All the good ones get abducted by the Apple mothership

It has hap­pened twice recent­ly. Two of my favorite web-design­er­s/in­for­ma­tion-gurus/en­ter­tain­ing-blog­gers have been hired by Apple, and after that… noth­ing. They announce that they have been hired, and then their blogs go silent. Occa­sion­al­ly they will have a post about their pup­pies, or a new hair­cut, but noth­ing even remote­ly relat­ed to web design, infor­ma­tion design, or stuff I used to rely on them for.

Any­one else noticed this? Who will be next? Here are the two who have most recent­ly been ripped from my feed list:

Paul Nixon < abduct­ed on March 22, 2005 Dun­stan Orchard < abduct­ed on Novem­ber 29, 2004

At least Apple is get­ting good peo­ple.

I will pay $100 for a screensaver module

Hel­lo, enter­pris­ing soft­ware writ­ers. In short: I want a .Mac-free ver­sion of the .Mac screen­saver mod­ule. And I have $100 to throw at you.

I own a Mac OS X machine. I sub­scribe to Apple’s .Mac ser­vice. I do so for exact­ly one fea­ture: the .Mac screen­saver. This fea­ture works thus­ly: I des­ig­nate an album in iPho­to, hit “.Mac slides”, upload the pho­tos, go to my screen­saver in Mac OS X, des­ig­nate my .Mac mem­ber ID, and voila, screen­saver of the pho­tos with com­plete Ken Burns Effect. Any­body with Mac OS X can sub­scribe to this screen­saver if they know my mem­ber ID. Like the Grand­mas.

This costs me $100 per year.

If you write a pro­gram to do this, I will pay you $100 (what .Mac cost me this past year) to be able to use it. Make it free­ware, make it share­ware, make it open source, I don’t care. Just give me a work­ing copy and I will send you $100.

Here are the specs.

$100 for a screen­saver mod­ule for Mac OS X (Tiger at the very least, old­er ver­sions at your dis­cre­tion), that will pull jpgs (add oth­er file for­mats if you like!) from a des­ig­nat­ed direc­to­ry on the web and store them local­ly on the user’s machine, then dis­play them full screen using the Ken Burns Effect (or some oth­er similar–but not copyrighted–effect, like the Bob­by Joe Zoom Pan Dealio with Fade Tran­si­tions).

$25 bonus mon­ey for a Win­dows screen­saver mod­ule that does the same thing, but on Win­dows XP.

$25 more bonus mon­ey for a plu­g­in for iPho­to 5, so I can select an album and export it to the direc­to­ry on the web that I des­ig­nate. The plu­g­in should auto­mat­i­cal­ly reduce the size/quality of the pho­tos as they are uploaded, so trans­fer is quick.



Rob and Amber get lucky in Argentina

This episode of The Amaz­ing Race took place in Argenti­na, where I was born. We left when I was eight, so all I real­ly know about the place is what I have heard from my fam­i­ly, but even so it was fun to see Men­doza, Buenos Aires, and Tigre.

This is the sec­ond sea­son of The Amaz­ing Race that I have watched, and I am pret­ty much kick­ing myself for not watch­ing it ear­li­er. Though I have to admit, this sea­son far out­strips the last one, and it is because of Rob and Amber. Their skill at find­ing the lit­tlest foothold to get them­selves ahead is only sur­passed by their sheer luck. Last ep. they took a four hour penal­ty that put them far behind the first four teams, but they still made the ear­ly flight (caus­ing much gnash­ing teeth among those first four teams) and then pulled out the win at the end of the stage.

I am in awe. Plus, they are wicked­ly fun to watch. I’d also like to note, for those peo­ple who felt that Amber dis­played lit­tle per­son­al­i­ty in Sur­vivor: All Stars, stay­ing most­ly in Rob’s shad­ow… same thing is hap­pen­ing here. If she has a per­son­al­i­ty, she’s hid­ing it very well. Rob, of course, could­n’t hide his per­son­al­i­ty if… oh, some­one offered him a mil­lion dol­lars.

I look for­ward to this show every week.

What a smackdown!

Ouch. Last night on Sur­vivor, the Koror tribe got the best of both worlds. They got rid of Willard, who was a nice guy, but had to go before they could get rid of Karen, who they just have to get rid of as soon as they can. Plus, they smacked the oth­er tribe but good. First, Koror beat Ulong at the chal­lenge, but only after mak­ing it look like they might just lose. Then, at Trib­al Coun­cil they lip-smacked their way through reward stew and beer, while the Ulong stared at the hard, dusty ground. And then, to boot, they gave immu­ni­ty to Ibre­hem, Ulong’s marked man.

Beat­en, hun­gry, and hope­less, Ulong vot­ed a tie for Ang­ie and Bob­by Jon. Why they did­n’t vote out James, annoy­ing hill­bil­ly that he pro­fess­es to be, I just don’t know. In the tiebreak­er, Stephe­nie changed her vote and Ang­ie was out “unan­i­mous­ly.”

So now it is eight well-fed, rest­ed, nat­ter­ing play­ers vs. four hun­gry, des­per­ate, fer­al sur­vivors. I know who I would­n’t want to meet in a dark alley with a tub of KFC in my hands.

Review: The City of Towers

Product Image: The City of Towers
My rat­ing: 0 out of 5

I should have known bet­ter, I know. I picked this book up because, every time I peruse the role-play­ing games sec­tion at Barnes & Noble, I yearn for those days. So I picked up the first book of TSR’s newest role-play­ing milieu, think­ing to lose myself in a brand new, imag­i­na­tive, fun world. And it was bad. I have made it through twen­ty-five pages, and I’m throw­ing the book away. The first prob­lem? The font. The [pic­ture of the first page](–8864882-9534203?%5Fencoding=UTF8&p=S00E#reader-page) does­n’t do it jus­tice. It is awful. Tiny, jagged, too thick… hard to read. Though I could stom­ach that if the book itself weren’t slow, unimag­i­na­tive, trite, and full of fan­boy “cool­ness” that no longer appeals to the twelve-year-old in me. Per­haps because he is thir­ty-four.

Pop Rocks

Did you know Pop Rocks® are made in Spain? Well, they are. From the pack­age, “Made in Spain by Zeta Espa­cial, S.A., Av. Olimpiadas, 79 / 08191 Rubi (Barcelona) SPAIN. Of course, the phone num­ber for “ques­tions about POP ROCKS®”–like, will my stom­ach explode if I also drink Coke?–is in the States. Or, at least, it’s an 866 num­ber. It might very well be rout­ed to India. Or Spain, for that mat­ter.


Review: The Briar King

Product Image: The Briar King
My rat­ing: 3 out of 5

After read­ing “real books” for a while, it was nice to get back to some high fan­ta­sy. Greg Keyes is one of my favorite new authors (new being a rel­a­tive term) and this book was pret­ty good. But towards the end he fell into a trap that I feel a lot of fan­ta­sy hacks fall into, the fan­ta­sy world as amal­gam of all Euro­pean cul­tures. So our Mid­dle Ages/Chivalry style hero­ine trav­els “weeks” or some­thing and arrives in a Renais­sance/I­ta­lo-French rapi­er soci­ety. That made me come up for air and exam­ine the con­struct of his fan­ta­sy world, and that is nev­er good. I have to be able to believe, to real­ly get into it. That said, it was still a pret­ty good read (and fast) and I am look­ing for­ward to the next book in the series.

Time to clean out my office

I’ve been talk­ing about final­ly get­ting my office clean since… well, since we moved in almost two years ago. On that day, we deposit­ed box­es and box­es of stuff in the room that is my office. Just recent­ly, we man­aged to open and unpack those box­es, so that now I have a floor (on which I can put more stuff!).

But the real work has yet to be done. My desk has sev­er­al very tall piles of paper on it. Most of it, I’d say close to 95% of it, is just stuff that needs to be filed. Paid bills, instruc­tion man­u­als, receipts of rel­a­tive impor­tance. But mixed in there every once in a while I am sure to find a gem of a lost doc­u­ment. Still, I’ve prob­a­bly gone a year with­out that doc­u­ment, so it can’t be that impor­tant.

What’s push­ing me now is the arrival of tax time. I don’t know for sure, but I need to find out if there are any rel­e­vant tax doc­u­ments in these piles. I think there might be. Last year at tax time, I got away with it by mak­ing a list of the doc­u­ments I thought we need­ed, then find­ing those. This year I feel like I should find all the doc­u­ments first.

So it begins with…Aidan’s Nebras­ka Immu­niza­tion Record. The last record in there is Sep­tem­ber 17, 2003. I’m pret­ty sure he’s had a shot since then.

Awesome painting tip from Wally

The oth­er day (like two months ago) Tiffany hap­pened to let drop a paint­ing tip that (the much in demand Iowa City handy­man) Wal­ly had bestowed upon her at some point when we were liv­ing in Iowa. And I dare­say it is an awe­some paint­ing tip. Like, more than awe­some. It is incred­i­ble.

Here we go.

When you’re paint­ing your walls, and you fin­ish a coat of paint, and you’re going to

  1. wait for it to dry before recoat­ing
  2. paint anoth­er, com­pli­men­ta­ry col­or or shade on an adjoin­ing wall
  3. switch to a roller
  4. have a gin and ton­ic
  5. get out of the fumes so the pur­ple ele­phants stop both­er­ing you
  6. the Prince­ton Band

What do you do with your exist­ing paint­brush? Do you wash it?


You stick it in a plas­tic bag, and you put it in the freez­er. Awe­some! When you’re ready to paint again, you get it out, let it thaw a minute or two, and paint!