A Fresh New Look

April 4, 2005 02:00 by keithkaragan
I've gone back to the default layout of the .Text blog software, and picked up a custom skin that I like. Hopefully this will make it easier to navigate and find things on this blog. I may customize this further in the near future though, to better integrate with the TechOui.com theme.
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So, what podcasts am I listening to regularly?

March 24, 2005 03:00 by keithkaragan
I'm listening to tons of podcasts at the moment, but only a few consistently - and I'm listing them below. Absent from this list are the feeds from, WNYC in NYC, of the Brian Lehrer and Lenny Lopate shows because they are only a fraction of the show - I'd really want to hear the whole thing since I miss it when I have to work on-site somewhere - so in protest, these are omitted (but those shows are really good).
The hit list:
  • Coverville
    Cover tunes assembled by a fan of cover tunes - it rocks, consistently!
  • Dave Emory on WFMU
    Dave is 'the man' when it comes to dishing the dirt on the power brokers in world politics and is a dedicated investigator of fascist and un-American cover-ups of events ... very thought provoking and powerful.
  • Benjamin Walker’s Theory of Everything
    If you like Joe Frank, you'll like TOE - good stuff. Edgy radio monologues and storytelling.
  • In Our Time
    A BBC show with online streaming archives, and the latest show available in MP3. The host is knowledgeable and casts the show with experts on the subject of the day and they have excellent deep conversations. Lot's of science and philosophical stuff here.
  • Evil Genius Chronicles
    I'm not certain what this show is about ... a little bit of everything. Dave (the host) is a likable fellow and usually has something interesting to talk about.
  • The Bitterest Pill
    Dan Klass, the stay at home dad, podcasting from LA. I like Dan's spin on life as a dad and the other topics.
  • Dawn and Drew
    A couple from Wisconsin with a mostly funny, edgy talk show - fun stuff.
  • Jonesville Station – WFMU
    Jonesey! A WFMU staple, awesome music and interview show ... now you can hear it when you have the time and just when it airs live.
  • Adam Curry’s Daily Source Code
    The one time MTV VJ podcasts from his house in the Netherlands and mostly covers podcasting as a subject, interspersed with some culture, some mashups, and personal stuff. He's entertaining and likable ... maybe I'm just sentimental as a 1st generation MTV viewer.
  • 2600 – Off the Hook/Wall
    Manny Goldstein has 2 radio shows (one on WBAI and one on WUSB) both are on this feed. 2600-ish topics are more pronounced on the WBAI show, but both feature his sensible dissection of the issues of the day, and the issues of tomorrow (IP rights, privacy, technology) - good stuff!

That's the list for now ... enough to keep me entertained throughout my day with room to spare for the occasional traffic jam.

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A new route, and new challenges

March 24, 2005 01:30 by keithkaragan
I've taken on a new assignment that started a few weeks ago, but is really just getting started - both for me and for the client - so I have a new commute. No more NYC for the time being, now I have the pleasure of rush hour traffic on NJ's crappy Garden State Parkway (GSP).
The GSP is not NJ's worst road (by far), but traveling North on it is no where as pleasurable as traveling south on the NJ Turnpike. At certain points there are toll booths every 6 or 7 miles and it becomes a chore to keep you urban assault vehicle in the narrow lanes in heavy traffic, especially in bad weather.

Anyway, today was interesting from the perspective of encountering another overt asshole. It happens that even though the GSP is a very crowded road and there are quite a number of accidents and close calls every day, and some of these are certainly caused by reckless or distracted drivers - it is pretty rare to witness unbridled disregard for ones own safety and just plain rage. The setting for today's spectacle was leaving a toll lane in a not too congested stretch of road.
As I pulled away from the toll booth an SUV in the lane next to me way pretty much dead even with me, and although I clearly had the right of way, I eased off the gas to give him a little edge to get past. Behind him, and me, was a fairly new Audi wagon who's driver decided that she somehow had the right of way, although no one with working vision would agree. So this psycho guns the gas and is literally an inch or two from side-swiping my car, do she back off now that she realizes that there is no room to squeeze in (a normal occurrence) - nope! She guns it harder nearly taking me out and ramming the car in front of me as well. As I got a good look at her scowled, angry mug and nasty disposition I couldn't understand what the hell could be running through her mind. She proceeded to weave in and out cutting off car after car until I lost sight of her at the next toll (she was e-z pass equipped and I am not).
Although this is certainly not a unique experience on it's own - especially in NJ - it made me think about what would have happened to me (or anyone else involved) if she had hit me. Insurance would pay for most of the damage, and I'd have to cough up some cash for deductibles, etc - then my insurance costs would go through the roof. And I had done nothing wrong, and would have no recourse. I can swallow this on the basis of an accident, things happen and it's unavoidable sometimes - hence the term. Even considering a person on the phone, eating a sandwich, being sleepy, nervous, or whatever else that might be unintentional ... we're human and accidents happen. This would not have been an accident, this would have been pre-meditated and with intent. I can't believe that this should be a one time thing for this person, so it's a matter of time between the damage this woman must causes. But what is the recourse for her victims (not that I feel like a victim - since I fortunately avoided collision).
I'm wondering what I could have done to give her a reality check, and had it come to grinding metal, what my recourse would be. In the end I'm not even scared of the monetary loss all that much, but where is the justice? Can I lodge a complaint of Vehicular Assault under these circumstances (does that even exist?)? Can I then present that to the Insurance company to clear my good name and protest any rate increase? Can I sue in civil court for the costs I'll incur from the insurance company surcharges?  .... I don't know, but I intend to find out a little more about this scenario and the options at hand.
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R.I.P. Mr. Gonzo

February 23, 2005 23:00 by keithkaragan
I would have never guessed that HST  (aka The good doctor , aka Dr. Hunter S. Thompson ) would go out the way he did. I can almost picture what he would say about someone else given the same circumstances, but then again expect the unexpected with a character such as he was.
I definitely not a Hugh reader, but I read several HST books, and really enjoyed them. I also followed him in periodicals and online  whenever possible. His stint on ESPN  made me feel all the more normal as a male in our society, since I don't follow sports - I actually had a reason to visit a sports news site.
Most importantly though, HST made me look at the media, reporters, the news, and the establishment in new and different ways. After experiencing gonzo journalism, the rest of the pack end up looking 'owned', 'cowardly', or in some way just plain inferior. I liked reading HST, I liked it more when he'd turn up in the media for one reason or another, and I loved it when it was unavoidable (like the Fear and Loathing movie).
I have a memory of HST being interviewed on 60 minutes when I was a teenager (I think). Throughout the interview HST was walking around his property and taking target practice at things kind of randomly, making the reporter (Harry Reasoner perhaps?) very obviously nervous - how gonzo is that! It was unforgettable.
It's certain that the landscape of the US media will be forever changed by his presence, and be devoid of a powerful advocate for truth and freedom in his absence. Thank you for your contribution Dr. Gonzo, not everyone 'got it' but they were affected none the less.
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BlogDigger - search engine for blogs

December 9, 2004 03:00 by keithkaragan
blogdigger is pretty cool. Search blogs, group aggregations into a single subscription, and more ... check it out!
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New Specs

December 3, 2004 16:00 by keithkaragan
Although I've seemingly made it nearly 4 decades without the need for glasses, except for a brief stint where a particularly bad monitor I was using made be believe I needed glasses, I've now joined the ranks of IT workers whom are be-speckled.
With the vast hour of experience I now have wearing these new eyes, I must say that I can see that little type on the screen much better than before. Time will tell if I really need these or I'm suffering some other ailment that is manifesting itself as poor near field vision. Since these glasses aren't returnable, and they cost significantly more than a drug store pair, I'm torn between the desire to not need these and my frugal (or is that now officially spelled '
froogle ') nature to get my money's worth.
These new specs have an anti-glare coating on them that is supposed to reduce fatigue if you are a heavy computer (use, not weight). I had several people tell me about this before, and some had non-corrective specs they would wear when working. I haven't really noticed a fatigue in that sense since switching from a CRT to all LCDs, but it makes sense that it might help.
On of the tests, where an extremely bright light was shown into the eye to view the optic nerve was notably uncomfortable. The optometrist used a small handheld item to reflect the light differently into the eye, and on one of the angles it would cause a pressure in the ear on that side ... a very odd sensation.
Maybe I'll look more distinguished and intelligent ;-)
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Virtual Bubble Wrap ... Perfect implementation of a waste of bandwith!

December 3, 2004 05:00 by keithkaragan
I love this! Virtual Bubble Wrap   - If only I could have my desktop wallpaper made of this. This makes me think of the Conan O'Brien segments where “ Frankenstein wastes a minute of our time ”.
Found on: BoingBoing
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MSN 'Spaces' Blog Community

December 2, 2004 20:30 by keithkaragan
MSN is offering access to the beta version of their 'Spaces' blogging service for free to those interested. I opened up a blog account there ( http://spaces.msn.com/members/keithkaragan/ ) to check out the features and functionality, as well as to have a sister blog to this one for material that is less than business-related (as if the posts thus far are - lol!).
Anyway, keeping in mind that this is a beta product, it's still mighty slow and I was stranded on non-rendering pages more than a few times setting up the blog and creating a post. This could be bugs in the beta release, it could be heavy traffic since it's new, or it could be a bellwether for things to come (but I doubt it).
Feature wise, Spaces are pretty nice. The look of the sites are in keeping with the MyMsn / Hotmail flavor, and you can pick a theme and a layout from a modest assortment of pre-fabs. The editing area is based (seemingly) on the MyMsn portal framework (which seems like a SharePoint Portal Server derivative).You can add and remove modules, or move them around to alternate places in the layout quite easily.
The lists module is nice, you can list all the things you might collect, people you know, or women (or men) that have dumped you recently. A prefab music list is included that can read from your Windows media player playlist and create a list item on the fly (not a what your listening to type entry like in other blogging software - you need to select the playlist). Items in the music list link to the MSN music store , where if the song is found a visitor can preview or buy the song.
Kinda cool, although since your pimping the song, seems that Huggy Bear should get a cut, eh? Also, it would be nice if the search and preview feature could be 'in place' on the blog ... expand on the theme for other referral sales (hmmm).
There's also a photo album and integration to MSN Profiles so you can share, share, and share some more. There are custom lists, hopefully you can make a link in there to link, say, your photos on another site or your songs on MP3.com or your site ... just a thought.
Obviously the whole thing is heavily reliant on client scripting, I'll have to try it again in firefox and see what happens. Hotmail works in firefox, but the experience is less than wonderful. Speaking of hotmail, they have a new web based MSN Messenger client that sits in your hotmail window. Normally this would be useless for me since I get my hotmail through outlook, but perhaps if I was on-site at a client where MSN Messenger is blocked by a firewall I may still have access via hotmail (I'll try that next time I'm in that situation).
The look of the Spaces blogs and the feel is different from the other current blogging apps around, that's not a bad thing, we'll see shortly if they win hearts and minds to the MS blogging approach. I'll be interested to see if MS forces their corporate bloggers on MSDN away from Scott Watermasysk's .Text blogging software (now known as Telligent's Community Server ). That would be a shame on many fronts, since they put a lot of hard work behind that product, and it is very nice (this is a .Text blog).
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From the 'You know your a geek when ..." department

December 1, 2004 16:30 by keithkaragan
You know your a geek when you spend more than an hour downloading a scanner driver in order to make a photocopy rather than walking 2 blocks and paying twenty cents.
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Plastic Laminate Repair: Chips, Cracks, & Seams - Oh My!

November 16, 2004 20:30 by keithkaragan
I just discovered Kampel SeamFil yesterday, it looks like just the ticket to repair a couple chips I 'installed' in my new countertops - as well as hiding those unseamly seams. The stuff is cheap (~$5/tube) and is a liquid form of the plastic laminate that the counter is made of - so it should last as long as it does. Buying it was another matter, I had a hard time finding a place that carried it - so I  called the manufacturer and they turned me on to WoodWorkersHardware  - they had it and the supplies to boot ... I can't wait to try it out and see if it's as good as it seams ;-)
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