Archive: January, 2007

You go Tyra Banks

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, January 31, 2007, 11:58 AM | comments: 1

The thing I've always loved about Tyra Banks is that she knows she's hot, and she knows that comes not from starving herself, but being curvy. She's one of the only models who could ever pull off skinny and curvy at the same time.

Me and seven years of CoasterBuzz

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, January 30, 2007, 8:06 PM | comments: 5

A lot of people who don't know me very well, or more specifically, know me as the guy who runs CoasterBuzz, would probably think that it's the center piece of my life. I suppose after seven years, that's certainly a reasonable assumption to make.

The reality is something different. Because of the way I built it, to largely make it self-sustaining, it isn't as big of a deal as you'd think. Make no mistake, it is a part-time job sometimes, but it doesn't dominate my life at all. My closest friends often have to remind me that it's a fairly notable accomplishment though.

When I started the site in 2000, one of the most spectacular years of my life, it seemed that everything was going my way. I was making solid money at a media company, where the execs invited me to important meetings (even if they didn't listen ;)), I sold later in the year for $100k, I got married, I went to Hawaii, and most importantly, now that I look back, established some of the most important friendships of my life, most of which I still have today.

CoasterBuzz grew out of the idea that my little hobby, Guide to The Point (later PointBuzz), could translate well into a bigger concept. People seemed to like the forum system I built because it was very simple, a happy accident because I didn't have the skills to make it anymore advanced. There was a site I visited called "Voodoo Extreme" that was aggregating news in a manner that today we'd consider a blog, and that was the basis for CB. (VE is still around, though its founder left years ago, and died more recently.)

I think the thing that established credibility early on was that the seed money I used from the sale bought me an audience early on by placing pay-per-click ads with, which later became Overture, then Yahoo. It probably explains why the early members were not the typical enthusiast audience. Combine this more mainstream audience with extensive coverage of the IAAPA trade show that year, and it gave the vibe that I was very serious.

The costs associated with the site started to get a little out of control after that. In 2001, you couldn't get a cheap rented server with a ton of bandwidth, so Sprint piped a T-1 into my house at a cost of $1,200 a month. The advertising barely covered it, when DoubleClick, the leading ad providing company at the time, dumped me. What was worse, it happened just a month after I got laid-off, shortly after 9/11. Suddenly my little hobby had the potential to make me bankrupt. There was no getting out of the Sprint contract.

To say that was a panic time for me is understating things. I really freaked out, and got very depressed. In those days, I associated my self-worth with my job. With the bubble bursting, jobs were scarce. I started working again six months later, in a job I never actually liked, but I had income and I was able to finish out and extend the Sprint contract.

I thought about quitting so many times. In the earlier years, there were a lot of choices on the Internet, and even better, dozens of localized communities around specific parks. I'd get these thankless bastards who did nothing but bitch about the way we chose to run the site, instead of them just going somewhere else. I wasn't good at not taking it personally back then, but I've since learned to just blow it off. I still get very sad IM's from people we booted for reasons I don't remember (or care about), and think that I actually harbor some ill feelings about it.

CoasterBuzz reached something like its current state four years ago today. When I look at the code, I can't believe it has survived four years. It's really horrible. I'd never show it to anyone, because it's so bad. I hate that I've neglected it for so long, but it just hasn't been manageable.

If you count the podcast, I'm probably spending about six to ten hours a week on the site, during most of the year. The forum rewrite that is in progress has consumed hundreds of hours. Pulling off an event take a solid 30 hours of work (except BooBuzz, which was entirely handled by the park). I'm fairly energized at the moment in doing some of the new things, because I now have the know-how to do things that seemed impossible four years ago. If only I had more time.

The weird thing is that I didn't do more work in 2004 and 2005, when I was hopping from one contract gig to the next. I had a ton of free time in those years. Granted, 2004 was more about writing my book, and 2005 was about figuring out who I was supposed to be following the separation. Since last fall, I've had a lot more focus, much of it having to do with learning.

If I could pick one great value from the CoasterBuzz experience, it would easily be the friends. So many of my closest and dearest friends would have never met me had it not been from the site. From CEO's to teenagers I've mentored for programming, the people aspect is what keeps me going.

It's impossible for me to predict how long this will go on, but I don't see any reason to stop. The site generates enough revenue that I'll finally eliminate the debt this year that built up through the T-1 days. It might have happened last year had I not decided to get into the video/HD business. I think this year I'll resume IAAPA coverage because I can afford it (and I might have another certain incentive to be there).

So here's to seven years... and many, many more. Thank you to my friends for supporting me through it all.

Oh Ellen Feiss, how we've missed you

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, January 30, 2007, 12:31 PM | comments: 1

Still one of the most classic ads ever made by Apple.

Ellen Feiss Switch Commercial

The fact that she never did anything else is, like, a bummer.

Meeting hell

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, January 30, 2007, 9:14 AM | comments: 5

You know who your friends are

posted by Jeff | Monday, January 29, 2007, 3:35 PM | comments: 1

I recently went through something that was not good, that made me feel generally shitty. And even worse, though it shouldn't have mattered, I was worried about what a good friend would think.

But I needed to spill, so I did. Not only was my friend understanding, but also supportive and nonjudgmental.

This was kind of an epiphany moment for me. Everyone has friends, everyone has people that play a senior role in their life, but how many people are right behind you for everything? Who has your back? If they aren't supportive of you as much as possible, and willing to understand you, then they shouldn't be at the top of your friendship list. The sad thing is that I even know married people who don't exhibit that kind of support in friendship. I should know, because I was one of them at one time. That's not a regret, but at least I have that awareness now.

Never underestimate the impact you can have just by listening.

When bad things happen

posted by Jeff | Sunday, January 28, 2007, 2:10 PM | comments: 2

I've spent a lot of time in the last couple of years looking for the beauty in the world, in part I suppose because it seems much of the world is just so ridiculously fucked up. You find a lot of peace when you realize that there is much good to counter the bad.

With that knowledge, I've come to realize that the single hardest thing in life, in the general sense, is to find the strength to overcome when bad things happen. When it's something that happens to you or affects you personally, it's much, much harder.

I feel like I'm having more than my share of bad things lately. I'm trying not to feel like a victim, or question my worth and place in things, but it's so difficult. After all, when you're the only common thread in a series of events that aren't good, it's natural to draw the conclusion that you've got a problem. Indeed, it's easier to see why some people find it so difficult to persist and march on.

I'm sure that this feeling will pass eventually, but man do I need something positive to happen, sooner than later. I guess I need to be the one to make that happen, because I don't feel like many people have my back in that regard.

Safety tip: Don't drive when everything is coated with ice

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, January 24, 2007, 4:48 PM | comments: 3

Even when you see this video, you won't believe it. Especially if you live in the Midwest.

A difficult decision for Luna

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, January 23, 2007, 7:53 PM | comments: 3

Luna spent about six out of the seven days last week sick, vomiting now and then. She has been fine since Sunday, but I've found new pee three times since then. It's like that part of her neurotic personality is coming back to the surface.

It has gotten to a point now where every time I see her, I'm just flushed with sadness, and guilt for a decision I haven't even made yet. I love the little bastard to death, but she's destroying my house. It's not even about the money as much as it is about living in a clean place for myself at this point.

When I found the latest round of her violating a corner, I got so angry. It was just before I left to work. She knew I was upset, because she was trying to hide in the downstairs room (where she can't, as there is no furniture there). I picked her up, and just gave her a squeeze. She wanted no part of it, of course, but I just told her I wanted her to be normal so I wouldn't have to make a difficult decision.

I've been patient with her for years, but when I come home and see and smell how bad it's getting, I don't think I can do it anymore. I wish there was some other option, but I can't keep this up.

It's not going to happen this month

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, January 23, 2007, 7:32 PM | comments: 0

I remember about a month ago thinking I needed to blast through my check list and get to Milestone 1 for my forum re-write, but it didn't happen. I figured maybe another week, but it didn't happen either. So obviously, re-doing CoasterBuzz in time for its seventh anniversary, is not going to happen.

But I'm OK with it. I am getting closer to M1 on the forums, but there are a lot of little things that I need to give due attention to. I think I can get reasonably close to the milestone this month, and then take my time.

As motivated as I've generally been, I've had intense weeks at work here and there, which interfere with my motivation to come home and code some more. I like to get out of the house now and then, do stuff, or even just do nothing. I'm getting more into a mode where I'm OK with that arrangement, and achieving some level of balance.

"I wanna see my dick again"

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, January 23, 2007, 9:37 AM | comments: 1

You know, as much as I like Kevin Smith movies, I always get the feeling each one is his last because he's so fat. People can't live like that forever, you know? And certainly his skinny wife couldn't be OK with it either. So he's doing something about it...

(And yes, there's a Jennifer Garner picture. :))

Good for him. When I look around and see how fat America has become, it's kind of a head scratcher as to why people don't want to do something about it. I got to a point where I was visibly overweight, and along with the physical feeling of it, I couldn't take it anymore. Thus the 26 of 2005. Now if I can do 26 more, my doctor will be happy and my strong heart will match my body.

Most useless ATM receipt ever

posted by Jeff | Monday, January 22, 2007, 5:39 PM | comments: 3


posted by Jeff | Monday, January 22, 2007, 1:09 PM | comments: 0

In honor the next couple of months' worth of 24 Mondays, the lyrics to one of my favorite Jem songs, unknowingly written for our hero, Jack Bauer...

Been given 24 hours
To tie up loose ends
To make amends
His eyes said it all
I started to fall
And the silence deafened

Head spinning round
No time to sit down
Just wanted to
Run and run and run
Be careful they say
Don't wish life away,
Now I've one day

I can't believe
How I've been wasting my time

In 24 hours they'll be
Laying flowers
On my life, it's over tonight
I'm not messing no I
Need your blessing
And your promise to live free
Please do it for me

Is there a heaven or hell
And will I come back
Who can tell
Now I can see
What matters to me
It's as clear as crystal
The places I've been
The people I've seen
Plans that I made
Start to fade
The sun's setting gold
Thought I would grow old,
It wasn't to be

And I can't believe
How I've been wasting my time

In 18 hours they'll be
Laying flowers
On my life, it's over tonight
I'm not messing no I
Need your blessing
And your promise to live free
Please do it for me

In 13 hours they'll be
Laying flowers
On my life, it's over tonight
I'm not messing no I
Need your blessing
And your promise to live free
Please do it for me

I'm not alone, I sense it, I sense it
All that I said, I meant it, I meant it

And I can't believe
How much I've wasted my time

In just 8 hours they'll be
Laying flowers
On my life, it's over tonight
I'm not messing no I
Need your blessing
And your promise to live free
Please do it for me

In just 1 hour they'll be
Laying flowers
On my life, it's over tonight
I'm not messing no I
Need your blessing
And your promise to live free
Please do it for me

-"24", Jem

Bunny prints

posted by Jeff | Sunday, January 21, 2007, 2:34 AM | comments: 1

Bedroom furniture delivery

posted by Jeff | Friday, January 19, 2007, 11:08 AM | comments: 3

Yay! It's finally here! No more sleeping on the floor for me...

Warm fuzzies

posted by Jeff | Thursday, January 18, 2007, 12:16 AM | comments: 1

I had a strange day at work. The architect basically blew me off in a big meeting where I felt certain things needed to be talked about. I wouldn't say it pissed me off exactly, but it annoyed me and disappointed me. This was a guy I looked up to.

Anyway, when I got home, I had some dinner, and because I was up late last night working, I just burned out and fell asleep. An hour later, I woke up inspired, and the code just began flowing. It hasn't done that in awhile. We're more than half the way through January, and I can tell you that I'm not going to hit my target on my site rewrites.

But it almost doesn't matter, because I'm doing some stuff right now that fascinates me. I'm raising my game. I also have some pretty radical ideas that I'm going to pitch to some important people. I feel like I can be proud of the work I'm doing.

And while all of this almost-great stuff is materializing, I feel like I'm finally getting closer to the film stuff I want to do. The short screenplay is there in my head, and I just need to bang out 20 pages. I have actors in mind, and I probably can spend less than a grand to make it happen (most of that is a few equipment items I keep).

So as I wrap up my shit tonight, I feel good about what I'm doing with stuff. I feel a lot more optimistic than I have in a long time, and it feels pretty damn good.

No suits for me

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, January 16, 2007, 4:32 PM | comments: 2

Mark Cuban can be obnoxious, but I'm right behind him on this one:

Why I Don't Wear a Suit and Can't Figure Out Why Anyone Does!

Never owned a suit, never intend to.

Clean up on aisle... well... all of them

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, January 16, 2007, 11:58 AM | comments: 3

One more reason to never step foot in another Wal-Mart...


posted by Jeff | Monday, January 15, 2007, 10:00 PM | comments: 7

The show has reached a new level of scary. I mean, shit... this was a new high. I can't remember the last time a TV show or movie elevated my heart rate the way this did.

I think what makes the disaster that much more hard to believe is that Jack himself is buckling under the pressure. Basically everyone is starting to fold under the intense stress that the situation is causing them. It's not all flowers and parades this season, it's balls to the wall, end of the world type shit.


Making things pretty

posted by Jeff | Monday, January 15, 2007, 4:10 PM | comments: 2

I hired a designer to make some rockin' icons (thanks, Jenna!) for the forthcoming POP Forums v8. It's kind of weird how taking a break from the hardcore coding to make things pretty is a very motivating force. It's like the entire thing becomes more real at that point.

I finally did something a little AJAX-ish with it too. I say "-ish" because I didn't wire in the asynchronous-ness to it just yet. (Making up words is fun!) One of my pet peeves for online forums is all the useless crap that gets mixed in with the actual discussion. Seriously, I don't care what your avatar looks like or when you joined. So in this version, I'm hiding it. Click a name on this page, for example. It's really the only significant UI design decision I've made so far, but you can bet I'm going to refine the crap out of it until it's mostly good. Less is more.

I've also decided to make another performance tweak, and increase/decrease various counts instead of counting rows all of the time. Yeah, I probably should have been doing that six or seven years ago when I first started this forum nonsense. I'll probably go with the good old "freshness date" approach to make sure it hasn't somehow fallen out of sync now and then.

I don't think I'm going to hit the milestone I was hoping to hit by the end of the month. While that does bother me to some degree, I'm not going to let it depress me either.


posted by Jeff | Monday, January 15, 2007, 3:56 PM | comments: 6

Wow... this is the coolest thing I've seen in camera support in a long time:

24 theme for Xbox 360

posted by Jeff | Monday, January 15, 2007, 11:14 AM | comments: 0

For my fellow 360 owners who are also 24 fans...

Will be downloading tonight!

24 Day 6

posted by Jeff | Sunday, January 14, 2007, 11:37 PM | comments: 5

I don't watch a ton of TV, but once again my greatest addiction has begun... a new season of 24!

After the first two hours, so far, Jack is really showing the wear and tear. He keeps doubting whether or not he can do this, and was pretty much ready to die.

I think this is the season that he finally dies. Go out on top I say!

New bedroom furniture

posted by Jeff | Saturday, January 13, 2007, 11:47 PM | comments: 0

I finally got around to getting new bedroom furniture today (or rather I'll get it delivered on Friday). I like the new stuff. Simple and clean design, very neutral.

Also got something called a lingerie chest, which is like a tall, narrow thing with a bunch of drawers. I suppose it'll be a place for some future Ms. Pizzie to put her unmentionables!

My box in a box

posted by Jeff | Thursday, January 11, 2007, 6:03 PM | comments: 4

And people say there's nothing good on YouTube...


posted by Jeff | Thursday, January 11, 2007, 8:12 AM | comments: 3

iPhone and Apple TV

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, January 9, 2007, 2:51 PM | comments: 7

While slightly disappointed that Apple didn't talk about the forthcoming OS X Leopard upgrade at all, I don't know how anyone could not be impressed with the iPhone. Well, if you don't count the fact that it won't be out until June. Seriously, they've already sold one to me. Count me in.

The iPod functionality really doesn't do much for me, but I can't argue with the phone and Internet functionality. It's top notch, done right. The UI makes sense too. I was blown away.

Can't wait for the Apple TV box. That's the missing link for me in terms of the iTunes store having movies and TV shows. As long as they introduce the 720p video that it will do on iTunes along with the device, count me in for that too.

Eat those dots, you naughty, naughty girl

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, January 9, 2007, 10:26 AM | comments: 2

"Ms. Pac-Man, I would sex that bow right off your head. Eat those dots, you naughty, naughty girl."
-The Todd, Scrubs

Available today on Xbox Live, finally!

Apple lust

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, January 9, 2007, 12:47 AM | comments: 1

Dammit, up late again. Alex keeps linking me to shit about what Apple is announcing tomorrow. The big word on the street is that this is finally the big day when they announce their phone. I'm skeptical, but what the hell, I'll play along.

My real hope is that the "iTV" thing they previewed last time is released, and frankly I'd be OK with the new version of OS X coming out earlier than they said it would. If that was the case, I'm sure the plan was to release all along, but saying you were early makes Microsoft look even more stupid with the whole Vista fiasco.

The rumor kids all think it's time for new iPods too, which makes sense. It's about time for them to do something new.

We'll all find out around noon Eastern tomorrow.

Furniture shopping

posted by Jeff | Monday, January 8, 2007, 12:44 AM | comments: 0

I spent some time this afternoon in my favorite furniture store. When Stephanie moved, we agreed she'd take the bedroom stuff, and I encouraged her to take the "red room" stuff as well since I really had no use for it. The bedroom I'd like to get new stuff for.

I was telling the sales person what I liked, and she said she had to show me the newest, and most expensive, thing they had. It was this beautiful, well constructed solid set that was about $4,500. The weight and craftsmanship was top notch. I eventually came to my senses and realized that I didn't need something that ridiculous, but it sure was neat to think about it.

The relatively inexpensive purchases I made to redecorate my living room have really made me feel good about the room. I haven't felt good about my house in ages, due to the Luna issues (made worse today when I found she peed behind my desk, a lot). It just feels like I live here now.

I didn't buy anything today, but I would like to soon. The mattress on the floor thing is so ghetto and a little depressing. The funny thing is, I find myself thinking, "Will this work in most any house? Would the future Ms. Pizzie like this? (Whoever that's gonna be?)" That's the thing about good furniture is that you generally have it for a long time.

I'll probably go back later in the week and buy something.

Finished Alias

posted by Jeff | Saturday, January 6, 2007, 11:36 PM | comments: 0

I finally watched through the last few episodes of Alias. The final season got more interesting after Jennifer Garner had her Aflack love child, as she was able to do club scenes in wigs again. The new characters got totally put on the back burner. They wrapped up a lot of loose ends too quickly.

Still, it was entertaining. The show ran its course and really got so complex that I would have a hard time summarizing it to someone. I can't even remember the overall story arc myself. The five seasons actually spanned something like seven years, so a lot went on.

That's the funny thing when you think about how 24 is written. It started about the same year, but with only one physical day taking place in any given season, you don't have to worry about making some complicated and far reaching story arc. There are plenty of twists in just 24 hours.

I bet writing for TV is hard. That's probably why there are at least a half-dozen writers on any given show. I can't even come up with a solid 20-page short that won't suck! :)

The Puffy Chair

posted by Jeff | Saturday, January 6, 2007, 5:39 PM | comments: 4

I've mentioned before how Netflix has gotten into the distribution business by taking on indie films. One such movie is The Puffy Chair, which has won or been nominated for a few awards. I figured, what the hell, I'll check it out.

The story is fairly interesting. The characters are all pretty pathetic, but you do identify with them to a certain degree. It's a bit of a downer because they all appear to have so much hope, and then let it all go by choosing to let everything fall apart. I'm not one of those people who insists on a happy ending, but even unhappy endings tend to leave some hope. Overall, I'll rate it 3 of 5 stars on Netflix.

They shot it on a DVX100, which is the DV predecessor to my HVX200. They shoot documentary style, which on one hand might make it feel kind of real, but in the end it feels gimmicky and the focus hunting drives you nuts. In the special features they say the story making is more important than the technical details, but after doing several shorts, I think that's just making an excuse.

I've decided I need to do a short and just make it happen in the space of a week. Write it, shoot it, get it out of my system. I have an idea in my head that I'm trying to flesh out, and I could start writing at any time. Seeing as how I can't focus enough to work, it would be a good use of my time.

On a side note, I just saw Poseidon. It was OK I guess. The only reason I even rented it was to see if Emmy Rossum (from Phantom) could be as charming without singing. Was also surprised to see the actress that played Nadia on Alias and Jacinda from Real World London.

Living room makeover following a bad day

posted by Jeff | Saturday, January 6, 2007, 2:46 PM | comments: 6

Yesterday was not a good day. Work was annoying because the project I'm on right now involves a third-party that does not have their stuff together. When I finally left, I went to my car to find the front of it was under six inches of water due to a drain that was blocked. How that happens at the top of a hill I have no idea. So I flooded my shoes and got substantially wet. Then I had to detour around town just to get out of it due to flooding.

I mentioned that I had to buy a replacement for my receiver since it kept crapping out on me. Well despite free ground shipping from Amazon, it got here in just one day (apparently Amazon has a DC in Cincy). I came home to find it in the very Sony box you'd see in retail ("Gee, do you suppose that's a receiver?"), sitting on my front step. The moron UPS guy put a plastic bag over it, but not around it, so the bottom side was quite wet.

When I popped the box, I was relieved to find that the unit was dry and all was well inside. When I started to play with it, however, I was disappointed to find that Sony has really taken a step in the wrong direction in terms of ergonomics and control design in their components. Too many menus and things. Still, it was a functional replacement.

As I started to pull out the old unit from the rack, I began to feel my frustration regarding the giant entertainment center. When I was in college, I bought my first stereo rack. Back then, you needed a rack when you bought components, because there was so much stuff to buy. Receiver, CD player, cassette deck, VCR, Nintendo, and later on, DVD player. Plus I had a 200-disc changer back in the day, which was enormous.

One Christmas, Stephanie's former step mom wanted to buy us an entertainment center, which I was all for. The 20" tube TV we had was on a $30 TV stand, and my rack was starting to show its age. So we got this giant thing from Best Buy that had shelves on both sides, and it was deep enough to hold the giant CD player. The big unit even made the move to the house from the apartment.

About a year ago, I bought my current TV, a 37" LCD, and gave the old 27" Sony tube TV to Steph (that thing was a bitch to move!). The new TV didn't quite fit in the giant entertainment center, at least not without being angled a bit. It annoyed me. The rack was now filled mostly with photos and books, because these days my entire component list consists of the receiver, my DVR computer (in a stereo-style case), and Xbox 360. So this giant piece of furniture was dominating the room, and wasn't even that functional. What was even worse, and maybe part of the reason the old receiver was failing, was that the three components in there all generated massive heat that had nowhere to go.

That annoyed me, so instead of putting it all back in, I decided it was time to redecorate. Besides, I wasn't going to do any work on my projects with my high level of frustration on the day, and I had been sitting on my ass all week long.

I've been searching for a TV stand that could hold everything below it, but never did find anything that was deep enough to hold the DVR computer. My first and only stop was Target. They have all of that imitation Crate & Barrel trendy stuff that is reasonably priced. I found a TV stand I really liked, even though it couldn't hold the receiver or DVR. Right next to it was a very open "audio pier" that matched, and was only about four feet tall. This could be a more functional arrangement, I thought. So for $260, I decided to go for it.

Of course, since the world was clearly against me for the day, it was raining hard. I managed to get the boxes on top of a cart, and out of the store. Within a minute of getting to my car, I was soaked, as was the top box. I got the stuff into my car, strained my back and arms, and headed home.

The shelves took an hour and a half to build, but the stand took less than an hour. The open nature requires some careful cable management, but it's fairly well hidden. The room now feels much bigger. I'm not sure I like having the left speaker not equidistant from the TV as the right, but I'll probably move it. The rest of the room is in chaos still, not to mention the giant old entertainment center is still in the room.

CampusFish down time

posted by Jeff | Friday, January 5, 2007, 2:43 PM | comments: 0

At around 3am last night, CampusFish went down, and the mystery began.

The first and most alarming thing is that it was taking down the entire application pool, which included a couple of other sites. Not cool. Once I was able to isolate it, I got it to fail just on its own.

Unfortunately I had urgent day job work to do today, so when it came down to the site that earns $50 a year or the job that earns $50+ an hour, I had to go with the job. My apologies... I would've rather worked on CF.

While at lunch I thought about the processes the site is always doing, and realized that the least reliable one was the moblog e-mail checker. When you send a picture to CF, it sits in a normal mailbox. The site comes along and checks this box every minute or two, and makes posts when appropriate. As Tyler and I know all too well, sometimes it just chokes entirely, usually on a spam message that lands in the box.

When I got looked at the mailbox, what do you suppose the first message was? Yeah, one around 3am, with some spam attachment. I deleted it, started up the site, and not surprisingly, it fired right up.

So if you're in the market for a .NET POP3 component, don't buy this one. What a steaming pile of shit.

If I had time, I'd write my own, but complying to the standard is hard because it's fairly extensive when it comes to attachments. I've written a basic SMTP client, and in fact it sends e-mail in the next forum version. POP3 is much harder to do.

So again, sorry for the delay in getting it back up. Longest ten hours of my life! (Even though I was asleep for half of them.)

Fabulous use of iChat

posted by Jeff | Thursday, January 4, 2007, 11:49 PM | comments: 4

$1,352 doctor visit

posted by Jeff | Thursday, January 4, 2007, 7:31 PM | comments: 4

I just got the $20 co-pay bill from the Cleveland Clinic for my November doctor visit. It also details what the insurance company paid. Shit, $1,352 is a lot of money.

That covers the visit itself with the doctor, the ECG, blood work and the heart monitor I carried for a week. Doesn't that seem a little insane?

When I was in Florida, my mom was telling me about the $400 a month they had to spend on drugs, and that's insane too. Our medical system in this country is seriously, seriously fucked up.

LonelyGirl15 and video on the Web

posted by Jeff | Thursday, January 4, 2007, 12:28 PM | comments: 3

YouTube has a lot of fun stuff, and I won't deny it of that, but I don't understand where this "revolution" in video content is. There is little on the Web that qualifies as anything more than wasting time.

There are certainly some big advertising opportunities, and it's certainly something to consider as a growing alternative to broadcast TV (which gets more lame by day). The press started to jump all over it when LonelyGirl15 was outed as an actress and not a teenage narcissist who liked to video blog. A wired article about these guys makes the sound like revolutionary pioneers in the new art of Internet storytelling. Things got interesting when suddenly "Bree" became angry with her parents about not being allowed to go out with her male friend.

What I don't get is why everyone in the press is sucking these guys off as being geniuses. I mean come on, if I made a regular video with a 19-year-old hottie actress that was even remotely interesting, I could attract a crowd too. It doesn't make me the Internet version of Spielberg. I watched a few episodes, and I'll agree that she's convincing, very cute and there's some hint of a plot.

But where's the real meat? The average 44 minutes of drama on an hour-long TV show is what I watch religiously because it's an interesting and longer lasting escape. It's something to do in my free time. I can watch half of the LonelyGirl15 episodes in no time flat, and then what?

There is no doubt in my mind that the Internet makes new forms of entertainment possible, and I dig that. But the new entertainment still has to be as interesting and something more than a time waster. Even the "Behind The Music That Sucks" episodes on (which have been around for at least six years) are more interesting, and that was done as early and somewhat crude Flash.

Electronic failures and triumphs

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, January 3, 2007, 9:55 PM | comments: 0

My nine-year-old Sony receiver has been cutting out one or both sides as of late. Actually I think I blogged about this months ago. Well, it's getting worse and more annoying. It's really strange that it would fail, because people run receivers from the 70's to this day, perhaps with replaced tubes.

I found one on Amazon for about $230 that goes for $300 at Best Buy, but I hate that I had to spend money on something so not interesting.

On the other hand, I found a work around to install the service pack for Visual Studio over the error I spent half a day screwing around with before Christmas. I needed a break from debugging so I figured I'd give it a whirl, and it worked.

I plugged in my DDR pad to my DVR computer and fired up StepMania. I copied it from Kara almost a year ago but never got it to work (because of busted pads). It seems to work, I think but either it's more precise than the PS2 DDR games, or it's not reading the button triggers in sync with the errors.

Today, I have beat the machines.

Not a great start

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, January 2, 2007, 6:15 PM | comments: 1

I have to say that 2007 has not gotten off to a good start. In fact, it's pretty grim at the moment. The optimist in me tends to overlook the fact that as soon as you feel like things are really going well, there's a good chance that something is going to get pulled out from under you.

But the thing is, I've gotta stay on task, and keep my shit together. The whole forum/CB project causes great anxiety for me, not because anything bad will happen if I don't do it, but because I need to prove to myself that I can finish it. I've been putting it off now for nearly three years, making excuses as they relate to my personal life.

Thank God for a little sun today. That sure helps with mood. As it is, I already feel like I need to get somewhere warm by March.