Posts Categorized: tech + web dev

SXSW Day 1 – Recap

All photos by Ms. Jen’s Nokia 7610 phone.

Fri. 03.11.05 – The First Day of SXSW 2005 – Travel Day.
Last night Erika and I went to a celebratory dinner at Sofi in West LA, a delightful Greek restaurant. I crashed on her couch last night and this morning she took me to LAX for my flight(s) to Texas. I misread my flight times and mismanaged my meals, as I ended up in Austin at 6:20pm with only breakfast and some soup to eat all day.
By the time I checked into the Hampton Inn Downtown, it was 7:25pm. I trotted over to the Austin to convention center to get my badge and then from there to the “Break Bread with Brad” at the Ginger Man pub on West 4th St.
After a glass of wine and a nice chat with George, I realized it was 9pm plus and I was starving. And I was babbling to poor George. I won a door prize from Brad’s stash of DVDs, an Original Star Trek with Joan Collins (Wahoo!). I chatted briefly with Brad and Doug, before heading off to find food.
I hit P.F. Chang’s, across the street from my hotel, for my solo 3rd annual First Friday dinner at the bar. I had Cantonese Chow Fun and a glass of Pinot Noir, as well as a nice chat with my bar neighbors, Joey and Elizabeth. Lizzie is the store accountant for the brand new HUGE Whole Foods Mother Ship Store. I will visit for lovely gluten free foods before the weekend is over. My local Whole Foods, Tustin, is the smallest store in the chain and carries few gluten free items, and none that are FRESH BAKED GOODS, like the Mother Ship does.
I am tired. Tomorrow is Kick! at 10am. Yeah.

SXSW, Here I Come!

Today is Wednesday, on Friday at 11:17am I fly out of LAX to go to Austin, Texas, for 10 BIG days of SXSW. Yep, I am a glutton for punishment – once again, or more accurately for the 4th time – I will be doing both Interactive and Music.
As with last year, I am most excited for the Interactive portion of the conference.

The Era of Ultra Specialization

We can’t all be rocket scienticists or biomedical engineers or ….
In the era of ultra specializations one may not have a paper Ph.D in an arcane subject, but most of us have a specialty in some form of technology that our neighbor or sister would be completely lost at.
My sister can work the VCR. My brother can replace my timing belt. My best friend can mix any type of audio. My dad can program his Sirius satelite radio to get any frequency any where. I can work a computer.
But for the life of me, I can’t figure out a VCR or TV. My brother’s new roommate asked me to show her how to turn on the TV tonight, and I was LOST. Lost, really lost. I looked at 5 black console boxes and 3 remotes as if they just arrived Fed-Ex from Jupiter. Yikes!
My best friend who can mix eight channels of sound in the outback for Survivor calls me to ask computer questions. My brother asks me how to do this or that on the computer, which I gladly trade for cheap car repairs on the weekend when he is home from his executive office job.
What it boils down to is… not only can’t you please all the people all the time, but you can’t figure out all the gadgets all the time. I freely admit that I can’t work a VCR or DVD (unless it is the one on my computer). I love my computer and my new Nokia, but other than that, I am a luddite.
Jay, the Programming Wizard, had a hard time figuring out new TVs. This made me feel sympathy with Jay and I commented that he should forget the TV and watch his DVDs on his monitor.
More importantly, a wide variety of Jay’s readers came through with a great deal of technical and consumer knowledge to help Jay find a new TV. This is good. We can’t all know everything and our communities can help us find the info, be it our immediate friends or online.
Learn what you love and share what you can.

Thurs. 12/9/04 – Big Day in Ms. Jen’s Neighborhood

My first pic with my new Nokia 7610

Ok, yesterday was a very big and exciting day in the personal neighborhood of my life….
7am – I depart my house, with freshly washed hair, to drive up to Beverly Hills by 9:30am (Evil Traffic) to pick up my new PHONE!!!!
I think that I am being smart by taking Chapman all the way to Seal Beach to avoid the traffic on the 22. Smart. Then I jog up Valley View to Katella westbound. Katella turns into Willow after the 605, continue on Willow. See the 405 in Long Beach is very clogged, it is 7:50am, I am making good time, I stay driving west on Willow. Pass the 710, enter into the Port of LA, it is 8:15am, good time. Happy. Notice that Willow has turned into Sepulveda Blvd! Gold Mine! Pass the 110, am now very smug that I am driving 50 m.p.h. on Sepulveda and am now in the SouthBay. Call JulieWanda and my dad to brag about my new street shortcut.
Somewhere in Redondo Beach, my shortcut went all wrong. I ended up at the pier and PCH, not Sepulveda at 9:15am with 15 mins. to get to Beverly Hills. Even with no traffic, this is a 45 min. drive. Suck.
At 10am, I am driving, 3 times, around the Santa Monica / Wilshire Blvd interchange trying NOT to get a ticket from the 4 traffic cops pulling folks over while trying to find my Nokia contact. I finally met them in the scoop out of the Peninsula Hotel, they handed me the bag containing the Nokia 7610 (unlocked, no less!!!) and peripherals, and off I went in desperate search of a toilet.
Then me, my new little phone, and Sugar Plum sped off down side streets to avoid the BV motorcycle police to drive back to Orange for my 11:30am appointment at St. Joe’s for an EKG, chest X-Ray, blood work, and chat with Dr. Ho, that took plus 3 hours. No, I am not sick, I am donating on Jan. 3rd.
Late lunch at Pho May. Then off to the Cingular, formerly AT&T store, on the corner of Main & Chapman. I am supposed to have AT&T or T-Mobile GSM service to participate in the LifeBlog study that is giving me my new fancy pants camera, I was assured earlier in the week that I could, as a AT&T customer, get a new AT&T sim chip and mMode even though they are migrating everyone to Cingular. Store in Orange does not have a AT&T sim chip, off I go down the 5 fwy. to south Tustin to the store there. They do have a chip, but due to high volume of aggitated AT&T customers who are being forced to switch to Cingular phones, there is a long wait.
The very nice and helpful Kevin gets me an AT&T sim chip, sets up my mMode account, and even transfers all the contacts from my Nokia 6630 to the 7610. Super Kevin to the resuce!
Return home at 5:30pm. Then spend the next 45 mins. trying to get my phone set up to my earthlink main email account, LifeBlog, and other bits.
7pm – At Biola, for the last night of Web Design class before finals. It was a work night, and I mostly answered folk’s questions about their flash websites. I realized that lunch was wearing off and there was no dinner on the horizon.
Jen goes home, eats cereal, and collapses on the couch to read the 7610 manual and takes a pic of her feet and living room…
Watch out world, here I come. Let the photoblogging begin…

Truly Extraordinary…

After years of waiting (ok, two years or thereabouts, but that is plural), Metafilter has opened up registrations again. And I am registered.
I may be wrong, but I thought I registered after SXSW 2001, but could never log on. By the time I started reading Me-Fi daily, registration was closed. Many times I wanted to comment but no go.
Yeah. Now I really can join the ranks of the geeks… ;op

Sponge Jen Crankypants

Today, I hit an extreme moment of cellphone induced crankypants.
For the first three years of my cellphone ownership, I had out of economic necessity the smallest minuted national plan in the nation. But dang it all, it was cheap. Cheap, I tell you.
To make this work for me, I had the number blocked, only gave out my number to close family and a few friends. Most of the time the phone lived under the driver’s seat of my car off. Yes, off.
Off is the best way to have cheap cellphone bills. But an off cellphone really irrates other people.
In August, my roommate gave me her old Nokia 6360, which was a big upgrade over my previous Nokia, and AT&T was kind enough to give me extra minutes to extend my contract for a year. Which I did.
A total of 350 weekday minutes made me feel rich. I started to leave my phone on and actually answering it. In this feeling of freedom and in an expansive mood, I took off the number block. And there began the beginning of the end.
People who I called then had my cell number and forgot about my real phone number (home / office). And instead used my cell number. And used it. And passed it on. Less than one month later, I was all finished with my bright and shiny minutes three weeks into my monthly billing cycle. This happened two months in a row.
As a stop gap, I started not answering the cell unless I knew it was important. I stopped answering any phone number not in my address book. I made my cell voice mail state that I would only listen to the messages on the weekends and to call my home phone if you didn’t want to wait for nearly a week for me to return the call.
And it just kept ringing. And ringing. And I went mad yesterday. Angry mad. I had 8 calls from numbers I did not know. I just looked at the phone and said “F**k you.” I called my home phone, retrieved my messages and called everyone that needed a call back. My cell continued to ring.
Today, I listened to my messages and all the phone calls were from music industry people who had the office number at Alex’s and my home number, knew I was at the office, and continued to call my cell. But how they got my cell I didn’t know at the time. I was pissed. Alex does not pay my cell bill.
Thus, this afternoon, I called AT&T and changed my cell number. Until next time…

Why I love Super N and TWC

Late last Sunday night, the unimaginable happened… the internet went down in my house. No ethernet, no wi-fi, no nothing. Gasp! Shock! Horror! The cessation of my connection occurred 10 minutes after the Santa Ana winds started blowing in earnest, just as I was trying to set up a shopping cart for a client. Vlargh.
Monday morning was a flurry of re-booting the modem, calling the tech folk at Time-Warner Cable, and generally spazzing out (“The first technician can’t come until Friday?!?! What??? I am a web designer on deadline…”). After much to do, I went to two different Time-Warner Cable locations looking for a replacement modem, to no avail. The modem worked just fine, but it was the cable itself that was dead, dead, dead.
Three and a half whole days with no broadband. Three and a half whole days of struggling to connect to some neighbor’s unprotected “very low” linksys wi-fi and “low” if I stood on the porch with my laptop. Thanks to the neighbor for no WEP or MAC…
Today, Nathaniel, the nice lovely Time-Warner Cable fellow who installed my cable modem two years ago, returned at 8:42am to repair the winds’ damage. Super N to the rescue. Mr. N climbed two telephone poles and then freelanced with a single span ladder to the middle of the lines between the poles 25 plus feet up in the air to string new cable for us. Yeah to tattoo’d quiet cable guys.
Apparently the winds caused the front Elm’s top branches to damage the cable up on the main street line. It took Super N two hours to repair the damage, string a new cable between the two poles and then to the house, and then he switched out our old modem and wi-fi router for a moden-router combo, and there was no charge. ;oD