Blog

Different Strokes For Different Folks

Posted on: 2008-10-27 22:29:35

My boss was kind enough to send me the link to "this Wired.com article about how 'Twitter, Flickr, Facebook Make Blogs Look So 2004'":http://www.wired.com/entertainment/theweb/magazine/16-11/st_essay. I think their article has some merit, but there is something they are missing. I'm not sure about you, but I'm the exact opposite of what they are talking about.

bq. Twitter — which limits each text-only post to 140 characters — is to 2008 what the blogosphere was to 2004. You'll find Scoble, Calacanis, and most of their buddies from the golden age there. They claim it's because Twitter operates even faster than the blogosphere. And Twitter posts can be searched instantly, without waiting for Google to index them.

It's all about getting their information and ideas out there. That is, Scoble, Calacanis, et al. originally started blogs because they had information they wanted to know and blogs provided them with an adequate time-to-published latency. They wanted to get their ideas out there as fast as they could. But just because something is fast, doesn't mean it's better. Take txt messaging as an example.

You can let someone know that you're going to be late by txting them. It's extremely fast and is perfect for what you are trying to do. But you wouldn't want to try to explain anything in great detail in bursts of 140-characters-or-less messages that automatically broadcast to anyone who might be even slightly interested in what you have to say. It's too easy to be too-brief and pull the trigger too quickly on something that might be dumber than you expected because it's not subjected to the scrutiny that a regular, typed out post very well would be.

Blogs are still one of the fastest media out there for publishing and for the other 99.5% of us, they'll be the medium of choice for many years to come. Twitter and Facebook are the medication deprived ADHD stepchildren of blogs. They are most definitely not the blogs of yesteryear, no matter what their parents might say.

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Download, Uncompress, and Untar a File

Posted on: 2008-10-27 09:43:22

Just wanted to write this little shell code snippet down because I've been using it quite a bit. It downloads, ungzips, and untars a file without saving it using "wget":http://linux.die.net/man/1/wget:

<blockcode lang="bash">wget -O - http://example.com/file.tgz | tar xvz

Or, if you're Mac Like Me, you'd use "curl":http://curl.haxx.se/docs/manpage.html:

<blockcode lang="bash">curl http://example.com/file.tgz | tar xvz

Beats having all those .tar.gz files laying around like dirty kleenex.

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Why Can't We Monitor File Uploads In Major Browsers?

Posted on: 2008-10-24 23:48:23

"This guy says everything I wanted to say":http://michaelkimsal.com/blog/why-do-browsers-still-not-have-file-upload-progress-meters/ and more. His article was written in late June of this year and everything still applies.

I'm working on something like this right now. Gosh, it's infuriating.

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Fixed My First Dryer Today

Posted on: 2008-10-09 23:30:55

I have an old GE Dryer (Model # DDE5300BBL) downstairs. The belt popped in it about a month ago and I finally got around to fixing it. Unscrewed everything, cleaned it, but then I couldn't find out how the belt fit. Luckily, everything is on the internet.

Had I shopped a little harder, I could've gotten the belt for "about $6":http://cgi.ebay.com/GE-WE12X82P-Dryer-Belt-WE12X82-New-fits-Hotpoint-RCA-GE_W0QQitemZ380065144859QQihZ025QQcategoryZ20714QQcmdZViewItem, but I ended up spending about "$18 with shipping":http://www.partstore.com/Part/General+Electric/General+Electric/WE12X82/New.aspx. Taking the thing apart was easy. Cleaning the beast was a task, taking about 40 minutes and several trips to empty the vacuum. Then the belt wouldn't fit right. Turns out I was doin it rong. Oh well. A couple more google searches led me to a that describe "how to change a GE dryer belt":http://www.applianceaid.com/ge-dryers.html#belt (among other things). Great little site. Now my dryer is happily spinning away and the repair only took about an hour total.

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Join The Central Texas Drupal User Group!

Posted on: 2008-10-06 15:36:10

After talking with some friends and colleagues, it seemed about time to go ahead and start up the "Central Texas Drupal Group":http://groups.drupal.org/central-texas. Once we get enough people, we'll start meeting (monthly most likely). Since the distribution of people is split 50/50 Waco/Temple, the location of the next people that join will decide which city we'll meet in.

Sign up now, and let anyone else you know of know so we can form a group of developers in Central Texas!

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Authorize.Net Password Reset \"Bug\"

Posted on: 2008-09-30 23:33:36

It turns out that when you reset your password in "Authorize.Net":http://www.authorize.net/, the password reset page's new password fields have a maxlength value of 50. This is great, but the login form for the Merchant page's login only has a maxlength value of 25.

p=. !http://nickvahalik.com/sites/nickvahalik.com/files/50_char_pw_reset.jpg!

The end result is that putting in a password of 26 characters or more in the password reset screen will make you pull your hair out when you can't login to the site (saying that your password is incorrect!)

You can test this by changing your password using the reset link (don't know if it works from inside the account manager) and change it to something longer than 25 characters. Logout and then try to log back in. It won't work. If you visit the page with Firefox and Firebug (or any other edit-in-place browser plugin) and modify the maxlength of the password field in the login form, paste, and submit, you'll be able to login just fine.

p=. !/sites/nickvahalik.com/files/Picture%209.png!

Hopefully they will fix this by extending the maxlength of the login password field and not decreasing the maxlength of the password reset field.

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Verizon Wireless Early Termination Fee Settlement

Posted on: 2008-09-27 14:36:41

Wow... this is pretty cool. Looks like anyone who got charged an Early Termination Fee between July 23, 1999 thru August 10, 2008 might be eligible for a settlement.

Go to "http://www.verizonetfsettlement.com/":http://www.verizonetfsettlement.com/ for more information. I filled out mine this morning!

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iPhone Functionality Wishlist

Posted on: 2008-09-24 17:31:04

A list things which would be really nice to have for the iPhone:

h2. Using the iPhone as a remote monitor (of sorts)

While docked, for instance, you could have CPU, Memory, HDD, etc usage running on your phone. Apps could use the phone for extra input or space. You could play music on your main machine and have it do visualization. Download managers can talk to the phone and show throughput, etc. Xtorrent could put it's "finished" display on there. Just some ideas.

h2. Phone Integration

  • Music fades (like it does when listening on the phone) on your machine when you get a call. I love this feature when I'm using it in my car. It would be great if it did it while docked to your machine (or over bluetooth).
  • Caller-ID pops up on your screen when you get a call. Again, would be nice.
  • Ability to make answer the phone from your machine.
  • Send txt messages from an interface on your computer. Need I say more?
  • Auto-lock when you step away from the computer.

h2. Data Export

I would love to be able to export my call data (or have it show up in Address book under notes). When working with clients, it would be nice to be able to just import call logs and have the times associated with each client so you know how much time you talk to them on the phone.

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A Question To Everyone Who Downloaded Spore

Posted on: 2008-09-20 20:17:39

Spore has become the "“Most Pirated Game Ever Thanks To DRM”":http://torrentfreak.com/spore-most-pirated-game-ever-thanks-to-drm-080913/. I understand and can't say that I would not do the same thing considering the circumstances.

"Erick Schonfeld from TechCrunch explains":http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/09/14/spore-and-the-great-drm-backlash/:

The DRM that comes with the official game only allows customers to use it on three machines (after that you have to call EA for permission to activate the game on additional machines). This is nothing more than an inconvenience. Gamers, in general, are more likely to have more than one computer, and to cycle through computers faster than other PC owners because they always want the latest, greatest, and fastest machines. Many will hit that three-machine limit quickly.

Maybe EA should join the rest of the entertainment industry in coming up with a consistent DRM policy. Unlike iTunes, which imposes a five-machine limit on most purchased songs and movies, there is no way to associate new machines or disassociate old ones from your account online. You have to call. That does not scale.

It now appears that EA has "gotten the message":http://games.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/09/14/1510217, and has vowed to "make some changes":http://pc.ign.com/articles/908/908755p1.html:

bq. Electronic Arts' highly-anticipated real-time strategy game, Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3, is going to ease up on its digital rights management (DRM). While Red Alert 3 will still use SecuROM, the same copy protection that Electronic Arts Los Angeles has used for its last three C&C titles, Red Alert 3 will up the installation limit from three to five...

In regards to Spore, a company spokesperson has promised a patch in the "near future" (from "MTV Multiplayer Blog":http://multiplayerblog.mtv.com/2008/09/16/spore-drm-update-ea-loosening-one-restriction/", via "PaidContent":http://www.paidcontent.org/entry/419-ea-admits-drm-restrictions-spoiled-spore-launch/).

Assuming EA fixes these problems and adopts a less draconian DRM policy, will you go out and purchase the game?

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Apple, Please Give Me Picture Messages

Posted on: 2008-09-20 18:22:51

Normally, I'm not much of a complainer. But this is one of those things that I was sure would have eventually been fixed by now. Perhaps my thought process is lacking something.

Why doesn't the iPhone have Multimedia messaging? I can e-mail photos, "“text smarter than any smartphone,”":http://www.apple.com/iphone/features/sms.html and watch Youtube but I can't get a picture of my little brother and Jordan with funny masks on at the halloween store sent from another mobile phone. It is rather ridiculous.

To add insult to injury, whenever you actually do receive an MMS, AT&T sends you a link to a site called "viewmymessage.com":http://www.viewmymessage.com/en/legacy/login.jsp. This would be a fair trade-off for the time being if it actually worked. It doesn't. To view messages sent to your iPhone, you have to have patience to wait for the site to load and a device that can run flash. The site doesn't even attempt to load on my iPhone.

Earlier, on the picture in question, it took 2 attempts about 70 seconds to view a small, hard to see picture that I can't save to my machine. Simply unacceptable.

It's no consolation that I know I'm "not":http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=396145 "the":http://www.everythingicafe.com/forum/general-discussion/viewmymessage-sucks-10683.html "only":http://forums.wirelessadvisor.com/at-and-t-wireless-users/61896-viewmymessage-com-not-working.html "one":http://ouinsider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=56436 "that":http://forums.macworld.com/thread/87942 "feels":http://www.futureforecast.com/dansdiner/2007/12/where-iphone-really-sucks.html "this":http://www.digitalgangster.com/4um/showthread.php?t=51700 "way":http://friendfeed.com/e/ccac105e-4857-462d-bb9e-ac1415eb47aa/Still-no-MMS-on-iPhone-3G-That-is-disappointing/.

Apple is always about the experience, and to be honest, this experience sucks.

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