[fnt (fascinating new thing)]

Potentially fascinating old things:
Star Wars Name | Stinking Badges | WinMac | Tahoe, Skiing Discounts, Snowboarding Discounts | rec.skiing | bookmarks | geek | photosharing

Courtesy of Dan, I now have an Atom feed!

Somewhat fascinating new things: *
commentspam | fire | twit | phanfaretldr | phanfare | wonbike | leaf | facebookdown | webosplaylists | twitlame

Marginally fascinating old things:
ipad2 | ipad | 40 | kindleipad | kindlenotes | maker | ebooks | toomuch | restofus | tam |
kindle | perlvote | face | safari | boring | shutterflyapi | anagrams | goosh | badhack | facesuck |
dontbuyit | waifs | regexphero | outsidelame | photohostage | mailhacks | lapse | mtpair | nsgreen | outsidelands |
signs | blahoe | badhead | nobhill | alexa | scrabblebaby | photosharing | bumbcdwin | bumbcd | more |
jambaagain | xtina | poem | badcd | ing | rsa | jambafour | jambathree | jambatwo | madonnaexile |
ikea | jamba | foam | linkedin | ollie | wwjd | playlists | turnabout2 | keyboard | geeky |
huckabees | ngap | camclearance | ivideos | misstivo | camerayay | camera | hero | merl | sshproxy |
chiseen | woodenvalleyasia | atom | appleplan | oops | neato | publicradiofan | sidemapping | frysads | ishtarnoah |
digiprints | hkmovies | ilife | recording | jeopardy | noah | apple | jk | realbaby | stillbush |
morebush | bushkid | bush | suziejewels | mp3cell | cheapasians | ssh | turnabout | jblog | unwired |
tivohack | donnas | hammer | billboardhouse | macupgrade | kpig | oddpost | nash | googlebomb | busier |
proteus | no | swfame | amazon | oldnavy | texasxmas | unixstyle | slidecheap | lynda | bnl2k |
myeye | kayaking | 30 | acts | board2k | kaboom2k | cinco | hitch | dak | slideparty |
keen | xmastexas | bnlalice | busy | adorkable | mom | dadtwin | badspam | kontrap | newdesign |
swname | elpaso | bnl1999 | hotpot | sfbday | tag | inax | nathangladd | fresher | selfmade |
mattjerm | linuxbox | blair | hunger | germanspam | hank | click | badges | ivfood | efax |
redhatirs | weblog | welcome | b2bpix | tarragon | kaboom | b2b | neal | bookmarks | fntdefs |
stolen | seti | g | opie | plaintext

[Mon Jun 24 21:53:58 2013] p

Best Comment Spam

Dubious "comments" submitted to a one-time-use WordPress blog I started years ago. Yes, I realize that's what Tumblr is for and I wouldn't have to worry about comment spam, but I actually do like non-spam comments, and Tumblr's lack of them (yeah yeah, plug-in) is annoying.

What's up mates, how is everything, and what you want to say regarding this piece of writing, in my view its truly amazing in favor of me.
It's wonderful that you are getting ideas from this article as well as from our argument made at this time.
Normally I do not read post on blogs, but I would like to say that this write-up very pressured me
to try and do so! Your writing taste has been surprised me.
Thank you, very great post. Thank you, very great post.
And most recently, this bit of cleverness...
When I initially left a comment I seem to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on every time a comment is added I receive four emails with the exact same comment. Perhaps there is an easy method you are able to remove me from that service? Kudos!

[Wed Nov 16 22:56:52 2011] p

Kindle Fire

I almost never write "reviews" of stuff, but there's a lot about this new Kindle Fire that I want to say and don't want to forget.

All my Amazon Stuff

  • Kindle books showed up ready to download. DRM restrictions because I had books on too many devices was annoying, but that's just me being lame with too many Kindles. Oh look, my 2600 Subscription is there. Sweet. But no cover. Lame.
  • Cloud Drive Music Player. Yes. Best thing ever, since I've started uploading from every computer I have to Amazon's Cloud. No, it's not as slick as iTunes Match, but I'm cheap. And iTunes Match doesn't work on Android. Or pretty much anything with a web browser. So yeah, all my uploaded (or purchased from Amazon) songs are up there, and boom, easy to download a single song or album or everything by an artist, just like the Android app on Glady's Nexus. Yay.

Words With Friends
Sadly, one of the main reasons I carry around an iPad. This is much less dorky (but way less annoying to play on than an iPod Touch.) Oh yeah, Angry Birds, etc etc.

Power button
Ugh. Don't set this thing on a Touchstone charging stand, or any kind of easel with a flat surface, because the Kindle Fire will *shut itself off* when it sits on its power button. Yeah, yeah, I know you swiped this crappy I.D. from RIM, but dang, couldn't you have put little ridges around the power button or something?

Upside down
So the solution to the power button problem seems simple. Flip the device over. And yeah, for the most part it works, except... the screen/password lock does not rotate when you flip it over. Also, Words With Friends does not like to be played upside down. Boo. Same with the Wired Magazine app. (BTW, if I've enabled a password lock, I don't really need a screen lock too.)

Password Lock
Please please add a timeout option, so that it locks after only 10 minutes with the screen off, instead of immediately.

Hulu+
Hey, somebody forgot to slap on a volume control.

Buying an "Amazon MP3 Exclusive Version [+digital booklet]"

  • I wanted to buy The Black Keys album, "Brothers", and because it has a Digital Booklet (yay), the Fire's MP3 Store can't download it, saying "Web Only". This is ludicrous. The MP3s should go into the music player, and the PDF should show up as a book.
  • So after going to my laptop to purchase the album (I really want it), the song and PDF show up in my Cloud Drive, and *then* I can go to the music player on the Fire and download the MP3s. Cumbersome, but ok, I'm listening to music.
  • But wait, I want to look at the liner notes on my Fire. Ok, let's download that PDF. Hrm, there doesn't seem to be a way to get at non-music files on the Cloud Drive from this device -- the web UI is pretty awful. And when I finally do get to the PDF, it doesn't load up, nor can I download it. C'mon, how about a "Kindle Fire" folder that autosyncs to the Docs folder on my Fire?
  • Ironically, when you search the Appstore for "Amazon Cloud Drive", QuickOffice comes up, which has support for Google Docs, Box.net, Dropbox, even MobileMe and iCloud. But not Amazon Cloud Drive. Really?
  • Ok, back to the laptop. What's this? I need to download and install the Amazon MP3 Downloader just to get the PDF? WHAT?
  • Ok *fine*, I've downloaded and installed the Downloader. It's downloaded the PDF. But now... wait, what... you're opening up iTunes and installing it into Books? Say what? You want me to read this on my iPad or something?
  • Ugh, ok fine, I'm going to e-mail this to Kindle Fire address. This is incredibly lame..

[Mon Jul 11 12:06:37 2011] p

Twit. Er.

Have I mentioned how I'm not a big fan of Twitter? No? Well, just so I don't forget any reasons, let me write them down.

  • No deep search. Try to find something older than a few days. Nope, not indexed. It is so hard to find old posts. I know people say Twitter is more about taking the pulse of the Internet, what's hot, what's trending, what the top topics are, blah frigging blah. Ok, fine, ADD-monkeys, that's great. But sometimes you want to know what people said two weeks ago. It's called introspection and analysis. Meh. (See: searchtastic.com and topsy.com. They kind of help. Google used to index Twitter, but no more. :-P (Somewhat useful: http://archivist.visitmix.com/, http://postpost.com and http://snapbird.org/)
  • Hard to follow conversations. Fixed when they added threading, but not all clients support this, so you still end up with orphaned answers or questions.
  • Tech/customer support shouldn't have to be public Seriously is your call center/support forum so awful that the only way for people to break through is to make an end-run around it and talk to the two people monitoring your Twitter feed? Don't get me wrong, I'm happy that people are getting their cable fixed and lost luggage found. But can this really scale? Should it?
  • Who cares? Ashton Kucher? I mean, really?

But oh, it does have one positive. It was a ton of tun getting Conan O'Brien's occasional tweets, because he's a professional comedian. And there's tons of other funny people, professional and not, tweeting. It's like a comedy club, in your pocket! But ugh, something's broken and I haven't gotten a Tweet from Conan in weeks. This makes me sad. Oh yeah, that's another problem with Twitter: it's often busted. Fail whale indeed.

[Tue Jun 14 01:11:49 2011] p

Why I Use Phanfare
(tl;dr* version)
(*too long; didn't read)

Upload Once; Manage Everywhere. After spewing way too many words on the topic, I think that sums things up nicely. I upload using the Windows client. I then can cull with the Windows client, web manager, or the iPad. Every image or video is available to delete/hide/sort/move/crop/brighten/caption and ultimately share from anywhere I can get an Internet connection.

So yeah, that's it. Oh did I mention how rad auto-date is, and how insane it is that other services don't offer it? Enh, they probably do by now. Time to add another column to the old spreadsheet.

[Tue Jun 14 00:54:31 2011] p

Why I use Phanfare
(long, boring, rambling edition)

I pay for an account with Phanfare. It is $99 a year, which is a little expensive, as photo-sharing services go. But I'm storing over 182GB of photos and videos with them. I've been with them since 2006. Here's some thoughts that have been kicking around in my head for years. I've probably written about them before, but I'll try to make my points more concise this time:

  • Full backup. I want to backup everything. Dupes, embarassing shots, dumb shots. Phanfare lets me upload everything and hide the bad shots. (Note: I am far too lazy/cheap to shoot in RAW, so this only applies to JPEG and videos.)
  • Video support with proper timestamp recognition. Canon has THM files which contain timestamp info that Phanfare recognizes when importing (Grr, not with the web UI. Windows or Mac versions only.) You can even fake THM files for things like Flip videos using exiftool and assuming you've set the clocks on all of your cameras, you can dump co-mingled videos and photos from multiple cameras into the same album, select Sort by Date, and not worry about putting stuff in the right order. Oh, your videos will be converted to H.264, 720p, 3mbs. Also, there is a 20min/2GB (whichever you hit first) limit on videos. I haven't really hit these limits. Hope that works for you.
  • Auto-date - albums have a date (or date range) associated with them, and this can be automatically determined based on EXIF data of the images within. I cannot stress how phenomenally important this is, for reasons that will become clear later.
  • Display of albums in reverse chronological order of when they were taken, with pages, the way god intended. Thanks to Auto-date (or in rare cases like scans where I have to override auto-date), every album has a date of when the photos and videos were taken. This means that recent stuff is on top, and you can page and scroll back through the years to find other stuff.
  • Windows and Mac clients are free, fairly stable, and let you start deleting/hiding/captioning/cropping while uploading in the background. They've actually gotten pretty slow of late (especially when uploading gigabytes of photos and videos at once). So I mainly just use them for uploading (see video timestamp issue above), then do my deleting/hiding/captioning/cropping later, either with the Win/Mac clients, or the web UI OR the iPad app (see below).
  • iPad app is *amazing* (when your connection is fast enough and it doesn't crash). Browse albums. Search through album titles/descriptions/captions. Delete/hide/caption/crop. Run a slide show. It is really really great stuff. When it doesn't crash, which lately has been less and less. Also, you'll need a fast connection, which I think I mentioned.
  • Web manager is solid. I was skeptical at first, but I'm now a pretty big believer in the capabilities of a web-based photo manager. They've got drag-and-drop within an album and for moving to other albums, cropping, along with stuff that shouldn't be hard to do like deleting/hiding/captioning. If you've ever tried to move photos to multiple albums or crop a bunch of photos with SmugMug, you'll know that it's pretty painful for more than a few photos at a time. And having to use Piknik within Flickr just to crop a photo is one of the biggest pains I've ever experienced. The Phanfare web manager can even do reasonable brightness/contrast/red-eye fixes. It ain't Photoshop or Lightroom, but then again I'm not Annie Liebowitz or Ansel Adams.

    I think I'm going to bury the lede here: Many years ago when iPhoto first came out, like everybody else I was impressed with what the tool could do, but as a nerd, I was unhappy that it forced its own folder hierarchy on me. That is, year/month/date, which is reasonable enough, but I did *not* want to be locked into only using iTunes. Also, there was all this metadata that was a big unknown. Granted, later versions of iTunes let you leave files in place, but by that time, I had decided I would create my own folder structure (year/year.mo.da-Description), and try to use that consistently.

    When I gave Lightroom a whirl, again, I was very impressed with what it could do, even on my sorely underpowered little Dell laptop. But again, there's the mysterious metadata, and the question of what happens if I want to bail on Lightroom.

    So, I overload my foldernames with too many keywords. And I rely on EXIF information in each JPEG to give me date info. And I don't have to update iPhoto/Lightroom/Aperture and my computer every time there's a new version. (Of course after buying new cameras that shoot 720 and 1080p video I *do* have to buy new hard drives, as my mirrored 500GB disks are now full.)

    Of course I still want to crop images now and again. But do I do it on my originals? No. Why bother? I can crop them again if I need to. I crop in Phanfare. I upload everything. I can hide the blurry shots. Or maybe it's not blurry -- it's just artsy. Ok, unhide. (Nearly) everything we shoot is up on Phanfare. We can publish it, or not. Whenever we get around to it. But as long as it's up there, it's ok if the hard drives crash. I still have some backfilling to do for years between 2000-2005 (pre-Phanfare, and/or pre-children), but important stuff is up there.

    Full disclosure though -- I have an unfair advantage over you -- I'm married to Glady, who has an insane visual memory. If I'm trying to remember when we took that cute photo of Noah on the couch with his green and purple sweater, she'll be able to narrow it down to month and year. This is of course ridiculous and impossible, but it means that my laxness in tagging doesn't matter so much.

    However, for those occasions when Glady isn't available for consultation, I have thought that face recognition or geotagging would be cool. But when it was added to iPhoto '09 and then Picasa web albums shortly thereafter, I tried to have it crank through our photos. But I had neither the CPU nor the patience to go through all of our photos. I had aspirations of exporting that face data back into the images as EXIF keywords, but in retrospect, uh, I know what my kids and brothers and parents look like. And with album title/description overloading, I can find all of the Christmas photos with a fast search. Thanks to Phanfare recognizing EXIF tags and dating albums accordingly, I can see what year each album is and drill down to the right one.

    Of course this also works well with my local storage solution when OS X or Windows has done a good job of indexing the folder names, but I don't carry those drives around with me everywhere.

A Few Cons:
  • No keyword support. Normally I could care less because I take way too many pictures and I'm way too lazy to tag photos. And anyways, Phanfare doesn't support them, so I intentionally overload my album descriptions with things like: "So-and-so's 5 birthday at Chuck E. Cheese" or "Luke at Bright Beginnings - Sand, Art, Tricycles". Phanfare *does* have wicked-fast searching across Album/Section Titles and Descriptions as well as captions. So from the web, PC clients, or the iPad, I can usually find a given photo pretty quickly. But on occasion I would really love to be able to tag things as "2010scrapbook" or just flag something as a favorite, because when you have 182GB of photos and videos and you're trying to put together a Christmas calendar or preschool scrapbook, it's really really handy to be able to individually tag photos.
  • Slowness. Phanfare is based in New Jersey. So even though they're using Amazon S3 for storage, I believe all my images have to come across the continent to get here to California, and lately, it's been pretty slow, sometimes taking 1-3 seconds for images to load, which is pretty miserable.
  • Viewing UI needs work. So yeah, Phanfare's external presentation of photos has always erred on this side of boringly functional. Not a lot of layout options/variations. You could change color schemes, but that was about it. Lately they've let you customize headers and footers and I'm sure there's some DIVs in there you can mess with but meh, it is what it is. I just wish it was faster. They added a bunch of JavaScripty stuff, but like I said above, it's been pretty slow lately.

    It's still a way better way to browse photos than Flickr though, which combines slowness *and* clutter. If anything Phanfare is *not* cluttered. But yeah, kind of stuck in the 90s from a design standpoint. Not that the 90s were bad... But it's no Zenfolio. Then again, neither is SmugMug.

[Thu Apr 21 11:07:19 2011] p

Man, whenever I wear my darryl.com shirt and somebody asks me about it, I realize my site is woefully out of date.

So here's something not so new anymore:


I won a bike!

[Wed Nov 3 13:53:42 2010] p

Help Us Win a Nissan Leaf!

Ok, no more silly contests for iPads or Kindles. This one is for an electric car -- a Nissan Leaf!

Vote for Glady, Darryl, Noah and Luke to win a Nissan Leaf!

[Thu Sep 23 13:35:18 2010] p

Facebook down!

So, would this get you to think about storing your photos somewhere else? What would you need to get you to pay?

  • Big images in a nice slideshow
  • Sharing with people outside of Facebook
  • Password protection to limit sharing
  • Easy uploading of lots of images
  • Easy downloading of lots of images
  • Backup of full-sized originals for safekeeping/printing

[Wed Aug 25 15:40:38 2010] p

webOS Playlists

Hey, how about a non-iPad/Kindle related post? Ok!

Remember when the Palm Pre first came out and there was a big hullabaloo about how it was recognized by iTunes as an iPod, then Apple broke it, then Palm fixed it, then Apple broke it again? Ah yeah, good times.

Well, anyways, it looks like ultimately Palm gave up. Fine. I don't mind dragging-and-dropping music via Windows Explorer or the Mac Finder. However, I do sometimes get these compilation discs or samplers where the Album is not the same for every MP3/AAC file. And here's where dragging-and-dropping fails, because for these songs, you need a playlist to keep them together.

Supposedly Winamp is supposed to recognize the Palm device and let you create playlists, but for whatever reasons the version of Winamp I have 1) could not create a playlist of iTunes-purchased AAC files, even though they were *not* protected with DRM, and 2) wrote the playlist (M3U file) to the root of my Pixi's Music folder instead of in the folder of songs.

But the M3U file it did write at least gave me a clue. It was in this format:

#EXTM3U
\Music\Some Folder\Some Song
So, it was easy enough (for my purposes) to do from a DOS command-prompt:
cd P:\Music\Some Folder Of Songs
dir /b > playlist.m3u

P:\ is where my Pixi is mounted. dir /b does a "bare" directory listing without timestamps, file sizes, etc.

And voila -- I have a playlist of all the songs in this folder that webOS will recognize and play. Woot!

Lingering issues - ok, so what if you want to create a traditional playlist of songs from multiple folders? I dunno, but if it lives in the root Music, it pretty much gets ignored. Does it have to live in a folder along with at least one of the songs on the list? Dunno. Not my problem... yet.

[Thu Aug 19 11:34:43 2010] p

Twitteriffic

So apparently this Twitter thing is publicly available. Who knew? So if you say dumb things on it, or don't watch who you're "following", then it might come back later to bite you in the butt. Even if you scramble to try and delete those comments or that account later.

And on that note:

lt: I know I'm talking out loud when I post on twitter,
but with facebook I share ONLY with friends.  Not even friends of
friends (except in some cases like recent wedding pics I posted).
darryl: lt:  you're talking VERY loud
darryl: And somebody is writing down everything you say
darryl: and another guy is making photocopies of that
darryl: and also, sending it to people in different countries
darryl: just in case.

*[It's a Semisonic song, ya know? It's not like my life is fascinating. i just had to put something up there.]
>:P
---
Yeah, sorry, this is it. i know, i know, all that hype for this?
Well, i still have the geek page, but i won't be updating it. Sorry.

---
Oh yeah, your feedback, as always, is welcome.