May 31, 2003

Michele and I are in a hotel room in La Jolla. We arrived here around 2:30 and started wandering around. Our first stop was the Museum of Contemporary Art where we saw the Andrew Goldworthy exhibition. Great stuff. We have been fans of his work for years with prints adorning both our house and my office.

The pictures were stunning and the actual exhibits were wonderful. In one, he had taken large rocks and out them into a kiln until they just started to melt. He melted rocks! Then he let the rocks cool into the new shapes. Like baked potatoes that burst open, except they were stone.

If you go anywhere near San Diego, it's worth a visit.

After the museum, we walked down to the tidepools and jumped around the water and spotted crabs. Someone was getting married on the cliff overlooking the water.

We wandered around the stores looking at art, clothes, souvenirs, and people sea kayaking. We snacked on chocolate and finally had Mexican food for dinner.

I turned on the computer to look up where we could see a movie. We got caught up watching the Ducks in the Stanley Cup and decided we weren't going to see a movie.


Posted by michael at 08:22 PM
May 30, 2003

Tomorrow, Michele and I are taking a belated Anniversary trip to San Diego. My parents are watching the kids. Traveling together is always a good time.


Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory was released this week. It's a completely FREE multiplayer game based on RtCW with several great additions.

Play it. It rocks. There are both linux and Windows versions available.

The inclusion of the XP system is an interesting move forward in the FPS world. I think this is going to be big. It's free and it's good. WHo can ask for more?

To download it I used a BitTorrent link. BitTorrent is a method of filesharing focused on distributed transfer of files in a very smart way. When you start downloading, you instantly become an uploader as well. I was getting around 125kB/s on a 250+ MB file.

Maybe I could find a way to use it at work.

OK, time to go play games.

Posted by michael at 10:07 PM
10 Minute Break

Time for a ten minute break from working 04 budgets and media technology. Let's see how much I can write.

This morning I went to Zoe's school assembly and got to see all the kids dance in various ways. There was marching, a maypole, and Zoe's class did the mexican hat dance. Michele stayed up last night sewing a special Mexican style skirt for Zoe to wear. The children were very cute and earnest in their presentation. I'll post pictures later.


Over at Jish's site the story about Ghyslain, the Star Wars dancing French-Canadian kid, continues. It seems his lawyer is making noises about suing the kids that uploaded the original video. I'm kinda torn. I still feel good about donating money to the kid, but the idea of suing leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I see both sides and it's not easy to be judgemental.

Notes in a special place

Over at Ultramicroscopic I saw a link to this page about leaving messages on the toliet paper. Hi-larious. I need to do some of this around the office.

OK, ten minutes are up. The link cut & paste takes time. Tonight I'll post about the Enemy Territory release.

Posted by michael at 04:11 PM
May 28, 2003

The heat is finally beginning to arrive in Southern California. It's 9PM and the temp is still in the high 70s inside, even with the air conditioning on. Once the long summer starts, the heat will be a daily battle. I need to install that attic fan ASAP.

I've been burning the candle at both ends lately. Too much of everything and too little rest. Add to the fact that I'm off of caffiene and I'm dragging. People at work told me I'm looking ragged. It's mostly my eyes, but I need some rest.

Amazingly, the Planetside servers went down tonight for some emergency patch or what not. I'm playing that game way too much. It's great, but I need to rest first.


I've been reading a bunch, but not linking much.

My mother posted a great item on Memorial Day. You should take a look.

She's using Blogger which I have determined is the suck. Props to the Blogger crew for being innovative, but the archives, tag systems, and lack of flexibility is a problem. I need to convince my Mom to move to Movable Type. MT would solve her issues about wanting to upload and post photos. Blogger just doens't handle it. Where's Typepad when I need it?

I hope the learning curve isn't too steep. Matt's against it, but agrees that Blogger is a pain in the ass.

I've been doing some thinking about reputation system for the net, but I haven't written them up yet. Soon.

Martins' Computer

Update on Martin's hard drive: I prepped a backup drive for him and had him install it. No worky says Martin. I think the computer is toast. I'm guessing a mobo/processor upgrade would fix it up, the OCed Celeron 533A is probably giving up the ghost.

He told me to forget it. When they get to Kansas he's buying a new computer. He's going to buy a Mac. Et tu Martin?

Alright, about 30 minutes until I head to bed. TIme to go see if the Planetside servers are up.

Posted by michael at 09:24 PM
May 26, 2003
Update on Defeat

I messed with the hard drive for a few more hours. It's gone sour. No matter how I try to format it, it fails. The software says it's gone bad.

I go to Western Digital's site to check the warranty. The warranty ran out on May 24th. Yesterday....


Posted by michael at 12:41 AM
May 25, 2003

Martin's computer broke.

The computer is a hodge podge of parts going back to '97 and an old e-Machines box they had. I've been the tech support for a while and been able to keep their PC running most of the time.

Recently Martin had problems and it looked like it was time for a reinstall of WinXP. The computer wouldn't boot correctly and I was hoping the reinstall would fix things up. It did not.

I took a look at the computer first hand today and could get nowhere. The hard drive looked unresponsive. The hard drive home came home with me so I could look at it with a couple other tools.

After bolting it into one of my systems, I saw that the drive was a bit fubarred. Partition Magic kept finding read errors and was unable to even diagnose the problem exactly.

I called Martin and told him the drive looked like the data was not salvageable. He said to go ahead and do a clean install. Even with his go ahead, I tried for another 90 minutes to find a way to save the drive. No dice. It's hosed.

As I type, the drive is reformatting for a fresh install. I only hope the problem is fixed with a reformat and it's not the drive going bad...

Posted by michael at 10:45 PM

It's Sunday and again we are not doing much. I edged, trimmed, mowed the lawn and Michele took the kids to Target for a new mop. I asked the girls if they wanted to go to the play, but they didn't want to go. We didn't go yesterday and I was hoping we would get a chance today. No luck.

Mira wanted to play with her new Barbie and Zoe wanted to play her new Pacman videogame.

Zoe has made a clubhouse in the girls room. Here is the sign on the door.

"What is password? Roll the dice!"

If you knew the password, you could gain entrance. Inside you would find this scene.

(clockwise from the left) Kleenex, stuffed animals, books, pillow, makeup head, blanket, rock collection, money stash

Once inside, you were invited to roll the dice. No matter the outcome of the dice, you 'won' a hug or kiss.

Good times.


I stayed up way, way too late last night playing Planetside. On a trip to Fry's yesterday, I broke down a bought the Prima Guide to Planetside. Some good info, but I long for a few more details.

This could be my new game that takes hold of me. It has the community that's fun, but lacks the drama++ that takes over other RP style games. The mission is clear, kill the enemy, kill them all.


I finished the Tranquility Alternative yestday while Zoe was in the bath. I sit in the bathroom while htey bathe reading a book most nights. The ending was OK, but I wished for a little more heroic ending than simply being told that that the CIA had wrapped everything up without any details.

The ideas about an alternative space program were interesting. The path the military would take if running the space program as a defense system as opposed as a pure exploration system. I don't know what it will take for America to get reinvigorated by the space program. Perhaps it will be the Chinese attempts to reach the moon. I can only hope we get a President with a bit of vision for the future that understands the value of moving forward into space.

Posted by michael at 02:24 PM
May 24, 2003
Home Day

In my girl's minds, the week is divided into school days and home days. Today is a home day. I plan on a quiet morning and am going to take the girls to a play of the 3 Little Pigs this afternoon.


The last two days I've played Planetside. It's damn good. They've taken the best of Tribes converted it to a MMOAG (massively multiplayer online action game). There's no role play, just combat.

The experience you gain helps you raise your certifications and gain access to more and more hardware. The skills go in a few different routes. You can rais eup on vehicles or armaments or on utiltiy hardware like hacking and repair tools.

There's not big delay on getting to a fight. There's an Instant Action button that takes you directly to a combat zone to reinforce the people already fighting. The actual fighting is good, but not great. It allows for traditional FPS skills, but lacks the fluidity of Quake and UT. Lag does not appear to be an issue. I see occasional lag burst while running from once place to another, but never in combat.

I think I'm hooked.


Once again I'm going ask those people that read Cruft to make sure that they ping or or blogrolling whe they update their own weblogs. Yes, I'm taking about you Keith, Yoshi, and Travis.


I've been reading The Tranquility Alternative by Alan Steele, which I found on sale at a bookstore in Burbank. Good so far, but predictable. I'm sure there's a few twists coming, but I'm on the scent of what's going to happen.

I subscribed to Asimov's Science Fiction, the pulp style sci-fi magazine. Amazingly, the latest issue has a story by John Varley, one of my favorite authors.


I still haven't finished the pictures from E3 yet. Too much gaming. I hope to finish it today and post 'em.

Posted by michael at 09:01 AM
May 22, 2003
More button fun

Over at Metafilter is more fun with the button stuff. Tay McKnight's page is mentioned and there is a link to the Kalsey Auto-magic Button Generator-matic. The Generator is extremely fun.

You can make things like this very easily.


Posted by michael at 07:28 AM
Democracy Works

Tonight instead of putting my girls to bed and goofing off, I went to a City Council Meeting.

In South Pasadena, my town, we have a law that prohibits parking from 2AM to 6AM without a permit. Many towns have the same thing. In the past, it was simple for me to get a permit. In 2001, they changed the conditions to get a permit, and I started getting denied. It sucked.

I got a letter from the Police Department telling that the Overnight Parking Ordinance would be discussed at tonight's council meeting. Michele and I agree that I should go. Those that know me can attest that I can be somewhat of a bulldog in discussions and arguements.

The meeting started at 7:30PM. The part I was interested in was #20 on the agenda. Yuck. I had to sit through quite a bit of business.

The first big deal was the 'tree crisis'. Evidently at my daughter's school, there are two trees that an arborist determined should come down ASAP. A second arborist agreed. Simple eh? Not so. THe Board of Education and the City Council came into conflict over the tree issue. If the BoE cut down the trees without consulting the Natural Resources Committee of the Council, there was going to be hell to pay.

The plan was to cut down the tree this Saturday as long as the Planning Commission agreed. At somepoint the Council got so frothed up over the issue they were discussing whether the threat was some dangerous that we ought all run over to the school with chain saws right now so that we wouldn't have to wait until Saturday. The City Manager, the sanest of the bunch said, "I think the trees have another 24 hours in them." I see the trees every day. We probably have 5 years before they posed a danger.

After the tree crisis, we moved onto the dramatic issue of filming on Hanscomb. They filmed a movie scene up there and parked two trucks near the filming. A guy who lives on the street, Dr. Yet, was very, very upset.

He did a lot of stomping and blustering. The City Staff knew he was going to through a hissy fit and had all their rebuttals lined up. Dr. Yet was not happy. No matter what they said he got redder and redder in the face. Anger++

Next a guy sat down in front of me with a laptop. He turned it on and linux popped up. No Gnome of KDE for this guy, looked like oldschool window managers for him. I'm wondering what he's doing and I see him bring up EMACS. EMACS? He then proceed to start fixing code. He did this for two hours while the meeting rolled on. Now I can see taking a laptop to surf or blog in the meeting to kill time, but coding? Wierd.

Finally we got to the parking issue. There were about 10 people asking for changes so they could get permits and 3 people asking for no change so the 'aesthetics' would be preserved. I said my peace and sat down waiting to see what they would do.

After much blustering about why change was bad, one councilman presented a compromise plan to allow each household a minimum of one parking permit. More wrangling and talk of garages, bad neighbors, and who's awake at 2-6AM.

Finally at 11:30PM, FOUR HOURS after the meeting started, the council voted 3 to 2 to modify the ordinance to the compromise. Victory.

You can fight City Hall.

Posted by michael at 12:11 AM
May 21, 2003

On the way back from lunch the other day we were discussing places to get coffee. The place we had just been, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, had refreshingly clear names for things like Small, Medium, and Large for sizes.

We soon launched into assigning geekness to coffee places. Here's what we came up with.

Starbucks is Windows
Peets is Mac OS
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is Linux
Doughnut shops & gas stations are DOS
Work coffee is AS400 mainframe

Wrong? Right? Better suggestions?

Posted by michael at 05:10 PM
May 19, 2003
An hour to late

I'm up an hour too late. I should be sleeping, but instead I'm in front of the computer.

We must be nearing the weblog apocalypse. My Mother has got her weblog groove on and is posting now. Today, she wrote about my brother's post. I have no idea where this is going to end up.

Think about it, my 60-something year old mother is BLOGGING.

I went to Fry's today at lunch and didn't buy a thing. I joked that what I wanted to buy was more time. Time to do things. I was checking out the new micro-rockets that need 50 ft to launch into. Maybe next time.

A few days ago I posted about the icon buttons I made in the mold of Tay McKnight's. I made a Powered by Linux button for my own use and it got post on the main Steal These Buttons page. Today I saw someone using the button I made at I felt happy that someone liked the button enough to use it.

Night all.

Posted by michael at 10:57 PM
May 17, 2003
E3 2003

It's Saturday morning and the kids are playing up front. I've got some time to write about E3.

First of all, what I looked at is what interests me. PC games, specifically PC games with multiplayer. I don't really care much for console games, not because they are bad, but because I don't play them much. So don't ask me why I didn't update you on Mario Kart 4 or Final Fantasty XXVI. I don't effing care about those games.

I took a number of photos, but haven't whipped them into shape. You can see the pictures later.

In no particular order:

MaxPac - A transportable PC. Not a laptop. This PC is size and shape of a briefcase. Slip off a side cover and there's a 17" LCD screen backed by top of the line CPU & video cards. Looks to be great for LAN parties or even takign it places where you want to do video editing.

World Cyber Games - It's the Olympics of video games. Players from all over the world compete in various games heading toward the World Championship. From Counter-strike to Starcraft to Age of Mythology to Halo, all gamers can find something they can relate toin the WCG. The US finals are at the UGE this summer.

Ultimate Gamers Expo - Imagine E3 for the general public? The UGE is going to try to through a convention for the gamers, not the gaming industry at the LA Convention Center on August 15-17. I'm going!

Halo for PC - Yes, the game looks great on an Xbox and i did have much even when it was released. I played the game on PC. It's OK, but still feels like a slow, chunky console game. There's no precision ala Unreal Tournament or smoothness ala Quake. There isn't really much that distinguishes Halo from the horde of other FPS available on the PC. I'll probably still end up buying it, but my enthusiasm is low. Still undecided if they will have a co-op play mode fr the game like Serious Sam. Also, there's no commitment yet to a mod SDK.

NVidia - The NVidia booth was great. They had demos of most of the great games on the floor in one place. When I first walked up, there was Gary Coleman talking about video cards with an NVidia guy. I saw demos of the FX series of cards and they are simply unbelievable. Smooth as glass and great textures. Too bad they are going to be $400+...

Battlefield 1942: Secret Weapons of WWII - BF1942 is a great game and deserved all the Game of the Year awards it garnered. The new expansion is basically fantasy stuff that might have been on the drawing board in WWII. I played the demo for about an hour total at the show. The secret weapons are all a blast. I dig the rocket pack the most. The cargo plane is cool because it becomes a mobile spawn point once in the air.

Uru - I hated Myst. I'm gunna hate Uru. Utter garbage.

Coaxsys - Coaxsys systems makes system that converts the coax wiring in your home into a 100 megabit ethernet network. With a hub adapater and seperate adapters at each end you want ethernet, it appears to work seemlessly with cable TV. At the Coaxsys booth, fatal1ty was playing UT2003 against all comers. Noone had killed him once all week. Amazing.

Play TV - Radica has a PlayTV line of games that are standalone. You plug the game into the video and audio in of your TV and you are good to go. Each game is designed for kids and is a physical object. The fishing game is inside a toy fishing pole. The snowboarding game is inside a snowboard.

Star Wars Galaxies - I saw this at the NVidia demo booth. All they showed was a guy running around in his underwear. They need to do better than that. I can run around in my underwear already.

Lineage II - I tried playing the original Lineage a while ago and was unimpressed. I saw the demos of Lineage II and the graphics are much better, but I saw nothing that would differentiate it from any other MMORPG. I know the Koreans love it, but I don't.

Tron 2.0 - I saw the Tron demo last year and it ws impressive. It's almost ready for release now. The graphics look good, but lack any texturing like other FPS games.

Toontown - Disney's version of an MMOG for children and Disney fans. I tried the beta a while back and it wasn't for me. It's tightly controlled to protect children from anyone that would try to interact with them in an inappropriate way. Looks like a blast for tweens to play with other kids online.

Wireless Controller for Gamecube - I don't know it took E3 for me find the solution to our problems. The girls like playing the Gamecube, but the controller cords are always a problem. With the new wireless controllers, it makes things much simpler.

Dark Age of Camelot: Trials of Atlantis - Seeing the Mythic developers demo the new Atlantis expansion for DaoC was fun. "Show me how to ride a shark. Show me how you swim." and they did. I haven't played DaoC in while but the new expansion look pretty fun. Instead of riding a horse you can ride a shark. They haven't came up with an explanation of how everyone breathes underwater, but they are working on it. I suggested a James Bond style mouth gadget.

Worlds of Warcraft - Holy Crap! This game looked GREAT. I was really suprised when I saw the demo at the show. The graphics are fantastic, like Warcraft 3, unlike the standard graphics in EQ/DaoC/Shadowbane. Smooth and fluid, the action looked arcade-like with all the options and flexibility of MMORPGs. I hadn't thought I would look forward to WoW, but I do now.

Guild Wars - NCSoft, makers of Lineage, showed a new game called Guild Wars. This MMORPG attempts to do awaya with the constant leveling and running from place to place that exists in other games. Evidently you'll be able to group instantly and jump into the action easily. Amazing concept, making a persistent world game that is more play than work. If you can distract a few of the EQ players from their food pellet levers, this game might catch on.

Magic the Gathering Online - Back in 1995 I started playing Magic the Gathering, the collectible card game. For several years it consumed my free time and my thoughts. I played in tournaments and collected box after box of cards. Unfortunately, Magic was a game that you needed to play in person. As I became a father, I found my time for playing severely crunched. Eventually my attention drifted to video games I could play from home and away from Magic. The online version of the game looks like perfection. Collectibility, rule adherence, and a good engine make Magic Online a great game. I met a guy from Wizards at the show and we discussed things a bit. I'm energized to give it a try.

Half Keyboard - I'm n ot sure why I'd want this, but it's done well. The company founder, Edgar Matias, explained the halfkeyboard to me personally. Smaller than a PDA, you can type on the thing in a somewhat familiar way. While I tried to type on it, I could feel my mind snapping as I tried to mentally flip the letters in my mind. Edgar can type very fast on the halfkeyboard. He had a few other products like full size keyboard that let you type onehanded when you wanted and two handed at other times. The wearable one hand keyboard that goes on your sleep looks like something straight out of cyberpunk fiction.

City of Heroes - NCSoft is publishing the game that appears to actually be headed for shelves. The game looks interesting, but in the limited test of combat I tried, the NPC kicked my superpowered ass easily.

Good things about E3: Pizza vending machines, booth babes, and Datafloss in full effect

Bad things about E3: Sold-out pizza vending machines, neckbone chicken and rice, Nazi registration folks

Games that were hyped but sucked: Black 9, American Idol, Tomb Raider: *.*, Sims Expansion 27, Mario anything, driving games, Counterstrike on a console

Companies that sucked because I could not play demos: id for not having playable Doom3, Valve for not having playable Halflife 2, Activision for not having a Return to Castle Wolfenstein booth

Companies that sucked because of their booths: Infogrames/Atari since their areas was appointment only. Sony Online Entertainment for their black box booth that made you wait in line to enter like a friggin Hollywood nightclub. I hope they lose money on all their games for their attitude.

Posted by michael at 08:44 AM
May 16, 2003
The Day Ends

It's a little after 2AM and I just got home. I met up with TWELVE friends at the movies to see the Matrix Reloaded again. It was fun being out with so many people.

On the drive home, the highway was deserted. I could have easily done 120 on the highway but didn't. I only did 90...

At this time of night, dear old South Pas is empty and the town is quiet. I roll down the windows and listen to the silence.

When I get home I step out in the street and feel the calmness around me like a cool breeze. There's nothing else like the middle of the night. I love the feeling. Maybe it's the idea that everything is not so busy, or maybe it's just hearing the rustle of leaves.

I walk into the house and kiss the girls, soundly asleep. It is a good day. Good night.

Posted by michael at 02:18 AM
May 15, 2003
The day begins

Today I'm off from work and will be going to E3 in a couple hours. Zoe and I walked to school together and Michele is taking Mira to preschool. The house is quiet and I have a few minutes to collect my thoughts.


Today is day 6 of no caffiene for me. Several people have asked why quit? I'll explain. I had been drinking a cup of tea or coffee in the mornings for a while. No big deal. I started also having a soda pop at lunch and sometimes a cup of coffee in the afternoon. Multiple cups of caffiene became the norm. I wasn't drinking 6 uber-supra-grande mocha lattes per day.

After a while, I found myself getting that caffiene headache in the evenings. Nothing an Excedrin wouldn't handle, right? I thought about the fact that I was feeling ill because I was using (for me) so much caffeine. I know others that drink three cups of coffee before 9AM and don't feel a thing.

So I quit. While I love me a can of iced coffee, it's best I lay off it until the effects clear my system. And while I'm atthat, I guess I should start exercising more and eating better...


Last week I finished the John Barnes book, The Sky So Big and Black.

I've enjoyed John Barnes's novels for a while now. This novel takes place in the future laid out in the previous novels Kaleidoscope Century and Candle. In this future, the concept of Memes that can control the human mind are central to the story. They aren't memes like an idea that spreads across the internet and becomes part of the culture. We are talking about the concept of a method by which a Meme can take over and control a human mind.

In Barnes's future, the Earth is completely taken over by the Meme called One True. The rest of humanity, spread out in space on the Moon and on Mars try to make do without the Earth.

This story takes place on Mars with a group of ecospectors, ecological prospectors. Rather than hunting for valuable minerals, they hunt for ways to terraform Mars by releasing water or identifying other organic resources.

Mars is cast in the light of the seminal Heinlein Libertarian society. Few laws, much personable responsibility, and a huge focus on trust and reputation. It very much harks back to ideas from Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

Without giving out any spoilers, the Martians face a tragedy are must make choices between their lifestyle and dealing with One True for help. Barnes looks at how the libertarian world (Mars) and the socialist world (Earth) can interact and what price are the libertarians willing to pay to keep their way of life.

I recommend the book. It's a fast read and has plenty of neat technical ideas interspersed with the storyline.

Posted by michael at 08:43 AM
May 14, 2003
Yes, I've seen it


Yes, I saw The Martix Reloaded this morning.

I won't reveal a thing except to say that the movie is great and noone will be disappointed.

Amazing effects and action. A great job. I can't wait until November for the finale.

Posted by michael at 11:37 AM
May 13, 2003
I don't need no stinking caffiene

The caffiene withdrawal drama is slowly leaving, but I still crave the taste of a nice cold ice coffee.

I just got a call from Michele, my wife, She's driving down to Disneyland for a couple of hours with her friend Jenny. Since I work for the Mouse, don't cost nothing.

Wish I was going. Instead, I have 4+ hours of meeting scheduled. Joy.

Here's an interesting article on the making of the amazing Honda 'Cog' commercial.

The rest of the week should be better. I'm seeing the Matirx tomorrow and going to E3 Thursday & Friday.

Any Cruft readers also going to E3?

Posted by michael at 09:46 AM
May 12, 2003
No caffiene - Day 3

So maybe this no caffiene things wasn't such a good idea.

I'm at my desk, my eyes feel tired, I have a headache, and I keep thinking, "A cup of coffee would be good right now..."

In a couple days, these feelings will subside, but for now, it is the suck.

E3 is in a few days and I am really looking forward to it. If all goes well, I'll also see the Matrix on Wednesday morning, making it a geekeriffic week.

Posted by michael at 08:59 AM
May 11, 2003
Saturday in Pictures

I participated in the Mayday Photo Project.

You can see my page here.

Be sure to check out Martin's Mayday post as well. His is much better than mine.

Long weekend.

I'm on my second day of no caffiene. A couple days and it won't bother me so much, but now it is defintely a drag.

Posted by michael at 09:19 PM
May 10, 2003
NetSol Free

As of today, I am free of Network Solutions. Network Solutions is the company that used to run the entire domain name registration system. If you wanted any kind of .com, .net, or .org domain name, it was NetSol that registered them. NetSol did a good job and was a valued part of the internet community for their professionalism.

Back in the earlier days of the internet, there was not a serious business about domain names. There was no resell market and the number of new additions per year was in the thousands. Once the WWW took off, the interest in domain names took off. Suddenly, there was money to be had. Suddenly, the profit motive took over at NetSol and they tried to 'own' domain registration forever.

They did all kinds of crazy stuff like claim they owned the database of domain names and owned the right to claim expired domain names for their own use. They fought vehemently against the expansion of domain name registration to multiple registrars.

In simple words, they acted like assholes. Even today they charge three times what other domain registrars do for services and attempt to mislead users from switching away.

Back in 1997, I registered two domain name for myself and Michele. At the time, you basically needed a web host company to do this for you because most mere mortals could not satisfy the requirement for two nameservers in the application. The webhosting company I chose used Network Solutions to register my domain name. At the time, it was no big deal,I was ecstatic to have a domain name.

Fast forward to today and I wanted to make a few changes to Michele's site and I realized it was still registered at NetSol. After about three days of answering "Yes, I want to transfer my domain" email, I am finally free of Network Solutions.

I currently use, a registar with good tools, good service, and good prices. You can't complain with a registration price of $8.95 for a domain.

The bad side of things is looking at the list of 14 domains I own and wondering why I could possibly own 14 domains.

Posted by michael at 09:35 AM
May 08, 2003

Jake at 8bitjoystick offers a 3XThursday:

Hypothetically speaking imagine if some one really important like Bill Gates, The Pope or Adam West put you in charge of improving the personal computer.

1. What is the biggest problem with the current personal computer that you would address first?

Computers are turned off. They are turned off for several reasons, Noise, power usage, heat, etc. Your computer should always be available to you, always on. There should be no waiting to boot.

In close second is voice operation. You shoudl be able to speak to your computer and say 'Check email', 'Launch Winamp' or 'Check blogroll' and the computer should be able to execute these things for you.

2. Who would you pick to help you improve the PC? Who would you like to have in your corner to help you make the decisions

I would choose scientists and engineers that have never worke don PC design before. I would choose people from other cultures besides the US. Richard Feynman, always suggested the alternate points of view from differing disciplines was the optimal way to solve problems.

That being said, I'd choose Jean Paul Gaultier, Stephen Hawking, Andrew Goldsworthy, Dean Kamen, and Gene Spafford.

3. How would you change the hardware? What would the PC of the future look like and how would people use it?

The computer of the future will be hidden in a closet somewhere and people will access the computer via a variety of interface. The traditional desktop will exist, the tablet style for document reading will exist, the mini interface via the cell phone, the TV interface for notification will exist.

Device in the home will signal you when you have messages waiting. Just as you come home and see a number flashing on your answering machine, you will see a light flashing telling you there are emails & IMs waiting. Different colors will denote if they are messages from specific friends and family. Integration of the computer into household appliances will be everywhere.

Bonus Question for Comments: Should I get a notebook for my next Computer or a desktop with a LCD flat screen?

If you are going to play games, CRTs are still better than LCD panels. That being said, it is tons of fun to have a laptop you can use on the couch, at the coffee shop, and when traveling. Get the laptop and do minimal upgrades to your existing desktop to keep it usable.

Posted by michael at 07:12 AM
May 06, 2003

Tonight I went to the store after the girls went to bed to pick up a few things. As I entered the store I noticed a lady looking at the Mother's Day cards. No biggie, only like five days until Sunday so she's getting her choosing done.

I wander around the store picking up my assorted items, pondering if there is anything I might want. Back and forth I wander for about 10 minutes. I head up front, check out and head for the door.

The lady is still there, reading the cards. 15 minutes after I first saw her when I came in the store. Still. Reading. The. Cards.

How do you read Mother's Day cards for 15 minutes? I think my head would explode.

In other news, I made enchiladas tonight. I was at the store getting corn tortillas and onions. I made chicken and cheese enchiladas. Tomorrow we'll cook them up and see how I did. I hope the kids like them.

Posted by michael at 10:08 PM
May 04, 2003
Free Comic Book Day

Yesterday was Free Comic Book Day. I went to two comic stores and scored 14 different free comics. Travis, Yoshi, Len and I went to go see X-Men 2 to round out our geekness.

I enjoyed the movie quite a bit. Everyone was wishing for more of their favorite charactrers. Personally I was pleased to see Colossus, my favorite X-Man in the movie with a brief cameo. The filmmakers did a good job of telling a standalone story but continuing the story of the first film and setting up the next sequel.

I picked up several children's comics at Free Comic Book Day. The girls were quite excited and they read comics this morning.

Posted by michael at 08:47 PM
Jet Audio

At SXSW I met Alex of Hand Coding. We shared a few Shiner Bocks and chatted for a while. I've been following his weblog for a while and it's always interesting.

A few days ago I read about his post on Jet Audio and the fact that it can play Real streams. IMHO, the Real player is a piece of bloated, invasive, spyware that attempts to squelch my attempts to get all my media players to coexist peaceably.

I downloaded the client from Jet Audio and it rocks. I really like the features and the clean design. From the single client you can rip CDs, convert files from one type to another, record audio (even from steams being played back), burns files to CDs, and it will even crossfade one song into another on playback.

You won't regret the download if you give it a try.

Posted by michael at 07:25 PM
Buttons, Buttons, and more Buttons

Somehow I stumbled on to Tay McKnight's page of Buttons to Steal. Absolutely kick-ass stuff. Go take a look.

If you scroll down this page, look on the right side and you will see the new About this Site section. I revamped it with this style of buttons.

To make things for Cruft, I made a few buttons myself. Check them out:

Powered by Linux OS - Linux OS

SXSW Interactive - SXSW Interactive

Meetup - Meetup

Friendster - Friendster

I like these images because they are simple and clean. Better yet, I can create them in Microsoft Paint, a graphics program I can use.

So what other buttons are needed?

Posted by michael at 11:14 AM
May 02, 2003
Mother's Day is coming

Mother's Day is coming. How do I know? This is what I found on my desk when I got home from work yesterday.

Yes, when I see a Nordstrom catalog with a page dogearred I have been trained well enough to recognize this hint.

Husbands and sons, May 11th is Mother's Day. Make you plans now. Do it today. Give yourself time to avoid the overnight shipping costs. You don't want to be one of those guys driving around early Sunday morning looking for an open store.

I didn't mention daughters, because women don't need the reminder. Women are much more on top of these sort of things than men. Women can think about many things at once and look at a calendar regularly. Men, on the other hand, can think about one thing at a time, and that is usually something simple like "want food!", "mmm, shiny!", or "boobies!".

Now I just need to get my ass to Nordstrom for Michele's new purse and figure out what to get my Mom.


On a related note, Being Daddy once again describes the experience of being a father today better than I ever could. I guess being an English Professor has it's benefits.

Another new father site is Blogsprogs where three new fathers are describing their fun. Good stuff.

Posted by michael at 09:24 AM
May 01, 2003

Blogshares went live today. The site simulates a stock market based on weblogs and looks at links to simulate cash flow. It's a fun little diversion. Ego driven like most weblog things.

Alec Saunders .LOG is giving away $1000 blogshare dollars to link to him. I'm not proud. I'll take the $1000.

I don't know where he got the cash, but I'll help launder it.

Posted by michael at 01:43 PM