A blog about the many neat things in life, along with the many other things that are lying around. Categories include: political things, philosophy things, design things, template things, garage things, music things, and lots and lots of other things!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Photography Things

I finally submitted to enter a photography contest. It's something I've been meaning to do for a while, but nothing has ever been convienant. Also, most of my photos are too low-res to make it in any pro contest. Makes me want a Nikon d50 pretty bad.

Anyway, the two that I submitted are a still life of a lilly (or some kind of plant - dammit, Jim, I'm a photographer, not a botanist!) and an art piece of a stream. People seemed to like these better than my Shamu action shot or my pic of the capital. I probably would've submitted my Laurel Keet, except it's too low resolution. I just couldn't bring myself to submit my Meerkat when his face is so shadowed.

Anyway, I'll update on proceedings when I find out who won. I'd be pretty surprised if I won any of the main prizes - my photos were kinda blurry, and didn't print too well, in my opinion.

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Thursday, March 16, 2006

Mac Freeware Things

Some people claim that they don't want to switch to mac because there is no freeware available, like there is on PC. I switched because I saw there being a lot more freeware on mac than there is on PC, and it is much higher quality stuff. Cocoa makes building shiny and wonderful interfaces a breeze, while Quartz makes adding the little visual flares that encompass good design fast and fun. Mac is an easier platform for building good freeware, and the results show.

These are the freeware programs that have changed the way I work, and have made the mac experience, er, how to put it? Freakin' awesome!

Camino - Safari is a great browser. It really is. It took me a long time to switch to this Cocoa port of Firefox, but eventually, the Camitools extensions brought me over with the promise of blocking all ads forever, and blocking annoying Flash objects. Camino makes browsing a happy experience. Highly reccomended.

Cyberduck - simply the best FTP program I have ever had the pleasure of working with. An uncomplicated, mac-like interface with drag & drop simplicity (as well as the ability to run batch operations, do FTP over SSH, and other complicated things), it has replaced anything else I was using: dreamweaver's built-in FTP, Finder's FTP mapping, or any number of other options. Gold star for this one!

Transmission - This is simply the best BitTorrent client I've ever seen. I've played with quite a few on Windows, from Azureus to BitComet to uTorrent, and none of them is as simple, fast, and dead-on efficient as Transmission. It's lite interface stays out of your way, yet provides all the information you really care about. It's Mac-tastic. Double gold star.

StuffIt Expander - this comes built-in on your Mac, and it's a goodie. Windows has a compression progrgam that handles .ZIP files, but Stuffit handles just about everything from .RAR to .tar/.gzip. I haven't needed to download anything else, whereas a fresh Windows install always requires 7-zip.

And finally: QuickSilver - this one should be on everyone's Mac. This "application launcher" is really a workflow enhancer. With a tap of CTRL+Space (or whatever hotkey you assign it) you can: move files, browse directories, search your computer, post reminders, send email, blog, edit text files... the list goes on and on. All just a few taps of the keyboard away (no mouse required). It's like a command line for people who don't like command lines. I can't explain it better than that, but install it, run through Merlin's tutorials, check out their FAQ's, and you'll see what I mean. Google Desktop and AppRocket are starting to emulate some of Quicksilver's functionality on PC, but I'd be very surprised if anything beats the original.

So, those are my 5 fav freewares. There are a lot more that I use, but these are the ones that really exemplfy what is great about Mac. These are the apps that I use almost every day, that function exceptionally well without getting in your way. If there are any of these that you don't have, I highly reccomend going and getting them now.

Full Disclosure: I am posting this in response to the I Use Freeware contest over at FreeMacWare. They deserve more linkage, and if the contest convinces me to give it to them, well, they're more than worth it. I've had them in my BlogLines since they started, and have never thought about unsubscribing. I have found so many Neat programs from them, it's ridiculous. Keep up the excellent blogging, guys!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Art statements, Pitchfork, and fancypants analysis - Signal vs. Noise (by 37signals)

Art statements, Pitchfork, and fancypants analysis - Signal vs. Noise (by 37signals):
It reminds me of a quote I once read on a bathroom wall: “Academics take simple ideas and make them complicated. Artists take complicated ideas and make them simple.” If you can come up with a truly elucidating explanation of art, then, by all means, go for it. Otherwise, shut up. Actually, that’s pretty true for any writing. If you’re not making things clearer, stop typing.

And thus, the undoing of all of "modern art." I don't think I've really endorsed the 37 Signals guys much on here, but this statement elucidates all the problems I have with modern art and its associated highbrow academia.

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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Yanni Things

Yanni - maker of some of the lamest direct-to-TV New Age music tracks ever, has been charged with domestic battery.

It's like finding a severed head in Mr. Roger's basement.

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Policy Things

Thus far it has been my policy not to post pictures of anyone other than me. It goes the same for video. I'm thinking about altering this policy a notch, and only worrying about people I know to be particularly camera-shy / internet-phobic. It would mean I could post a lot more pictures, and some really good ones I've wanted to post on Facebook and the like. But - while my previous policy was most definitely the safest, I'm not sure if I might really tick someone off with this new one.

Thoughts from my readers?

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This Weekend's Media

This weekend I went to a friend's house to play. We drove out to Elkhart, IN to see his home and family, play Smash Bros. on his Tyranovision TV, screw around in his swimming pool, and enjoy some excellent food prepared by our hosts. We even got a ride in his dad's helicopter.

Video: Helicopter Take-Off - Mr. Wilsey pulled some seriously fun maneuvers.


So, as a result of this weekend, I have successfully updated 3 seperate RSS feeds. Now if only I had podcast something this weekend, I'd have been set. But seriously, this is the kind of thing I wish I could do more of - I think some of that stuff is pretty interesting to outsiders, and especially so if you know me. So, I would like to be able to post all the good pictures I take on Flickr, and upload all the nifty videos onto Vimeo or somesuch. Unfortunately, it usually just takes too much time.

Expect some serious business when I show Ryan around DC next week, though. =^.^=

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Monday, March 06, 2006

Daily Kos: Bush is at 37%. In Indiana.

Daily Kos: Bush is at 37%. In Indiana.:
The president's approval rating equals the 37 percent approval rating Hoosiers gave President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, back in August 1994. And the rating mirrors the national view of the president. A recent CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll showed the president's approval rating nationwide at 38 percent.
The problem with this is, just because 56% of Hoosiers think Bush is a nincompoop doesn't in any way mean they're likely to vote for a Democrat. Negatives for Republicans do not translate to positives for Democrats. I bet the simple thought process underlying the republican vote is, "Well, our candidate may be an idiot, but he's all we've got!"

Democrats have to create positives for themselves, by fighting Republican excesses and stupidity. They have to formulate plans, put them into action, and make changes. It's hard to do as a minority party, but far from impossible. And so long as anyone can portray Democrats as "not having a plan," they will be cursed to approval ratings of Republicans - 10%, instead of their rightful place as 1 / Republicans.

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Sunday, March 05, 2006

Stormtrooper in Akihabara

This is purely beautiful. Count the cell phone cams!

Via: Digg, Danny Choo

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Thursday, March 02, 2006

Microsoft DDR Integration

Microsoft makes DDR pad compatable Windows:
Computer scientists in Microsoft Corp.'s research division have developed a color-coded "dance pad" with buttons you can tap with your feet — or jump on — to scroll through electronic files.
Now this sounds awesome. If you look at the pic, that looks like a MyMyBox or an older model RedOctane. I hope this leads to better implementation of dance pad controllers in Windows.

Hat Tip: Lifehacker

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