30 August 2007
The skinny is available here.
Tags: OPB, Ira Glass, This American Life, Lelo In Nopo, OMI
- While I can wax gregarious, I start out as painfully shy (another blogger described it as "shy writers meeting shy writers." That blogger (whoever you were) had our number...or at least mine).
- No matter how you dress me up, I'm fuggly. There, I've said it; I feel better. I'd never be an anchor. I have a face, as they say, for radio.
We've always liked Rod Hill's style, from when he was over at KPTV (until just after it was Foxified) and now. Well, people, that's the way he really is in person. He walked straight up to us and just picked up talking to us, asking me very good questions about how I do what I do and how I keep track of who visits, stuff like that.
Also, Rod's unflappable, when The Wife™ caused my glass of Drop Top Amber Ale (very good, acutally–see how KATU treated us?) to tip, she was dismayed, I rather panicked, but Rod? Cool as a cucumber.
Debora Knapp also came over to say hi to everyone:
She was also very affable. I talked to her twice, along with some of the KATU execs who showed up.
I just missed meeting Steve Dunn, but he was working the room too. Tall. That man is very tall.
After that, they let us loose in the studio (there was apparently a breaking interview that delayed us. Everyone was very cool about this):
This is the view of the News set, the anchor desk, from an angle behind. When something ephemeral gets real, the overwhelming feeling is something like I had here: gosh, It's just a bit of furniture, isn't it. So, yeah, I was all country-mouse about it, but I won't lie–in some ways, I am quite unsophisticated. It was fascinating as hell to see it up close.
This moment was a personal favorite of mine:
That's The Mighty Lelo and dieselboi, from a POV behind the anchor desk. Those cameras are both bigger and smaller than I thought (the actual camera port is quite smaller than I expected) and they can be moved from a remote console. The Wife™, a quondam Dr. Who fan, termed this "going Dalek" (there were little flashing green lights on the base of them. Very SF.
One thing you hear over and over from us hoipolloi who finally get to visit the world of media is how different it all looks in person. Well, it may be a trite thing to say, but it's true. The news set is actually at the opposing corner of the studio...from the AM Northwest set. Now the studio room itself isn't that small a room, but when you consider what they do with it, it seems much smaller than one would assume.
Here's an angle on the AM Northwest set, from behind the anchor desk:
And here's the view of the news set from the back corner of the AM Northwest set:
See? Small! As it happens, a curtain is drawn across the news set to screen it out for reverse-angle audience shots during AMNW. If you ever catch yourself watching that show (which I do occasionally because I like Dave Anderson) and you see that curtain behind the audience, now you know; the news set is behind it. The chairs themselves are on large rolly-carts that were stowed to stage right and stage left. As far as the kitchen set of AMNW, it's astoundingly close to hand at the left (from the audience's view).
Whilst crawling about the AMNW set, I noticed this door:
Ever wonder what it looked like back there? So did I (I found the stone-wall stucco strangely humorous), so I peeked around:
Yep, that's pretty much it. One more illusion destroyed...but you didn't really think there was really a forest back there, didja? If you did, go over to The Drudge Report please–there is nothing further for you at this blog.
A couple more pics of things that fascinated me:
There is a lot more room behind the anchor desk than I thought. And you didn't really think they had a view of Mount Hood, didja? If so, to Drudge with you. Seriously, dude. Go.
Here's where the weather is reported...the weather wall...
If you peep the video monitor immediately right of the cutie in the red mini, you'll see that the green wall is replaced by the graphics. This is called chroma-key, and all that is is when the color (chroma) is subtracted out and the image is combined in on the technical end. This is why you never see the weather person wearing green. And, yes, it was smaller than you'd think at home.
For those who always wondered, this is why the weathermanorwoman never looks at the map they're describing–they're watching themselves in the monitors directly to the left and the right of the wall.
The Party's over...
Me and The Wife™ were actually the last people to leave. This was because we talked quite a bit with some station personnel, who had the most interesting stories to tell. For the "busman's" view of the way the station worked, I want to personally thank Mike Sutton, one of the station engineers: Mike, you gave us memories that will last a lifetime, and you, like the rest of the KATU staff, were just fine and nice people.
And here's one of our favorite newsies, Scott Moore, of the Portland Mercury, hot off the game of 4-square they were playing across Sandy Blvd (sadly, me and The Wife™ were too busy to see them there. But they posted fun stuff about it at Blogtown). Behind him: the esteemable Nothstine, of P3. I enjoyed meeting them both. Scott in particular was a howl...
I'll gather up my swag and post piccies in an entry or two. I didn't put every picture up, if you want to get a look at my fuggly self and all the best pictures I took, go to this link to my Photobucket sub-album.
Brian Westbrook (who was apparently the media-blogger liaison between KATU and usn's) has a recap, pixs, and link list at his blog here.
Another good roundup can be found at Silicon Florist, here.
We had a great time. Thanks, KATU!
(It's a big one folks-630 KiB)
Above Photo copyright Brian Westbrook
Technorati Tags: KATUMeetup, KATU Meetup, KATU, Channel 2, Portland Media, Portland bloggers
930. Michael Jackson is dead.
This MJ was a world-renowned authority on not just beer, but good beer–the kind anyone who gives a damn about beer should be drinking (in my mind, that would not be PBR, but I digress). His signature publication was The World Guide to Beer, published originally in 1977. He also wrote extensively on whisky (or, whiskey, if you will). Public television viewers may best know him from his show, The Beer Hunter.
The man had a decided passion for well-made beer, as his home site will quickly reveal. The most exemplary paragraph from it is this:
I want you to think about every beer you put to your lips. Very often I'm just walking along . . . and somebody wants to stop and shake hands and say "Hi, you introduced me to that really strange Belgian beer and my life's never been the same since." Maybe the next time it will be you.
29 August 2007
929. The KATU Blogger meetup came off with little trouble. It was a great time.
Now me, I'm quite awkward in social situations until I can find a person or two to talk with, and I did pretty soon. It was a thrill to meet people like dieselboi, Lelo, The Mercury's Scott Moore, Kai, Nothstine, and Betsy Richter amongst others (If I missed you, just shoot me a note, I'll put you in there).
Regardless of what anyone might feel about on-air talent, the KATU news anchors were the very definition of affable. Incrediby nice and friendly people. I was pleased to meet Rod Hill and Debra Knapp–just missed meeting Steve Dunn–and they were just the sweetest people. It was uncanny the way Rod Hill could just pick up a conversation with you talk with you.
I'll post a bit more on it when I've let the event percolate. Like many there, I've got piccies too.Update: Here's the entry with the incriminating photos!
Technorati Tags: Portland Bloggers,Portland Media,KATUMeetup
928. Now, I know I'm late to the party on this one, but I'd be extremely remiss if I didn't add my plaudits to the esteemable courage shown by our own Lelo in suggesting to the booking agency for Ira Glass that it is rather amiss that OPB would have him speak in a venue powered by a movement who wants to disenfranchise an entire class of people, just 'cos they're...you know...icky.
Ira's upcoming lecture, once scheduled for a well-known SE area conservative megachurch, is now in a venue TBD.
I know it probably wasn't just Lelo, but she put up the word and once the cat was out of that bag, it spread like wildfire, and if OPB wasn't willing to pay attention, then their content provider obviously made them pay attention. Lelo put it very well herself:
So what’s wrong with this picture? I love Oregon Public Broadcasting, and I love Ira Glass, but there’s no way I’m walking into a church that doesn’t accept me for who I am, and who works against me, to hear him. I just can’t do that. And Oregon Public Broadcasting? They evidently can do that no problem, and are paying a pretty penny for the use of the venue. Yep, they’re paying New Hope, a place that is actively and monetarily working to encourage discrimination, for the use of their venue for the wonderfully inclusive and pro-LGBT Ira Glass to speak.
I don't believe that anyone should be treated differently because of whom they share thier intimate joy with.
Not even Christians.
But I also believe that just because we find someone else's choice of intimate partner distasteful–or sinful (whatever that's supposed to mean) this also does unequivocally not give us any right or call to divest them of rights they should reasonably expect to have.
927. Now it can be told: Via dieselboi (who apparently is one of my secret admirers) I do have an e-vite to the stored KATU Blogger meetup tonight at 18:30. Am I desparing to be going in on someone's coattails? Hells no...we like people who like us!
But why are we going? Who wouldn't want to see the inside of a television studio?
With fun apparently to be had by all which I will perforce blog about. The drawback, of course, is that some will have to look at my fuggly mug. Ah, life.
926. Many people out there on the Mac OS X platform are using the free FontExplorer X utility from Linotype to manage fonts on thier machines. I myself have dipped my toes in the water but have not turned over complete control of my Mac's fonts to it.
I may have reason to do so now. MacFixIt, that dependable reference for what's current in what might go wrong with your Mac, has, for the public good, posted a nifty short article on just how to do it in OS X.
It has some good insights. Font geeks, at least the amateur ones, just can't get enough fonts, and tend to have ginormous font libraries on line. Eventually they have enough to tax thier programs at startup; many programs, such as Word (and probably InDesign and QuarkXPress, but I don't know for sure on those) build font menus at startup. The more fonts you have, the longer it will take. Also cluttered font caches can reduce overall system peformance noticeably.
The MacFixIt article speaks sooth when it saith:
A sound, basic approach to fonts is to keep your font list lean and mean. Confine your installed fonts to just the fonts that come with a clean installation of Mac OS X, and no more. If you want to use any other fonts, enable them only when you want to use them, and disable them the rest of the time
And this approach works for designers as well as the civilian public. After all, while it's nice to have NeoGothicSanskrit on your system for the design work, how often do you actually use it? Not often, I'll bet.
All those not-often-used fonts take a toll on system performance and app peformance, so we think that MacFixIt's advice is indeed sound and basic. Have 'em on line...just keep 'em deactivated unless you need it.
Apps like FontExplorer X, which have plugins which sense and activate fonts as you need them (and can even have customized font sets) are just the thing.
28 August 2007
925. Alerted by Google to a posting on a discussion board is this discussion, about a publication moving from QuarkXPress to Adobe InDesign.
It's notable for this bit of insight:
Just made the switch from Quark 4 to InDesign CS3 today
In the context, it's not so important to note to what the publication swtiched to (though Adobe, I'll bet, is thrilled) but what the publication swtiched from.
QuarkXPress, yes; specifically,QuarkXPress 4. Not 5, 6, or even 7. QuarkXPress release 4. Relased in 1997.
One thing that has become clear to those of us who care about the epic struggle between QuarkXPress and InDesign for electronic layout king is that QuarkXPress 7's toughest competitor, ironically, isn't InDesign at all. It's QuarkXPress 4.
Back in 1997, Quark, Inc. had banished PageMaker to the shadows of small offices and club newsletters and was The Game In Town. Everyone used XPress and it garnered a lot of fans. People used–and loved–XPress 4.
Then, once it had the heights, on the seventh day...Quark rested. The next major upgrade wasn't for three years, with QuarkXPress 5 (not native for OS X when InDesign version 2 was), which was recieved with a collective "meh" from the design community at large. It wasn't until 2004 when XPress was finally ready for OS X prime-time, and improvements have come pretty fast since then, but Quark has lost a lot of fans in the meantime.
How do I know that? I have no access to sales figures and Quark's knowledge about how its flagship is sailing (Pariah Burke's excellent Quark Insider article at Quark vs InDesign is the place you want to go to read up on the state of play, and a follow-up here.) But I do know that, based on the ad mailings I recieved and the things I hear out and about, the question always seems to be not "should we swtich from QuarkXPress 7 to InDesign" but "should we upgrade to Quark 7 from Quark 4?"
Factor that into your apparasals of how the competition between Quark and Adobe is going. It explains at least a few things I can think of, and probably a few things you can think of.
924. Okay, I told a lie a few entries back. I havent completely given up on Adobe Contribute CS3. I can make entries and make them look good so easily with it that I'm reluctant to give it up. And, since I was going to keep using Firefox to upload entries anyway, if I have an apres posting editing to do, I can do it in the Fox. Contribute enables nice leading too–the unContributed entries were all but set-solid, and if that's not what you're going for, that can be irritating.
As mentioned a couple of entries back, Adobe's troubleshooters are doing the best they can with this.
What it boils down to is feed redirection due for Feedburner. When feeds are redirected, Contribute can't retrieve the entry for some odd reason. Now, with feeds unredirected, I can open posts for editing–but no edits are saved for some reason. Maybe it takes some flushing of the cache, whereever Contribute's version of that might be. Maybe I hae to push some more entries down the RSS pipe, I don't know,
But it's such an odd problem I can't believe there isn't some solution I've so far overlooked.
And Contribute does rox0r in major ways to post with.
The camera was moved once of necessity. At the end, the Moon is disappearing behind one of the tall evergreens that we have in such abundance out in our Heavy Eastside neighborhoods.
The Vivicam 3705 isn't much of a camera for photographing the sky, but it was fun to try it out, and it was quality time with The Wife™, which is not a bad thing.
Neither is Photohsop CS3 Extended, which actually allowed me to create a QuickTime movie out of about 28 still shots. Nifty!
Next total lunar eclipse in 2010.
Tags: 2007 Total Lunar Eclipse
27 August 2007
And this should go down in the history of lame, embarrassing excuses (also via Pregnant Cornbread):
Craig stated “that he has a wide stance when going to the bathroom and that his foot may have touched mine,” the report states.This is more than anyone ever needed to know about anyone, anywhere, anyhow. My brain just threw up in my mouth just a little.
Why is it that members of a party that never tire of preaching to me about morality and personal responsibility have little apparent ability to walk their very talk?
It's a rhetorical question...but, as a voting citizen who still has some faith in his country...a serious one.
"It takes ten 'atta-boys' to make up for one 'aw, crap!'"It goes right to the heart of experiences between the consumer and a producer...or, really, anyone, if you think about it.
I believe it was Lily Tomlin who said "Remember, we're all in this alone." Scarlett O'Hara, if memory serves correctly, expanded on this view by noting that she had always depended on the kindness of strangers. What, to me, it all gets down to is trust. We may have the most amazing friends in the world, but if we can't trust what they say, then we don't actually have all that much. In the case of transactions on a more mundane (but still important) level, if we suspect that the people who provide us products and services don't completely have our satisfaction and interest at heart, then we may well use their products and services, but we do so in expectation of a possible disappointment of some sort and the expectation that we may be on our own in dealing with it.
Without trust, the feeling of community disappears, and we are on our own–all in this alone.
It's a fragile thing.
I say the above because I'm continuing to explore solving the Contribute CS3 blog connection conundrum. There has been a deveolpment.
What Becomes a Legend Most
The maxim of the ten atta-boys is at work in two levels in this situation; that of the Blogger crew and that of the Adobe crew.
As much as the help from Blogger goes, this is the downside. I've built up at least ten "aw crap" moments with them in trying to get help on my occasional problems. Fortunately, in the case of RSS feeds, they seem to resolve themselves. On anything else, me and many users are on our own-alone.
And, while it's a fair point that Blogger offers a free service, I would also point out that that's their deal, their terms, and I don't think offering a service for free necessarily means I should be expected to accept substandard service–especially when there is no terms of agreement anywhere that I can find which states I must, and further more, there isn't a pro or premium service that grants me more efficient answers to my problems. There's just one level of Blogger service.
Moreover, Blogger is owned by Google, which has some of the most blazingly intelligent minds in IT today working for it–and is doing well enough that they certainly should be able to detail some employee might that's committed to making Blogger as near flawless as possible for even Contribute users (and Safari users, for that matter), instead of "Blogger Employee" who might–or might not–or probably will not–respond to a complaint.
For me, it just doesn't add up.
Now, on the Adobe end, my impression from other users and my own experience is that Adobe cares very much that the software they produce work creditably and have traditionally been willing to try and bend over backwards for their customers. This perception of Adobe is currently being reinforced; a mere few days after submitting my bug complaint to the Contribute team at Adobe I'm getting email from one of them asking me to provide more detail on the problem.
So, on the one hand, Blogger staff have failed on making up for the "aw crap" that I've experienced from the service. And Adobe, in responding in a quick manner to my bug report, is trying very hard to make up for the "aw crap" that Contribute has delivered me. And here's the upside for Adobe; if the problem can't be resolved (this is a hypothetical) then Adobe still has my goodwill and trust, because they cared enough to try. Adobe could conceivably fail at resolving my problem now and I would still think highly of them.
While I think Blogger is still a kickass service which I enjoy a great deal, I have decreased faith in their ability to solve problems for their user base, and quite possibly care little about the problems some of their users have. With Blogger, to a degree, we are all in this one alone.
Adobe's up at least five "attaboys" with me and is, I'm confident going to make it back to ten; I don't worry about them.
I'd love it if Blogger would try to start making up at least two or three "attaboys".
And so it goes.
Tags: Adobe, Blogger, Adobe Contribute CS3, blogging, blog tools.
25 August 2007
Boots is the jellicle up front. Gimel is giving her mommy a little groom, there. Gimel is also kind of insane. You know the girl that some families have, she's a wild child, kind of lovable but also rather maddening, and she's usually this wiry, active person.
That's our Gimel. A perfectly healthy, adorable, 8-pound bonsai kitty that's kind of crazy. You love her despite yourself, and despite her, as well, too, also.
And now, our featured digital short, courtesy of a pic ripped off of Hot, Fresh, Now:
It's a digital short because...well, it's in a digital format. And it's shorter than the above pic. Duh.
For me and my house, we're waiting until we have at least two more versions of that thing out, and an income. Definitely that.
Tags: caturday, iPhone, iPhone hackery
The ongoing argument I'm having with Contribute is just too distracting, and I'm actually sincerely sad that I can't resolve it. Here's the state of play:
- Contribute connects to blogs just fine, no problem there.
- It allows me to post to the ZKT without much of a hitch–the inability to upload graphics is annoying, but not a deal-breaker, because I can use Firefox to get the images in (I don't like it, but it's tolerable)
- About three days ago, Contribute started to refuse to allow me to edit already-posted entries, complaining that I was addressing a blog I wasn't connected to–even though I connected to it and was having no problems up to that time updating entries.
- The problem at first appears to be resolved when I suspend feed redirecting to Feedburner, but it only seems that way; recent posts that get edited refuse to commit any changes to the edited post, and there is no apparent error message. Working out RSS problems is so far outside my remit, it's a toll call.
- Moreover, a change did take in an entry three back, but there's no apparent reason why; it's just as this one is, text with Technorati tags.
But, alas, no.
I'm glad as heck that I'm not reviewing this for Designorati. I'd have to give it a thumbs down. Contribute CS3 is a great interface, everything at your fingertips, and allows you an almost-WSYWYG view of what you're going see, and word-processing-style formatting on the fly. I don't have to remember it's CTRL-i for italic (instead of CMD-i, which I'm conditioned to do). The image uploading workaround, I can live with. Being suddenly unable to edit posts and not having any way of working the problem out for myself, though–that I can't live with. The inability to find creditable help anywhere is just icing on top of a rather bitter cupcake.
I strongly suspect this is a problem with the blogging platform rather than the editing platform, based on my experience with Contribute before the gremlin started playing about combined with the behavior exhibited when I played around with the feed URL, or, succinctly, Contribute's being told a lie by Blogspot somehow. But it's beyond my expertise to solve, so it's back to Firefox (I'd prefer to use Safari, but it has problems with Blogger too!!!) to administer my blogs.
I have not used Contribute CS3 to administer websites, and I understand it works creditably in that mode, but I have no experience there.
As long as I'm bellyaching...Let's snark about the Blogger "Help" Group.
I'd say "don't get me started" here, except I've started myself up over my fight with Contribute and that heartbreaking user experience led directly with an attempt to get some help over at Blogger's utterly feckless "Help" Group.
Some of my fellow bloggers may have had this experience. You're trying to just do what you usually do with your Blogspot blog, and all of a sudden, a wheel comes off (I have found RSS feeds recently unreliable twice) that is outside your expertise. So, instead of a readily available feedback page and bug report (try to find it–I dare you) you usually wind up on what they call Google's Blogger Help Group.
So, you post your problem. It's a U2U forum, where other users (a forlorn hope indeed) chime in on your problem, or, hopefully, the semi-anonymous "Blogger Employee" makes a suggestion.
I've posted three or four problems and have gotten as near to zero response as makes no difference, and absolutely no response on my Contribute woes, not even a "go fly a kite" from anyone including Blogger Employee.
So, as of now, Blogger Help Group is dead to me, and I wouldn't suggest anyone in search of any real answers go there. This isn't any sort of critique of the user community there; after all, if they knew how to solve their problem, they wouldn't post it to a public forum in a vain hope that someone else in the peer group knows an answer.
I've been as patient as I can with Blogger Help Group. But life's only so long, neh?
As it happens, there is a common thread (or, my point...and I do have one)
I'm finding out a commonality here. As producers of something of value, I highly admire Blogger and Adobe; Adobe gives me mad powerful digital tools, and Blogger allows me to pontificate to the world (and slam them on their sorry help performance) for no additional charge (remember what Tom said: Free is a very good price).
But, as a consumer of services and products in a consumer society, once you get really really satisfied with a line, it's a bit of a put-off when a product from a company you've given inherent trust in fails on you. It's hardly fatal, because that's something that can be recovered from. However, if you try to use the help and support structure that is at hand and if it proves unsympathetic and unreactive to your problems, that elevates to a sort of betrayal.
I won't be dropping this blog (or Blogger/BlogSpot) anytime soon, and I'm still smitten with Adobe. But the bad taste this process has left in my mouth will take a little while to fade away, and may never completely be forgotten.
917. I seem to be able to edit entries now. I did a little detective work, by going back to first causes.
I also contribute to another blog everyone doesn't read (but ought to), Zrharc!. And that blog did allow me to edit posts.
What, I said to myself, said I, was the difference between that blog and this? Nothing. Except, of course, that I redirect the RSS feed to Feedburner on that one.
I stopped feed redirection...and lo! I could open a blog post for editing again! But...the changes were not being committed to the post. So, I tried one post back...the change committed. So I deleted the original post 917 in favor of this one, which I will perforce try to add something to.
And if that works...I've got to decide if I want to live without Feedburner for now.
24 August 2007
916. You know how it feels when you think that you're the only one having problems with an app, and then you find that others are having that problem too? I just got that. Very liberating.
But it has proved to be impossible to actually edit an existing post. I can easily find and select the post. But actually trying to open it for editing gives me a wild sequence of alert dialogs. I firstly get a "failed to open document" alert followed by a "Save changes to untitled-1?". This cycle repeats and often leads to Contribute crashing.
This is something like the problem I'm having right now. To be specific, Contribute CS3 complains that I need to establish a connection to the website after selecting a post from the drop-down list, which only is active after you've made a successful connection to this blog.
I'm hoping Adobe steps up and comes up with something very soon, at least advice. I'm still using Contribute CS3 to post...which I think testifies to how good it is. Contribute CS3 rocks as far as blog posting goes; it could be a mad powerful tool, and I give it a guarded thumbs-up: it needs to be a bit more dependable in the editing department. But I like it a great deal.
C'mon, Adobe, you know how many of us blog. Help a brother out?
This is probably a vain attempt to add a change.
915. Jonah Goldberg gave me such an eye-roll that I nearly had to go to an emergency room today:
The short history of the Internet is already long enough to repeat itself. In dog years, I'm 288, but in Internet years, I'm Methuselah. I was the founding editor of National Review Online in 1998
Good on ya, there, fellah. I've had the same e-mail address since 1987.
If it makes you feel good to have been a content-creator since '98, though, more power to you.
(snort) Child. Whatever.
Technorati Tags: buffoonery
ZOMG, I've got to get me that Paint! No more of this Adobe Creative Suite for me...
Tags: satire, MSPaint, design
23 August 2007
912. A couple of weeks back, a kitty picture that Vicki Jean over at alt.portland took caught my eye.
Those of you who have drank of the LOLCat draught know what can happens; you start to look at any candid picture as a potential image macro. As I did with this one. I nicked it, sans permission, and hacked away.
And thanks, Vicki Jean, for just being so esteemably nice about it.
22 August 2007
I found out about it only a very few days ago, and with my portfolio in a rather dissheveled state, I had some hot work to do. And that's not all: my current budget for personal promotional printing is, essentially, zero.
No, actually, it is zero.
Anyway, I came up with a solution. I gathered some graphics and fired up Dreamweaver CS3, and made a portable website (a webfolio) containing samples, commentary, and even a mailto: link to contact me at.
And it's all on a little CD-ROM called Sam Klein on a Disk.
I am still looking for work in the design world, for what it's worth, and if you want, you can email me here if you're looking for someone who's pretty handy with CS2, CS3, and QuarkXPress, and I can send you a fast copy of the desk (or a .dmg or .zip of it).
I'm quite proud of it. Even if I don't have much of a chance at Dark Horse, I'm feeling good about my little portable site. If I can find a place to host it on line, I'm doing that.
Wish me luck, people.
910. The commenter in the very last entry had a very interesting thing to say about the current torrent of phishery that's infesting inboxes everywhere:
This email is actually generated by one of the latest variants of the Storm trojan.
So this is what comes of poor computer hygiene and less-than diligent antivirus measures (thanks for the tip. Colin).
Just out of curiosity, I clicked the link to see what site the link (which has so far always been the same or very similay IPv4 address beginning in 76.XXX.XXX.XXX) and I get the same thing–a bare notice that says "If you do not see our Secure Login Window, Please download our Secure Login Applet".
An .exe file about 44 KiB in size downloads. I did not run it, of course, (I couldn't–this is a Mac) but if they can get you to run this little program...this ought to be a condition in which the user can legally have thier computer taken away from them. Or maybe get a new one, say a Timex-Sinclair 1000 or someohing like that.
20 August 2007
909. Gratutious alarm: EMAIL SCAM! DO NOT CLICK ON OR REPLY TO ANY EMAIL LIKE THE BELOW. There. Duty done.
Sometimes we are amused at phishers and sometimes we want to find them and just b-slap them a lot, a bit. Two essentially identical emails make us feel about 50-50 today. Here's an exampe of one of them:
Thank You for Joining Pet World.
Confirmation Number: 995793712
Your Temp. Login ID: user2604
Temp Password ID: qp381
This Login Info will expire in 24 hours. Please Change it.
Follow this link, or paste it in your browser: http://no.effing.way.charlie/
Membership Support Department
Now, I know better than to run off and change my membership information at a site that I've never heard before and never actually regsitered for. Am I to understand that there are people who fall for this?
Very banal. Very evil. I suppose people need to be told not to do this thing. Fortunately, that's not my job, but hopefully I've done some sort of public service here; I know it sounds rude and obnoxious and brutal, but there are just some people who deserve to be taken in my that.
19 August 2007
908. I should have followed the directions for redirecting my RSS feed to Feedburner sooner.
Gone from having null most of the time (and 1 every so often) to having 37-47 subscribers via feedburner (so far).
And to think that I was about to delete the code for that chicklet...
Shout out to my RSS subscribers: I wonder, what do you subscribe to this blog for? It tries to be a designer's blog but I do wander about, because my mission isn't just design, and I'm not that successful a designer yet.
Why do you all read me? What do you get from this blog? If there was one thing that you'd suggest I should do to make this more interesting, please leave a comment.
This blog is all about me, but if anyone's reading it, I'd like it to be a little about you too. The idea of the salon fascinates me, and I'd always fancied I could be a center of that–the Algonquin Round Table is gone, but a guy can dream, as I always say.
Remember, links always cheerfuly reciprocated.
907. You ever try for something you don't think you'll have much of a chance at but think you can do and hope someone else will agree?
I'm in that spot now. It's a forlorn but happy place: I'm actually having to create under pressure, and that makes me feel alive.
I want to send samples thence but my budget is non-existant (price inkjet cartridges lately? Sure. I know you have) I'm creating a portable website, mailable, throw-uppable in a trice, and with the ability to include files as a download section. The weapon of specific information: Dreamweaver CS3. Love Dreamweaver. That I'm using it now reminds me why I prefer it to GoLive. Oh, how I wanted to like GoLive...
I love the web. Just love it.
16 August 2007
906. Something like this, you'd think that it should have happened here in the creative coffee-fueled crucible that is Portland, but, alas, no.
You can still be amazed by it, tho. Go there: www.justcoffeeart.com.
These amazing artworks are made in–well, coffee. You have to see it to believe it. The snippet with which I illustrate (which is copyright the creator and for illustrative purposes only) is just a peek.
Seriously, this is amazing stuff. And, It's non-toxic!
15 August 2007
904. So we, invested as we were in the playout of the 2007 edition of Hell's Kitchen, and committed Gordon Ramsay fans as we were, sat down to watch the ultimate episode; down to Bonnie and Rock.
I don't think anybody's followed my comments on the show but if they had they'd have seen a marked and obvious decrease in my passion for reporting on it. This is not a mistake. After noticing that my writing about it obviously wasn't really engaging anyone (I'm not doing self-pity here–when a lot of zero-second hits generate no comments or links whatsoever, you can only draw one conclusion), I also noticed something other commenters noticed about the contestants–they weren't really worth getting excited about.
And to be fair, maybe that wasn't thier fault. After all, the first winner we followed from the post to the finish line was Heather West–and she was amazing last year, really inspiring. Our winner this year–Rock–was someone we couldn't get behind no matter how hard we tried. His quirks were scary, his outbursts were scary...sure, he was the most consistent contestant overall, but he was about as lovable as an automobile transmission.
Bonnie, on the other hand, was a late bloomer: she was wishy-washy and whining about how she wasn't good enough through most of the show. Then, when she finally got her gumption, it was amazing to watch...and way too late.
So they went down to the final challenge, Bonnie with her "Neighborhood Hideaway" and Rock with his "Cajun Bistro". Both had scrumptious looking food. Both had thier problems (but I swear, Julia, who had won us over with her spunk, lost us with her endless crying, complaining, and trying to undermine Bonnie). At the end, the doors opened, and Rock stepped through–and Bonne was the epitome of the good sport, and it appeared genuine.
But at the end, after the credits rolled, The Wife™ turned to me and said something very telling:
"There was nobody to get passionate about, was there?"
No, hon, there wasn't. And that, my friends, is the lesson of Hell's Ktichen 2007.
And an intersting footnote to this season: In this article posted on TV Squad several weeks ago, it looked like the winner had indeed been leaked: word got out that it was Rock. This suspended all betting on bodog.com.
903. I just divined that the BlueOregon poster "Taoiseach" has inaugurated a blog, Beaver Boundaries, with, an insightful post about the mad shuffle expected to ensue over State Senate District 14 now that Ryan Deckert is taking his ball and going home to head the Oregon Business Association.
Since we admire anyone who has the good taste to link to us, and we doubly admire anyone who takes on a Celtic title (roughly pronounced TEE-shock) of such import, we are more than happy to return the kindness.
Since Taoiseach gazes upon the fnords without flinching, we shall file that link in the blogroll accordingly.
12 August 2007
902. One thing that experimenting with Adobe Contribute CS3 has done for me is really fire up my blogging frequency (even if it hasn't gotten my any more links or readers–when are you people going to reward my constancy and genius, huh?) as I learn to really have fun with it.
I still have not solved the problem of posting pictures to the blog through Contribute. I suspect it may be a little intractable–the blog is a remote thing, and the picture is a local thing, and putting it into the blog does not upload it to Blogger's image server; since the uploaded image is not a local file anymore, you cannot edit in Contrubute. These functions are, as far as I can tell, truly come into play when all your content is local, such as editing websites (which was Contribute's original remit) or if you hosted your blog locally. I don't know if the behavior changes if you host an FTP blog via Blogger.
The reason I realized that this tool may be becoming more than a passing fancy is twofold. First, I'm having a lot of fun doing it; as I said previously, entering content in a nearly-WYSIWYG environment is much easier on the eyes than Blogger's interface, which is frustrating in Safari. Second, Contribute, despite the things I can't get it to do for me yet, enables me to do things that the Blogger interface just doesn't without handcoding some HTML.
Handcoding HTML doesn't scare me–but when you're in a writing mode it is, at best, inconvenient and at worst, irritating.
One thing Contribute allows me to do that reduces to a keypress and a click? I can now make links open in a new window by going Insert>Link>Browse To Web Page..., CMD-V to copy the URL into the box, then going to the Advanced section (open the flippy triangle) and simply selecting New Window from the Target dropdown.
This, my friends, is powerful and cool.
Blogging with Adobe Contribute CS3...this may be the beginning of a beautiful friendship, albeit with a side-trip to Safari to upload images.
901. The charmingly-self-dubbed Palm Springs Savant noticed my remembrance of The Mervster and came out of nowhere to comment on it.
It's a sweet tribute that deserves to be read, with mentions of the charity he did. complete with a classy pic of Merv who posed for the author on 4th March–which must amount to one of the last photos ever taken of him. Lucky fellow.
Just for having the name Palm Springs Savant, He's going to be a Staccatto Signal Of Constant Information in the blogroll, also because we, too, sometimes wallow in celebrity news (but just behind closed doors, mind you).
Technorati Tags: Merv Griffin
901. When I'd heard that Merv Griffin had gone back into the hospital to get more treatment for prostate cancer, I ought to have known it was one of those cases of the media gilding the lily. As it turned out, he was on death's door.
Time was, reportage laid a very soft hand upon celebrities like this. I mourn for those days (except in the cases of Britney S. and Lindsay L., who, IMHO, deserve all the embarrassment they can handle. But I, as usual, digress).
With respect to Merv I must say I'm torn. I found his daytime talk show, that ran through the the middle-late 80's to be a crashing bore; I always though I was watching a downmarket version of The Mike Douglas Show, which being able to make such a comparison probably reveals a whole lot more about my youthful viewing habits than I probably ought, but there you go. I also wish he hadn't come up with Wheel of Fortune, the most singularly annoying game show this side of You're In the Picture (look it up on Wikipedia, I'm taking too many side roads here. Amazing how I can make a memorial to somebody else all about me, neh?); if not for Merv, Pat Sajak would still be where he belonged; doing weather in some mid-sized market's 5 pm report somewhere in the flyover zone.
He did make up for all that with two things for me mainly; the revival of Jeopardy!, which makes it possible for people to watch TV that's not PBS and be smug about it, and the part he played in the Steve Marting comedy The Man With Two Brains, in which he poked savage fun at his own "Wooooh!" persona, which was nothing short of cosmically inspried. I'm not giving that one away–go get it and view it yourself, or if you don't care for Steve Martin (you cretin) look that up on Wikipedia, they probably have a spoiler therein.
All this is a way of saying that I thought some of what Merv came up with was kinda crap, some of it was brilliant, but I always did like the man. You couldn't not like someone who always came off so happy and friendly.
He also had a love-er-ly bunch of coconuts, for what that's worth.
11 August 2007
900. One of the perennial digital design stalwarts, and erstwhile electronic layout King-of-the-Hill (via the well-known QuarkXPress layout engine) is having some hiccups on the way to its future.
As documented by Pariah S. Burke, an anonymous source (called by some "Deep Quark" and others "Deep Page", take your pick) has delivered what must certainly be some unsettling news.
Quark, Inc, as is the right of privately-held companies, keeps most all of its cards close to the vest. So, when a source tells our intrepid reporter that there have been massive layoffs, accelerated spending, and sales numbers somewhere near the cellar, that's one thing. It could be just a disgruntled employee.
But when Quark, Inc, one of the more private companies in digital graphics, responds to that same reporter with an interview with the company's CEO, that can only leave people scratching thier heads, regardless of the veracity of the information thereof.
But judge for yourself:
- Read the original article announcing what Deep Page had to say.
- Then read the article in which Quark CEO Ray Schiavone responds to Pariah.
It's all at QuarkVsInDesign.com, yo.
- Posts in a visually pleasing WSYIYG environment
- Allows visual styling in something approximating the actual content–works very much like a word processor
- Works reasonably quickly
- Blockquotes easily stylable without having to know any HTML.
- Can copy and paste textual content from anywhere
- Is essentially an instant preview
- Works a lot like a word processor
- Technorati tags can be applied through a toolbar input box
- Blogger labels can be applied through a dropdown list
- Operational paradigm (sorry) has a bit of a learning curve
- Interface verbiage a little bit inscrutable (e.g., to insert a link you've copied from your address box, you need to do Insert>Link>Browse To Web Page... why not just "Create Link" or something like that)
- Technorati tags appear at the top of the post and cannot be cut and pasted to the bottom (at least not obvously). It can be inserted though the Insert>HTML Snippet command
- Blogger labels can only be chosen from; it is not obvious how they can be created, Additonally, the dropdown does not scroll automatically; it must be scrolled, only one line at a time, through leetle tiny scroll arrows at the bottom of the dropdown. Scroll wheel has no effect.
- Biggest drawback: though you can drag and drop/copy and past/browse and select images into Blogger posts, they are not actually uploaded to Blogger and are considered local files, therefore a Blogger post with images will not publish with them.
The big downsides aren't exactly show-stoppers, but they do require an extra step, reducing effiency–to really facilitate blogging, the interface should allow the author, as nearly as possible, to just make thier moves naturally and simply, and by this, I mean if I want an image from my desktop to be published to my blog, I just move it in and it happens–SHIPOOPI! Same with labels and with Technorati tags.
Since I'm already making an extra move by insisting to use Safari to do my business (I have to either go to Firefox to make image uploading easier or use the HTML view in Blooger in Safari to style and paste text) it's something of a zero sum.
Perhaps Contribute is hackable (in the scripting/plugin way) and improvments can be added that way. That will be a further investigative path.
Update: One workaround found: the Technorati tags can be moved to the bottom of the post, and the prefix added, by a simple move in the Preferences.
Update to the Update: Since that's in the Preferences, it's not really a workaround, but just me figuring out how to do something correctly, wouldn't it be then?
898. According to the buzz, the bell may be about to toll on The SCO Group's assault on Open Source. From Wikipedia:
On August 10, 2007, Judge Dale Kimball, hearing the SCO v. Novell case, ruled that "...the court concludes that Novell is the owner of the UNIX and UnixWare Copyrights". Novell were awarded summary judgments on a number of claims, and a number of SCO claims were denied. SCO was instructed to account for and pass to Novell an appropriate portion of income relating to SCOSource licences to Sun Microsystems and Microsoft. A number of matters are not disposed of by Judge Kimball's ruling, and the outcome of these are still pending.
It's not looking good for Darl.
I wonder if SCO Group's business plan allows for a plan B in case the lawsuits didn't work out?
I was just reviewing an episode of the Creative Suite Podcast and saw there was an episode about how you can use a neat application called Contribute CS3 to blog post.
Blog post with Contribute CS3? My dear, you're soaking in it! Or I am, anyway.
One of the ongoing irritations with Blogger is the posting interface. Recently, because of the nice way it treated fonts and the way it's matured, I've moved back to using Safari for the majority of my needs. Fonts really do look better in it.
What I've found is that Contribute–an application designed to allow non-web-savvy clients to maintain websites in a WYSIWYG style without having to know any Dreamweaverly mojo has been niftily done so as to allow bloggers to post in a WYSINearlyWYG way (the draft view leaves waaaay too much leading...I'll know if this is going to work fo' reals after I finally publish).
Now, all I have to do is see how I get the lablels and tags in...
Okay. back from test posting. It looks all very doable. The one thing I have to watch out for, it looks like, first thing, is the habit I've developed of double-spacing to separate paragraphs and provide breaks in the text needs to be suppressed; Contribute supplies one hard return at the end of every paragraph...which is the way it should be, actually.
I'm going to be trying to blogpost with Contribute instead of the Blogger interface (It and Safari, as mentioned, don't quite get along) and it's nice to have rich, visual style feedback.
10 August 2007
And kickass buttons:
Both images callously nicked from the Extensis blog Manage This.
Tags: TypeCon 2007, Swag, Extensis, Manage This
09 August 2007
08 August 2007
Tags: NASA, Streaming Video, STS-118, OV-105, Shuttle Endeavour
Of course, Vern Fonk (as Pete Ferryman noted in their report) isn't exactly new to the greater Portland area, but to be aware of them, you'd of had to be a night owl (which we are). We noted Fonk's–well, peculiar–style of promotion back in 2005. So, once again, we're ahead of the curve (and once again, sigh, nobody noticed. Oh, well. Being so cool nobody knows you're cool is kind of a tough job).
Anyway! Vern's insurance stores are spreading southward from their base in greater Seattle and everyone should get used to seeing more Fonkiness in the subprime advertisers (you know, KPTV 12 and channels with higher numbers).
What really set the GDO crew apart with this one, though, was the mad silly fun they had with it. GDO is FOXified-12's most watchable news show because of the chemistry of the crew and they way they aren't afraid to have a bit of fun with it all–they've always been that way. They did a parody of the "Or You Can Drive Your Car!" commerical. Andy Carson was quite O.T.T., but Pete Ferryman (playing the part of the bald dancin' guy) had a particularly inspired insanity going on. I laughed out loud at it. To view it, click on the LOLAndy illustration above and on your left there, surf this link, or if that doesn't work, go to the KPTV Video page (via this link hyar) and look for the video titled FOX 12 Spoofs Popular Vern Fonk Commercial (just for the record, I find the KPTV 12 video page very browser-unfriendly–just like every local station's). Note to KPTV–do what you have to to get permission to upload those to YouTube. You'll get more viewers that way...
I'm not that crazy about FOX 12, but there are some bright spots, and the chemistry and fun the GDO crew have are definitely worth watching.
Here's Some Interesting stuff about The Fonkster:
- Vern Fonk hasn't (as far as we know) actually appeared in any of his commercials. He, as a matter of fact, died in 2006: he was 75 years old. He did love the commercials, however. His obituary (and an actual headshot of Vern Fonk) can be seen here (via the Seattle Times)
- The bald fellow in most of the Fonk commercials is Rob Thielke, who, according to Wikipedia's article on Vern Fonk, is the manager of the Everett location–and who has been described elsewheres as a part-time actor.
- Rob Thielke has come up with most of the ideas for the commercial campaign, and he's been so identified with Fonk that apparently quite a few people think he is, in fact, Vern Fonk (the Forrest Gump parody commercial probably went a long way towards that)
- The Good Day Oregon report about The Vern Fonk Experience can be seen here (if this link doesn't work, go to the FOXified 12 videos page and look for the video titled The Genius Behind Vern Fonk Commercials).
- Oh, and before I forget, here's a link to Vern Fonk's commercials on YouTube, and here's a link to the commercial video library on Vern Fonk's site honkforfonk.com (beware of the Photoshopped images in the left sidebar, tho...they give me that uh-oh feeling). You could probably buy car insurance there too. We recommend the commercial titled "Slapped Around".
Tags: Vern Fonk Insurance, TV Commercials, Good Day Oregon, KPTV 12, FOX 12 Oregon, Pete Ferryman, Andy Carson
05 August 2007
This version was Adobe's first identity, designed by Marva Warnock–wife of the great font designer, John Warnock. Creativity runs in the family, apparently.
04 August 2007
First, the wry, minimist one:
And, next, the more borscht-belty one:
I'd post these over at icanhascheezburger.com, but for two reasons: first, the picture was nicked from a forum pal and it's kind of hers, too, and second, while I lurves me some ICHC.com, their submission rules basically amount to we pwn the work now. Fair's fair; they set the terms, I don't have to accept them, but I don't participate with "original" work.
And, just as a bonus, here's what I call a "LOLPaulaAbdul", based on a pic I once again nicked from Mercury's Blogtown:
Have a happy Caturday, everybunny!!!
Tags: LOLCat, Paula Abdul, has a flavr, Caturday