Archive for July, 2002

July 16, 2002

Apple releases QuickTime 6, now featuring support for MPEG-4 — a day before it will stream the keynote address from tomorrow’s MacWorld Expo. And apparently Iceland is so into Apple that it will screen the keynote at Reykjavik’s largest cinema.

Not sure anything groundbreaking will come out of tomorrow’s announcements. Looking forward to seeing Jaguar in action, rather than just reading about it. I’ve read rumors of a 17″ flat-panel iMac (the way it should’ve always been), and maybe some faster G4s.

July 14, 2002

NewsNetWire is an OS X application (freeware) that subscribes to, manages and views XML RSS feeds. Pretty slick interface-wise, and a lot of great default news sites and weblogs are included for one-click subscribing. If you were so inclined, you could also subscribe to’s RSS feed using this url: (via curry … yes, the old-school mtv veejay)

July 13, 2002

Lately, my cable box and TV power switches have been out of sync. The remote is supposedly programmed to turn both of these items “on” or “off” with the touch of one, singular button. I cannot convey the amount of utter annoyance that is caused when by pressing the one, singular button on the remote, only one of the aforementioned items manages to turn itself “on” (or “off’ as the case may be). It’s almost as if I’m expected to remove myself from my comfortable position on the couch (a meticulously engineered, perpendicular angle to the window fan I might add) to rectify this horrific situation. Tsk tsk… technology.

I was always suspicious of “Antiques Roadshow” appraisals being somewhat staged. Come to find out that not only is this true, but at the same time one dealer made up to a million dollars giving low-ball estimates to items — then reselling them at their real value for profit. Yikes. He’s now going to jail for it.

Maybe that Civil War era musket ain’t exactly what I thought it was. That is if I actually had a Civil War era musket — or more importantly if I was even interested in Civil War era muskets at all.

July 12, 2002

Today’s post is all about puppets. I love puppets, so naturally I loved Comedy Central’s new show Crank Yankers. Real crank phone calls are recorded, and then acted out by puppets. These are quality puppets though people. Sesame Street quality puppets. Really funny show, with celebrity guests doing the crank calls.

In other slightly more controversial puppet news, I’ve been reading that Sesame Street in South Africa is going to introduce an HIV-positive muppet. Whoa.

July 11, 2002

I’ve decided I’d like to start a pretzel company. More on this later.

Just read an interesting article over at about XSH, a command line XML editing shell. Looks pretty darn interesting. Haven’t tried it out yet, but it seems as though it’d be useful enough just as a navigator — using it to traverse through a document. But even better yet, you can edit and create XML right from the command line with this. Neat.

Clean. A group of nicely designed sites listed at the Minimalist Web Project. (via harrumph)

July 10, 2002

Cool OS X app: WeatherPop — a little icon that sits in your menubar and tells you the current temperature and weather forcast. It’s $8.00, and I just may have to buy it.

Java workstation: “Basically, it’s a fully functioning coffee maker integrated into a computer case. You pour the water into the funnel at the top, it goes down the tube into a book-shaped water tank where it sits until you hit the power switch, at which point the heating coil boils the water, sending it back up another tube and into the coffee grounds basket.” I don’t drink coffee, but if I did I would certainly want one of these out of sheer laziness (but a PowerMac of course).

July 9, 2002

Having an iPod has forced me to dig up some old, favorite albums in return for having them a click away at any moment. Today on the train ride home I rediscovered a gem of a record — Spiderland, by Slint. Released way back when, in 1991. I can remember wearing the CD out on this one and it still sounds great.

July 7, 2002

On Saturday, at a wedding reception for my cousin at my aunt and uncle’s in Rhode Island, I found in the backyard the most amazing thing. Nestled between two pine shrubs was a large statue of Buddha with a smaller, yet perfectly placed, Yoda (pictured right — click it for large version). I had a Yoda like this when I was a kid. It’s a rubber hand puppet. This struck me as hilarious and perfectly sensible at the same time. It works. The fact that others (family members even) hold Yoda in the same regard is priceless. The Force is everywhere.

July 5, 2002

Andrew Lipson creates mathmatical Lego sculptures. The results are only slightly different from my childhood creations.

It’s a sad day in Boston as possibly the greatest hitter of all-time, Ted Williams, dies at 83. One tidbit — I just learned that Ted Williams fought in 2 wars as a marine pilot, and flew with John Glenn, then came back to Boston and played more spectacular baseball.

Yahoo! just finished a slight redesign of the their homepage. Still incredibly clean, and I’m most amused that they’re finally using an anti-aliased version of the logo. Previously it had been just a two color .gif. Still, not much has changed from the original, and that I think is a good thing.

July 3, 2002

Probably the most fascinating book I’ve read all year: The Turk, by Tom Standage. The true story follows the “life and times of the famous eighteenth-century chess-playing machine”. I had never heard of the Turk before, and spent the first 2/3 of the book in complete amazement — just like anyone who witnessed the machine play (and often times) beat human opponents in a game of chess.

The Turk traveled around the world for more than 80 years performing for people like Benjamin Franklin, Napoleon, Edgar Allen Poe etc. and had many owners who kept it’s secret the entire time. The last few chapters of the book satisfyingly disclose just about everything you were dying to know, as well as how the Turk inspired Charles Babbage’s quest to build the first mechanical computer.

Also explained is IBM’s “Deep Blue” computer which later went on to beat chess master Gary Kasparov.

I’m not a chess player, and you don’t really have to be interested in it to like this book. It’s an amazing story of how this thing affected so many people throughout its history.

Unrelated to the book — I’ve just updated SimplePost to 0.2, fixing a bug that was preventing a new month to build.