Saturday, September 30, 2006

An Iowa Town Will Disappear...

I saw this online and thought, "You know, I kind of live in a flood zone. I wonder what it must be like to be told to leave so the government can demolish your entire town."
"Sometimes we get people who drive through town ... and shake their head in disbelief," Bolsinger said.

Workers prepared structures for demolition this week. Next week, bulldozers will seal Elkport's fate.

As many as 27 homes, the old general store and the stone elementary school will be flattened. The historic bank and at least one home must still be cleared for destruction by the state historical society. The future of the church is uncertain.

Read this story, courtesy of

Let Sleeping Cats Lie

Let Sleeping Cats Lie
Originally uploaded by macfixer.

Twinkie, (the oldest cat in our house) in a rare moment of repose. When I see him like this, I am reminded of how he was when he was a kitten: all big feet and big ears.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Out of the Office

Keyboard Closeup
Originally uploaded by macfixer.

I took a day off from work to do 2 (two!) doctor's appointments. One was for me, and one was for my wife. Luckily, she had the idea of doing both of them on the same day, so that it wouldn't disrupt our schedules too much.

In between, I was able to locate a WiFi hotspot and check my work email. I can't imagine life without WiFi now. Whenever I'm in a public space, I bust out the LifeDrive and look for an access point. Fire up the 12-step program: I'm a certified junkie.

Coming Soon...

Where the next-generation Your Friendly Neighborhood Mac Guy is being built:

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Damn, It Feels Good To Be A Gangsta

Nathan Hale
Originally uploaded by macfixer.

One of the things I’ve missed for far too long is my digital camera. I had an old Nikon CoolPix. It was cheap, took a decent picture or two [], and it made me happy to capture life’s little details that so often get forgotten soon after they happen.

Unfortunately, one day my CoolPix died a horrible death. For days afterwards I mourned it’s loss, confident I’d get a replacement for it soon. Well, “soon” turned into 5 long months. I missed some great shots, which made me feel bad.

Gratefully, my last paycheck from Pier 1 was quite hefty, compared to those last few “$0.00” checks. AS a result, I rewarded myself (with my wife’s permission, of course) with a new Canon PowerShot A520. Here is the first picture I took; a statue outside of where I work:

Fun In The Convertible

Fun In The Convertible
Originally uploaded by macfixer.

Sometimes life requires you to drop the top and cruise around with the wind in your hair. We've been suffering for so long with just one car. To make matters worse, that one car is usually with me in New London during the week. With Sonia and Mason going to school, this means a crucial link to the outside world is removed.

In the past, this meant that if Mason missed the bus, he couldn't go to school at all. If he had to go to the doctor or something, that meant I would have to go to work late in order to do it. Both were unacceptable to me.

So, when we were feeling a little flush, we picked up a '94 Saab convertible from a local guy off of Craigslist. It was cheap enough that we could pay cash for it. Now, all we have to do is get the van towed away, and we're good to go!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Fun With Photo Booth

Fun With Photo Booth
Originally uploaded by macfixer.

I have a lot of fun with my new iMac at home.

just around the corner

just around the corner
Originally uploaded by merlinmann.

I didn't write this:

In 3-5 years, the progressively earlier start dates of "Christmas Season" will cause time to curve back on itself in such a way that we will actually be able to prepare for and financially execute two or more Christmases at once.

For consumers, this will be confusing at first, but in time they will grow accustomed to observing overlapping holidays. They are expected to eventually embrace the quickening, learning to enjoy -- even "celebrate," if you will -- the increasing feedback loop that leads to "Triple Christmas All The Time" around May of 2021.

See it here

Friday, September 15, 2006

Glass Cactus (Glasstus?)

Glass Cactus (Glasstus?)
Originally uploaded by macfixer.

The stem of a margarita glass is a sight to behold. Sturdy, artistic, and full of a delicious, frothy beverage. I took a picture of it after the drink was gone. Olé!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Windows XP Setup

Windows XP Setup
Originally uploaded by macfixer.

I deal with Windows at work. All day. 5 days a week. When I get home, I love dealing with my Mac. Mainly because I don't have to deal with this kind of crap.

My setup time when I got my new iMac was somewhere in the neighborhood of 1 hour. That was setting it up, transfering the data from my old Mac, and updating the existing stuff.

My wife bought a new Dell. That setup took 4 days, because we had to reformat the hard drive to get rid of the bloatware, transfer the data (which failed to copy properly until we used the iPod), and patch the system.

I am not an expert, nor a zealot. My Mac wins, hands down.

p.s.: for those who can't make it out, this picture basically is the Windows XP not seeing the perfectly fine hard drive that is attached to it. why can it suddenly not see it? better ask the 'developers, developers, developers, developers'

Never Forget.

American Flag Diver Down
Originally uploaded by macfixer.

Thank goodness I didn't lose my Sonia that day. We would have missed so much.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Effing Entourage

Microsoft's Mac Business Unit wanted to be all slick and create this unique format for adding notification sounds for their all-in-one application, Entourage. Most applications allow you to select your own sounds, and they usually use AIFF to do it.

Not Entourage, oh no...

They use 'Sound Sets', which are packaged System 7(!) sounds. Fine and dandy... for the old days when everyone used Classic, and System 7 files were around. A keystone in the Macintosh has been customization. No two Macs seem to be alike. I use my Mac to run my life, and I use Entourage to do so. Fed up with the stock beeps and boops, I whipped up some beeps and boops of my own. In fact, here are some I created.

Here's the rub: Microsoft never published a way to make your own Sound Sets. The Internet being the breeding ground for creativity it is, a website popped up called Soundset Central. This was a place to upload and download Sound Sets made with Soundset Central's own Expression software. Those Sound Sets, and that software went bye-bye when the owner of the site went missing. No real problem, since I still have a copy of that Expression app. All I would need is some sound effects, right?

A quick browse through the official list of supported formats shows that System 7 isn't supported by QuickTime in OS X anymore. Which is a shame, since I have an Intel Mac which can't boot up into OS 9 to convert these files.

So I have no way of making the sounds I need, no way of making a proprietary Sound Set to store them in, and I have no way of publishing them on a site to enable others to use them.

Way to go, MacBU! In the next revision, please use the AIFF standard, so we can continue to customize Entourage!

Ouch! Vista's Not Looking So Hot...

Working Tech: A reality check for Vista - Sep. 8, 2006:
Will Vista Premium be worth the extra cost? Essentially, the features you get with the more expensive version are better security, a prettier user interface, and the audio-video software formerly found in Microsoft's Media Center edition of Windows XP. That doesn't seem like a lot for five years' work, or for $40 extra.

A shame. I know my wife's not looking to upgrade right away. She just got her machine working the way she likes it.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Oh My God, They Killed Steve Irwin!

My wife woke me up early this morning to tell me that Steve Irwin had died. I mumbled something and went back to sleep.

When I was more lucid, I went online with my LifeDrive and looked up some info on what happened. Apparently, he was killed swimming on top of a stingray. The Stingray got spooked and stung him with his barb, which ordinarily hurts but does not kill. Unfortunately for Steve, it had punctured his heart.

From Discovery Channel (Steve's bosses):
Steve was killed during a filming expedition on the Great Barrier Reef. While we are still collecting specific details, it was a rare accident in which Steve swam over a stingray and was stung by its barb in his chest. A doctor on board Croc One, Steve's research vessel, was unable to resuscitate Steve and by the time he was reached by the rescue helicopter he had passed away.

Now he's dealt with man-eating crocs, dangerous snakes, all kinds of deadly critters of all shapes and sizes. To die this way? It's so rare it's bizarre.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Bootleg Cow

Bootleg Cow
Originally uploaded by macfixer.

I took this picture in the theater while watching the movie "Barnyard" at the local megaplex with my son. Why? Because I could!

Everyone's a Winner

Everyone's a Winner
Originally uploaded by Thomas Hawk.

Great, nothing's worse than showing up at the comic book convention wearing the same costume as someone else!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Indonesian Tsunami Recreation

Not quite sure how big those waves are supposed to be, but man -- what a ripple!


Originally uploaded by macfixer.

Sometimes the pictures present themselves. The sky was just right, the lighting was overhead. My wife had this picture in mind, so I took it. I guess she was right.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Dual-Cored and Universal

Yeah, I finally upgraded ye olde eMac 800. As much as I loved the Big Kahuna (What? Doesn't everybody name their Macs?), it was starting to get sluggish whenever I'd launch Safari, or whenever Entourage was doing stuff and I'd...I don't know, launch iPhoto or something. Forget GarageBand, my poor system would 'redline' with even the simplest loops playing.

So, after my wife updated her just-as-obsolete Windows system (she's probably more cross-platform than I am, since she has an iBook for school and a PC for games and stuff) for a new Dell, I saw my opening!

I used my school discount to pick up a new 20" dual-core Intel iMac. We're talking 250 GB hard drive, iSight camera, Mighty Mouse and the whole nine yards. Awesome stuff.

Since it's been a few years since I bought one (or worked in the Apple Store), I was pleasantly surprised how much the Mac Experience has improved:

  • The Apple Store guy showed me how much it'd cost, how much I would expect back, and what rebates were available. No pressure, no slick sales talk (yes, Staples, I'm looking at you!)
  • The Apple Store emailed me a copy of my receipt automatically. I'll throw it into Yojimbo for safe keeping.
  • Speaking of Yojimbo, it didn't miss a beat. It saw a new computer and synced it's data with it. I shudder to think how SOHO Notes would've screwed that up.
  • It's already registered when you get it. No forms, no paperwork. No nuttin'.
  • Migration Assistant works as advertised. Grabbed everything I needed (iTunes music, iPhoto pictures) from my old Mac, and nothing I didn't (cruddy preferences). It was wicked fast, too -- considering how many years of crap it had to suck up.
  • When starting up for the first time, the setup assistant (which my wife did, since she wouldn't let me enjoy that) even asked to take my picture as my user icon. Well thought out!
  • The iMac remembers what volume setting I last left it in, even for the famous startup chime. I like to keep the volume kind of low (since it's technically in our dining room), and to have that chime come blasting out at 5:30 am is nerve-wracking to say the least.