Archive: April, 2006

I hate Cavs announcers

posted by Jeff | Sunday, April 30, 2006, 8:36 PM | comments: 1

Seriously, every game start the key is to "be aggressive," as if that's not already obvious. Throw in stupid cliches like "our nation's capital" over and over and you just want to punch someone.

Oh, thank God... the game is on TNT as well. Marv... Yessssssss!

South Park movie

posted by Jeff | Sunday, April 30, 2006, 2:10 AM | comments: 1

I forgot that Comedy Central shows the uncut version of the South Park movie late at night. Awesome. One of the best musicals of our time. Swearing and dick and fart jokes better be funny when I'm 70.

Pandora oddity

posted by Jeff | Saturday, April 29, 2006, 10:11 PM | comments: 2

I decided to buckle down and write some code tonight, so I fired up Pandora on the DVR machine.

Here's the thing, it doesn't really handle diversity well. So for example, if I input Armin van Buuren, Joss Stone and Nine Inch Nails, it tends to center on one particular genre. For example, I also put in Kelly Clarkson as a seed, and it served a dance remix of one of her songs. It gets into techno ruts, which isn't cool. You can actually create "stations" on the service, which I should probably do. But it'd be nice if it could then switch them now and then.

On a positive note, I heard a KMFDM song from one of the newer albums that I don't own. I don't dislike KMFDM, but I guess I got bored with them.

What I find odd is that it's also picking songs that people I know like, but I'm indifferent about. I've heard two or three songs that I know Stephanie likes. Then it picked a pussy college rock song that I know Kara likes. Perhaps I could make the argument that music is somehow an indicator to the people I can be friends with by some subconscious means. Weird.

Napping rules

posted by Jeff | Saturday, April 29, 2006, 6:44 PM | comments: 0

For the first time in ages, I took a nap this afternoon, and it was AWESOME. I feel so rested and refreshed.

Nintendo Wii

posted by Jeff | Thursday, April 27, 2006, 3:12 PM | comments: 1

Wow, this has to be the dumbest thing anyone has done in the video game business ever...

Nintendo Revolution renamed Wii

I can see it now...

Wanna play with my Wii?
Can I play with your Wii?
My Wii is yellow. What color is yours?
My Wii is on my TV.

Gas insanity in Washington

posted by Jeff | Thursday, April 27, 2006, 3:05 PM | comments: 1

This editorial pretty much sums up how I feel about politicians and the gas prices, especially the part about allowing a free market do its thing.

A bad day at work

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, April 26, 2006, 8:34 PM | comments: 1

I had one of those days today. I mean, the day was stressful for a number of reasons, but work made it worse.

There are two major frustrations I have. The first is that I'm walking into a startup that is in transition from dotcom party mode to public corporation. The mistakes of adolescence in terms of software development... lack of documentation, poor requirements and use cases, etc... make it a bitch to come in and try to figure out what's going on. I mean, I expect some degree of reverse engineering, and that's cool, but this shit gives me a headache. It seems needlessly complex and the object model is not obvious. And what seems perfectly obvious to the guys that wrote it isn't obvious to me at all.

And that really is the challenge of working with people smarter than you. They might be smarter, but it doesn't mean they're good teachers. Hell, that was the problem domain for me writing my book. And the worst part of that, for me, is that I end up feeling stupid.

The other problem is that they now have this expectation that we should put in more hours two nights a week. I don't think so. I have a lot of problems with that. First of all, people roll in at 9 am, take long lunches, work from home, etc., constantly. And to make it worse, they hired a guy knowing in the crunch that he was going to India for three weeks. What's that about? Then, countless meetings are held that degenerate into philisophical design discussions that aren't important. Or worse, you end up being at a meeting that you have nothing to contribute to, and won't take anything away from. The point is, make my time valuable first before you ask me to put in more.

Not only that, but I've seen this pattern before. It's a classic in software development, and Electronic Arts has even been sued for it. You're assured that this is just a temporary rush to get things done, but then it never ends. There's always some rush. People get burned out, quit, etc.

It's not that I don't like to work. It's not that I don't like the people or the company. But I do need to have my time respected. I'm not jaded, but through all of the layoffs and nonsense, I know that loyalty and extra work have very little return on investment.

Maybe I'm overreacting. Still, I just hate having days like this.

The view

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, April 26, 2006, 4:52 PM | comments: 1

What I'd do for a better view from work. It might not be much, but it's better than gray cube walls in a dark room with dozens of other people.

TV networks: I think they get it

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, April 26, 2006, 11:30 AM | comments: 1

The music industry is lost. The film industry isn't far behind. The TV networks, well, they might actually have a clue.

The Internet changes the way we consume content. The change didn't feel as drastic for print media, because old fashioned magazines and newspapers didn't really interfere with the "when" part of how we consumed that content. Music, film and video are a different story though, because those things require some piece of hardware, or that we view these things at certain times. Add to that pricing models that generally pissed off consumers.

Broadcast TV is a little different in that you don't really pay for it. Well, you pay for the pipe that gets it to you in most cases (satellite or cable), but beyond that it is, essentially free and paid for by the advertising. So if people strip out the ads and start sending it around the Internet, you as a TV network are going to be in a world of hurt because your content isn't paid for.

So they're being proactive and saying, "We're gonna put it out there ourselves." Good plan. Seriously, it's the smartest thing they could do. I've felt for some time that broadcast TV, and even cable, is a dinosaur institution that has only continued to exist because of the distribution medium and its regulation. Now that the Internet is getting to the point where it can handle video, the rules are changing. I think the comment the one exec in the story made about piracy itself being a competitor is very, very smart. It's the correct response, instead of the lock-and-litigate strategy of the RIAA.

There's hope for TV yet.

The end of an era

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, April 26, 2006, 10:29 AM | comments: 0

One year ago today, Stephanie and I separated. Most of my closer friends are aware of this by now, and I suppose most other acquaintances could have figured it out. Sadly, and unfortunately, we recently decided to divorce.

There is no easy explanation, it just is what it is. I'm not bitter and I'm not angry, but certainly I'm disappointed. I'm not going to try and air dirty laundry here or anything, or try to assign blame, but I want to get it out so it doesn't appear to be some big secret.

In the fall of 1994, just before starting my senior year of college, I met Stephanie in a drunken haze in front of her dorm and in front of my rental house. We talked, shared Canadian beer, and I tried to kiss her. She so shot me down. :) The next day, she came back, and we hit it off from there on.

Over the years, we had a lot of good times together. Lots of great times. There were difficult times too, between us and from external things. We both wandered around a bit in a haze trying to figure out what the hell we were doing with our lives, with career changes, school changes, and a lot of reflection. These life events changed us a lot as individuals, and coupled with other difficulties, it made it hard for us to really be happy.

I don't think a week has gone by that we haven't seen each other in the last year, and we very much still love and care for each other. We'll always be friends. From an external view, I'm sure that makes the whole thing a real head scratcher, but you have to trust me when I say that this is for the best. The personal growth we've both made in the last year has been immeasurable, and I think not possible if we were together.

So ends the most significant chapter in my life so far. I've kind of been mourning it for awhile now, and that's why I can sound relatively positive about it. The good times we had together will always be good times, and no one can take that away from me. My life is genuinely better because of her, and I'm thankful for every minute we were able to share.

Cavs fans

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, April 25, 2006, 7:48 PM | comments: 0

Cavs playoff action

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, April 25, 2006, 7:46 PM | comments: 0

Girl gamers

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, April 25, 2006, 10:37 AM | comments: 0

The good and bad of Microsoft

posted by Jeff | Monday, April 24, 2006, 12:14 PM | comments: 0

I was thinking today about Microsoft, and what it means to me specifically. Oddly enough, I have no stake in the company, but it has a stake in me since I buy its products and its products have largely been the reason for my financial success.

First off, Microsoft has done a lot of things right. The Xbox 360 is the crown jewel of the empire right now, and it demonstrates that careful thinking and passion can create something truly great. I don't think you'll find a single person who owns one that will say it sucks. It's easily the most impressive piece of consumer electronics I've ever owned.

Then there's Visual Studio and ASP.NET. It took a few years to get there, but the 2005/2006 products are everything I've ever wanted in a development platform (well, as long as you don't count the embarrassing state of the Web unit testing that I bitch about frequently).

But on the dark side of things, they've been stumbling around. Windows Vista has become a nightmare with the constant slipping ship dates. As a recent convert and believer in OS X, Vista is a much needed step in the right direction, but it feels as if it will never ship. Seeing as how the OS (and Office) are what really pay the bills, it's not comforting to see this downward spiral.

Then there's the mess in marketing. It started with the over-use of ".NET" on every product name, and it just keeps getting worse. Who the hell knows what they're even about anymore. It's so hard to understand as a consumer why Microsoft exists, and why it's good for me. It's not easy as a business customer either.

It's funny though how there's such a stark contrast between the good and bad. The company is just so damn big. I hope they can get those smart people in the right places to save the parts that have been such a disaster.

End of another season

posted by Jeff | Monday, April 24, 2006, 10:49 AM | comments: 0

I had my last tournament of the season yesterday, unusually early compared to previous years because we're not going to do regionals. It's a bittersweet ending.

On one hand, I feel like they were finally starting to make some meaningful improvement as a group. There were plenty of great accomplishments among them as individuals, but they never really connected as a team. On the other hand though, it feels good to be done with it just so I can devote more of my emotional batteries to other thing in my life right now.

While it was difficult to go from five straight winning seasons to a very difficult series of losses, I learned a lot from the kids and about my approach. Because of a general lack of experience (through no fault of their own, but rather some ugly high school coaching scenarios), I had to back off my normal advanced game theory mode and get back to fundamental skill teaching. I don't enjoy that as much, but we certainly did make some progress there.

It's also interesting to see how different people react to difficult times. While one parent insisted I was too hard on them, another thought I wasn't hard enough. That really demonstrates the awkward (and thankless) position you can be in as a coach, because you can't please everyone, and rarely does anyone else see the bigger picture, in a team context, the way you do. And hey, when your kid is in the mix, I can't say I blame any of them for having strong feelings either. It's hard sometimes to put your own feelings aside and keep that in mind.

I have to say that I'm particularly proud of my two seniors. The one got cut from her high school team, which strikes me as crazy because she's pretty good defensively. In fact, she turned in her best performance in our tournament yesterday since I started coaching her last year.

The other senior I first saw last summer, and the previous assistant coach said she was a real question mark in terms of skill and coachability. That shows how different personality mixes match better than others. She was awesome for me, in every way. She worked her ass off to become a very well rounded player, and despite some early apprehension, embraced everything I threw at her. I'm so glad I got to have two seasons with her.

All things considered, I still liked every kid, and I still love coaching. But that said, I'm really ready for a team where the work ethic and experience is already at a high level. My previous two teams to this one had one or the other.

I didn't get the memo

posted by Jeff | Monday, April 24, 2006, 10:01 AM | comments: 0

Apparently today was a forced time off day.

My secret identity?

posted by Jeff | Sunday, April 23, 2006, 2:45 PM | comments: 1

Wireless surprise

posted by Jeff | Sunday, April 23, 2006, 10:42 AM | comments: 0

It's funny the places you find Wi-Fi, like at a volleyball tournament.

Will rode The Voyage

posted by Jeff | Friday, April 21, 2006, 3:35 PM | comments: 0

Success in an online social endeavour

posted by Jeff | Friday, April 21, 2006, 12:18 PM | comments: 2

Jason Calacanis has a good post on the potential decay of a social Web site when it gets popular. He's talking about Digg, but I can still relate. This part in particular...

Today, as a startup, the freak contingent (aka haters) can take over your life if you let them. They bait you all day long, they look for your weak spots and attack them, and the facts are--of course--secondary to the splashy headline. Anything social runs the risk of being taken over by the bastards... look at Wikipedia. It's becoming a field day for flammers, haters, stalkers, and freaks. The whole thing is on the verge of coming apart. It's total chaos.

I've been there. In fact, I revisit those times now and then with my site. Thankfully I don't have to deal with scale of something like Digg, but it does creep into my sites now and then.

That whole "wisdom of crowds" thing is really a fascinating phenomenon to watch. Indeed, I don't think it's something that scales well. The bigger the crowd gets, the more stupid people (as a component of the bell curve) that appear in that crowd. And they're always louder than you'd like.

It's so weird that ten years ago we'd never even think about these kinds of things.

OS X traffic

posted by Jeff | Thursday, April 20, 2006, 6:30 PM | comments: 1

OS X now accounts for 10% of the traffic to CampusFish. Why do you suppose that is?


posted by Jeff | Thursday, April 20, 2006, 5:01 PM | comments: 1

A friend and I were talking today about her roommate, who settles for dating a douche who doesn't seem to like her enough to be respectful or pay attention to her. Said roommate is very pretty, very smart, and generally kick ass. I know women like this too, and one who even sits around hoping that the guy will come back some day after leaving. What's up with that? I'm not saying guys don't do this too, but it seems less common.

We decided that there are two things at play here. The first is the inability of these women to understand that their autonomy is totally obscured by the men in their lives. Someone else is in control and dictates much of their life decisions, or even the minor choices. I can't say why they might not see this, but I think it's fair to say that in a lot of cases it's that they don't know anything different, or don't have a wide range of relationship experience (or therapists or counselors). In fact, it's hard to even know that this autonomy obscuring is even going on until you step out from behind it. Someone very close to me had the courage to step out of her relationship and explore every choice she could make on her own, and it was liberating, despite the pain inflicted to get there.

The second thing, and this isn't always present in every case, is a lack of self-esteem or perception of self-worth. Everyone has been there before, where you question why you exist if you can't be with a specific person, or people in general. That's a hard one to work through. Some people never do. A friend of mine dated her high school sweetheart through college and for years after that. They never dated anyone else. In their mid-20's, they got married, and divorced a month later. I still feel a sense of regret for her, that she never explored her options when it was easiest... in college. Since her divorce she had to do the bar scene and online dating, which never yields the opportunities she could've had in college. It's not even that you need to get meaningful relationships out of that period in your life, as much as you need to learn and understand what it is that you need; To build a profile of people that might be ideal. You need data to do that, and you don't get it without exploration.

In most cases, people do eventually work through it. My friend's roommate is in her mid-20's though, and you'd think she would have it figured out by now.

And of course you wonder, why would you care anyway? Well, because that's what friends do! It's not us judging our friends, it's us looking out for them.

Podcasting for cash

posted by Jeff | Thursday, April 20, 2006, 4:35 PM | comments: 0

I was talking to a writer for IAAPA's Funworld magazine today about podcasting, which got me to thinking about the benefit of doing so.

One of the obvious questions about it in general was about monetizing the show, and that's an area that a lot of people still struggle with. Audience measurement aside, it's hard to price and pitch audio advertising. I'd love to recover some of the cost of the audio equipment I've purchased, certainly, but I'm not sure there's a direct way to do that, for the moment anyway.

That said, there are a lot of secondary benefits, like the attention it creates from press, in this case. Overall, the show creates brand awareness that leads to traffic. Traffic continues to rise, which is pretty incredible considering the site has gone relatively unchanged in three years. Traffic doesn't equate to income the way it used to, but there's still some value in having more people show up.

It's weird how podcasting keeps growing and growing, and that it took so long to grab hold in the first place. I suppose it's because of the wide deployment of broadband now, but I was putting audio and video on the Net in 1998.

Dinosaur farts

posted by Jeff | Thursday, April 20, 2006, 11:15 AM | comments: 1

Simple Things

posted by Jeff | Thursday, April 20, 2006, 1:05 AM | comments: 1

Wasted days, I’m caught up in the fruitless chase
Wanting more than anything that’s come before
And I wish I didn’t have to choose
When I know there is so much to lose

Cruel desires blind me to the simple things
Lost in fires of passionate imaginings
Cruel desires blind me to the simple things
Lost in fires of passionate imaginings

Holding out, feeling that it just might come
Cursing doubt that keeps you from the perfect one
And I wish I didn’t have to choose
When I know there is so much to lose

I’m torn between what I know and what I dream

Armin van Buuren, "Simple Things"

Catherine: Cavs fan

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, April 19, 2006, 8:07 PM | comments: 0

40 mpg

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, April 19, 2006, 10:30 AM | comments: 7

When I filled up my gas tank today, I calculated that the '04 Corolla got 40 mpg on the last tank, which was mostly driving home from Baltimore. Not bad.

People ask me why I have such a "cheap" car since I'm a professional that makes good money. First of all, I'm a tree hugger. Second, I don't need a fast or giant vehicle to compensate for small testicles. Third, I hate cars and I don't take care of them.

I noticed that I crossed 40,000 miles yesterday. Yikes! That's a lot of miles in just two years. And what's particularly weird about that is that in that time, I wasn't working a full-time job about half of it. Granted, it has been to Baltimore three times, Holiday World twice, Chicago once, PKI three four or five times, Columbus probably a dozen. I guess the mileage isn't that weird then.

Waiting for our turn

posted by Jeff | Monday, April 17, 2006, 7:07 PM | comments: 0

This is actually from Saturday... but the moblog checker kept choking on some piece of spam that landed on the mail server. F'ing spam!

People spend a lot of time worrying about other people

posted by Jeff | Monday, April 17, 2006, 2:55 PM | comments: 7

I had a recent conversation with a friend who was telling me all about how another person thought this and that about me, and came to all kinds of wild conclusions about who I am and what I care about. I'm generally not one to care about what people think of me, but I find it disturbing that anyone would care at all. I'm really not that interesting. And the scary thing is, it seems most people do this.

Let me start by saying that I spend almost no time thinking about other people in the context of what they might be about or what they do. I don't care. Close friends, I mean the people I really care about, yes, I do think about them, but primarily in ways that I can help them. Beyond that, I don't have the bandwidth to devote to such lines of thought.

But what's with people that spend time talking shit about other people they don't really know? That kind of thing gets back to me from time to time, and it usually has something to do with me and CosaterBuzz and what a dick I am or something like that. They seem to think it's the center of my life and all I do. If you know me, you know it's probably not even in the top 10 list of things that I care most about.

And this got me to thinking... are other people one-dimensional? By that I mean, do they not have a broad perspective about what life is all about? I'm not talking about how many hobbies or interests they have, because I'll be the first to say I'd rather do two or three things really well than a lot of things average. But do they see life as this large-scale, diverse, rich experience? I do, and maybe that's why I don't spend much time thinking about or talking about other people.

I don't know. That all sounds kind of vague, but maybe you know what I'm talking about, or maybe you do it yourself. It just strikes me as wild that people would come up with this detailed and wholly speculative profile of me, when I can't even do that about myself despite having access to, well, my life!

A strange reversal in fortune

posted by Jeff | Saturday, April 15, 2006, 10:55 PM | comments: 0

After losing two kids last week, I kind of was dreading the qualifier in Baltimore because I knew morale would be low. Indeed, it wasn't good yesterday, as we dropped all three games. They looked so defeated.

So of the 104 teams in our division, we were in the bottom half. The teams today in our pool all either won zero or one games yesterday. All three were bigger than us. We swept the pool, beat all three of the other teams. The first and third matches went three games, and it was close, but we did it.

So while we're not going to be George Mason, we're in the top bracket now for the bottom half. If my math is right, the lowest we can rank is like 61 out of the 104. I can deal with that. After a year of struggling, that's a vast improvement. It's really nice to just get out of the region and play other teams too. The Ohio Valley Region is so competitive this year.

So regardless of what happens in the morning, I'm very satisfied with their accomplishments. I feel validated that, once they found it in themselves to be driven, that they could succeed.

Happy birthday...

posted by Jeff | Saturday, April 15, 2006, 1:02 AM | comments: 1


Trying to keep the focus

posted by Jeff | Friday, April 14, 2006, 12:38 PM | comments: 1

I decided that I wanted to combine my coaching trip with a locked-door coding retreat. I'm frustrated with the lack of progress I've made on my own projects, so it seemed like a good idea.

So I left the hotel this morning to find something to eat, and now I'm distracted. The Inner Harbor is like a theme park area. In the middle is the museums and chain or theme restaurants (Hard Rock, ESPN Zone), and there are a ton of cool local places around the fringe. Lots of retail too.

I've been in a road block mode for probably a few months now, getting some testing stuff configured. It's so frustrating. I really do want to write The Best Code Ever(TM) but this is annoying. Working a day gig I don't have the time I used to.

Well, I've gotta get back to it. Three hours before I have to go across the street to coach.

Inner Harbor lunch

posted by Jeff | Friday, April 14, 2006, 12:04 PM | comments: 3

Traffic jam

posted by Jeff | Thursday, April 13, 2006, 7:22 PM | comments: 6


posted by Jeff | Thursday, April 13, 2006, 4:55 PM | comments: 3

Sleeping beauty

posted by Jeff | Thursday, April 13, 2006, 2:04 PM | comments: 2

Death by taxes

posted by Jeff | Thursday, April 13, 2006, 12:40 AM | comments: 1

I just wrote out about $2,500 in checks for taxes due and estimated payments.

That sucked.

TechTV photos

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, April 12, 2006, 2:13 PM | comments: 0

John C. Dvorak (PC Mag columnist, TWiT, etc.) posted a bunch of photos from his days at TechTV. I remember when I got DirecTV in 2001 I was totally in love with Sumi Daas. Total school boy crush. She's on CNN right now. I used to love all the girls on that network, because they were so geeky. I do love the geeks.

What BootCamp really means

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, April 12, 2006, 11:30 AM | comments: 3

John Gruber wrote what I think is the most common sense analysis on what the release of BootCamp for the Mac really means. I agree with everything he said. Apple certainly doesn't compete with Microsoft, they compete with hardware OEM's. The simple financial snapshot of Apple makes this very clear.

I don't know if I'm typical, but I bought a MacBook Pro the day they announced BootCamp. I needed a good laptop, I love OS X, I wanted to edit video with Final Cut Pro, and of course, I need to make a living using Visual Studio. The machine does all of these things, and it does the Windows stuff faster than any other machine I've ever owned. To say I love that little box would be an understatement.

Sadly, the more time I spend in OS X, the more I realize how much Windows really blows. It's not just that it's somewhat visually offensive, it's just that years of compatibility requirements make Windows more complex instead of more simple. The registry is a mess that "rots." Support code libraries get everywhere, and you never know what's safe to get rid of (DLL hell). Admittedly, if we could move to a 100% .NET world, along side of WPF, we could all sleep easier, but that's just never going to happen.

For example, I had to uninstall something on my Mac. I dragged it out of the Applications folder into the trash. I found its support files (preferences and such) in the Library folder, and ditched that too. Gone. No trace of the app anywhere. Even the most simple app on Windows can't uninstall that quickly or cleanly. It's ridiculous.

I'm not suggesting that the Mac is perfect. I can't get my Bit Torrent client to work, for example, but in the big picture that's not that big of a deal. But overall, I'm enjoying using the computer as both a tool and a lifestyle device, something that isn't as easy in Windows. But I can still write my ASP.NET applications on my Mac, and I've never had a machine that ran Visual Studio, SQL Server and Photoshop so well. I love it.

I can't be a 100% switcher, but for life outside of writing code, I'm there.

The great joy of my Mac

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, April 12, 2006, 1:18 AM | comments: 1

I started to play with Final Cut Pro for about an hour tonight. Damn my busy schedule preventing me from doing things I want (like getting the fucking CB Podcast posted!). FCP absorbed my P2 files from my camera no problem, and immediately played them back. Awesome. Getting the right settings for a sequence is a little more tricky, but that's OK, I'll figure that out.

And I also learned how great a dual-core CPU is. Not only that, but Compressor eats video alive. I did a 34-second 720/24p clip and it compressed it to H.264 in less than 15 minutes (not sure of the exact time as I was making dinner), and the results are beautiful. I posted it as a Bit Torrent file. The encoding is so crazy fast! Granted, it zaps the battery and makes the whole laptop hot, but it's way cool. I can't even wait to play with DVD Studio, Soundtrack and Motion. Again, so little time!

If only I wasn't a Windows developer... I love the Mac!

Someone tried to kill me

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, April 11, 2006, 10:10 AM | comments: 1

What the fuck is wrong with people? I'm cruising down SR 303 today, fast down the 17% grade hill, when this asshole in a cargo van pulls out in front of me. I hit the brakes, swerve, and he kind of stays in the left lane. Naturally I honk and flip him off because clearly he's a moron.

So what does he do? He comes screaming up my ass and swerving around like a complete moron. Where are the Richfield police when you really need them?

I don't understand how people function like this. When you witness something like this, you realized that the existence of terrorists, fascists and congressmen isn't so absurd.

Video reversal

posted by Jeff | Monday, April 10, 2006, 11:30 AM | comments: 1

So now I'm not getting the video work I was promised, at least, not any time soon. Sigh. The hits just keep on coming.

Final Cut brick

posted by Jeff | Monday, April 10, 2006, 11:26 AM | comments: 0

I had to go to FedEx this morning to pickup my Final Cut Studio package. (Last bit of purchase regret, I hope.) My God, this thing weighs like 20 pounds. One good thing about three of four digit price software (except MS Office) is that they actually include manuals. Clearly, Apple is not screwing around in this case. Can't wait to play tonight!

So much negativity

posted by Jeff | Monday, April 10, 2006, 12:00 AM | comments: 0

I am surrounded by so much negativity. It drives me nuts. Most of it is totally out of my control, but that doesn't make it any less frustrating.

Why do people get like that? I'm not talking about the trivial online comment or annoyance with the weather, I'm talking about real hard core negativity intended to bring down the people around.

It's gotta change soon.

Volleyball ups and downs

posted by Jeff | Saturday, April 8, 2006, 3:26 PM | comments: 0

My kids are in Columbus this weekend for the bid tournament. We're seeded last, so naturally we played the first seed right away. It's seriously crazy playing a team that's all over six feet tall!

I was frustrated at the start of the season with the inexperience and of the kids, but they have made some amazing strides, especially the kid who is the secondary setter (she's never done it before). One of the kids who had confidence problems is starting to get better as well. I think when we finally get out of the region next weekend, we'll have some nice wins. In the mean time, it's good to see them having fun and gaining some confidence, because I know that's not easy when they're struggling to win.

I've spent a lot of time in the past not taking credit for the successful teams, but full blame for those that don't do as well. I finally realized this year that was stupid, in part because I had four kids make college teams this year, and in part because I've learned to measure success differently. The one thing I can count on is that my kids always get better, regardless of where they started out.

I did see the douche parent from the high school season there, the one that never had the testicles to say anything to my face. That hasn't changed. What a shame, because his kid is very talented, kind and generally destined for great things. Oh well, you can't always save the world.

More MacBook fun

posted by Jeff | Friday, April 7, 2006, 2:28 PM | comments: 9

Last night I realized that my Windows partition on the MacBook really didn't need to be more than 20 gigs, so I started over since I didn't do much to install various applications. I had a weird thing where pci.sys disappeared, no idea how, so I had to do a repair install, which wasted about 45 minutes.

Avid Xpress Pro HD, not surprisingly, wouldn't edit HD. I could see stills, but it wouldn't let me scrub through the video. Not that it matters I guess, since Final Cut is in the mail, but it's almost like I'm glad because I can move on. On the plus side in Windows, Visual Studio 2005 and Photoshop absolutely scream. In fact, reading some of the benchmarks that are starting to appear, the MacBook out performs most Windows laptops period, even with similar configurations. Well done, Apple.

What I'm really having the most fun with though is the Mac side of things. For all of the crap Microsoft gets for bundling stuff, the critics fail to mention that the bundled stuff is generally crap.

I started to play with iPhoto, and imported about 750 photos. It has camera raw support right out of the box, and does some light editing. And as Jobs said, it really is "like butter" in terms of quickly scanning through the library. I love the way it organizes to, a la iTunes with albums instead of physical folders. I may actually make this my dedicated repository for photos.

I played with iMovie and iDVD as well. Windows Movie Maker is a joke by comparison, and there is no Windows DVD maker. PhotoBooth is mostly useless, but it sure is neat. There are so many cool things right out of the box that an average person can do with a Mac that you just can't do in Windows.

Alex suggested a great IM client that I played with a bit last night. I'm really digging that even more than Trillian on Windows. Burning stuff is faster and more straight forward. Front Row is a very neat app, and I suspect I'll use it in the hotel (with remote) on my travel the next few weeks.

More than anything, it's just so much more responsive than any computer I've ever used. I mean, the thing boots in a dozen seconds after POST (to OS X, Windows takes longer).

I'm still happy to report that no Dell or HP with similar specs costs less, so all of the haters, take note. This is much better hardware, it costs less (for now) and you can run OS X. Did I mention the power connector is the coolest thing ever?

First touch on MacBook Pro

posted by Jeff | Thursday, April 6, 2006, 12:02 PM | comments: 6

With the release of BootCamp yesterday, Apple removed the last objection I had to owning a Mac, so I bought a MacBook Pro at the local Apple store. Ouch. Can you say purchase regret? This should be the last thing I need to buy for my video/film empire, along with Final Cut Studio, which is shipping by FedEx.

Being able to run Windows solves several problems. The hardware is so strong on the MacBook that I can finally run apps like Visual Studio and Photoshop with a level of performance that is acceptable. The first laptop I ever bought was a Sony for $2,500 back in 1999, and it never let me down. In early 2003 I bought an HP that was totally inadequate. Early last year I bought a Dell that was extremely inexpensive, and great for Web browsing and Office, but not so good for the "real" stuff I do. So I priced a new Dell against the same specs as the Apple, and the Apple was actually less expensive (not to mention sexier, and it runs OS X, which the Dell would not). So I guess I'll put the Dell on eBay.

The most important problem solved is that I can finally edit HD. I'll probably need an external drive when it gets serious, but that's fine. I did some tests and it runs 1080p at full frame rate, no problem, in Windows and OS X. Wow.

Last night I installed some things on the OS X side like Firefox and such, and then installed Windows and Visual Studio 2005. Aside from a Blue Screen of Death after the driver install (awesome!) it generally went pretty smoothly.

Anyone want to buy a 1.6 GHz Pentium M with wireless, 1680x1050 15" screen, 60 gig hard drive? It really is a pretty sweet setup, just not an HD video editing setup.

More thoughts on Windows running on a Mac

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, April 5, 2006, 12:58 PM | comments: 1

I was reading some of the comments with the C-Net story about the Mac app that will let you run Windows. Lots of goofy ass comments that I think miss the mark.

Who is this really for? I think it's mostly directed toward people in the market for a laptop that want something with balls, and also want/need something that OS X can offer that Windows doesn't (in my case, that's the video applications). I think it will sell some hardware for sure. People make the argument about price, but I just priced out a Dell with similar hardware to the 2 GHz Macbook (same size hard drive, same CPU, etc.), and the Macbook was $100 less at academic pricing, and it's clearly a nicer machine (about $100 more with standard pricing). That's a fairly compelling argument to buy the Mac.

The biggest and most relevant speculation is that the next version of OS X will be able to run Windows virtually, and that makes sense. It's Virtual PC with none of the performance issues.

What's the bigger picture for Apple? They've been able to prove that people will pay a little more for better hardware if there's a compelling value proposition. The iPod (which simply works) proves this. Computers are a little more tricky, with the cheap commodity junk that Dell and HP sell though. I don't think they can achieve a dominant position, but they can increase market share among people that need a powerful computer. When you factor in the ability to run Windows, you remove one of the last barriers to entry.

It will be very interesting to see what develops.

Where were you at 01:02:03 04/05/06?

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, April 5, 2006, 12:05 PM | comments: 2

Since I was sleeping, I figure I'll use 01:02:03 p.m. 04/05/06 as a cool time to note instead.

Thank you, Apple!

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, April 5, 2006, 10:31 AM | comments: 5

Running Windows on a new Mac... now supported...

This could quite possibly change my life. At risk of putting my camera pay-off back another month, I might have to order one, today. This could the laptop with balls I've always wanted and the video (HD) editing machine I've only dreamed of.

Sure would be an expensive impulse buy... but wow.

WTF? It's April!

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, April 5, 2006, 9:08 AM | comments: 7

Damn you, Apple!

posted by Jeff | Monday, April 3, 2006, 3:24 PM | comments: 8

So as it turns out, Final Cut won't run on the new Intel Mac Mini...

Actually, it installs, and they're simply saying it doesn't meet the requirements. One assumes it's because of the built-in video hardware. Lame.

Shooting for cash

posted by Jeff | Monday, April 3, 2006, 10:36 AM | comments: 3

Yeah... I'm gonna shoot some video for cash. And it's not pr0n.

Another Mythbusters afternoon

posted by Jeff | Saturday, April 1, 2006, 5:59 PM | comments: 0

Damn that Discovery Channel for having Mythbusters marathons. Love that Kari and Scottie.

Disorganized and unaccountable

posted by Jeff | Saturday, April 1, 2006, 5:49 PM | comments: 5

Since my Palm recently died, I feel like I have no way to look at how I'm spending my time, or what I need to do. I can't believe I spent hundreds of dollars on that thing. As I mentioned before, despite being a gadget dork, I'm just that not interested in buying a replacement.

But I do feel unorganized. I could use some online calendaring app I suppose, but I'd need some suggestions there. Otherwise, I could get a cheap Palm unit for a hundred bucks, or a Windows Mobile unit for about three times that. The only real benefit for the Windows unit is that I could write code for it or use its wireless functionality (neither of which is even remotely likely... like I have time for that).

Regardless, I need to start setting specific goals and milestones for the various things I want to do this summer, and stick to them. I can't do that by simply saying, "I want to do this," because there's not accountability to that. There's no measure of success or failure.

Cavs fever?

posted by Jeff | Saturday, April 1, 2006, 2:31 PM | comments: 2

Do I have it? After last week I don't even want to say the word fever, but now that they're finally in the playoffs after a billion years, I'm interested to see how it'll go. I don't see them going very far because they're so inconsistent, but it's a start.

I have to say though that the last few games I've seen, they have a certain chemistry and drive that I haven't seen in them in years. This Flip Murray guy is nuts. He's fearless.

I hate that we have the worst sportscasters ever for the Cavs. They're really bad.

ENG rig

posted by Jeff | Saturday, April 1, 2006, 1:55 AM | comments: 4

My ENG rig for the camera is complete. I found a shoe adapter bar that allows me to mount both the Vidled light and the wireless receiver, so I can get it all on-camera without Velcro or some other less elegant arrangement. It's a bit heavy to hold by hand, but no big deal on a tripod at all. The wireless transmitter I bought is a plug-in type, so I can use it with any mic, and the receiver is two-channel, so I can always buy a second if I need to.

Everything sounds and looks clean. Sweet! The only thing I can think of that I don't have for film production is a fish pole, shotgun mic and perhaps another light and stand. Other than that, I feel like I'm in pretty good shape.