Saturday, April 26, 2008
The deed is done. I’m retiring secondinitial.com and relocating to ALBJ.net. Instead of dragging on here about it, I’ll simply point you to my blog entry on the new site to learn more about the move.
Not to worry, if there was something on secondinitial.com that you liked and/or had a link to, it’s not going anywhere. Just like my older blog, D.T.P. by Lee, everything will stay as is, serving as a shrine to my stint of being interested in blogging more frequently.
I hope everyone will update their web links and RSS feeds, and join my party on the new site.
I still don’t publish my e-mail address on web pages, but you’ll find a clue on the new page. If you know me, it shouldn’t be hard to decode. But if I have you in my own Addressbook database, you’ll be getting message from me later asking to update your records for my new address.
See you on the other side.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
This story comes to you courtesy of the mush-for-brains worker at the fuel station where I ran through the car wash today.
I didn’t buy gas, so I paid for the wash with my debit card at the entrance. For whatever reason, the printer wasn’t spitting out receipts, so I went inside to get one after the wash.
Attendant: “I don’t think it prints receipts.”
Me: “Yes, it does. I’ve gotten them many times. There’s a receipt slot right on the front, and the LCD said just now that a receipt could not be printed, see attendant.”
Attendant: “Well, I have nothing that interacts with it, so I’d have to write one by hand.”
Me: “That’s fine.”
Attendant writes a receipt for the even dollar amount, clearly perturbed that I didn’t translate “I’d have to write one” into “I really don’t want to write one.”
Did I mention that before I walked in, she was just standing in the corner stuffing her face?
Me: “You didn’t add the tax on it.”
Attendant: “There is no tax on the car wash if you buy it at the entrance.”
Me: “Yes, there is. I’ve seen it on my receipts many times.”
Attendant: “Only if they’re sold at the register here. Not at the machine.”
Me: “So using a machine instead of a person waives the requirement to pay sales tax?”
Attendant shrugs and glares, but still hands me a receipt for the pre-tax even dollar amount.
Not even two minutes later, sitting in my car, I opened up my account on Bank of America’s mobile site and read the pending transaction for the cost…
Sunday, February 17, 2008
I wasn’t supposed to write this blog entry.
By now, I had anticipated being on my new domain and new online presence. Alas, the host that I thought I was going to run with panned out to not be as well-suited for me as I thought. So I’m still here. Whether I post again to this blog is, however, something of a question mark. I’ve been living happily with Twitter.
I’m still searching for hosting suggestions. I want, minimum, 100gb of storage and while I may have previously indicated that it wasn’t importnat, I realize now that I do wish for a cPanel-based admin setup to the account.
Thursday, January 3, 2008
Not long ago, I actually overheard a conversation between two people (whom I could say were clueless dolts, but I won’t presume) theorizing about why computer viruses are so prolific and how they can protect themselves.
While I am no expert and could be wrong about this, I would nearly wager that a very high percentage of the total computer infections that occur are because people have an insatiable and hopeless addiction toward forwarding an e-mail to everyone in their addressbook, and the only motivation they are given is that the e-mail says to do so.
A recent forwarding I received was, in this atypical case, pretty safe (unless it’s possible for .WMV video files to contain viruses). But the lunacy of its contents drove my need to post this entry.
Here’s what the e-mail said. I’ve pasted it completely unedited:
Read through this explanation and then open the attachment. There is sound with this one!!!….have it turned up to get the full effect. This incredible machine was built as a collaborative effort between the Robert M. Trammell Music Conservatory and the Sharon Wick School of Engineering at the University of Iowa.Amazingly, 97% of the machines components came from John Deere Industries and Irrigation Equipment of Bancroft Iowa.YES, farm equipment!It took the team a combined 13,029 hours of set-up, alignment,calibration and tuning before filming this video, but as you can see it was WELL worth the effort.It is now on display in the Matthew Gerhard Alumni Hall at the University and is already slated to be donated to the Smithsonian.Enjoy………….It is fantastic!Turn up the volume
Sounds like a pretty amazing feat, doesn’t it? There just one glaring problem: it’s a complete fabrication. No, not the device—the message itself is a fabrication.
The video that came along with this message was actually one of the tracks from the Animusic DVD. Two volumes have been released, and I own copies of each.
Animusic is 100% computer digital animation. The instruments portrayed do not physically exist, so you’ll never see them in the Smithsonian. The cool thing about Animusic is that the instruments do not reactively “play” themselves when they “hear” music. Instead, since the music is all MIDI-based, the computer software knows what notes are coming and can predictively set up motions in advance of the note. This allows for things like a metal ball to be shot from a pipe enough in advance so that when the ball strikes a string, it’s the exact moment a note should be played.
Yes, the animation is fantasic and even looks as if it could be real. The quality is that good. But it’s too good. It’s almost hyper-reality—the same way that you might think scenes in Beowulf or Final Fantasy could be real, but things just seem a bit too perfect to be real, even if you can’t quite get your mind around what it is that’s fake.
So, instead of the forward button, dump those things instead. Maybe a little poem will help you remember to do so:
Tempted to click ‘Forward’?
For the love of Pete,
train your brain
to click “Delete”!
Monday, December 17, 2007
Rather unexpected, yet very cool. I predict a lot more historical events getting depicted in Google Earth form.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
I received this e-mail from a neighbor. It’s one of those things where you read their answers, then fill in your own and pass it on to the people you’d like to hear back from.
Please feel free to leave your own answers in the comments, or post to your own blog and link to it in the comments. Merry Christmas!
So here’s mine:
1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
Not particularly fond of egg nog. Don’t hate it, but don’t crave it. So hot chocolate it is.
2. Does Santa wrap the presents or just sit them under the tree?
3. Colored or white lights?
Can go either way. Mom always had colored on the tree while growing up, so that’s what I’m most accustomed to, but she’s done white the past few years and it’s looked nice. I think she’s going back to colored this year.
4. Do you hang mistletoe?
The only person with whom I’d care to be caught standing under mistletoe doesn’t need such silly representations of Christmas lore to be an excuse to kiss me.
5. When do you put your decorations up?
In my youth, things went up the Friday (or the weekend, at the latest) after Thanksgiving and came down the weekend after New Year’s. That tradition has waned a little in recent years.
6. What is your favorite holiday dish?
Mom’s turkey I’d have to say tops the list.
7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child?
There’d been little bits of snow in central Florida back in…1977 I think. Not at Christmas day, but in January. Whatever the year, the following Christmas, my brother and I conspired to wake up before my parents, sneak out to the living room, and holler, “Mom! Dad! Come out here! It’s snowing again!” When they came out, we both were standing in the living room with our presents to them and just said “Merry Christmas” with, of course, perfect little angel faces smeared across our heads!
8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
I truly have absolutely no idea.
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
Once in a while. Nothing traditional about it.
10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree?
For a number of reasons, I’ve never put one up in my place, but I can answer regarding my parents’ tree. As mentioned above, my mom used to do colored lights. They went along with all manner of personalized/family ornaments. Recent years has seen her doing themed trees with white lights, red ribbons, and other matching decorations. This year, I think she told me she’s going back to the traditional decorations.
11. Snow: Love it or hate it?
Hate it. Why do you think I stay in Florida? It’s slushy, makes getting around hard, it kills grass, it causes accidents, it leaves black crap all over the roads, and it’s monochrome. I like color.
12. Can you ice skate?
I can stay up, but I’m only barely past beginner level.
13. Do you remember your favorite gift?
I’ve had enough well-received gifts that no single one stands out as a favorite.
14. What’s the most important thing about the holidays for you?
Being with my family.
15. What is your favorite holiday dessert?
Never having had much of a sweet tooth (you can ask my mom), there’s never been a hands-down favorite dessert. But I will say that I enjoy a well-made pumpkin pie.
16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Christmas eve dinner was, for many years, a large platter of deli meats, cheeses, crackers, etc., that we ate in front of the Christmas tree. Haven’t done this in a while, and I’m not exactly sure why not.
17. What is on top of your tree?
Growing up, I seem to recall a lighted star, but mom’s using an angel these days.
18. Which do you like best giving or receiving?
This is a loaded question. The most honest answer is both, equally.
19. What is your favorite Christmas song?
I’m rather fond of certain versions of O, Holy NIght. But moreso, there’s a particular sound, and I don’t even have any idea how to describe it. There are certain songs that just seem to sound drenched in the holiday sound. In fact, what most would consider different genres of song styles can all still have that same type of sound I can’t describe. For example: Jingle Bells and Christmas Waltz from Michael W. Smith’s “Christmastime” album, Winter Wonderland from Amy Grant’s “Home for Christmas” album, All I Want For Christmas Is You from Mariah Carey’s “Merry Christmas” album, O Little Town of Bethlehem from Peter White’s “Songs of the Season” album, and Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas from Christina Aguilera’s “My Kind of Christmas” album. All of these have that certain sound that does it for me.
20. Do you like candy canes?
Can take ’em or leave ’em
21. What is your favorite Christmas movie?
Like Chris, technically not a movie—but I watch Mannheim Steamroller Christmas Live every year. I’ve actually attended a concert once and hope to go again soon.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Very fascinating stroll through photography’s early history.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
I’ve decided to let the cat out of the bag…or at least peek out of it. A couple weeks ago, I bought a new domain, albj.net. You needn’t waste your time hitting it right now. It only points to www.secondinitial.com and there are presently no other services attached to it. No mail, no web, nothing.
As I’ve mentioned more than once on this blog, my interest in regularly blogging has waned and will undoubtedly never fully recover. Twitter has become my “blog,” of sorts.
Without mucking about with too much detail, here’s a brief rundown of what’s going to happen—with intent of it happening by next summer. Note, these are listed in the order I recalled them as I write this entry and does not, in any way, represent the order in which each will be implemented:
- All activities at secondinitial.com will ultimately cease. The blog will be archived as-is for the indefinite future.
- A new site will be created at albj.net (with no subdomain such as “blog” in front). This new site will act as something of an index for all the various blogging alternatives in which I am engaged. There’s a reasonable chance I’ll still operate a basic blog on the new domain for the rare times of wanting to type about something in more space than Twitter allows. But the page will primarily consist of my Twitter feed and leap points to all the various media services and social networks I’m using.
- A new e-mail address—probably my middle name in front of the new domain—will be announced. (No, not my first name. Remember, my initials are ALB, and the ‘j’ on the end is for “junior.”)
- The very small number of people who have made use of the subdomain on my old dtpbylee.com address that points to my home server will be informed when it has changed—assuming I keep using it. I might just abandon it completely since I am wishing to phase out the old server under my desk.
- My photo albums at photos.dtpbylee.com will get transplanted to the same subdomain under the new primary domain. I am presently exploring the possibility of migrating the entire old Gallery installation into a freshly installed Gallery 2.x installation. I’m also researching whether I can afford to host the large amount of data somewhere off-site. 1and1 hosting offers 120 gigabytes for about $6 per month, but I’m not certain on how well 1and1 gets along with Gallery. I do want SSH and/or FTP access so I can adjust .htaccess files and other fiddling. So I’m open to anyone’s suggestions for inexpensive hosting for large amounts of data. FYI, the total space my albums presently occupy is a smidge more than 10 gigabytes, and obviously I would need plenty of room to grow.
There’s probably more I haven’t thought of this evening, but you get the general idea. I probably should’ve gone with my initials a long time ago, and am not sure why I didn’t. For those wondering, I have no interest in owning the .org version, and albj.com points to a link farm that will probably never sell the domain to me at a price I’d be willing to pay.
I imagine I’ll make an effort to post infrequent items here until March. As such, I’ll feel good to have allowed blog.secondinitial.com to actively exist for three four years before it is retired. (Update: silly me, I miscounted!)
So, it’s not like I’m really going away or anything, just regrouping. I’ve had a lot of fun with this blog. I thank you for tagging along for the ride and I do welcome your advice as I initiate my new online presence in the coming months—specifically any types of web CMS packages I can easily install that have already done the work of setting up on a page what I described above, as well as the aforementioned photo album host search.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Wait for it … wait for it …
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
It’s no wonder people call it the Jesus Phone.
Thursday, November 1, 2007
Can anyone explain just why the US Postal Service even bothered to come up with a tracking system for customers? My copy of OS X Leopard was being sent via USPS (Amazon super saver free shipping). Amazon reported the USPS delivery estimate as November 3-November 12. It arrived today, November 1, but that’s not the problem.
The thing that completely stinks is that both Amazon’s hook into the USPS tracking system—as well as USPS.gov itself—are still listing only the October 30 notation that the “Carrier [was] notified to pick up package.”
In other words, not only did the tracking system completely fail to provide any vague hints as to its progress, it doesn’t even yet know that the package has already been delivered!
Thursday, October 25, 2007
There’s a whole world of balloon animals you did not know existed.
This latest shot is one of the better ones of an entire series Michael Hughes posts to his Flickr account.
Men would probably have their eyes checked more often if this was used.
For all those who don’t like the 3D Dock in OS X 10.5, a simple preference write command in terminal will get rid of it. Or, if you put your Dock on the side like I do, Apple (wisely) makes the Dock auto-switch to this 2D version.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
I just noticed that I missed a milestone for this blog. I passed the 1,000-post mark a while back.
I’m not sure which entry technically was the mark, though. On one hand, my post about Google Earth having updated the imagery in central Florida actually has the 1000 ID number.
On the other hand, even though it has an ID of 1009, Are You Following My Tweets is the 1,000th active post. This accounts for several posts that I removed for technical reasons. Virtually all of them were reposted from scratch.
I think it’s fitting to name “Are You Following My Tweets” as the 1,000-post milestone. It’s hugely appropriate considering that I’m noticeably making fewer blog posts and increasingly posting more tweets. Truthfully, this blog probably will only serve as a place to type out things too long for a tweet.
As such, as I’ve said before, if you’re not already following me on Twitter, please do so. If you don’t want to set up a Twitter account (and I would have no ill will toward you if you didn’t), at least add my feed’s RSS next to the RSS for this blog. I do post tweets that are blog-like. There have been numerous things I’ve twittered that normally would’ve gone here, but I decided I could condense them to 140 characters and put them on Twitter instead.
Since I only can see who’s following my tweets if they’re doing so through their own Twitter account, I’d love if you posted a comment to this entry (before the comments get auto-disabled) if you’re just on my Twitter RSS feed. Would be interesting to know how many—if any.
While I believe that Facebook is still king of the MobileSafari web apps hill, I have to give props to Weather.com (The Weather Channel) for very nearly toppling Facebook’s status. The iPhone-optimized version of Weather.com is nice, but what really makes it stand out is when you rotate your phone to landscape orientation. Every site—even iPhone-optimized sites—that I’ve visited before simply stretch the content to fill the width. It’s very acceptable and expected. Yet, the mobile Weather.com page actually offers a revised template for the landscape mode which moves buttons and controls from the bottom to the side, making better use of the wide space versus the tall space. Not only have I not seen any other web app do this, I didn’t even know it was possible. I thought the stretch-to-fill-width was a default behavior of the iPhone and nothing that a programmer can control. Clearly, though, the iPhone sends some sort of flag that says “I’m in landscape mode” so that a programmer can use an alternate stylesheet. That is very cool!
I decided early on to keep up with upgrading any tracks that are turned into DRM-free iTunes Plus tracks. Thusly, when I noticed tonight that Astaire’s Don’t Whisper Lies - EP album was listed for upgrade, I went for it. Four tracks x 30 cents = $1.20.
Wait a tick—there are five tracks in that album, and all five are iTunes Plus tracks now. But one of them (L-L-Love) won’t show up as upgradable.
But even more disconcerting, in light of news that Apple is dropping the price of iTunes Plus tracks to 99 cents, is that I was still charged for the upgrade!
So let’s get this straight, buy an iTunes Plus track after today, and you only pay 99 cents. But purchase an iTunes Plus track earlier, and you have the privilege of paying a 30-cent early adopter fee to get that same DRM-free track!
I’ve seen other people say it, and I held fast to not agree, but I think I’ve finally gone over the precipice and have to admit that Apple really is becoming more and more Microsoft-ish in its practices with every single announcement spewed from the Reality Distortion Field.