December 19, 2006

Surfcasting rods on Nauset Beach

Surfcasting on Nauset Beach

Going 1776-style

A coworker forwarded me two images he'd taken in D.C. recently while visiting the Air and Space Museum. The Declaration of Independence is in there during renovations of the building it's normally housed in. Here's the thing: Scanning the document, his “practiced eye” (he's also a web editor) found a few discrepancies in the copy:

If these required a "1776-style," imagine the following:

1776-style search engine:

1776-style link bait:

December 14, 2006

Christmas Carols for the Disturbed

These have been posted all over the blogosphere for weeks, of course, but after my sister sent them in an email today, I can't resist sharing. I didn't immediately see where this should be attributed, but assume the following is in the middle of large "quotes."

1. Schizophrenia --- Do You Hear What I Hear?

2. Multiple Personality Disorder --- We Three Kings Disoriented Are

3. Dementia --- I Think I'll be Home for Christmas

4. Narcissistic --- Hark the Herald Angels Sing About Me

5. Manic --- Deck the Halls and Walls and House and Lawn and Streets and Stores and Office and Town and Cars and Buses and Trucks and Trees and.....

6. Paranoid --- Santa Claus is Coming to Town to Get Me

7. Borderline Personality Disorder --- Thoughts of Roasting on an Open Fire

8. Personality Disorder --- You Better Watch Out, I'm Gonna Cry, I'm Gonna Pout, Maybe I'll Tell You Why

9. Attention Deficit Disorder --- Silent night, Holy oooh look at the Froggy - can I have a chocolate, why is France so far away?

10. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder --- Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle ! Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle ! Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle ! Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle ! Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle ! Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle ! Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle ! Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle ! Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle ! Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells...

December 12, 2006

Google Screams Happy Birthday, Edvard Munch

My favorite holiday logo switch yet, though there have been some strong contenders over the years. It was fun to look back through the Google holiday logo archives.

December 11, 2006

Blogger Beta

I was finally offered the opportunity to switch today.

I shouldn't be this excited but can't help it. No more publishing. I can finally tag label posts. Widgets are easy to add. I can feature RSS feeds. And it's all tied neatly into Gmail, GoogTube, Calendar, Reader and the rest of the emerging Google online ecosystem.

I may have to delay my exit to WordPress for a few more months after all.

Sic semper tyrannis: Pinochet passes

Unfortunately, the classic "thus always to tyrants," courtesy of Brutus as he and his senatorial colleagues stab Julius Caesar to death on the floor of the Roman Senate isn't quite accurate, as the Chilean dictator passed in a hospital this weekend, isolated from much of the world but hardly slain by his countrymen.

May the whispers of the disappeared follow him into the afterlife.

Christopher Hitchens sums up the case against Pinochet in a properly damning post over at

Classic 'Net humor: Summoner Geeks

This was me, circa 1993. Except my friends weren't always this funny.

Douglas Adams - hyperland

Douglas Adams made a documentary in 1990 about the Web. It's remarkably prescient about what the Web has become. Might be 'cause he was bloody brilliant and easily one of the funniest writers I've ever had the privilege to read.

December 6, 2006

Receding into the ether

I participated in my first talkcast tonight, text chatting contribution while I listened to the speakers express careful and mournful commentary, as all were shocked and saddened by the death of CNET editor James Kim. I'd been following the story of the young family lost in the wilderness of Oregon over the past 11 days. Learning that his body had been found today is crushing -- and my heart goes out to his young wife and two daughters. The hearts of so many are with them. I know I'll miss James' intelligence and charm on the Crave video podcasts. He was a great tech journalist and by all accounts a remarkable human being. Interacting with in the talkcast was rather like being at a virtual wake, albeit with frequent updates by the moderator. Intriguing and sad all at once.

The Iraq Study Group's assessment arrives

Here's a PDF of the whole thing.

I'll see if I can find time tonight to read it.

There's an awful lot on my plate these days but, given my preference for primary sources, I'll definitely make a point of doing so. Whether I l can lend any pithy commentary analyzing to such a grim subject remains to be seen.

Just white and nerdy enough.

You know you're a redneck nerd when you get all of the references in Weird Al's latest single.

Though I'm not quite as far out on the deep end as his caricature, I qualify easily by that standard.

I doubt that shocks anyone.

"Cops" meets Star Wars. Hilarity ensues.

December 4, 2006

The UN's #1 mustache resigns

Apparently, the prospect of irking the incoming Democratic Congress (further) didn't appeal to the President. It doesn't sound like anyone at the UN will miss him, either. I'm guessing that the BoltonWatch blog will die a natural death now as well, along with this spirited defense of the (former) UN Ambassador and Plenipotentiary Extraordinaire. Even the good Fellows at the Heritage Foundation had to cede that Bolton wasn't the most popular figure at the UN, though perhaps, given current American attitudes towards the UN, that's not a contest you'd want to win. I wonder how much lower that public opinion might be if we all learned what nations sat on the human rights committee or if the Oil-for-Food scandal became enough of a scandal to distract us from shopping, professional sports, video games, movies, television and celebrity culture.

Maybe the departure of such an iconic mustache from the world stage, as the new Democratic Congress takes office, will in turn gift the UN with an ambassadors that both represents the best interests of Americans and more gracefully bear the burden of being a hyperpower with undeniable strategic interests.

Whoever is nominated, I doubt we'll be seeing a 'stache to match Bolton's any time soon.

Geocaching 101 is through. Time for the field practical.

After my ramble in the Blue Hills this past weekend, I'm hungry to get out and get geocaching.

This heavily Dugg article from lifehacker, Geocaching 101, is officially the tipping point.

I'm looking forward to it with the new gadget. My monochrome Visor Edge was durable but not exactly field-ready nor as accurate as the geocaching hobby seems to demand.

Ze Frank? I'm so late to the party.

I should have clicked over to Ze months ago.

The Rumsfeld holiday medley, close to the end, is definitely the highlight.

I wish one of my former acappelle groups had done something along those lines, in terms of political hilarity.

I like how he used "Maliki-ied" as a verb, too.

As much as I've enjoyed Rocketboom, this guy is enough of a singular talent to make the close zoom tolerable.

And who doesn't like duckies?

Sure, I kind of remember the dancing guy invitation that made him famous five years ago, but this is obviously much cooler. If not, frequently, quite as funny.

I can't help but notice his use of Revver as his video hosting service, either. Smart chap, actually getting paid for his vlogging.

Another step in the right direction

Some happy news today at work, where eight months of labor apparently have led to a promotion. More on that to come later, as the New Year begins.

So that's happy news.

I've set my phone up with Flickr to automatically post here, though given the low quality I'm not thrilled about the arrangement.

Other news? I'm following an engrossing thread over at the Belmont Club, following upon this cover story, "Open Source Spying" in the NYTimes Sunday Magazine. Two posts, Blog and Blog2, examine how blogging and intelligence collection are increasingly converging and intermingling, all in the public sphere. Intellipedia aside, we're all analysts now.

While it's a bit painful to hear of the closed pools of intel (nothing new, as we've learned in numerous post-mortem of 9/11), it's extraordinary to see how much has occurred around the democratization of intelligence online and the ability of the masses (crowdsourcing, anyone?) to analyze and disseminate the worthy memes.

We're not quite at the singularity yet, to be sure, but the online hive mind just keeps growing.

December 2, 2006

Following my Shadow

I slept late today, perhaps catching up on all of the missed hours from this past week. It was an intense five days. Shadow, though he didn't have quite as much in the way of post-Thanksgiving workload to bear, was even more excited than I to stretch his legs today. With the Biostat Belle out in Natick for (of all things) an applied statistical modeling class, he and I headed south shortly after noon to the Blue Hill Reservation.

By the time we made it back to the trailhead at the Trailside Museum two and a half hours later, we'd logged 4.95 miles, with 1428 feet of altitude change (I brought the GPS, naturally) scrambling over boulders and twisted tree roots or striding quietly down open dirt roads.

It was a spectacular early December day, with bright sun and crisp, clean air. There was very little wildlife in evidence, either to be seen or heard, as only a few jays and chickadees called from bare branches. The wind alone made noise in the trees and bare ridge lines, making for a contemplative hike.

I was amazed that of the few people I saw along the trails, at least a third of them had ear buds in instead of listening to the sounds of the outdoors.

We went to see For Your Consideration tonight, Christopher Guest's latest mockumentary. While it was no Spinal Tap, I couldn't help but laugh out loud at times. While there's no outrageous, over the top naked-hairy-bear-wrestling scene, as in Borat, this flick so thoroughly skewers the entire ecosystem of guards, extras, writers, studio execs, talk show hosts, actors, agents, producers and publicists that I can't help but be impressed by Guest's mastery of the form. Sure, Entourage is slicker, but this cast is so familiar with the form now it's enough to sit and watch them play with the characters. If rock and roll, small town stage productions, dog shows, folk music and now indie film have been rendered so, I'd love to see his treatment of Washingon.

I added a Flickr feed to the blog today too, when we returned, along with a few other sidebar tweaks.

November 27, 2006

856 miles to make the giblet gravy?

I managed to make the journey between Baltimore and Boston again in November, avoiding the worst of the holiday traffic and experiencing none of the foul weather of the previous trip.

Thanksgiving with the family was stressful at times and occasionally blissful. About average. As my uncle Jimes was up in Maine, I filled in at the gravy station, a position of both great honor and great responsibility at the holiday meal. While the turkey in inarguably the centerpiece of the meal, the gravy has often taken center stage. It's been that good, giblets and all.

Meeting that bar took both time and plenty of reference to elder generations' palates and craft. After we put in the bird at 11 the previous evening to roast for more than 14 hours at 250 degrees, the neck and celery cuttings, half an onion, three cloves and a bay leaf went into a stew pot to simmer quietly for the night.

I used that stock to consitute the gravy, along with chopped sauteed liver, heart and mushrooms. Adding port during the process felt vaguely decadent, but I did it anyway, along with the jus I'd reserved cooking the mushrooms.

Watching my family members told me I'd at least cleared that bar, though I think that my uncle's roux is still superior.

My mother and I took some long walks in the mornings, making the most of the abundant late fall sunshine in Maryland along the quiet streets of Towson. Friday morning, we walked along the banks of Lake Roland in Robert E. Lee Park and into the woods, logging three miles nearly to foot with the help of my GPS.

Here's the spot, embedded below from Wikimapia:

Highlight: watching my mother identify a flicker by sound and then finding it and pointing it out to her with the binoculars.

Boston seems cold, grey and harried by contrast, as everyone seems only to have shifted into a higher gear on and off the road. I've heard and seen that Bostonians walk, talk, speak, drive and shop at higher speeds than elsewhere in the country. While that's not uniformly true, as, in fact, few things are, I'm noticing a hum in the air.


I wish I wasn't experiencing it myself, but inevitably balancing work, family and some semblance of a personal life, to say nothing of spirituality in this season of consumerism, has caused a not-so-subtle adjustment in my own timing.

I do wish it wasn't getting dark so damnably early.

November 17, 2006

What does it have in its pocketses?

Less than this most of the time, actually. I do find myself carring around all of this "digital ephemera" many weekdays, when I'm carring my briefcase and laptop anyway and can throw these into the side compartment.

The fundamental and familiar mantra of "wallet, keys, glasses & phone" as I leave the door has been slightly amended, as I'm now occasionally adding a digital camera, iPod and GPS to the mix. My relatively ancient Nikon Coolpix 775 is responsible for this shot -- and therefore isn't pictured.

What isn't pictured is all of the cords, adapters, chargers, manuals and drivers that support this collection. Tucked into and around the desk in the library/office at home, stored in milk crates in the basements or stuffed into the nooks and crannies of my car and briefcase, those digital lifelines all feed the hungry power demands of these gadgets. Reading this article, describing the real-world demonstration of non-radiative energy transfer non-radiative power energy (NRPET) using resonance to wireless gadgets, gives me hope that at least some of those adapters and chargers might be a thing of the past.

If my electronics could just:

A) communicate using a combination of WiFi, GPRS, Bluetooth and satellite, which ever happens to be available

B) be kept charged using NRPET that is broadcast from a central power source

I'd be a very happy techie.

That central power source would of course be powered by hydropower, solar, biothermal, wind, tidal or some other renewable power source, to be reasonably green, of course. Ethanol, clean diesel, clean coal, fuel cells or biodiesel might fit the bill too. There's even switch grass, as the POTUS reminded us last January in the State of the Union address.

To see B come true, however, I'd need to live at least well into the next decade or retreat to some sort of Gene Roddenbury fantasia.

I bet my travel bags will weigh less, too.

Flights of purple-shaded futurism aside, we truly are much closer to living in the Jetson's world than I ever imagined we would be in 2006, as I think back to watching George, Jane, Judy, Elroy in the 80s.

The world's teenagers are video chatting and vlogging away on YouTube. Terabytes of data that touch upon every conceivable subjects is now available at the end of a blinking cursor and a "search" button on the browsers of handsets connected to high-speed wireless broadband. It's possible to click on and see what's been elevated by the collective force of the online hive mind, constantly pushing the most pertinent or interesting meme to the fore.

It's a good thing there's still a place for Astro in this world, or in my case, Shadow.

November 16, 2006

"Cat allegedly gives birth to dog-like offspring"

(REUTERS/Edison Vara (BRAZIL))

Ok, so it's not exactly the end of the world as we know it. I have to wonder what's next; will a swan and a sow soon be matched to produce a flying pig after this development.

The above is apparently a Brazilian student's cat, Mimi, with what her owner claims are Mimi's own kitten/pups.

Pittens? Kups?

Anyway, the story goes that three months after mating with a neighbour's dog, six of these chaps popped out, half of which died soon after birth. Interestingly, those three had cat-like features. Of course, this could just be a delightful hoax -- so I'll keep an eye on what the geneticist testing the animals has to say about the matter.

November 15, 2006

Travels and travails

Somewhere around Tuesday of last week, I decided to visit family down in Baltimore. I had some extra incentive, in the way of at least one 30th birthday present languishing hundreds of miles away, and my uncle and aunt, who both are heading up to Maine for Thanksgiving and thus will not be present when I go back down to the Delmarva penninsula for the annual turkey dissection next (!) week.

I wish the weather had been more cooperative for the drive. After getting the 'Stang back from the mechanic, tuned and equipped with an entirely new exhaust system south of the catalytic converter, I put in a full day of work and heading south into driving rain. Six hours later, I pulled into Stonecrop looking for a break. Fortunately, Gimpadelic was able to put me up for the evening, as the wind and driving rain continued for the rest of the night.

After working from a Panera in Towson, MD on Thurday (free WiFi!), I enjoyed 80-degree temperatures next to the Daily Grind in Fells Point in Baltimore's Inner Harbor. Extraordinary. I felt like I'd been in a season warp. Thankfully, I'd worn mesh shorts and a t-shirt under my warm-ups from the morning run, so I was able to strip down and actually bask while I typed away furiously.

I even managed to fit in a trip to Tochterman's and then the fishing pier at dusk, though no fish were interested in my offering that particular night. After catching eight stripers earlier in the month on the Cape Cod Canal, I was willing to just get my line wet.

I spent some more time in the car on Saturday, road-tripping with my parents down to the Blackwater Wildlife Refuge down on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Thankfully, someone else did the driving, leaving me to (nearly) finish State of Denial in the back. Once we arrived, I was able to identify numerous flocks of ducks, several turtles (maybe red-bellies?), bald eagles, great blue herons, common terns, turkey vultures, a winter wren, shearwaters, mute swans and thousands of Canada geese.

The crab cake and oyster stew for lunch was pretty spectacular too.

I went out to Took Hill, my aunt's home in rural Maryland, to check on her and the kids. Aside from pulling back together some siding and stowing some ACs, I was able to siphon out 63 bottles of my uncle's last batch of apple cider. Some tasting then - and some confirmation later from Gimpadelic - indicated that the long fermentation had left it somewhere closer to apple jack or brandy. Either way, I hope that everyone enjoys it in years to come.

It's good to be back in MA now, though work is keeping me extremely busy. Some of that is certainly due to "losing" Tuesday to juty in downtown Boston. Thankfully, I've now met my service for the next three years. I did, however, find the jury pool holding room, an empty courtroom, to be one of the best reading environments I'd ever encountered. I read almost all of Michael Pollan's "The Omnivore's Dilemma," which is the best food journalism I've read since Fast Food Nation years ago. It was both engrossing and affecting. Both books, in concert with all that I learned growing up from my "back to the earth" family, have served to both subtly and dramatically alter the way I shop for, select, cook and eat, though simple expediancy still occasionally defines what's for dinner.

KFC from space: mapvertising writ LARGE

This story is pretty amazing, on the face of it. KFC just launched the "Face from Space." It's an 87,500 square-foot image of Colonel Sanders near Area 51 in the Nevada desert. Apparently, it took a crew working around the clock for 3,000 hours to create the top-secret project.

Here's the full press release.

Here's the thing: the press release claims it's the first brand or logo visible from space in a big, bold headline.


Of course, the online community immediately found that fact to be incorrect, as witnessed by this much Dugg post on Google Sightseeing.

The folks there indicate that neither Google Earth, Maps, Mapquest or any other commercially available satellite imaging product carries imagery of this area. I wonder who they expect to see it? Russian techs operating spy satellites trying to look at Area 51? Does Putin have a taste for chicken? Or is it just about being the correct answer to a geography trivia question?

I was a bit ahead of the curve selecting "mapvertising" as a buzzword last week, apparently.

Hat tip to Amber MacArthur for offering more context for the story than this image, which I picked up on Yahoo's Most-Emailed page.

November 8, 2006

The Orion Nebula

(REUTERS/ NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Megeath (University of Toledo) & M. Robberto (STScI)/Handout)

November 7, 2006

Skinny Tuesday

It's been quite a day. With the Biostat Belle out at Kripalu, I'm holding down the fort with just Shadow, watching the election returns roll in here in rainy Massachussetts. Something felt unusually right about the day's rhythm, nearly from the start. I woke, went to the bathroom, dressed, walked/jogged with the greyhound, walked down to the square, voted (across the board blue in this bluest of states - shocking!), picked up coffee and bagel at Emacs while reading email on the wander home, composed the daily tech trivia questions and then pulled together the rest of Word of the Day (network behavior anomaly detection?) and then gott to work on the rest of the day's goals. By day's end, I balanced the news of an interview about my work with the reality of an unexpectedly expensive repair to the exhaust system of the 'stang. With a little distance, I can balance the positive and negatives there.

At the end of the day, I T'ed it into Back Bay, walking into Rozzie Square and taking the bus along Washington Street prior. There's something so satifyingly familiar in that trip now, balanced as well by the urban blight pictured in the faces of my fellow riders. I listened to CNET's Buzz Out Loud podcast along the way; that crew always makes me chuckle while they - and I - geek out with the day's news about tech and gadgets. I met with some old clients tonight to talk about embeddding podcasts on various sites when I arrived at the city. Our conversation spiraled into tangential and frequently meaningful discussions of the trends in online media, adoption of RSS and wonderfully gritty details of syndicating audio on multiple platforms.

Great stuff.

I loved it.

The fact that dinner was comped, along with the imperial pints of Guinness, didn't hurt.

As I said, something felt right about the rhythm of the day's events. I'm eager to awake to an altered political landscape, though to be fair I can't think of a single thing that fundamentally will have changed in my daily life due to an partisan shift. I do hope that the balance of divided government will create the checks and balances that have been absent from governance over much of the past decade. George W. Bush may find this daily life to be rather altered. Whether he recognizes as much, or remains in a "state of denial," remains to be seen.

I've been reading Woodward's most recent work at night this past week. Fascinating stuff, though I can't recall reading more unattributed conversations and quotes from private conversations in any other book. I won't add to the reams of commentary that has been written and spoken about the book for the moment, other than to remark that my instincts about the competence of the national security team of this admninstration in 2000 were sorely mistaken. That so many others were similarly off the mark doesn't soften the results of that incompetence abroad and in the Veterans Hospitals at home.

I'm grateful today, grateful to have been able to vote without rancor or danger, to have worked purely in the realms of the mind and then to travel on public transportation to talk about innovation. I feel especially so after being rocked at dinner when one of my dinner companion received a call that informed him he'd lost a sixteen-year old nephew to an auto accident tonight. I can't imagine what that feels like. I'm still mourning my uncle -- but my son? Life is so short as it is. What to do? Live each day like it's the last is cliched but accurate. Love your family, friends, neighbor and those in need like it's the last time you could see them. Be present in your conversations with all of those people and in your own life, reading the grain of the wood you work or the flow of the water you are fishing.

You'd think a long-time viewer of Six Feet Under would have internalized as much long ago.

October 25, 2006

These are the stakes

The ad that Lynden Johnson ran in 1964 that targeted the Barry Goldwater campaign only ran once but likely remains the most famous political television ad in broadcast history.

The newest round of Republican campaign ads begin with the same four words.

"These are the stakes."

I wonder if we all truly feel quite the same existential fear as the television viewers of fourty-two years ago experienced, there at the height of the Cold War. Perhaps older relatives and friends can better inform me. Or residents of New York, Washington and London. And Madrid, Mumbai, Baghdad, Kabul and Tel Aviv. Or any of the parents whose sons and daughters have died in those lands as journalists, aid workers, contractors and in the armed services.

I do know that I've certainly never felt truly safe since 9/11.

I'm waiting for something like it to happen again, in any of the thousands of scenarios played out in film and pulp fiction by 24 and Tom Clancy.

Perhaps "existential fear" does describe it accurately.

October 17, 2006

Google for Music

Lifehacker is one of the most interesting - and useful sites -- out there. I always find amazing tips and tweaks to save time or do neat things with my PCs and other gadgets. I loved Napster when it was at its height in 1999. Other P2P applications have never quite measured up, though YouTube and .torrent clients have certainly taken video sharing to a place that Shawn Fanning may never have dreamed about in his undergrad days over at Northeastern.

But what if you only needed a Web browser and a fast Internet connection to harvest .MP3s online? Try out this great Google hack from Wendy Boswell. Enter the following text into the Google search field.
* -inurl:(htm|html|php) intitle:"index of" +"last modified" +"parent directory" +description +size +(wma|mp3) "Nirvana"
Exchange the term "Nirvana" for any band or singer you want to search for and you'll find open indices of songs.

Pretty neat. It worked like a charm when I looked for Gnarles Barkley. Thanks, Wendy - and Marc and Angel, where she originally found the search string.

October 5, 2006

The war in Iraq and its critics

Whether or not you agree with his analysis of current events in Iraq and around the world, VDH brings the lens of historical perspective acutely to bear upon the most recent spate of books and pundits eviscerating the Bush administration's conduct before, during and after the end of "major operations" in Iraq. Read the article here.

While I see his point with regards to proper footnoting and attribution, given the current state of affairs in the federal government and American military, it's not hard to see why sources would prefer to remain anonymous and military officials to keep their names out of print.

On the other hand, I've read Cobra II, Fiasco and Woodward's first two books, Bush at War and Plan of Attack (still waiting to get my hands on State of Denial) and I find it somewhat remarkable that VDH dismisses the concerns, timelines and details to be found within blithely.

October 4, 2006

Vidly: Brilliant Pranks Video

A coworker just turned me on to, a daily dose of video entertainment. This clip made me laugh out loud so many times that I gave up and posted it here too.

October 2, 2006

Duncan Rawlinson has done something really nifty using RSS and OPML with the Grazr plug-in tool that I've used on this blog.

In constructing the plug-in, he chose RSS feeds that all had "meta-juice" on them, so to speak, where each represented an outside filter that selected for the most popular, forwarded, bookmarked or otherwise selected-for stories at the top of the pile of electonic chaff. Like I said, really nifty and terrific for discovery new ideas, stories and voices with very little effort. In a world suffering from extreme information overload, tapping into the power of metafilters is one of the few effective strategies I've found for staying aware, informed and entertained.

Hat tip for the link and discovery to Micropersuasion.

September 26, 2006

Standing by your work

I've included a number of Grazr plugins on the blog now, each featuring the RSS feeds for content I produce at work. This blurs the line between personal and business a bit, but for those of you who are interested in what I'm up to these days, it should make it a bit easier.

The Word of the Day is just that - a tech term or concept that we send out using email every day, along with featuring it on the Web site. I compose and edit the Buzzword newsletter and write, record, edit and produce the Tech Buzzword of the Week podcast. Most of the time, that's all reasonably fun and interesting.

I'm blogging, albeit in a downright 1996 kind of way (reverse chronological posts on a static web page, handcoded in HTML with no comments, trackback, tags or any of the other wizbang improvements that have cropped up over the past decade.)

Even so, that's what I'm up to most days, though I still find some time to indulge my love for fishing, fine cooking, cycling, hiking and consuming slightly absurd amounts of printed and digital media.

September 20, 2006


Looks like I'm headed to Cold Spring, New York this weekend.

Much excitement.

Here's a map of Stonecrop, provided courtesy of Wikimapia.

I'm officially a Wikimapian, I suppose. I've now added two entries to the mashup of Google Maps and wiki technology, leaving the Isles of Shoals weeks ago as well.

I haven't made my first Wikipedia entry yet, though I have successfully fought and won a copyright battle on the behalf of my company, posting notice of the clear infringement to the community. The experience was quite an education, on all counts.

This map really belongs on Rich Planty Goodness and, however, not this rather barebones blog.

If that blog's proprietor digs it, in fact, he is more than welcome to grab the script from the source code of this post and use it on his blog and send it to the Stonecrop webmaster.

50 acres of gardens to wander through, contemplating the astonishing varierty of morphologies and adaption displayed by nature p and nurtured carefully by the hands of humans - sounds like a much needed antidote, even a panacea for my present immersion in the 24/7/365 beat of the online ecosytem of MMPORGs, discussion groups, email lists, Web sites, chat rooms, webcasts, podcast, vlogs, cable news, on-demand movies, MUDs and the other virtual worlds that in general skew wonderfully close to the metaverse.

September 7, 2006

Bar Harbor Public Library out in front in VoIP adoption - and censure

Red Sox vs. White Sox from behind home plate

Bar Harbor from atop Cadillac Mountain, Acadia, Maine

Bar Harbor, Maine

Subaru Drivers in Bar Harbor come in many....species.

Shadow Inoe in the backyard

Willow Ledge, Penobscot Bay, Maine

Relevant pictures

I finally negotiated the connection between my MDA and my laptop this evening, transferring some 102 photos and one .mp4 from the mobile device. The picture quality is average at best, but given my issues this summer with endlessly reformatting memory cards, I'm grateful to have them at all.

Even with the time stamps and nagging quality issues, I'm glad to have the record.

Enjoy the show. Family and friends will likely appreciate the scenery more than most.

August 14, 2006

7 Archetypes of Internet Searches

Paul Boutin used the search data that AOL mistakenly exposed to the Web last week to grok the search habits of Internet users in this great article at

I'm an Omnivore, without a doubt. No surprise there.

My actual eating habits relate to what I choose to digest online.

Funny, that.

The Splunk search engine is something special, too.

August 8, 2006

Kottke's rules for "How to blog"

He's one of the better bloggers on the planet, as well as the other half of the blogosphere's most famous couple. Jason Kottke posted some simple rules for "How to Blog" today, expanding upon the precept that Seth Godin lays out here. I'll see if I can apply them here and elsewhere.

The following is Godin's guide (by "sends" he means "posts," which of course is more or less the same thing these days with the advent of RSS on blogs.

No one "sends" an idea unless:
a. they understand it
b. they want it to spread
c. they believe that spreading it will enhance their power (reputation, income, friendships) or their peace of mind
d. the effort necessary to send the idea is less than the benefits

No one "gets" an idea unless:
a. the first impression demands further investigation
b. they already understand the foundation ideas necessary to get the new idea
c. they trust or respect the sender enough to invest the time

Something to chew on.

August 7, 2006


Wikimapia offers some nifty mapping tools, along with open source map tags of the world. Fun stuff. For instance, I outline below much of the Arnold Arboretum, where I often walk the dog when I'm in Boston.

Here's another one, from further aloft, featuring Downeast Maine and Acadia. I went sea kayaking up there this summer, though not nearly as often or as long as I would have liked.

August 1, 2006


While I could blog about sea kayaking or cycling in Acadia (which I did) or about the three stitches in my sprained right ankle (which itch and pull occasionally) or about the rapid movement of events in Lebanon that Newt Gingrich persists in calling the beginning of WWIII, instead of drawn to things just a bit more funny.

Stephen Colbert managed to crash the servers at Wikipedia with traffic generated from mentioning the site on his show last night, thereby provoking the registered user community there to "semi-protect" the entries relevant to his show, the Colbert Report.

CNET blogs about it here.

The big chuckle is that the words with the most attention were "truthiness," his very own contribution to the new millenium's political lexicon of snark, and "wikiality," a typically sly comment on the nature of entries in the world's largest encyclopedia.

That Colbert coined the term is no shock - he and his large writing staff have proven themselves to be masters of the droll, irony laden satiric singular expression recently - and urging his listeners to go change different wiki entries he created quite an online spectacle.

July 18, 2006

On losing one's blogging mojo

Because another blogger has linked here, I'm unfortunately obligated to update the blog, if only to acknowledge how long it's been since I posted here.

I've been busy.

Maintaining this page just seemed to become the lowest priority of many demands for my time, not least because the few people that identified me with it were more likely to get updates on my life or thoughts through direct communication.

I'm fortunate enough to be encountering a great many new people and ideas most days, learning even more than expected in the course of defining technology terms, creating an email newsletter, recording podcasts and tracking the online buzz with an eye towards the IT enterprise market.

I'm loving the new job, which perhaps would surprise few people who know me.

I've also spent time grieving over the loss of a dear uncle in Maryland and then Maine.

I miss him every day. I've spent the time I needed to decide how I want to honor him in the way I lead my life and the place my family should occupy in my life.

I've been lucky enough to have some marvelously restorative time fishing for striper in Newburyport, sea kayaking in Downeast Maine and hiking in Acadia. I can't wait to head back north later this month.

I'm not at all sure whether I'll recapture my blogging mojo -- where is Beyonce Knowles when I need her? -- or, if I do, if I'll continue to post here.

Time will tell.

May 25, 2006

May 22, 2006

Jack wiretaps the President

(***Spoiler Alert***)

In tonight's season finale of 24, Jack Bauer manages to bug POTUS, who then completely compromises himself talking to his wife. The episode ends with the Secret Service taking him to custody.

I know FISA doesn't apply. I wonder whether domestic spying laws may pertain?

The secret weapon: a microtransmitter in a pen.

I was buoyed by the stunning arrest of the President, based upon the recorded evidence, until Jack was, quite literally, Shanghaied by Chinese agents.

America is saved from a corrupt President and massive terrorist attacks in exchange for the loss of its greatest anti-hero to the rising power in the Far East. Is there any show that captures the zeigeist any better?

Micropersuasion reports that over two thirds of the blogosphere is now in Chinese.

I wonder which Mandarin-English translation software will connect the Anglosphere to the Sinasphere?

May 12, 2006

I may not get out much...

...but this is the best juggling I've ever seen.

May 10, 2006

Google Trends

Just when I thought Google had already sufficiently blown me away with Google Local, Earth and Calendar, something new has come along:

Google Trends.

The sociologist in me is agog with the possibilities. Enter a term. See when it has been searched for the most, and, intriguingly, the places where it was searched for the most. For certain terms, there is even matching of particular stories and events that impacted the search pattern.

How extraordinary!

Google Zeitgeist looks positively old hat now.

May 9, 2006

Following on the heels of the Pulse, the Pop is simply amazing. I don't know why I'm so amazed at metafilters, but this wealth of information, bubbling to the top of our collective metaconsciousness through the tagging and clicking of actual people is enthralling.

Apparently, I'm no less of a geek than I was playing Wizardry in 1988. If anything, I've grown into it.


I discovered BlogPulse today. It's a great way to take the blogosphere's temperature, and while Technorati is still the class of the pack, it's great to see sites emerging that allow any user to see what's happening online.

Or, in, this case, to take a pulse.

May 8, 2006

On the Table

Michael Pollan has been blogging over at the New York Times. What a find -- especially today's post on the choices Americans are presented with as we choose how, what, where and why we eat, if not, generally, who.

Holdouts may exist on this last, but I'm not one of them.

I've been enjoying Pollan's incredible "food journalism "ever since I first read The Botany of Desire years ago, right up to and including his recent NYTMagazine piece, which was adapted from the recently published book, "The Omnivore's Dilemma." I'm waiting for the BPL to lend me that last.

Last week, I read "CARNAL KNOWLEDGE: How I became a Tuscan butcher.", by Bill Buford, in the "Notes of a Gastronome" column in the pages of the New Yorker.

Unbelievably good.

We're absolutely inudated with scientific and cultural rules for what we should be eating and why, who it should be purchased from and even how the animal, vegetable and occasionally mineral should have lived and how it dies.

This has been going on for all of humanity's lifespan - after all, what is more human than the act of killing, cooking and eating something? - but there is a quality and breadth to the body of information that goes into making decisions about what/when/where/how we eat surely supasses anything that has gone before.

What's for dinner tonight?

May 5, 2006

Decadence defined in contemporary Europe?

Winds of Change has posted a thoughtful, if provocative, post.

Hat tip to the DU.

Genocide: where force is the first resort?

The editors of the New Republic have published what I have to call a must-read "From the Editors" op-ed piece at

Check it out here.

Money quote:

"In the response to most foreign policy crises, the use of military force is properly viewed as a last resort. In the response to genocide, the use of military force is properly viewed as a first resort."

May 3, 2006

Promptly, Into the Deep End

One click blogrolling has turned my page links into the equivalent of a lumberjack's plate after bellying up to the Aladdin's all-you-can-eat banquet bar in Vegas.

Sure, the metaphor is a stretch, but not that much.

I've tried to be choosy, as, after all, the web, specifically the blogosphere, is more full of dreck than even the worst cable television channel guide, but in the end I'm stumbling close to information overload.

May 2, 2006

Jumping on the bandwagon

No, this isn't a post about becoming a Red Sox fan after ten years of living in New England, despite being born in upstate New York.

I finally tired of updating my template everytime I wished to add a blog to my blogroll (or delete one, which has happened occasionally) and then waiting to republish.


As there was a service, a free one at that, that would take care of maintaining my blogroll seamlessly, I've moved on over and have incorporating Blogrolling.

While I'm far, far behind the times by doing so, I still derive tremendous satisfaction from such a time saving function. Therefore, I'm jumping on the bandwagon.

It may be a while before blogads appear here, however, as I think a reader or two might normally be warranted before I engage in such naked commercialism.

May 1, 2006

It never ceases to amaze me: build something that is easy to understand and powerful in execution and the world will beat a path to your door. I remember the magic of the "I'm feeling lucky" button that Google provided back in 1999 when I first began using the site. seems to be riding the wave: rates the site as the 26th most popular globally, as of yesterday. I was able to find Steven Colbert's satiric masterpiece at the White House Correspondents Dinner over the weekend without any trouble and watch it on my laptop this weekend, an opporunity I might have missed given the curious absence of the speech from CSPAN or other cable networks. While not all video content will be similarly repurposed, I'm struck again, as always, but the power of the global network to bring people together around a great idea.

Time's 100 Most Influential

David Letterman's top 10 lists were a fixture of my adulescence, along with the rest of Gen X/Y, but then top 10 lists are everywhere. In the U.S., it seems, listing and ranking borders on obsession. Scratch that. Lists are everywhere, of colleges, nutritious foods, box office at the movie theaters, download lists, page rankings, most watching television shows, top name the category, there's a top 10.

So why point this this list of Time Magazine most influential people of 2006?

Simply because it inspired me. There's a cultural bookmark here, to be fair, and each profile has a blurb written by celebrities, politicians and thinkers who themselves might be included on this list or those from years past. I'm cynical enough to doubt the authenticity of some of the prose, but I couldn't help but find hope in the face of extraordinary people making the most of the talent that nature and nurture bestowed upon them. Would that we could all do as much with the brief years we have on this earth.

April 28, 2006

Free Speech in New England

A local blogger in Maine is being sued by that state's tourism office for posting advertising he pulled from the state website. Apparently the ad had an incorrect phone number that went to a phone sex line. Embarassing, perhaps, but enough to prompt a $1 million dollar lawsuit that seems likely to be thrown out for violating the First Amendment?

I think not.

There's a long tradition of free speech in New England, going back to the Revolutionary Era, though perhaps not much further, given the Puritan nature of the first settlers. I'm not going to style Lance Dutson the next Tom Paine, but he deserves the blogosphere's full support, and, given the excellence of attorneys he had retained, think he will find the law is on his side as well.

April 24, 2006

Sometimes, you just have to be there.

Michael Yon has consistently written thoughtful pieces, accompanied by extraordinary photojournalism, from the front lines in Iraq. I write "front lines" because it's hard, from here, to imagine where the lines, back or front, begin or end in such a conflict.

That being said, here's an incredible piece from his blog. The nod goes to the Belgravia Dispatch for the link.

New Beginnings

As my last blog needs to be left behind, for a number of reasons, here begins my newest effort. Necessarily, it will be an adjunct to the blog I maintain for work, but I still want an outlet for my own opinions.

This is only a place holder for more to come, so hold on. This could get interesting.