Now This Log

Archives: January 2002

Saturday, 12 January 2002

So I've checked out the new Radio Userland 8.0 release, and I'm pleased. Thanks to Userland for making it an OS X app!

Personally, I mostly use the StaticSites functionality of Frontier/Radio to make my own sites (say, the non-blog parts of this site) or sites for clients, so I'm not likely to be using the prefab web space (and design) that comes with it.

However, anybody out there who's interested in having a blog but not in bothering with a whole domain of their own, this is another option for you (and you don't have to learn HTML to use it). I think all it costs you is the $40 license for the software, which is honestly a bargain. permanent link

Friday, 11 January 2002

Interesting TV meta-tidbits:

Julia's New Domain [TIME]
[Julia Louis-Dreyfus'] new sitcom, Watching Ellie, which debuts on NBC at the end of next month, is innovation packed. In addition to nixing the laugh track, using a single camera that follows the characters around, inserting songs and ditching the three-jokes-a-page rule, the show takes place in real time, so each week a clock in the corner of the screen counts down 22 minutes in the life of lounge singer and Los Angeles single gal Ellie Riggs...

Originally the show was called 22 Minutes with Eleanor Riggs -- the running time of a sitcom without commercials -- but that turned out to be inaccurate, since the networks now run more than eight minutes of commercials in their expensive prime-time slots. "The network didn't want to point that out," Hall says.
No wonder most half-hour sitcoms royally suck. Three jokes a page? Hmm... Oh, just put in some more dick jokes and 'creative' put-downs. permanent link

Achievable personal goals for the new year:
  1. Get back into making music, with an eye toward making more MP3s available.
  2. Exercise more.
  3. Get at least one of my secret cool side projects going for real.
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Wednesday, 9 January 2002

Pixar has posted two of the Monsters, Inc. outtakes in QuickTime on their servers. Cool. (Haven't gone back to the theater to see them, will probably just rent the DVD someday and see all the extras for cheap). Hey, more outtakes. (Broadband rules.)

Oo! They also posted the 'Charades' trailer, which you really have to see. To put it in context, we saw this trailer at the beginning of Harry Potter and the etc. on its opening weekend.

Pixar's classy. permanent link

I thought this was nicely put:

How all the news fit [New Yorker]
[The New York Times] turning sports upside down and slapping it on the back of Metro ... did more than just iron out a production wrinkle. Unintentionally or not, it was also an astute commentary on a long-standing journalistic problem, which is that news about sports is not really news at all -- not, at any rate, in the sense that news about politics, economic and social developments, and international affairs is news.

Sports, after all, is essentially a subcategory of the for-profit entertainment industry ... The fact that one set of highly paid entertainers gets more points than another set of highly paid entertainers on a given day, while of surpassing and perfectly legitimate interest to many people, is not of great moment.
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I found this fascinating:

Twice Remembered by Richard Morin [Washington Post]
She frequently found that one twin would interrupt the other and claim ownership of the event being recalled. ... In all, 14 of the 20 sets of twins had at least one disputed memory between them.

Sheen says that disputed memories are common among twins because they tend to share so many of the same experiences at exactly the same time in their lives. (In a subsequent study of 69 college students who were not twins, Sheen found that six had a disputed memory with a sibling or close friend.)

Does the misremembering twin really believe that his or her memory is the correct one? Apparently. Sheen found that feelings of "ownership" were equally strong among the twins she studied. She said she didn't detect any hesitation or anything else that would suggest which twin was misremembering the event: "The twins got genuinely upset with each other..."
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Tuesday, 8 January 2002

Hey, there are channels for everyone else on U.S. cable, why not?

Gay Network Could Debut Within a Year: Showtime And MTV Would Develop It For Viacom; Others Considering, Too [TV Guide]
An already successful Canadian model exists: PrideVision, which launched last year.

According to the marketing publication Brandweek, research suggests that six percent of the adult population, roughly 15 million people, identifies itself as gay or lesbian, with combined annual spending in the $250-$350 billion range.

MTV and Showtime are undecided if the proposed gay network will be advertiser-supported like MTV or a commercial-free pay service like Showtime. Some industry observers believe the latter might minimize resistance from anti-gay groups against cable systems that would carry the network as part of a basic cable package.
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Monday, 7 January 2002

Saw The Lord of the Rings part I Saturday. Overall, I was quite pleased with it, though I have no wish to see it again soon (3 hours is a long long time).

I've only a few quibbles about the editing of some shots -- as in Harry Potter..., the frequent, extended looks of astonishment became tiresome. And the sudden, scary Bilbo face was unnecessary; I'm sure Ian Holm could have done a perfectly serviceable real nasty expression.

But in all, I thought it very well done, particularly Ian McKellen's Gandalf.

I recommend Lake Effect's review which covers most bases very well. He made me pay attention to McKellen's reading of Gandalf's last line, which was wonderfully underplayed. Many directors would have just had him shout it, I'm sure, but it was most excellent this way.

I told L I'd like a loop of the Gandalf/Balrog scene that I could call up at any time. <crack> "You Shall! Not! PASS!" <BOOM>. Heh.

What I don't get are the negative comparisons critics insist on drawing between LOTR and the Harry Potter movie, as though the two must be in conflict and you have to choose only one to like since they were released near each other in time (a common, annoying fallacy). They're both good, and LOTR has deeper source material, many more locales and a grander scope, so you'd expect a very different/deeper experience, especially if you're an adult.

However, people leave out of their bitching the fact that this Potter movie was just the first story of many, and the lightest, most kid-oriented plot of them all; of course it pales in comparison to LOTR if you insist on judging them by the exact same yardstick.

I just know, however, that as the Potter movies continue to be made, some of the same critics will remark on how much better and more satisfying these later films are and how they look at the series with new eyes now, blah blah blah. If they'd think for half a second before slagging the current Potter movie, they'd put 2 and 2 together today and not a year from now: <rubbing chin> as Harry gets older... and the Potter stories get more adult... the more adults will enjoy the movies made from them! Eureka!

Really, it's okay to appreciate both movies for what they are and not try to make them something they aren't. LOTR is no Brazil or Citizen Kane or Schindler's List or Casablanca, either, right? And so the hell what. It's still great.

Anyway, as I think of more notes about LOTR, I'll post comments on this entry. Feel free to post your own reactions as well. permanent link

Hmmmm.... the Time Canada article is down for the the moment; redirects to TIME's main home page and the article has been pulled, but not before the entire Mac news/rumor machine got a hold of it. All that is consistent with Apple being really annoyed with the leak, except...

There are uncountable issues of TIME on the street with the new iMac on the cover, impossible to stop the distribution of.

And surely Apple knew TIME's publishing schedule before giving them the exclusive. (This may well explain why the keynote was moved to Monday, so there would only be an evening and a morning of a leak instead of well over a day.)

So surely Apple had some reasonable expectation that the information would get out before the keynote, either from TIME's own site or from some random person scanning the article and posting it.

So Apple can't possibly be that annoyed at this. (Unless it was a large-scale blunder of no one in the entire company checking on the timing, which I just can't believe.)

So there's got to be something else coming today that they didn't tell TIME. (Come to think of it, where's any mention in the TIME article of the new PowerMacs which we know are coming? There may well be other wrinkles that are not in the article either.)

All of which may be just wishful thinking on my part, but I'll say this: If the new iMac is All There Is, it's not worth a 2.5-hour keynote and it doesn't come close to justifying the hype on Apple's home page. permanent link

Sunday, 6 January 2002

Found at

Apple's new thing, apparently: Apple's New Core [TIME Canada, apparently breaking an embargo. Bad newsmagazine!]
...the new iMac is built around a flat-panel display. But instead of taking up precious desk space like a typical flat monitor, the iMac's screen floats in the air, attached to a jointed, chrome-pipe neck.
It has a G4 and will sell from $1299 to $1899. (The high end will have a DVD burner and iDVD! Not a bad price point for that...) There's a picture on their home page right now (for how long?).

I'm not interested in one personally (I'm very happy with my Titanium) but it does look pretty cool.

It sure doesn't qualify as 'where no PC has gone before', though, so maybe there's still something left under wraps even after this massive leak. permanent link

Via Segway News: ...Doubts about 'It': [NY Times]
Robert Metcalfe, the co-inventor of the Ethernet office networking standard, who is a friend of Mr. Kamen, told me via e- mail: "Some months ago when speculation was running high, I said that Kamen's It was more important than the Internet, but not as important as cold fusion, had cold fusion worked out. The It I was talking about, which I did not disclose, was NOT Segway. That's all I can say."

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Been busy offline... got some stuff to catch up on posting!

One reason I've been slow to post is that Greymatter has a habit of crashing when I try to post; my guess is it's from either a bug or a resource limitation on my Pair account. When your weblogging tool doesn't work quite right, it's harder to get up the energy to work around it all the time...

Anyhow, for this among other reasons I'll be looking into Movable Type as a replacement this week; I've heard good things about it and they seem to be enthusiastically maintaining it. permanent link

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