Welcome to the police state, citizen

The Bush administration is now classifying documents at the rate of 125 per minute, an unprecedented rate. At the same time, the administration is demanding more and more information about its citizens through instruments like the Patriot Act. If information is power, George Bush wants to make sure that he has the power. The purpose of this is two-fold. If the administration controls access to the facts, it is hard to prove government allegations a lie (just ask the 9-11 commission); secondarily, it allows the administration to dig up dirt on its enemies.

some references:
The Bush Administration – a civil liberties scorecard (the ACLU)
U.S. government secrecy reaches historic high – By Scott Shane (The New York Times)
Rove talked to reporter but denies leak – By Richard B. Schmitt (Los Angeles Times)

doomsday

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor is retiring

Seattle PI story

This sucks. Driving the country into war and into billions of dollars of debt wasn’t enough for this president. Now he’s going to try and ram the scariest, crazy-as-all-get-out right-wing nutcase he can onto the supreme court.

Democrats, it is time to “D” up. We need a plan NOW. We need to shut the government down if he proposes someone like Alberto Gonzales or some other far right idealogue for the bench. Even scarier is the possibility that Bush will get to put a new chief justice on the court. If that happens, anyone who likes some civil rights should just give up because you won’t be getting them in the US for the next few decades.

Dear USA Today dot com

a plea

Dear USAToday.com,

if I can’t find an article that was on the front page of your paper after half an hour of trying, do you think I’ll buy the paper? Do you think I’ll visit your website again?

(spoiler space)

no.

iTunes 4.9

An iPodderX user and a podcast fan gives his impressions of the new iTunes

Overall, it is decent. If iPodderX hadn’t been getting increasingly yicky as it adds unnecessary features and interface I probably wouldn’t switch, but the new iTunes does a decent job at handling podcasts without too much fuss. The new podcast directory in the iTunes music store is pretty decent (although it lists some invalid or old podcast feeds) and it looks like Apple has even convinced some new people to make some podcasts (I don’t remember there being a Nightline podcast before).

Subscribing is pretty simple for a single podcasts, but subscribing to multiple podcasts is a pain. The UI switches you to your new podcast tab and then you have to go back to subscribe to another podcast. Also, it is kinda crummy that iTunes can’t import OPML files which meant I had to re-subscribe to each podcast. I like that through the advanced tab I can add a feed that doesn’t appear in the directory (excellent for the personalized feeds from ITConversations and Audible.com).

At first I was annoyed that podcasts appear in a separate area from the rest of the library and that they couldn’t be rated or anything. Then I found that I could drag an episode of a podcast into my library and then it would appear there and I could treat it like the MP3 it is. Nice.

If you’ve got iTunes, this is worth upgrading for. I can’t compare it to other podcasting aggregators (iPodder lemon never worked for me), but as it is and for free, you don’t really need another if you have iTunes4.9)

I forgot one very important thing:
The update settings are kind of weird, you can update on the hour, by day, by week or manually. If you update daily, it is set to update at 5pm and there is no way to change it. This could be really bad because everyone with iTunes will all try and grab their podcasts at the same time. Most aggregators will do stuff to avoid this, apple should fix this ASAP.

The Apartment

Good food, nice service, but find the fatal flaw…

We thought that this place was brand new, but it turns out that it has been here a while. This review from the Seattle PI is pretty much on track. The staff was very friendly and attentive. The food was delicious, when we did get it, but it took an extremely long time. I eventually cancelled my appetizer because it hadn’t arrived 15 minutes after the main course was consumed. The food that we did get was good enough that I would have even looked past this, but the problem was that the noise level was so bad we had to yell to hear each other across the table.

The decor is super-hip-minimalist, which means cement walls, high cement ceiling and cement floor. The upshot of which is that the noise level gets ear-bleedingly loud even with a small number of people in the room.

We might consider it for an early dinner or a late lunch if it was fairly empty, or we might try sitting outside next time. It seems a shame to not visit again, because compared to most of the ultra-hip places we’ve been, this place is actually worth eating at.

Gnomedex 5.0 Afternoon 2nd Day

Today is a lot better than yesterday

Until we started talking about weatherbug, not only were the speakers good, but the questions have been great, and Marc Cantor has mostly kept his mouth shut. I thought Steve Rubel’s talk was pretty good, but then the audience just started complaining about the product he was using as a case study. I finally asked a question, so I’ll be preserved for eternity in the podcast, but of course I forgot to say my name. For the record, I was the one who asked about “bad employee” blogs.

In general today was much, much better than yesterday. The speakers were interesting, if they were promoting something, they were willing to wrap it within a greater topic, the questions were on topic. It was much more interesting.

On a side note, most of the MSFT people that were here yesterday weren’t here today, so there was also a lot less pro-microsoft propaganda in the room which was a relief as well.

So to sum up…

If Gnomedex is about users and developers partying together, as a developer, I think it was pretty much a waste. I learned nothing really new. I heard opinions that I’ve heard expressed before, expressed again. I spent way too much time hearing about specific feature requests and bugs in software that I didn’t happen to use, and I had to listen to a lot of self-promotion and ego stroking.

If Gnomedex is a people aggregator, then I think it is more successful as an event, just maybe not for me. While it was great putting faces to voices that I’d heard on podcasts, I’m a bit too much of a wallflower and I didn’t really make any useful connections. Then again, there wasn’t really anyone there that was worth connecting to professionally, and while I respect the hell out of a bunch of those attendees, I really don’t need to play sycophantic fan-boy to any of them.

Will I go to Gnomedex 6? Maybe, but probably not. It depends on what I’m doing. There are a lot more interesting technical conferences that would probably be a better use of my time. If I have something that I want to promote, it would make a lot more sense. maybe.

Gnomedex 5.0 Morning 2nd Day

Chris Pirillo says that he loves us. Aww…

I’m doing a bit of a geek test today. I’m wearing my Dark Castle t-shirt that Delta Tao made when they resurrected the game. For those who aren’t aware, this was a way cool game for the 1st generation macs and then Delta Tao bought it and resurrected it in the mid 90s. This shirt is at automatic geek cred that is perfect because it selects out Microsoft people and the youngsters. We’ll see if anyone recognizes it.

I just tried the Lektora aggregator for Firefox OS X and it doesn’t work at all, so avoid it.

some links (mostly inspired by Phil Terrone and come from him or Make Magazine):
The PSP-Packs website
The iPod Linux website
del.icio.us
The Comic Art Effect in PSE3
Classic 78 RPM records MP3 feeds
PubSub – a service that updates RSS feeds of search results as new results appear (great idea!)
Engadget’s article on the new PSP bootstrapping
Edgadget’s article on a new low-cost media PC

Posted: Sat – June 25, 2005 at 10:09 AM

Gnomedex 5.0 Afternoon first day

fucking Microsoft

Microsoft did a very funny ad-skit for their hive blog crap. While it was quite funny, I’m already getting tired of Microsoft and their kind of viral marketing stuff would work a lot better at PDC then here. We’re constantly bombarded by Microsoft logos all day long and now having an informercial between sessions is too much. It is great that MS is sponsoring the conference, but you know we, the participants, contributed a lot of cash ourselves.

The future syndication session very quickly turned into a bitch session about the lack of OPML synchronization tools. A reasonable topic of discussion, but the original one would have been more interesting to me.

I’m glad that my badge doesn’t have my job on it, but my blog. No one has heard of my blog so that gets me out of a lot of annoying conversations, but it makes it a bit harder for me to get the attention of some of the starfuckers I actually do want to talk to.

I thought Phil Terrone was cool before, I think he is cooler now.

having a conference about rss and blogs with crappy intermittent web access is sucky. That isn’t gnomedex’s fault and they are trying to fix it, but it is still kinda lame.