Sunday, October 03, 2010

this blog is dead

long live this blog.

Posted at 1:36:09 PM - link

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Saturday, October 02, 2010

a great big blog move?

As I posted over on my Gaming blog, the forced moved to WordPress has me realizing how smooth a blogging experience can be. I think that it might be time to admit defeat and move my blog to a real blogging platform, and that probably means hosted WordPress. I think that having an easy-to-use interface would motivate me to write more often. And that's what we all want, isn't it?

Of course this all depends on writing a custom exporter script to go through the 2033 posts and 50,000 (mostly spam) comments on my Thread-o-the-web blog and move them to WordPress, but it's something that I've already considered. In fact, it's something that I almost did with Spaces, except that Spaces didn't really have an expressive enough API to do the conversion. WordPress probably does.

Is it time?

Posted at 12:48:51 PM - link

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Friday, August 27, 2010

random acts of oddness

A strange thing happened at Starbucks this morning. The person two ahead of me in the drive-thru seemed to be taking an especially long time completing their transaction at the window. Then the person directly in front of me took a long time. When I finally pulled up to the window, the barista had an uneasy look on her face. My arrival seemed to snap her out of her dark musings. She haltingly asked me what it was that I had ordered. After rummaging around for a few seconds she handed me my order and told me I was good to go.

I probably looked puzzled--wasn't this usually the part where I hand her my credit card?--so she clarified. The woman two cars ahead of me had paid for the woman's order in front of me. That woman had, in turn, paid for my order. I was good to go.

I'm not sure why, but I immediately asked if I could pay for the order for the car behind me. Something about keeping this going was appealing, like I could come back at 8pm tonight and it would still be going. She looked haggard as she took my credit card. I ended up paying for some kind of frappuccino.


(I only just realized that, although the whole situation was kinda funny, it was probably awful on the barista. I suspect that when the woman in front of me paid for my order, my order disappeared from the display, which is why she had to ask what I had ordered. As long as it continues, she'll be perpetually asking people what they had ordered. oops.)

Posted at 8:32:37 AM - link

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Sunday, August 08, 2010

books with lots of pictures

Around probably the time that WATCHMEN came out in theaters, I started to get interested in comics and graphics novels again. I had my day with comics when I was younger, but it was more as a collector than as a reader. I would get Punisher monthly books and marvel at how many ways Frank Castle could kill a man, sure, but mostly I got comics, bagged them, and put them in a box; as an investment, you understand. It's sad, now, looking back at all of the imagination that I left suffocating in my closet, wrapped in plastic and cardboard. Maybe that's why it was so easy to start reading a few, here and there.

So I read Watchmen, and I was amazed by it. This wasn't just a bunch of caped buffoonery. These were deep characters living in a fantastic world that wasn't too hard to extrapolate from our own.

Since then I've been consuming comic and graphic novel top ten lists, mainly for lack of any other compass. The Killing Joke was a dark and twisted Batman book that I could imagine myself reading again, every few months. I just finished the truly disturbing The Walking Dead, or all of it that's available in hardbound volumes, and I'm thirsty for more. I've accrued a respectable collection on a shelf in my bedroom; with books by Alan Moore next to books by Robert Kirkman and Neil Gaiman and Frank Miller. I've only read a handful so far, with hundreds of pages yet explored. These things speak to me. I feel like I'm just starting to peek down the rabbit hole, and I'm seriously considering finding out how deep it goes.

Posted at 7:22:41 PM - link

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

a disappointing response

I sent that rant-o-gram to Amazon's Kindle feedback address. I spent quite some time writing it, making it clear that while I love the device, I just can't bear to risk using it. The response that I got back was a standard Amazon form letter, like someone briefly read my letter, and chose the "contrite response" button:


Hello,

I appreciate the feedback you've provided about your Kindle experience, and I'm so sorry for the problem with your Kindle. We'll consider your feedback as we plan further improvements.

Customer feedback like yours really helps us continue to improve and provide better service to our customers. Thanks for taking time to write your comments.

We hope to see you again soon.


See me again soon? Well, at least they didn't ask me if their response had solved my... oh wait, they did:


Did I solve your problem?

If yes, please click here:
[URL]

If no, please click here:
[URL]


At least I can walk away from this thing feeling satisfied.

Posted at 6:56:56 AM - link

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

an Open Letter to the Amazon Kindle Team

Dear Amazon Kindle Team,

The Kindle is my kind of device. It's designed to perform a single task and to perform it exceedingly well. The form factor, display, free wireless, and vast library conspire to place it head and shoulders above similar offerings from competitors such as Sony or Barnes & Noble. The only thing that kept me from pre-ordering the first generation device was being unsure about the ergonomics of the screen. As a rule, I don't like reading from screens. Looking at a 96 dpi, text-choked backlit display for hours on end gives me a headache, as I'm sure it does for many others. I was wary of even the touted e-paper display technology. I wanted to hold one in my hand before committing to making the jump to digital books. It wasn't until Target started stocking the devices that I was able to hold one, a week and a half ago, and I immediately purchased it. It lives up to the hype. The screen is a revelation. I brought it home, charged it, and downloaded a digital copy of the physical book that I was reading at the time. With a few key presses I was able to search the book and find where I had left off. I've already queued up accessories and other e-books to buy. I've clicked that "I want to read this on Kindle" link on dozens of books on Amazon.com. I'm in love with a device.

Which is why it is so heartbreaking that I have to return it this evening to Target. I've only had one session with the Kindle where I've been spent longer than an hour reading from it, all the rest being fifteen or twenty minute spurts, here and there, and it was simply awful. The device glitched several times in that span, despite being fully charged and being held, steadily, in my hand, with my fingers far from any buttons. Once I was reading along and suddenly found myself looking at the Home screen. This annoyed me, but I was able to get back into the book and pick up where I left off. Not long after, the device appeared to reset itself, dropping back to the slow-crawling progress bar intro screen. It was over a minute before I was back in my book, having watched the progress bar complete its crawl, and having had the Home screen come up completely devoid of books. My progress in the book had not been saved and I had to flip through seven or eight pages until I found my place. I deregistered my account from the device and packed it up for return. Hopefully Target will take it back.

The Kindle needs to be an appliance if it is going to effectively compete as a book replacement. It needs to be bulletproof. I've never had a book crash. Sure I've dropped a few and lost my place, but I suspect that I could drop the Kindle, as well, and the result would be worse than losing my place. Even knowing that this is an isolated incident doesn't make it any better. Maybe this is a lemon and if I traded it in I would be able to spend many glitch-free years with another one. Or maybe they all have these occasional hiccups. The point is that I've lost the faith that made me willing to give up books, a time-tested conveyance of the written word, for a slick device with a 3G radio. I'm not going to go out and buy a nook or an iPad, because frankly those devices probably have the same problems, plus they don't have the stellar design of the Kindle. I'll just stick with real books for now.

Sincerely,

Erik Peterson

Posted at 10:07:42 AM - link

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Monday, April 26, 2010

we're doomed

I took a survey today. At the end of the survey, in order to correlate the answers with a variety of arbitrary categorizations, they asked:

What is your highest level of education?

Two of the choices?

Completed Masters Degree (non-MBA)
Completed Masters Degree (MBA)

Let's all just sit back and breathe that in.

Posted at 2:57:03 PM - link

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Monday, February 01, 2010

Important Assurance from NASA

I just read an interesting release from NASA about how the ISS is now wired for Web access. I think that's great! It also immediately had me thinking about how awesome WoW in space would be, but that's a different discussion.

What I want to highlight is this sentence: "Astronauts will be subject to the same computer use guidelines as government employees on Earth." Read between the lines and it's basically NASA assuring The American People that at no time will any of Our Nation's Space Heroes be viewing any sort of pornographic material while in Outer Space. Thank god someone's thinking of The Children.

Posted at 7:30:43 AM - link

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Friday, January 22, 2010

hiking to work, much?

Microsoft has a beautiful campus in Redmond. It's verdant--in many places, downright wooded--and full of meandering paths and buildings in a variety of styles. What it isn't, is particularly rugged. There's really no need to step off of an immaculate sidewalk or path onto raw earth.

Given this, imagine my surprise when I stumbled on a trail of muddy boot-tracks leading down the hall and into the Men's Room. I find myself wondering two things. First, who would track all of that mud into an office building on a day without a drop of rain? Second, where the hell did all of that mud come from? Seriously, we're on the third floor of a building surrounded by the aforementioned immaculate paths and walkways. Who gets mud on their boots at the Redmond campus? And then, once their boots are sufficiently-encrusted, how do they manage to get up to the third floor with enough still caked on there to leave a clear trail? I'm imagining an engineer traipsing through a flower bed, taking off his boots before entering the building, riding the elevator up to the third floor, and then putting the boots back on in time to stomp out of the elevator and down the hall.

Posted at 4:33:44 PM - link

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Thursday, December 03, 2009

sleep deprivation is a funny thing

I haven't been sleeping well for about a week, and this morning the weirdest thing happened. I saw an older gentleman walking down the street holding a wood-handled umbrella behind his back. At first glance, I was convinced of two things: 1) it was actually an AK-47 and 2) I could still get the headshot.

Seriously.

Posted at 8:25:26 AM - link

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