ramp leading to the register.

Suddenly everything stops because she's bought something in bulk, but hasn't labeled the bag. "Is this organic or not organic?" asks the checker. She doesn't know-- what's the price difference? (as if that would matter). They hash that back and forth. He reads off the two numerical codes to her, asking if either sounds familiar. She shrugs, as if to say "that's your problem."


Minutes pass. I try to stare at the wall and zone out, but notice that my colleague in the next line is struggling to find a place to bag his purchases. A goth woman is flirting with/begging the express checker for a job and blocking the self-bagging area of the checkout line.

Later my colleague tells me that, previous to this, the man in front of him was asking for a running total of goods rung up because he only had $8.00, and was re-prioritizing his purchases on the fly, in order of "go-back" and "non-go-back" goods.

Then he dropped his $8.00 on the floor (most of it in change) while attempting to pay.

Back to me. Ms. OrganicCode-Shrug has reached an agreement with the checker and is bagging her $170 worth of stuff. The checker needs to ask her twice to okay the ATM amount so he can begin ringing me up.

She has four bags filling the self-checkout area, blocking both bagging lanes, neglecting the intended use of the pull-out trays provided. Her empty cart is blocking my exit from the line. I begin bagging my stuff in the tiny space behind the ATM machine while the person behind me's purchases begin to bottleneck onto the scanner. The woman freaks out and begins stammering "so...that's your bag?" I nod, resisting the impulse to tell her no, I'm helping bag your crap because you're obviously batshit-demented and I don't want to be here all night.

Goth-Applicant is still milling around in front of the express line asking for advice.

"You just have to be persistent," says the express checker.

Posted by Paul at 04:08 PM | Comments (0)

February 04, 2005

BAD words

Thankfully hardly anyone uses the words "outside the box" anymore...except maybe when talking about where one of our cats, Seuss, prefers to pee.

But there's still some bad corporate-speak out there. Particularly ick-inducing are the following; these are modern cliches that should have been killed at birth:


"Compelling vision" (gosh, using this when claiming a goal of worldwide liberty and freedom is one thing, but when applying this platitude to software development, you better have an ironic arch to your smile)

"DNA" (when referring to the origins of a company's "corporate culture")


"ecosystem" (organic metaphor for a company or organization's computer network. Conversely, would some of the badly-designed networks I've worked on be termed "Superfund Sites"?)

(honorable mention: "the Hive")

"gooey" (one less syllable than pronouncing the letters "GUI", yes. *rolls eyes*)

"blogosphere" (okay, this one hasn't overstayed its welcome yet, maybe, but soon it's due to be retired to the same rhetorical scrapheap as "cyberspace," "the Net" and "information superhighway").


Thanks, in part, to the February 4th edition of the Gillmor Gang for reminding me that IT pros can be lazy, inarticulate sheep just like the rest of us.

(and while writing that I just heard someone on the GG podcast utter "It's all about the data." I'm not kidding.)

And no such list would be complete without a bow and a nod and a bouquet of pretty flowers to The Web Economy Bullshit Generator. This is one of the last web remnants of the dotcom era that stays relevant.

Unfortunately.

Posted by Paul at 08:42 AM | Comments (0)

January 12, 2005

toxic acupressure hangover

But it's worth it.

Not that you asked, but I've discovered ground zero for some of the rudest people in San Francisco. It's the corner of Bryant and 16th Street in front of the Metro PCS store. A close second is outside the Jamba Juice hellhole across the street, in Potrero Center. Tell them I sent you.

Posted by Paul at 11:31 AM | Comments (0)

January 11, 2005

i'd rather not be at MacWorld

I can find out all I need to know at various sites, right? And avoid the crowds. There's something about the attendees at a MacWorld Expo exhibit hall that reminds me of Home Depot. That glazed look, the screw-you-outta-my-way attitude.

Mac mini: Okay. This is for people who wouldn't ordinarily buy a Mac-- for switchers. Hope they're not devastated when they learn they have to buy at least 256 more MB of RAM to get it to run Word and Internet Explorer at the same time, like most Macs. I'm sure the market for this-- besides switchers-- will be a second/third Mac that can be easily moved around the house. Figure in extra RAM, a keyboard, a mouse, and a cheap LCD display and you're still looking at $1000 or so. Why not just get an iBook? *shrug*.

iPod shuffle: Um. So you plug the thing in to your computer's USB port (a la a dongle) and it transfers 240 or so random songs from iTunes, which you then play on shuffle. No readout on the device. For $99. It's a gimmick, a gadget, for people who need such things. And I thought the iPod mini was a bad value...I guess I'm more into control than surprises. I'm boring, predictable, anal, no sense of adventure. Yup.

Why even think about the MacWorld throngs when tonight's my initial 90 minute session with a new massage practitioner? She's an ayurvedic specialist who mixes east and western bodywork techniques. It's a quiet new-agey space behind a yoga clinic. I brought some Eno CDs (Thursday Afternoon and Hybrid) just in case she has nothing but Kitaro, Enya and Steven Halpern to listen to. This can't miss. I wish I was there now.

Posted by Paul at 04:37 PM | Comments (0)