Saturday, March 28, 2009

Okay, I give up! Mozilla is better!

I've never really had a choice but to use I.E. Whatever you think of Microsoft, most of the world is married to their products, including their browser, and a person in tech support needs to stay familiar with what his customers are using. Yet I find myself clicking on Firefox more and more lately for my personal browsing (except for checking my mail on Exchange, which understandably works better in I.E.).

What's next? Where will this end? Will I be running Ubuntu as my OS tomorrow? Once strayed off the path, there are no boundaries in sight.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

No WiFi in Walt's Vision of the Future

So I'm sitting in Tomorrowland at Walt's park here in Anaheim, California, eating a $7.00 slice of pizza, and I decide to check my mail on the old iPod Touch. Scanning, scanning...whoops, there is no wireless Internet in Walt's vision of tomorrow! In fact, I haven't found reliable WiFi anywhere at the Disney resort, even in the hotel, despite the fact that the management claims it does exist. On my devices, an open Disney network does come up, but always at zero strength, useless.

If Walt were here today, I'd ask him about this issue. I'd also ask him what happened to the PeopleMover, my favorite Disney ride. It was evidently dismantled here at the California park in 1995, but I could see the tracks there yesterday when we visited. Rumor has the PeopleMover may return to California someday. I say, bring back the Tomorrowland Transit Authority: when they were running things, you could hop on a pod and ride it right through Space Mountain!

It is interesting to compare the park in California with that in Florida. In Orlando the castle is the center of the park, but here the castle is no larger than a typical McMansion in Tennessee. Instead, you've got the Matterhorn as a centerpiece. Amazingly, the Captain Nemo submarine ride that disappeared from Orlando twenty or thirty years ago (until recently the lagoon still sat there, empty) is here in California, but Nemo is a fish, not a Captain! Plus there's no Hall of Presidents or Country Bears. But for the most part, Disney has tried to keep the attractions (and the prices) at the two parks in synch.

I was amazed at how Disney had been able to redevelop huge parcels of what has to be some of the most expensive real estate ini America to make a Downtown Disney and California Adventure theme park next door to Disneyland, but was told that the land was previously a parking lot.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

FMS Ushers in New Era of Communication and Rivaly

Just got off the phone with my old friend Michael Torres (he is an old-fashioned guy who still uses "voice" to communicate) and despite his Internet 1.0 habits the man remains a genius! As I begged him to reconsider joining the borg of us on Facebook, and he refused for about the fourth time, he single-handedly coined the phrase "Friend Management System."

A proper FMS will allow one not only to keep instant tabs on the status of all friends, but to manage those friends as the Friend Owner deems appropriate. It's obvious that we'll each need to define classes of friends, so that we can provide differing levels of access and security. Rodger.bestfriend would be infinitely more powerful and all-seeing than Rodger.casualAcquaintance. Facebook is already doing some of this, but we'll need more...a lot more. I can see an entire hierarchy of relationships, with rankings awarded for witty comments or subtracted for watching and then commenting on, say, cooking reality shows. Instead of silly Facebook Snowball Fights, we can have Virtual Friend Warfare Systems in which all of us will compete to become and to retain the highest quality of friendship. Friend Recognition Systems will assembly entire armies to fight on our behalf, until our Avatars turn on the humans who created them and our rag-team fleet of Facebookers is forced out into the vastness of Internet 2.0 to seek a new home....

Well, you get the idea. And just remember: we all have ElTorro.bestfriend to thank, and we could all do it, too, if he would only join Facebook.

Adding Video to My Life

Woke up at 3:00 AM with a sore throat and a general feeling of malaise, so it's probable I have definitely quite possibly caught strep. Either that or I am such a hypochondriac that the moment my daughter was diagnosed, I caught it, too.

Can't make it to a couple of important meetings today (I feel well enough to go, but in the interest of public health--I do work for a School of Nursing--I will stay home) but this got me thinking about how it might be possible to use Skype to attend those meetings from here at home. Naturally I would want a video feed. I have a laptop at the office with a webcam that would work at that end, but what for here? The only cameras we have connect via Firewire, not the USB port that Skype expects. A little Googling put me on the download page for Splitcam, a free app that does indeed solve the problem...except that there is about a one second time lag in my video--and that's on my end, before it ever goes across the wires! So it would work, but the whole thing would look clunky, and that's the opposite of what I was trying to demonstrate.

So now it's either back to bed or back to struggling to make CSS do what I command (or rather, make myself do what CSS demands). Life as a would-be Internet hipster, at the moment, is more of a should-be than an is-be.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Strep, not Stress

Laura went to the doctor today and we found out she has strep, so now the entire family is on antibiotics.

Today at work a colleague from upstairs used Facebook to notify me that someone would be able to meet tomorrow as we had hoped. Brilliant! Now that Facebook is a legitimate form of business communication, we can keep it open at work all the time.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Being at Home on a Workday

There's nothing quite so satisfying as having to stay home with a sick child (although truth be told she seems to be feeling better) and not being able to get any work done because WebDAV (a complicated means of updating a website) is not working between here and UTC. Sure, there's a lot of work I should be doing, but since I can't access the files, I am honestly off the hook and just might have to claim this as a sick day.

It's a bad day to be sick (or not sick and in the office) because the sky is a perfect blue and it may just hit 70 degrees today. Winter, I think, is over.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Still Playing Around with Blogs

I first read the word "blog" in an article in PC Magazine by John Dvorak around 1998. Ten years have passed--a long ten years, making me at least thirty years older. So now we've got Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, MySpace, all this craziness in an attempt to stay connected with ourselves and our world.

How did we get here? Who are we?