Monthly Archives: January 2010

Tidbits :: Sunday January 31, 2010

Researcher gave the Chumash a gift: their heritage: “Everyone thought the tall, strange white man was some kind of genius. But to teenage Ernestine De Soto he was a giant pain in the neck, a nosy, “Ichabod Crane-like” character who drew her mother’s attention from its rightful place — on her.
John Peabody Harrington studied De Soto’s Chumash family for nearly 50 years, pumping her great-grandmother, her grandmother and her mother for the tiniest details of their lives. Everything fascinated him: the Chumash names of places mostly forgotten, of fish no longer caught — even, to the family’s puzzlement, of private parts never discussed in polite company. A brilliant linguist and anthropologist, Harrington had been just as relentless with countless Indian families throughout the West, but that didn’t impress the young Ernestine.
“It’s due to his madness that we are who we are today,” said De Soto, a 71-year-old nurse who works at a Santa Barbara rest home. “We have a language. We have an identity.”"
Stevenf on I need to talk to you about computers: “For as frustrated as I was with the restrictions, those exact same restrictions made the New World device a high-performance, high-reliability, absolute workhorse of a machine that got out of my way and just let me get things accomplished.
Nothing is simply black or white.
Old Worlders are particularly sensitive to certain things that are simply non-issues to New Worlders. We learned about computers from the inside out. Many of us became interested in computers because they were hackable, open, and without restrictions. We worry that these New World devices are stifling the next generation of programmers. But can anyone point to evidence that that’s really happening? I don’t know about you, but I see more people carrying handheld computers than at any point in history. If even a small percentage of them are interested in “what makes this thing tick?” then we’ve got quite a few new programmers in the pipeline.
The reason I’m starting to think the Old World is ultimately doomed is because we are bracketed on both sides by the New World, and those people being born today, post-iPhone and post-iPad, will never know (and probably not care) about how things used to work. Just as nobody today cares about floppies, and nobody has to care about manual transmissions if they don’t want to.”
Blue whales are singing in a lower key: “A retired Navy scientist directed Hildebrand to a trove of tapes stored at Sea World. The delicate old reels were the size of dinner plates. It turned out they contained snippets of blue whale songs from 40 years ago.
The tapes eliminated all doubt: In the Beach Boys’ era, blue whales’ voices, while nowhere near falsetto, had been distinctly higher pitched.
With more work, the researchers were able show that blue whales worldwide are using deeper voices lately. Some have dropped their calls by only a few tones, but all showed a steady decline. “It was baffling,” Hildebrand said.
Blue whales are shrouded in mystery as it is. ”

Scalzi & Sullivan & Burland

No, not a law or architecture firm, but two links that I enjoyed today plus a good debate from the other day.
John Scalzi on Holden Caulfield:

“I never got Holden Caulfield anyway. This partially due to having my own reading tastes bend towards science fiction as a teen rather than the genre of Alienated Teen Literature, of which Catcher is, of course, the classic. If you were going to give me a teenage hero, give me Heinlein’s Starman Jones: He traveled the galaxy and memorized entire books of log tables and became Captain of a starship (for procedural reasons, granted). All Holden did was bitch, bitch, bitch. Put Holden at the controls of a starship and he’d implode from stress. Not my hero, thanks.”

Mr. Scalzi and I are the same age and as teenagers appear to have had similar tastes in literature. I loved SciFi and Fantasy novels as a teenager and when I was made to read novels like “Catcher in the Rye” in school, I found them to be repugnant. I remember thinking that someone should tell Holden to get a life and get on with it.
I was made to read that novel when I was miserable at my high school, but rather than whine about it, I went out bought thrift store clothes, dyed my hair, hitched every ride to Hollywood I could, and took lots of photos at concerts. Holden was up there with the non-hero of “The Good Earth” for folks I would ignore rather than hang out with at that stage of my life.
Mr. Scalzi has squarely hit the nail on the head with his assessment that Holden was too passive. I didn’t have those words in high school, but I knew that if you didn’t like your life, like I didn’t like mine, you did something about it. To this day, I have always thought of Holden Caulfield as the hero to young men of a melancholy bent and I have yet to meet a woman who really liked him or the book as a teenager. If you are a woman and identified with Holden or Catcher in the Rye, please feel free to comment below in his defense.
On another note, Mr. Sullivan has parsed out an interesting difference between Brits and Americans in terms of debating and refining an arguement:

“So much of American politics is debate conducted at a distance, through ads or soundbites or various talking points that never actually engage one another in debate. Reared in the British debate tradition – I debated through high-school and college, becoming President of the Oxford Union in 1983 – this has always felt to me like the biggest drawback of the American system.
The point of debate is to clarify things, to find where the real points of disagreement are, and to assess them in that context of actual alternatives. “

I find this a wonderful assessment as some of my favorite people to debate with have been raised and/or educated in the British or Irish systems. Just a few days ago, I found myself in a good give & take with James Burland on Twitter about Windows 7 vs. Ubuntu for the Nokia Booklet. After our tweeted mini-debate died down, I realized that I thoroughly enjoyed debating the merits of Windows 7 with a Brit who was also a fellow creative and Mac owner as he was able to help me parse out what I was really thinking about rather than both of us taking a side and sticking to it.

Happy 10th Anniversary to Alex’s Bar!



Video by Ms. Jen with a Nokia N97.

Thurs 01.28.10 – This weekend is Alex’s Bar’s 10th Anniversary weekend, in celebration Alex and I (Ms. Jen) did the above video to cover what the article in The District did not and for Alex to extend a big Thank You to all of the folks who have made 10 Years of Alex’s Bar possible.
Alex’s has a great line up of shows to say ‘Thank you, Long Beach, for a great decade of Alex’s Bar!’:
Fri, Jan 29, 2010 – Alex’s Bar 10 Year Anniversary Show – The Adolescents, Riverboat Gamblers, John Doe, Blockage – $15
Sat, Jan 30, 2010 – Alex’s Bar 10 Year Anniversary Show – Riverboat Gamblers, Throw Rag, Mike Watt and the Secondmen, Werewolf – $15
See you at Alex’s Bar’s this weekend!

Tidbits :: Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Dear Steve, “Long time no see! I’ve been busy, sorry. First off all, I want to congratulate you on the great show today. Wow, that iPad is truly one of those things everyone is going to want to have, like your previous successes with the iPod and iPhone. I take my hat off for that! And wow, what a lead up to the show. Probably the first hype of 2010. And do you guys know how to keep a secret and then give a great show unveiling it. … When you were showing the web capabilities of the iPad, something was missing in it’s browser (see screen-shot above). As your keynote and product presentations are normally flawless (ah, well, maybe not always), I think you might have missed this one.
You touted the iPad’s (great product name, btw) web capabilities as being amazing, perfect, you know, the regular Apple thing. But during the presentation I couldn’t help but notice that little “missing plugin” logo, we all know from the iPhone. Now, I was thinking that this might have been one of those very exotic plugin’s of back in the day, like Director or Realplayer. But, as it turned out, the missing plugin was the Flash Player.”

Nokia Booklet 3G : Day 3 : I Can Haz Ubuntu

Wed 01.27.10 – #37 the Nokia Booklet and I are not only back on speaking terms, but with great affection. Thanks to Andrew Currie and Steve Rowlands who recommended Wubi as a fast and very painless way to get Ubuntu Linux running on a netbook without harming the original Windows install, as of this morning, I now have a working dual boot of Windows 7 and Ubuntu 9.10 on the Nokia Booklet.
And when it is time to ship #37 back to WOMWorld/Nokia, all I have to do is log into the Windows side of the install, go to the control panel and uninstall Wubi in the normal Windows fashion and the whole Ubuntu side will be gone. The machine will then return as it came.
The best part for me, is rather than spending the next 11 days of my trial period struggling with Windows and ultimately disliking the Booklet, I get to spend it enjoying the Booklet, use it as a mini-laptop, and being able to evaluate it as the lovely piece of hardware that it is.
Once Andrew got Ubuntu working on his trial Booklet, #38, via Wubi, he announced mid-day that he had uninstalled Wubi and was on to try Jolicloud. It appears that Andrew is going to test every possible way to set the Booklet free of the confines of Windows. Good on him.
Now that #37, my trial Booklet, is free, I am going to go deeper and see what the capacity of the Booklet is now that it has been set free. Many of the reviews of the Nokia Booklet 3G is the surprise or disappointment on the part of the user on how under powered the Booklet supposedly is in terms of RAM (1 GB) or in terms of the Intel Atom processor. Today as the Booklet wizzed along happily a good speeds under Ubuntu, it hit me that the Booklet may be ‘underpowered’ for an inefficient hog like Windows, but the Booklet was a speedy little fellow(ess) under Ubuntu.
For a mini-laptop, does it need to have bigger laptop sized RAM & processor or does it really need a better, freer, more open Operating System that is more efficient with the hardware it has?
Point in case, the Booklet allegedly has a multitouch touchpad, but for the life of me I could not get the two finger scrolling to work under the Windows OS, but in the Ubuntu side the touchpad is by far more responsive and is really fast at multitouch. Same hardware, different OSes.

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Nokia 3G Booklet : Day 2 : User Experience Humor

Microsoft Users

Photo taken of the Booklet screen by Ms. Jen with a Nokia N97.

Tues 01.26.10 – Today was also a busy work day, thus my only accomplishments in making progress with the Nokia Booklet was to download and install the Oceanis Change Background program that Vaibhav of The Symbian Blog recommended.
Apparently the version of the Attack of the Redmond Drones that Nokia installed on the Booklet, Windows 7 Starter, is a non-starter in that it does very little and really is only there to irritate the Booklet’s owner into returning it or paying MicroSquash $80+ to upgrade to Windows 7 Home or Ultimate. Since, I have no intention of giving any $$ to the dreaded Mordor, I mean, Redmond, I instead put a call of help out to Twitter and my mobile Tweeps delivered.
When I installed Oceanis Change Background, it put a very amusing cartoon in places of the Windows logo, of which I have taken a photo of and placed above, the caption that satirically sums up MicroSquash:

“It’s a revolutionary approach really…
Instead of developing new software adjusted to the user’s needs, we’ve started developing new users, adjusted to the software’s needs.”

I also let the Booklet phone home to Finland and update itself and add Nokia Ovi Suite and the Nokia Social Hub. Ovi Suite is just the new name for Nokia PC Suite which is the way one is to supposedly manage one’s mobile device’s relationship with one’s PC, but my mobile, currently a Nokia N97, is a Protestant and does not need to a middleman to manage its relationship with its deity, the MacBook Pro in this case. So, I closed Ovi Suite when it wanted the N97 to come to confession and make a connection.

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Nokia 3G Booklet : Day 1, The Attack of the Redmond Drones

The Nokia 3G Booklet sitting on top of my Apple MacBook Pro 15"

Photo taken by Ms. Jen with a Nokia N97.

Project52 : Week 4
Mon. 01.25.10 – Late this morning the Nokia 3G Booklet arrived from the folks at WOMWorld/Nokia for a two week trial review period. I am quite excited about this, I do love to tinker about on a new computer, especially one as lovely and beautifully designed as the Nokia 3G Booklet.
It is cute! It is tiny! It is solid! It is light in weight! It is well-made! Did I mention it was beautifully designed and cute?!?
And then….
I turned it on and I was confronted with the… evil blue background with the light waving Windows logo. Gah.
Fifteen minutes into my new love affair with #37, I had to turn her off and put her back into her wrapping and two boxes and then put her box under my bed, because Windows 7 had so elevated my blood pressure that I was ready to call DHL to take #37 back to London and then write a scathing review of how F*cking Evil Windows is and How it is the Worst Possible Decision… blah blah blah… all because I spent 15 mins trying to figure out how to change the damned Windows background into something more eye pleasing. Big, deep breath.
So, I returned to the work project that is on deadline for tomorrow and then surreptitiously searched Google for ‘Nokia 3G Booklet Hackintosh‘, ‘Nokia 3G Booklet Ubuntu 9.10 USB live boot‘, etc. Yes, I spent most of the rest of the afternoon deep in dual work mode and researching my options for a USB live boot of a real OS, an OS that keeps one’s blood pressure at normal.
Which computer or mobile operating system one likes is not just a matter of brand preference, or what your friends like, or what you have already spent the time to learn, it is also about a mental metaphor and mind map. And that mental metaphor / mind map may still be uncomfortable even after learning how to use a system. Sometimes, one just has to give up an operating system that does not fit one’s mental processes and move on to one that does. After reluctantly using Windows for years, I happily and with abandon switched over to Ubuntu Linux and Mac OS X about 4 – 5 years ago and have never looked back.
I gladly pay the Apple Tax to get lovely, well designed hardware and OS. I am also happy to pay the Nokia Tax to get kick ass mobile cameraphones, even if I continue to be bewildered by Nokia’s hard-on for all things Windows and how their Symbian mobile OS is mapped to Windows and its metaphor. One of the reasons that I am so excited about the Nokia N900 is that its OS is Maemo which is a lovely mobile version of Linux.
All of this adds up to, right now I just can’t open up #37 the lovely Nokia 3G Booklet again, until I have time to create a USB stick with a live boot of Ubuntu or Moblin for the Booklet.

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Cough Syrup Mustache: Scruffy McDoglet Update

Scruffy & his cough syrup mustache

Photo by Ms. Jen with a Nokia N97.

Mon 01.25.10 – Thanks to everyone who has inquired about Scruffy’s health. The good news is that he is on the mend. He is still coughing, but it has reduced in quantity and volume. Scruffy is still sleeping a lot and is a bit cranky (Sorry, Gracie!).
Today, he discovered that sleeping on his back made for less wheezing and coughing. And as he was sleeping on his back, I noticed his cough syrup mustache and needed to take a photo.
Sadly, Scruffy is still on quarantine from other dogs and when Magnus came over to visit today, Scruffy couldn’t go out and play.