Thursday, March 31, 2005


Let's see, last night's episode of South Park (I just watched my DVR'ed copy tonight) dealt with Kenny dying being brought to heaven to lead the armies of light against Satan after proving his worth getting to level 60 of a game on his new Playstation Portable (PSP.) In a twist, Kenny gets revived but remains is a vegetative state. Still counting? The wizards of SP have managed to satirize:

  1. Playstation Portable Mania. (Remarkably timely.)
  2. The Terri Schiavo predicament. (ditto.)
  3. The US Army's online recruiting game. (And -by extension- the plotlines of The Last Startfighter and Ender's Game.)
  4. The Matrix (or pretty much any Keanu Reeves movie.)
  5. The Lord of the Rings.
  6. Quite possibly Dogma. (A risky venture for Matt and Trey, if indeed true.)
  7. The Emperor in the Star Wars saga.

Did I leave anything out?

UPDATE: Alas, Wendy, there is no cowbell. (wink, wink, nudge, nudge. tug on ear.)

Monday, March 28, 2005


Gotcha, didn't I? I'm talking about the PalmOS and how it no longer seems to be a platform for innovation. Time was, back in the .boom heyday, that all sorts of new and exciting ideas were brewing in the PDA space dominated by the elegant Palm Operating System and supporting devices. Heck, even as recently as last year us Palm devotees had Sony cranking out cool gadgets and add-ons as well as such nifty tools as WiFi SDIO cards. Even my trusty old recently recommissioned Handspring Visor has a GPS springboard module and an MP3 springboard. (Springboard?) Now what have we got? the Treo. Yeah, it's great, but I don't see a whole lot of innovative software or applications being developed for it. Also, the keyboard is really small. Where's the innovation? How come Palm can only seem to run with an idea that RIM comes up with first? The new Blackberry 7100s have THE form factor I want. Make a PalmOS phone for $300 with that feature set & a bundled JVM and  I'd snap one up. Not some overpriced doodad that will cost you a month's salary of you drop it. The networked apps being developed for phone platforms seem to be leaving Palm behind. In fairness, it's also a market thingie. Palm is being squeezed between supporting a platform for ISV's and getting in the way of the revenue streams of the wireless providers who are subsidizing their phones. It's a tough break, I'll admit, but it still doesn't make me happy.

I'm not sure  where PalmSource (the makers of PalmOS) come out in all this. Their market is being fragmented and they don't have a value proposition. Games? Tapwave's Zodiac is cool, but if you want games, get a PSP. Phones? Treo? natch, get a Blackberry. What's left? barcode scanners?

I fear that my long-term replacement for my dearly departed Clie will be...nothing. <frown>

Sunday, March 27, 2005


What do they want? Peace on Earth? Freedom and Liberty for all mankind? Nope. They want new episodes of Family Guy.

LIFE IMITATES ART DEPARTMENT: In other cartoon satire news, the Pope's aborted attempt to speak on Easter Sunday services is eerily reminscint of South Park's croaking Pope. In all seriousness, I wish him well.

LAST ON THE CARTOON ROUNDUP: Star Wars Clone Wars Season III has just wrapped on Cartoon Network in spectacular fashion. Five fifteen minute episodes culminated just before the beginning of Episode III. Character development, action and backstory were all way above par. Well done, Genndy.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005


So I finally broke down and wrote my first significant Python script to extract some statistical data from an HTTP log file. Client needs to grease the wheels on their WebTrends server acquisition so they can get really meaningful data and be in control of their own reporting. For now, Python is cool. I intend to study it more when I can. Plus, Python was created by Guido Van Rossum, which means it has the coolest figurehead name of any open source project that I know of. Way cooler than Miguel. Linus, eat your heart out.

It seems that JSF is gaining traction as the Java web framework of choice these days, so I'm going whole hog and learning it. I still find it amazing how difficult it is to cobble together a simple web app compared to, say, using Lotus Domino Designer, but no doubt this is the way to go. For starters:

  • JSF can be developed in a totally free and/or open-sourced environment. Domino costs eight grand per CPU last I checked.
  • JSF is designed to be used with RDBMS' as data repositories, Domino can but it's not trivial.
  • A subscription to Sun's JSF Development IDE, Java Studio Creator, costs $99 a year! That's not some crippled, introductory version either, but an industrial strength tool for creating web apps with drag 'n drop simplicity. Sure 'Creator still has some kinks in it, but what else can you get from a major vendor for 99 samoleans these days?

UNRELATED: I would love to have one of these babies in my driveway.

Thursday, March 17, 2005


We appear to have an incontinent skunk residing on our premises.

ALSO: Mighty GM does blogging right. Adding the general to the list of corpobloggers that "get it." Sorry, Lotus, this doesn't cut it. (IMHO.)

Wednesday, March 16, 2005


Compact guide to the Cylons in the new SciFi series:

Early on we are tantalized with the tidbit that there are nine Cylon models altogether. So there are three unnacounted for and probably human mimics.

ALSO: If only they made this for PCS...

Tuesday, March 15, 2005


This, by far, has got to be the ballsiest variant of the Nigerian Scam yet to arrive in my e-mail inbox:

Dear Friend,
This mail may not be surprising to you if you have been following current events in the international media with reference to the Middle East and Palestine in particular.
I am Mrs. Suha Arafat, the wife of Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian leader who died recently in Paris. Since his death and even prior to the announcement, I have been thrown into a state of antagonism, confusion,humiliation, frustration and hopelessness by the present leadership ofthe Palestinian Liberation Organization and the new Prime Minister. I have even been subjected to physical and psychological torture. As a widow that is so traumatized,I have lost confidence with everybody in the country at the moment.
You must have heard over the media reports and the Internet on the discovery of some fund in my husband secret bank account and companies and the allegations of some huge sums of money deposited by my husband in my name of which I have refuses to disclose or give up to the corrupt Palestine Government. In fact the total sum allegedly discovered by the Government so far is in the tune of about$6.5Billion Dollars. And they are not relenting on their effort to make me poor for life. As you know, the Moslem community has no regards for women, more importantly when the woman is from a Christian background,hence my desire for a foreign assistance.
I have the sum of 20million dollars with a financial security firm in Europe whose name I can not disclose for now for security reasons until we open up communication.Ishall be grateful if you could receive this fund into your bank account for safe keeping and any Investment opportunity. Thisarrangement will be known to you and I alone and all our correspondence should be strictly on email alone because our government has tapped all my lines and are monitoring all my moves.
In view of the above, if you are willing to assist for our mutual benefits, we will have to negotiate on your percentage share of the $20,000,000 that will be kept in your possession for a while and invested in your name for my trust pending when my Daughter, Zahwa, will come off age and take full responsibility of her Family Estate/inheritance.  Please note that this is a golden opportunity that comes once in life time and more so,if you are honest, I am going to entrust more funds in your
care as this is one of the legacy we keep for our children.

In case you don't accept please do not let me out to the security and international media as I am giving you this information in total trust and confidenceI will greatly appreciate if you accept my proposal in good faith.Please expedite action.
NB: Please click the link below to get more on my story:
Yours sincerely,
Suha Arafat.

Monday, March 14, 2005


I was walking to Grand Central from my client office when I spotted one of those Grand Central Partnership dudes in blue overalls wheeling a big rubbish bin and broom. You know the type, probably workfare types getting minimum wage. Basically an honest job for someone with not a lot of options. Interestingly, proudly taped to the side of the bin he was wheeling was a big printed sign: "Lenny Williams." Good for Lenny, way to take ownership of a job.

Contrast Lenny with the mid-level bureaucrat I verbally tussled with over the phone this afternoon. Said individual managed to not-so-artfully dodge any responsibility whatsoever. He refused to even allow me to even ask his subordinates questions to better provide him with answers he could really use. Now that's passing the buck. I can't fathom what possible motivation for his orneriness there could be. To be honest, the motivational aspirations of the mid-level bureaucratic minions in this particular organization have always escaped me.

Given the choice, I'd deal with Lenny every time.

Sunday, March 13, 2005


Still undecided about my PDA dilemma, I'm using my antediluvian Visor Platinum in the interim.

SNL's relentless lampooning of the Bush administration turns me off. (Don't get me wrong, there's plenty to dislike about the current administration, but my firm belief is that the only thing more ridiculous than the current state of the GOP is the current state of the DNC.) Luckily, they balance out the equation with great Euro-trash bashing.

In my recent IM conversation with my multi-talented friend Kathleen, I typed this precious gem, which I'm reproducing in its entirety just because:

JakemonO: although the engineer in me KNOWS that CDMA is superior so I smugly look down on the GSM horde

This was in the context of complaining that GSM users (AT&T Wireless, Cingular, T-Mobile) have a greater variety of cool phones to choose from that CDMA folk (Verizon, Sprint.)

The new Battlestar Galactica is one part inspired, one part ridiculous. So far, it's still on my rotation.


Tuesday, March 08, 2005


Yesterday, in a misguided attempt to diagnose the backlight problems on my precious Clie TG50 PDA, I dissembled the unit. Unfortunately, during the process, I tore a tape circuit, thus rendering the Clie permanently inoperative. These things are also designed to be extremely difficult to reassemble. Upshot, R.I.P. Clie, it's been almost two years of pure joy. There are currently no mid priced Palm OS units on the market with keyboards, let alone with keyboards and Bluetooth. I'm not sure where to go next. I need a replacement, but a Treo is super expensive, and violates my "never regularly carry a delicate object in your pocket worth more than $300" rule big time. Plus, I have a 256 meg Memory Stick Pro investment that would be worthless. Perhaps I'll just get a low-end Clie like this.

ALSO: This public service ad is really funny.

Monday, March 07, 2005


Commuting through Grand Central Station this morning, I watched Mo Rocca interview some MetroNorth employee for Animal Planet. At first I thought I was being "punk'd" and he was doing a bit for the Daily Show, but Mo really is working for AP now. I was asked to stick around for an interview, but politely declined. I was late you see...

ALSO: This shuttle train car between Times Square and Grand Central was completely slathered in decals meant to evoke the setting for HBO's Deadwood.

Sunday, March 06, 2005


Valerie Bertinelli stars as a battered housewife who is indicted for murder, is illegitimately pregnant and battling cancer. Mariska Hargitay co-stars as her lawyer.

ALSO: I wrote this six months ago. How do you think it played out?

Saturday, March 05, 2005


Both via BoingBoing:

  1. Crazy North Korean promotional Macromedia Flash movie.
  2. Even crazier industrial chicken catcher. The promo movie of this bizarre contraption is eerie. (If you're a chicken.)

Thursday, March 03, 2005


Changing Lanes was surprisingly good. I was expecting a bitter, ugly movie about two people who just get more and more pissed off at each other and a clear villain and victim. I was pleasantly wrong. Also, the cast is awesome.

Two more tunes that I listen to:

  1. Teenage Dirtbag, Wheatus.
  2. Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Israel Kamakawiwo`ole. Iz's rendition of this classic keeps turning up. Rest in peace, gentle Samoan.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005


Suddenly, picking up dirty socks takes on a whole new meaning.


I don't have an iPod. When I want to listen to music on the go I use my Sony Clie and carefully pack the tunes I want to hear onto my 256 megabyte MemoryStick. The zen of what I'm forced to do actually appeals to me as I -over time- have accumulated a list of songs old and new that evoke specific memories and emotions in me when I listen to them. Some standouts that come to mind are:

  • Heart and Soul, T'Pau. This song is a pitch perfect '80's synth-pop/rock tune. The layered vocals and tempo are sublime. Additionally, the spoken word-chorus dichotomy foreshaow Eminem's Dido dalliance. Listen a few times to appreciate.
  • Life in a Northern Town, Dream Academy. Dreamy, melancholy, lovely.
  • Leaving on a Jet Plane, Chantal Kreviazuk.
  • Hallelujah, Jeff Buckley.
  • Cemetery Gates, Pantera. The guitar riff at the beginning of the chorus still gives me chills. A classic metal piece.
  • Crazy Train, Ozzy Osbourne.
  • Whenever Wherever, Shakira. Shakira doesn't get enough credit. She rocks and this song shows just how much.
  • Antin Mikko, JPP. And now for something completely different. Illustrative of just how layered and conteporary a pure string piece can be.
  • Goodbye Stranger, Supertramp.
  • 1985, Bowling for Soup.
  • Down In The River To Pray , Alison Kraus. If I were a Baptist minister, I'd make sure to put this in my litany.