Thanks to upgrades, I have two big hard disks I'm not really using for much. So I've gotten quite interested in Drobo (the most basic video is the one at the bottom, oddly). It's a box holding several hard disks, and "spreads around" the data on them for safety, but looks like just one volume to your computer. (It's platform-agnostic.)
It's like RAID, except much simpler, for example you can use any ol' disks you have lying around, they don't all have to be identical.
It's a once a solution to capacity and worry about disk failure. If one of the disks fail, you just pop in a new one, there are no data lost. [Update: Some of the comments to this post paints a less rosy picture.]
An off-site backup, in case of theft, flood, or fire, is still a good idea, of course.
TidBITS recommends it. And not that that's important, but it's a very pretty box also, methinks. It comes in various flavors and sizes, but I think the basic four-slot model (named Drobo simply) is fine for most people.
Update: Ooh, one of the videos even has an MTV-like-perky cute girl presenting. Like really cute. She must be an actress/presenter rather than an employee. (Stay for the outtakes at the end.) ... Aha, she's called Cali Lewis. A missing link of cuteness and geekiness. (Funny thing, she seems totally different in the second video.)
Cali hosts an interesting vid podcast, Geekbrief. This is the HD version.
A combined treadmill and computer desk?? This looks like a joke at first, but on closer examination I'm getting kinda interested. I wonder if I have the space for one in my small office.
... I'm also wondering if I would actually like to walk or stand all the time I'm at my computer. I am rather lazy.
There's some talk on the page about cobbling on together yourself from parts, but the pretty one pictured above (called WalkStation) is from a company named Steelcase. It's not exactly cheap, four grand! Ouch. Plus shipping that thing to the UK in my case.
They do actually make a combo walk-sit station. But it's just a wider desk with space for a chair next to the strip. And it's a full grand more.
What with the more memory, the two cameras, and the super-high-rez screen, I'd say iPhone 4 has set a high bar for next year's iPad 2.
Can't wait to see what they come up with. I hope it'll be lighter too. Or at least there'll be a light-weight variation.
The current one is best with a book-holder. (Product page.) It's so durn practical.
So how come most people (it seems) will readily exchange all kinds of bodily fluids in sexual activity with a member of their preferred gender which they judge at bit attractive but have just met, but the same people will freak out at the thought of using another person's toothbrush under any circumstances?
The MacObserver podcast mentioned an interesting site, Zamzar, which does conversion of all kinds of files. With video, it would take a while all told. I tried with a word processing file somebody sent me today which I couldn't open. Using a free account, it took half an hour before I got it back in .txt format (which I'd selected), but now I could read it (though it took a bit of formatting cleaning up).
If you have emailed my at an stobblehouse.com address in the past couple of days (seems mainly to be service@), I probably didn't get it. They haven't found the issue yet.
Please re-send to my Gmail.com address, which is eolake at.
A lot of people think that Apple Reader and other text-cleaning/readability tools are basically enabling people who want to "steal" content.
I think that if a site makes a reader want to reformat so badly that he does something active about it, you have driven the reader to it with over-advertising or other reading-hostile practices.
Also the reader who actively does this, is surely not one who buys anything from ads anyway. (I don't think I have done so even once in the fifteen years I have used the weeb.) And if he never does that, the ad impression is wasted, and a false statistic if it earns money.
If you have a very readable page, and if the ads do not push themselves "on top of" the content and irritate the reader, he does not even get the impulse to reformat to a more readable format.
Also, just... how many ads do you need?! If a reader doesn't click on one or two ads, why would he click on seventeen? Many sites are like Times Square now. It's unbearable to try to read them if you don't at least have ad-suppression software.
And part of the issue, I guess, is that many ads pay for impression, not for through-clicks.
My online writing workshop has six idea-sets and four stories now. Some of them are really good.
You're invited to participate.
BTW, I realized that just because it's wireless, compact, and beautiful, I don't *have* to use Apple's keyboard with the iPad, when I'm more comfortable with a larger one with a more distinct key travel, a clickier one, as it were. At least at home, I can just use a normal big USB keyboard.
I very much like writing on the Pad with My Writing Nook.
And I tried my old Matias TactilePro 2.0 keyboard. And it really is a shame that the 2.0 version has had various problems for some people, because I actually really like it still. It's a bit softer than the IBM type, but still very distinct. I may actually even like it better than the Unicomp in some ways, not sure. And who knows, maybe they have conquered the teething problems in the couple of years that have passed. Update: Well, at the very least it has been replaced by the TactilePro3.
Update: hmmm, their folding keyboard looks promising. Though I think it does not have the mechanical "Alps" switches which makes the Tactile Pro special.
Update: It seems shipping is somehow not included, it just was not mentioned in the bill I got. Forget I said anything!! E
I just ordered another backup keyboard from Unicomp. (Read here about their unique keyboards.)
(Ooh: a friend just told me that the Unicomp keyboard is the first on he's had which lets him write long without pain! (He's writing a novel now.) I guess the certainty of the key press makes him less tense when writing.)
I just got the Unicomp bill, and I find out that shipping and handling is included in the price, even if international. I think this is crazy. I mean, what's crazy is that they don't point this out. At least not clearly. They should. Most people think their keyboards are expensive, because you can buy a bamboo keyboard for $0.58 or whatever. But if Unicomp sold theirs for "$49 plus $20 for S/H", instead of "$69, S/H cost unknown", it would seem a lot more reasonable.
In my case they took nothing for handling and included over fifty dollars worth of shipping for free! I mean, it's kind of them, but it's no way to do business. They don't have to turn into Donald Trump, but a profit is good for business, you know.
Let me compare to the Matias keyboards. I love those two, but not only are they twice the price ($150!), but they charge $95 for international shipping!! What a difference. Update: OK, I had overlooked one thing: Matias is in Canada, and it seems shipping is way more expensive from there. Sorry. Also their service is great, so it seems unlikely that their prices are any kind of rip-off.
"My muse for the session was this quote from Walt Disney: “We don’t make movies to make money, we make money to make more movies.” To me, that’s it. That’s the thing."
I heard it put another way by two old ladies who I saw interviewed on TV once, they had run their own clothing business all their lives:
"Money is not the goal, it's the means."
One might ask, well, what is the goal then. I've come to the conclusion myself that the Real Goal can't be measured within This Life, or within One Lifetime, if you like. It is helpful sometimes to put up goals like "become a millionaire" or "make a living off my art" or "getting a Pulitzer prize" or whatever. But I think the best they do is they keep one going.
Almost inevitably we see, when we have reached a Goal, that we are no happier now. We need another goal. And I think if one can get to a state where one sort of just "follows the flow" or lives intuitively, life works better.
Well, I'm not the one who got used to reading on the Pad in a hurry. Andy Ihnatko tweet:
"Trying to read a hardcover book while eating lunch. I feel like I'm traveling from Boston to LA in the Wright Flier."
Hardcovers have always been particularly problematic to keep open if you don't have both hands free for the job. An iPad on a stand is really the way to go. Any font and text size you like, and any mayonnaise smutches can be wiped off easily, unlike on a $25 hardcover's pages.
Not to mention instant access to dictionary and Wikipedia and SEs, if you're connected.
Update: Talking about the intrepid Mr. Ihnatko, in this review of the HCT Incredible phone he confirms my feelings that an iPhone sized-display is just a bit too small:
But the Incredible expands its physical dimension from 3.7” (diagonal) to 4.3”. This seemingly small change redefines the device.
“Bigger than an iPhone but way smaller than a tablet” turns out to be a fantastic size for a mobile. When you make the screen just a little larger, the phone becomes a much better book reader, a much better movie player (particularly when you deploy the EVO’s built-in kickstand), and a much better web browser.
A newish favorite. (I found him in the brief period last year when Pandora actually worked internationally. I want Pandora back.)
Amazingly, he's just one guy, and even Danish, which is not usually so dark and intense.
Typically for such an artist, (Seems he spends long time just just being unreachable), he insists on spelling the "band name" with the danish letter æ. (In Danish it actually has a distinct inbetween A and E.)
A Danish adage says: "hvor der handles der spildes". It seems the nearest English-language adage is "accidents will happen", but that does not cover it. It means: "where things are getting done, little things will go wrong", or "where there's action there's waste". The last one is pretty direct. The first one is better. Could even be used as such.
Quite wise really. If you're too afraid of losing or ruining anything, you just can't get things done.
I once extended this into a rather extenuated Danish joke:
"Hvor der handles der spildes, og hvor der spilles der synges, og hvor der synges der danses, og hvor der danses har man det sjovt." - Eolake
It has a nice rhythm.
Machine translation: Accidents will happen , and where there pretend to be there sing , and where there sing there dance , and where there dance has decent that funny.
But more exactly:
Where there's action there's waste. And where there's music there's singing. And where there's singing there's dancing. And where there's dancing, there's fun.
I made this up decades ago. The joke is the phonetic semilarity between "spildes" and "spilles" (the D is silent), two very different words. "Spildes" means being wasted and "spilles" means being played as in music.
Re those iPad wallpapers: strangely, but typically, it turns out there is no simple way to transfer photos from a Mac to an iPad. Come on, Apple. I can drag PDFs into GoodReader via iTunes, but not photos into Photos or anything else?
So either go to their site on the pad itself. Or put the pictures on an SD card and use Apple's photo import adapter.
Go to iTunes when your iPad is connected to your Mac. Click on the photos tab. You don't have to sync with iPhoto or iTunes. You can pick out a folder on your Mac to sync photos with.
I'm having a shameless new love affair with my iPad. I'm not kidding when I say I can feel an endorphin rush as I click the button and slide the slider across to activate it.
It comes to bed with me, streaming videos from my iMac through Air Video to soothe me to sleep when I'm alone. Though turnng over while dead asleep and half waking to come face to face with the Wolfman is not to be recommended so choose your late night movies on it carefully.
Unlike Eolake I find the touch keyboard eminently usable. My only gripe being switching between alpha and numeric. Mental note to use only letters for passwords from now on to accommodate that.
Everything looks so gorgeous on it, so bright, so fresh, some may even say like seeing through the eyes of lurve... though that'll just be the amazing display. It's a real delight to use apps like Adobe Ideas and Photogene though there may need to be new health warnings for the iPad. I have a very sore index finger from colouring in an opaque background in Ideas on a line drawing I created from a photo in Photogene. And it was very cool at the weekend being able to identify constellations while outside using Planets even though I slightly cricked my neck.
I have games and appreciate the useful utilities but it's flicking through the daily news on Early Edition, exploring on Cool Hunting and checking out what's happening on TweetDeck that really gives me a buzz.
I can see so many possibilities it makes me want to learn how to create apps. It's certainly made me want to make special editions of all my publishing company's ebooks so they display on an iPad to perfection. People will consume from these things in monumental proportions, it's already starting to feel like the mid 80s all over again, without the hair though, thank god.
I used to like to wait to get the latest gadgets, wait for the glitches to be ironed out in the first release. Well not anymore, that's what tech support's for and contrary to popular belief Apple support (in the UK at least) is excellent. One time I received my computer back from Amsterdam the next day. Don't ask me how they did that but I will never forget fuming at the delivery company accusing them of mistakenly returning the package to me instead of delivering it to Apple. One time I was glad to eat my words.
Anyway, the iPad. It's so cool. And even cooler that I got one so close to its release into the wild in Europe. I just wish I went out more often so I could flaunt it more.
Some fan combined a song with a bit of TV show.
I'm new to both the show Squidbillies and the band Lamb of God. But I like this song, and I'm V'ing out the show.
(Note: hardcore trash metal, do not play if you're not a fan.)
OK, I confess: none of these are really where I write the most. (That would be this keyboard (short radio show about it). I a bit addicted to the biggest and clickiest keyboard and biggest screen I could find. BUT: the pad and Apple's little wireless keyboard can easily be used for hours of serious writing every day, if space or portability or isolation (get away from the family or whatever) is a factor. They are top notch, no compromises in quality or speed. And you don't even need a power outlet, they both have battery lives longer than most people's work days.
Update: Ganesha Games says: I use the same set up (iPad + wireless keyboard) and it saves me from carpal tunnel pains when using the mouse on the larger screen/s in my studio. I write on the iPad at least one hour per day.
Update: searching for that old post, I saw that I've made a gazillion posts about keyboards... Maybe not quite as many as about cameras. But I just like good tools.
Here is another cool audio/article about typewriters. One of the interesting things is that one of the users of a typewriter says that one of the advantages is the silence! That's also one of the cool things about the iPad. It's absolutely silent. Not a hum at all, it has no disks or fans. Apart from the expensive MacBook Air (the variation with solid state storage), that is almost unheard of in computers.
Safari 5, just released, has a "Reader" feature similar to the "Readability App" I like so much (almost as much as Instapaper, which sends articles to my iPad in effect, in readable format), it removes ads and other BS, and of course there's already war over it.
"It’s not the reader’s responsibility to subject themselves to your shitty advertising. It is your responsibility to make your blog a good reading experience, by not employing shitty pageview-grabbing pagination, by not littering it with Google Adsense, by not plastering hundreds of sharing icons everywhere."
Why do some people (is this mostly women?) apparently think that wearing glasses will or would make them less attractive? I just don't get it. To me it's like saying... that you're less intelligent when it rains, or that you get less sunburned on days with an R in them. Huh.
(Obviously the glasses should go with your looks but that's true of anything you wear.)
Bron says: "Men don't make passes at women who wear glasses", from Gentlemen prefer Blondes, I think. The Big Sleep, Humphrey Bogart, has a scene with a women in glasses; she removes them, and almost as a "wolf" whistle, he says"well, hello!" Hangover from the 40s, 50s. Fashion. Like dyeing gray hair.
Indeed. Actually, a thing occur to me: glasses today are much more "nicer" than just a couple of decades ago. My current glasses are a bit stronger than my first pair, but they are compact and discreet, and they weigh just eleven grams! I think that's a marvel of engineering. My first pair weighed at least three times that. Sure, I paid a bit extra for titanium frames and thin lenses, but despite that they were also cheaper than my first set twenty years ago, and that's even before considering inflation.
What I meant to say was that traditionally glasses were bulkier and perhaps not pretty, and often did indeed hide your face a bit, so that makes the phenomenon a bit easier to understand.
Got my very first iPhone ordered this morning (iPhone4 went for sale today). I may have the first order in the UK. (I called, and their ordering system was not up yet. Then while doing my email, I updated the Apple UK Store page in the background, and ordered as soon as it came online again (for some reason, probably PR, Apple Store sites always go offline before a big product launch. It's so fake).
Glenn Fleishman tweets from the US: AT&T fail, no surprise. "Down for maintenance." Got in. Selected phone, click upgrade, and an error. Why can't they get this right?
Posted 23 minutes ago
"We're AT&T, the company that still uses Web technology from 1994 for the rich, tasty smell of failure."
Posted 6 minutes ago
Failure notice at AT&T says system error, and only call them for "non iPhone related upgrades"
Posted 5 minutes ago
This is funny. Geek Guru Gruber re-tweeted this one, sent to him:
"Hey man, enjoy your Wi-Fi only video calls and shitty network. Hahahaha. Faggot."
Here's a tip I found out myself a couple years ago. It works on Mac OS X, it might on Windows too, I dunno.
If you right-click (or control-click) to get a pop-up menu on some item, for example a file, and one of the sub-menus have *many* options, for example a big folder, it may take several seconds to open, even on a fast machine, which slows you down if you did not actually want that sub-menu, but just wanted to go past it.
The trick is to not pull the cursor *through* the menu, but in a curve *around* it, so the cursor does not touch the menu items until lower on the list where you wanted to go. The menu items you don't touch, don't open a sub-menu.
I've decided to try to learn the whole "navy alphabet". It's useful when ordering things over the phone. Especially my email address, since nobody has heard "Eolake" before. Echo-Oscar-Lima-Alpha-Kilo-Echo.
(For some things I have an outstanding memory, like music, films, books, old conversations, etc. But I'm not great at memorizing. I think even just that short string is not so easy to memorize. Not instant anyway.)
Update: seems I was wrong about what it's called. It seems Radio Operators Alphabet is better.
DDD wrote: More than you want to knowhere, including the old Royal Navy: Edward-Orange-London-Apples-King-Edward. The pronunciation specifications show how communication can be very accurate despite the most appalling conditions (static, sirens, thunder, crashing waves, background noise, mortar fire, rockets gunfire, bombs, etc.)
I usually plug the iPad on the bookholder by my bed into the Soundsticks II system I have there, for great sound. But I just now noticed that I'd been watching video on the pad for a couple of hours this evening without noticing I hadn't done that. I guess that means the iPad's own speaker is good enough for daily use.
It strikes me that if one is sick or laid out for a while, an iPad and a bookholder device is a perfect system. In one device one can have thousands of books and articles, dozens of games, and hundreds of videos.
And if one also has an external keyboard one can even easily blog and chat and email too. As well as be productive, if writing is a thing one does seriously too.
And of course it seems like a good bet that the next pad will come with FaceTime too, the video-phone system in iPhone 4.
I really hope they can make this thing a lot lighter. But in recent years Apple seems to have been stuck on glass and metal. Which feels great, but is heavy. The Kindle is plastic, guys. And you could make much prettier plastic objects than Amazon can. Blease blease. A 300-gram iPad.
I announce: the first Stobblehouse Blogger-comment-Limit Writing Workshop.
Myself and commenters each come up with one to three sets of two elements for a short-short story.
And then you pick one set another has come up with, and you write a short-short story under 4000 characters (roughly 600 words), which is Blogger's comment limit. (The site says 4096 characters, but it seems to count them differently than my text editor. Whatever.)
Don't announce which one you're doing, it might even be more fun if more people are doing the same ones.
I'll participate myself, that's actually the reason for making this workshop, the fun of doing that.
Strawberries and an alien
A love affair and poison
An escape and a long sleep
And now you add yours!
--- Update: from Gil:
A mobile home and a crown prince.
Golf clubs and hand grenades.
A journey and a revelation.
... Aaaaaand, the first story is in, from Michael. And it's so good.
update: Two stories now.
We need a few more idea sets, please!
If I get more than a thousand new Twitter followers in the rest of June 2010, ten randomly selected people will get a complimentary iPad Two prototype! Go here now and sign up.
[Addendum: This is not true.There are perhaps a couple of iPad Two prototypes in existence, but Apple will be guarding them with barbed wire and gun turrets. This was a joke. Or satire. Or just an attempt at making the occasional recruitment drive vaguely interesting. Take your pick. The first three to pick correctly win an iPhone Five prototype.]
John Gruber & Merlin Mann's Blogging Panel,audio discussion.
Interesting talk about doing "your own sh*t" and doing it well, online. And very funny.
If you ever want to entertain yourself, just go to Twitter and Search, and write @comcast, and read the stuff people write to Comcast."
No kidding. The first one I saw said: "Dear @comcast. There's soccer on at 230. Better get your shit together by then. Love, me."
Don't blog about Star Wars. Blog about Jawas. Better, blog about one specific Jawa who's on the screen for one minute. Become the go-to guy for that Jawa.
Here is Mann's info page you get to after writing to him. Very funny.
And here is a recent blog entry. Good advice. I certainly couldn't have predicted anything about where I am today. For one thing, I could not have predicted the Web.
So... follow your intuition, it's your Higher Self (which knows everything and you or I know almost nothing), and don't worry so much about controlling things.
Sorry, seems I have to bitch some more about Social Media and sites merging.
I have problems sending the couple of Yahoo groups I'm using. So I log into groups.yahoo.com, and look at my profile: guess what... when I do, I'm suddenly no longer at Yahoo Groups, now I am at "Yahoo UK", and they have lost my email addresses, the only one they have is email@example.com, which I'm pretty durned sure I never signed up for. Well, I guess I must have for some reason. But it seems they are sending me to the UK site but have not coordinated the data from the int. site.
Not only that, but clearly Yahoo has FaceBook envy, for it's sudden another friggin social site where on your main page you suddenly have to deal with your "contacts" and whatnot.
Common guys (Yahoo and so on), you don't have to emulate *everything* that's been in the media a lot.
If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.
-- Henry David Thoreau
If you try to make something just to fit your uninformed view of some hypothetical market, you will fail. If you make something special and powerful and honest and true, you will succeed.
-- Hugh Macleod, How To Be Creative: 6, 08-22-04
Anything you could ever want or be you already have and are.
-- David Russell, I Heart Huckabee's
Many people weigh the guilt they will feel against the pleasure of the forbidden action they want to take.
-- Peter McWilliams, Life 101
I am sure that is true, and very often. The question is (and I wonder if McWilliams meant this), is it wrong?
If something is taboo, or illegal, does that make it wrong? Or merely risky?
The title is insane, but the show is insanely funny.
It looks a bit low-budget due to very little actual animation, but then the drawings are gorgeous and sexy and funny. And it's just brutally strange and original.
The third-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the majority. The second-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the minority. The first-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking.
- A A Milne
I'm awarding three prizes of $100 for what I judge to be the best color photograph of a child or children sent to me before 15 July 2010.
Judging is entirely subjective!
You may use imaging software for the usual refining of contrast and so on, but otherwise, "straight" photos have better chances than much-manipulated ones (such as putting an object in different surroundings or changing colors dramatically).
Each author may send three (3) pictures.
The picture may not previously have won prizes or have been published in a professional publication, on- or offline. New photos are encouraged.
The author's name must be in the file name. (Example: joe-smith-13.jpg)
No text on the picture.
Shortest edge more than 1200 pixels, longest edge less than 3000 pixels.
JPGs only. Maximum file size: 1500 kb.
I acquire the rights to publish for free all entries here. Entrants keep all other rights.
I plan that in the last half of July, I will post several of the best entries, and the winners.
I require a paypal address to pay to.
Send entries to my googlemail.com address, which is eolake. Or use the address here.
Have fun! - Eolake
----- Note: this contest is unrelated to my commercial site.
I think customizing is something one has to learn over the years. Simply because in the beginning you're full up busy just trying to deal with the basics of anything new.
But when you have those locked down, it's a really good idea to look through the ways to customize the apps and utilities you use, to optimize your effectiveness and pleasure of using them. You can read tips on the web, or a book, or just browse through menus and settings/preferences.
Just for example, I've now gotten Mail.app to work very well for me. Love that. But then today I noticed that I missed one thing yet from Eudora: the very simply little window I could have at a corner of the big screen to show me if there's new mail, while impinging as little as possible on my zen-simplicity of screens. The Mail.app main window is simple more complex and graphic.
But suddenly today I had the insight that I could slide the mailbox sidebar out of the way. Most of the time I only look at the Inbox anyway. So done. Much simpler. And it also solved a small issue of fitting all the info from mail headers into the window without making it so long that it covered for vital parts of wallpaper pictures. (No, I'm not detail-oriented!)
And more, the icons on top could be reduced to just small text links. And more-more, I could customize that toolbar, removing those I don't use, and adding several very useful ones, including one which calls forth the mail boxes when I do want them, etcetera.
I usually hide the Dock, since all the mixed color icons are ugly. So that prohibits Mail.app's fine feature of showing the number of new messages in the Dock icon. I wonder if anybody makes a menu item for that?
Update: Sometimes you just have to get the thought, and look! They do indeed. Yipee. So now I don't even need the app on the screen to keep an eye on new mail.
Ahh. Clarity and simplicity, gotta love it.
Here's a new screenshot (with a different pic from my photo contest last month). Notice a totally clean desktop, no windows or icons. And the little menu bar icon with mail count, which turns from black to red when it goes above zero. Nice touch.
I've been hearing sirens all day. And it suddenly struck me: it's this verdamte fuzball caca! And I think I saw a tweet to the effect that England just performed badly somehow (I think there's a ball and a point system involved). There must be blood in the streets tonight. Well, we used to have highwaymen, I think this is a step up.