Well, so much for new leaves. Let's just say a lot has happened. To put it another way, "They's some that was borned, they's some that died, and some they went and found Jesus."
More to come soon, as the whole focus of this blog shifts as my life has shifted: I am living and working in the San Francisco Bay Area while my child and pregnant wife are in Baltimore. I hope to begin posting my thoughts and many adventures soon!
So, I have neglected this blog, reverting to my old habit of emailing links to people for things I want them to see or read. Well today the madness ends! Of course, most of what I see comes from my Daily Reading List, so anyone who follows that won't miss much. For my part, though, I'm going to get out our kitchen knives and carve a little more time out of my full-time-job, raising-a-child, starting-a-business, learning-new-software, general-knowledge-maintaining, staying-alive life.
Part of the problem is that I have been pouring what little writing energy survives the workday into Active Diary, which I can highly recommend to anyone interested in keeping a journal on their PC. In my case, I've found it necessary mainly as a way of keeping some kind of record -- in lieu of actually bringing order -- to the chaos of my life. Anyway, in keeping up those entries, I find myself with little time or energy for this -- but no more! I will load up on coffee, snort scented oxygen, or use blood doping if necessary to satify the meager audience who find my thoughts and oberservations in some, small way vaugely amusing.
And I must mention just one other thing, since it relates to my last post. After finishing my copy of Sync, I loaned it to Carl at work. His assessment was both dead-on and colorful: 'If WIRED is soft-core gadget porn, then SYNC is triple-X-rated hardcore gadget porn.'
Call it the most basic responsibility of fatherhood, your raison d'être: Keep the Baby Alive. Let's face it, most species have little use for the male after the act of procreation. Once you pass along your genes, you're history. Only a tiny percentage of the earth's beasties have realized we are more than our choromosomes. We can hang around to make sure everything goes all right.
In my case, the primal instinct was more like an compulsive obsession to check Benjamin every five minutes while he slept -- one that has only abated (slowly) since he turned one. I got to thinking that baby clothes should have geometric patterns on them to make it easier to see slight movement, like the delicate rise and fall of the infant diaphram-lung-ribcage ensemble. Failing that, some kind of blinking light or beep every few seconds to let you know "all systems are functioning within normal parameters." I think my son's angelic little face is just about perfect...but a little blinking LED on his forehead would have made me feel a lot better during those early months, when my thoughts were constantly haunted by horror stories of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, escaped boa constrictors, and alien abduction.
Sure, there are other improvements I'd make to the human larval stage -- the whole diaper situation comes immediately to mind. A simple on/off switch would go a long way toward preserving the pre-child sleep patterns my wife and I once enjoyed, and breastfeeding would be completely done away with -- speaking of things I once enjoyed. Honestly, though, I'd trade them all for that little blinking forehead light that says: "I'm okay, Dad."
So my sample copy of the new SYNC magazine finally came -- after two demands for payment on a full-year subscription. They had me mightily peeved, but the good news for them is that the magazine more than makes up for the foibles of their subscription department. Somewhat reminiscent of George's attempt to combine pop culture with politics, this is a dose of gadgets and gossip for the geek-chic set. The writing is suitably cynical for my taste while maintaining the oooooohhh of proper gadget-worship. Basically, it's Gizmodo in print form delivered to my mailbox once a month. At $19.97 for a year's subscription, that's a dip into the analog world I can easily justify.
A few more quick recommendations. Microsoft's .mht file format has finally spawned a crop of applications designed to take advantage of it. If you've ever tried to save a webpage to your hard drive so you can view it later, you know what a mess it can be. Windows downloads the HTML in one file, then creates additional folders for graphics and other ancillary files and saves those separately. The .mht format solves all that by saving a page as a single file. So, if you're surfing around and find a page (an op/ed piece in the Times, for example) you want to read later, click on the file menu and choose save as. When the Save File As dialog appears, go down to the file type and select "Web archive, single file (*.mht).
Even better than this option for collecting information from the web in a new app called OnFolio. The bad news first: the full version is $80. I'm pretty sure it's worth it, though. I'm still playing around with the demo, but I may shell out the bucks for my own copy very soon. The OnFolio website has plenty of cool flash animations to explain what the program does, so I won't go into too much detail here. Basically, OnFolio lets you capture web pages as links or local copies (mht files) into a "collection." You can add all kinds of other files to your collection, too: graphics, videos, PDFs -- even snippets of text plucked from a page. You can then -- and here's the cool part -- generate a "report" that shows all the stuff you've captured. You can add in your own comments, files off your hard drive, etc. and send the whole thing as an email or post it to your own site.
So go ahead, shell out the bucks for OnFolio, and it will be one of the more useful applications in your start menu. Start culling the web and making it work for you -- think of it as TiVo for your browser.
I've been on vacation...if you can call it that. We journeyed to the Kingdom of the Mouse, in the Floridian lands of Southern Hot-As-Hell. I am happy to report that we survived and had a pretty good time. It had been fifteen years since I had been to WDW, possibly to make up for the first fifteen years of my life, during which I went to Disney World, like, literally a billion times. Literally.
As you might imagine, I return to the non-pastel-plasticine world with much blogfodder on Disney, travel, fatherhood, and life, the universe, and the theory of Everything.
We returned in time for the closing on our new house, so expect occasional observations on the tyranny of the Home Despot, Conversational Contractor 101, and the damage guys like Norm Arbram and Bob Vila do to the male ego with their unattainable standard of Handyness.
For now, though, links! I will undoubtedly be mentioning the following in conversation during the week of 6/7:
OmniCare is trying to buy NeighborCare. Guess which one I work for? Yeah, it was that kind of week.
It's funny. You mention Leonard Nimoy singing The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins, and you get the funniest looks from people. I can't believe there are those who aren't aware of this atrocity.
Ann Coulter has a good piece on how liberals are moving the goalposts on Iraq.
The Church of Scientology finally extricated itself from the wrongful death suit brought by the family of Lisa McPherson. What's it all about? What is Scientology? Every answer you could possibly need or want can be found here.
Lastly, a collection of sites for the "Office Space"-loving cubicle crowd:
Pricegrabber is probably the most useful of the mega-meta pricing pages because it covers just about everything -- not just tech. Try putting in something like, oh I don't know, "Star Wars unleashed" and you'll find the action figures you're looking for at about $18 instead of $30. You know who you are.
For technology purchases, I still prefer Pricewatch, if only because it's the first one I started using and I have had success with it. TechBargains.com isn't really a price search, technically it's a blog. But it more than lives up to its name. And for those who don't care what they get, as long as they get it for free, try www.freeafterrebate.info.