Monthly Archives: November 2007

A Working Day

I have spent all day today digging away in the Flash and PHP Salt Mines. I am very tired but am hours away from being done. I am now drinking tea in a attempt to revive myself, so I can keep going.
I had lots of thoughts earlier today for NaBloPoMo posts but now they have all escaped my head. Hopefully tomorrow will be more fruitful.
Now back to the the salt mines…

Over Committed

Six months ago today, on May 4, 2007, I moved into my new apartment with only what was needed for the immediate weeks and full intentions to go back to my brother’s garage loft to get the rest of my boxes. I did get my books a couple of months ago, but I have been too busy, too over committed, to get the rest of the boxes and unpack.
I have said yes to too many projects and jobs. I feel like I have been running like a hamster on a habitrail wheel, lots of running but going no where. The worst part of the overly-busy, too many projects, too much yes-ing of the last few months, is that I don’t feel like I have done anything well.
I am looking forward to the next few weeks in Europe as a time to take a BIG deep breath and slow down.
In the boxes at my brother’s contain many necessary things in which to live an adult life, but until I can clear a few days from my schedule, I will continue to eat with plastic forks, as I have no idea which box my silverware is in…
December, when I get back, I will clear the first three days to make friends with the spiders in my brother’s storage area.

Can I Post to MT4 from my Nokia N95’s Browser?

No. I keep trying, but no, I can’t.
Why? I can only get as far as the above title before Movable Type’s AJAX conspires against my Nokia N95’s browser. I have tried to use the file uploader, which I was able to use from my phone’s browser with MT 3.4, but in MT 4 the file uploader uses Lightbox and I can’t toggle around in it enough to press “upload” on my phone. And for whatever reason, in the mobile browser, I am unable to fill any text into the “body” of the post. Frustrating. I could do all of this from my Nokia N80 and the N95 with MT 3.4, but not with Movable Type 4.0.
Bah. Desktop/Laptop-centric blogging software. Bah.
What ever happened to Progressive Enhancement and Unobtrusive AJAX? Have Steve, Jeremy, and other standardistas been preaching to the wind? I should hope not. Web based software and applications should be device agnostic and the site should work whether the device has javascript or not.
Why try and why care? In less than 5 days, I get on a plane for Europe for the great “Ditch Thanksgiving 2007 Tour” or the “Let’s cash in frequent flyer miles go to London, Ireland, and Spain for 3 weeks Tour”. Whilst I am gone, I don’t want to pay AT&T my arm and Scruffy’s leg for international data fees to post photos and text to this blog, so I will be using my UK Vodafone sim chip with Pay As You Go that I have overly topped up. Only problem is that sometime in the last year, since I was last last ( previous to the last time) in the UK, Vodafone changed their PAYG plan and it is really really hard to mobile blog with the non-contract PAYG.
When I was in the UK for various events in 2006, I was able to to use about £20 per week on PAYG to send my photos as MMS’s to my Flickr account, Flickr would then send them on to my blog. At the beginning of Ocober, when I was in London for FOWA 2007, I found that it appeared that I sent photos to Flickr via MMS, my N95 confirmed the photo was sent, and later when I would check there would be no photo on Flickr. Vodafone UK’s MMS was not interacting with Flickr.
When I attempted to use Lifeblog, it was a no go as Lifeblog uses email/ISP data to send and with a PAYG account one does not get email/ISP data. I then tried to use Flickr’s mobile uploader, but that did not work as it wanted to go through the MMS to send the photo. ShoZu was not working for me at all while in London and upon reading ShoZu’s forum’s it is not enough to change your Access Point, you have to reactivate for each APN.
The best part is that Vodafone PAYG’s data plans, both 3G & WAP, have Flickr blocked as adult / unappropriate content. The whole week I was in the UK this Oct, I tried to get Vodafone to unblock it to no avail.
Vodafone, you may have the best 3G connections in the UK and Ireland, but you live in the dark ages. Flickr should not be blocked, nor should my MMS. If I pay you for a sim chip and top up, let me use the PAYG £s however I want. Don’t trottle me. Give me 3G unblocked, give me MMS, give me email/ISP. I will pay for it, give it to me.
I want to be able to use my Nokia to blog as I go, not wait until I get back to my computer to bluetooth the photos to my MacBook Pro and then load them up to Movable Type 4, if I have a wifi connection (the UK yes, Ireland & Spain most likely no). Thus, my experiments this week with trying to post directly from my phone’s browser to my MT4 installation. If it works here, it should work in the UK, Ireland, and Spain. Except it isn’t working here due to the MT4 obtrusive, non-progressive javascript.

Highway Robbery & a Headache in a Glass

While waiting for the Pogues to go on last night, Julie Wanda, Wes, and I stood in the beautiful art deco lobby of the Wiltern Theatre and watched the world go bay. Wes and I both wanted to get a drink and Wanda warned us off, “The drinks are bad and expensive. DON’T do it.”
Now wine is really the only alcohol I can consume without getting sick, really sick, due to allergies to brewer’s yeast, wheat, rye, corn, and barley, as well as gluten troubles (no beer). The grape is my friend. Except many wines are not my friend, as wineries use a lot of hidden ingredients that are not listed on the bottle and I am allergic to some of them. The worst of it is that many wineries use oak chips with wheat gluten to give that oak-ey taste, and that becomes a celiac problem. Given that the US does not require all the wine additives to be listed on the bottle, drinking a glass of wine can be a crap shoot. When wine is good, it is very good. When it is bad, it is very bad.
The cheaper the wine, the more likely that it will be a dreadful headache in a bottle. Wineries add a variety of sugars, flavors, and chemicals to non-vintage grapes to make the wine tasty and higher in alcohol, thus the evil wine headache. American wineries do this (avoid any wine labeled “California” rather than a county or a wine region). Chilean wineries do it. So do the Australians. etc. etc. etc.
I have had a ton of folk tell me they don’t drink wine due to the fact it gives them a headache. If you go to a reputable wine shop, like the Wine Country, and attend one of their tastings, you can learn more about vintage and regional wine and which ones are drinkable and which are not. In my experience, the drinkable, no-headache wines, tend to be over $10 a bottle and are usually not sold at my local grocery store, or if they are at the local grocery store they are over $15 a bottle.
And I am hear to tell you that due to economics in food & beverage business, the likelihood that any of us will find a drinkable, no headache wine by the glass at a bar or restaurant or concert venue is very very slim. Most bars can get [Name Large Company Swill Here] for under $4 a bottle from their distributor, pour up to 5 glasses of wine on the bottle, and then charge you $5-7 for your headache. Do the math, it is too good for them to turn down.
Even the *supposed* “premium” wines like BV, Chalone, Kendall Jackson, etc., sold by the glass at many restaurants also are mass produced by very large companies and have many unlisted additives (BV is a huge headache in a bottle for me). The LA Times earlier this year in its weekly Food section reported that there is a movement afoot to get legislation passed that would require all wine in California to label all ingredients and additives. It is not just the big producers but also little wineries have piped up in opposition to this movement as they say it takes the “mystery” out of wine making. I call bullshit on this. Your mystery is making me sick.
I have poured over the big distributor’s catalogs while in the office at Alex’s, I can tell you many of the non-headache wines start at $9 – 11 per bottle via the distributor, even if you or I can buy that same bottle at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods for $12 (TJs is using economies of scale to make a slim profit). What bar owner is going to get the good wine when they can make oodles off the cheap wine?
But it is a self-defeating loop, as then customers won’t buy the wine after a while due to it giving them a headache, the bar then says, “We don’t really sell wine, so we should only get the cheap stuff.” The bartenders are skeptical and when you ask, “Do you have wine?”, they make a face and thus sell less wine.
We have broken the cycle at Alex’s by finding a decent priced, decent tasting, not-too headachey wine (Sangre de Toro), that customers like a lot and the bar sells before the open bottles go bad. So, when I am out at another concert venue, I am always hopeful that they too have taken the plunge to get better wine… I am also hopeful for world peace, too. I am an optimist.
Last night, at the Wiltern, they were serving a mass produced Australian white and red. Julie warned me off of it, and I foolishly hoped it might be decent. $7 later, I had a glass of wine in hand. It tasted decent on the first few sips and then degraded from there. Halfway through the headache started and I today I have had a huge headache all day. A headache from less than one glass of wine.
And I was charged $7 for the headache. Nice.
Wiltern, you are a great concert venue, you can serve good wine and still make a profit without gouging your customers. Thank you.

NaBloPoMo 2007 Starts Today

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Get your engines started, here we go, National Blog Posting Month!!!!!
For the next 30 days, I will be posting not just mobile blogged photos everyday, but also text / writing posts everyday. I have tons of things that I have been meaning to write for you all in a folder on my desktop, but I never seem to allow myself to actually blog it due to time restrictions and the distractions of life. Well, time restrictions and deadlines will have to line up 2nd to blogging this month.
From Nov. 16th to the 28th, it may be a challenge for me to get something here everyday on time, as I will be traveling in Ireland and Spain with spotty to no internet connection, so with the help of my trusty Nokia N95 on those days I will be blogging from my mobile.
Been having trouble posting to your blog with any regularity? Well, join us. Even if you can only post a photo a day or a few sentences, giving 10 – 30 minutes a day to blogging will make it easier to blog, you a better writer or photographer or podcaster or video-ist or artist or…. Do it!
Thanks to Mrs. Kennedy for organizing NaBloPoMo!