Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Pundits, Comedians, Amateur Humorists on High Alert

TV and Radio Humourists are reported to be on high alert following the terrible storms in Louisiana. "We just don't know who Pat Robertson will blame this one on" said one late night comic. Televangelist Roberts has previously claimed to be able to divert the paths of hurricanes through the power of prayer, but he might have been laying low during hurricane Katrina. It is rumoured that the Venezuelan government may seek to extradite him.

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Google's Desktop Search. Building strong bones -- of spam.

I finished up this week's column on Google Desktop Search yesterday and still end up with some questions and concerns about the product. (Given the vagaries of publishing schedules the article will not appear in print until real soon now.) I like the ability to search everything on my hard drive. In fact, I am in love with that idea. What I don't think is so cool is that Google never throws anything away. If I delete a document, Google still has a link to it. What's going to happen to my hard drive? Will it eventually fill with junk I thought I had thrown away? This reminds me of the story of the file clerk who wanted to empty out some old files and her boss said that she could throw everything away but that she should make a copy first.

Keeping everything is certainly a double edged sword. The other day a co-conspirator in one of my many schemes came up to me and asked if I had read his email. I had absolutely zero recall of the message. I looked through the appropriate folders in Outlook and couldn't find it. I then asked Google Desktop to find all emails from this correspondent. Sure enough GDS had a record of the email. I had somehow deleted this email without taking the usual precursor steps of opening it, reading it, and ignoring it. Now I could see what he said, not in my Outlook, but by looking at the indexed copy GDS had saved. I had accidentally deleted the email, but that was ok because GDS had made a copy first. Ok, so keeping indexes of things I have deleted is sometimes marginally useful.

What was not apparent to me when I started using Google desktop is that it indexes even SPAM email and then never deletes the record of that email. If I type "Nigeria" into the desktop search box I see that it occurs 227 times on my computer. This strikes me as odd because until one sentence ago, I may have never had any reason to use the word Nigeria in a sentence. In response to my (largely imagined) fame however, I get quite a few emails from various Nigerian diplomats and other assorted officials asking me to assist them in schemes to get money out of their poor country. These requests are numerous and ridiculous. I never have to read them because Outlook is savvy enough to move them to my Junk mail folder without expectation of my further review. GDS, however, knows all, sees all, and indexes all... just in case. Every one of these scam emails gets indexed. It seems that Google's Desktop Search, like my dear mother, never throws anything away. Don't believe me? Install GDS, let it run for a week and then search for the word SPAM on your computer. Today, my GDS offers 10781 documents on just my personal drive containing the word SPAM. This blog entry counts as one.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Your Day Radio Magazine - The Got Bugs Cover

One of my favorite regular segments on the Your Day radio show is about bugs and the people they sometimes bother. It's probably not the bugs but the bug guys that I like so much. They have a really good time with what in other hands could be a deadly boring topic.

If someone at a party told you that they were the head of pesticide regulation for any jurisdiction, you would most certainly tap your watch, remark at how late it's getting and move on. If the person you had left standing alone was either of the bug guys, Eric Benson or Cam Lay, you would have missed out on some real fun. The bug guys are far more entertaining than their department titles indicate and they appear most Tuesday's on Your Day.

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Friday, August 26, 2005

Podcast: What is a Blog?

What is a blog? Why do people blog? How do you start your own blog? Listen to this podcast of the Your Day radio show where Phil Yanov (that's me) and Eric Rodgers talk about what blogging is and why people do it.

The blogging discussion begins at 44:50 in this 52 minute podcast.

Some of the things we talked about (or should have):
  • The most popular blogs in the blogosphere are listed at Blogpulse.
  • The birthday of this blog is actually June 2002, I launched the original website in 1998, but my first post to this blog is here.
  • Looking for a blog on a particular subject? Start your search at Technorati. Type in any word and Technorati will tell you who is posting on that topic.
  • Want to start your own Blog? There are lots of choices, but we'd recommend as great place for beginners to start. You can have a blog running in just minutes.
Listen to: YourDay podcast

Thursday, August 25, 2005

I love the DorkTones Podcast!

I can't help myself. I love The Dorktones Podcast. A podcast playing Britpop, Euro-trash, Lounge, Rock and just plain junque, the songs are fantabulous and the host's dry wit is a blast! It makes me wonder if there isn't a future for a radio station populated by the gloriously re-found sounds of the 60s and 70s. Listen for snappy, rotating openings for the podcasts as well as mini features such as "It ain't much if it ain't Dutch" and "Confessions of a Dork." It's all a tasty bit of very clever fun.

So forget Jack, listen to Dork!


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

I feel the earth move!

How nerdy can this be? I was blogging when a very small, but seemingly rare earthquake rumbled through my neighborhood. My feet firmly planted on the floor, I felt a sustained vibration of the house with windows and pictures rattling. Nothing fell. Nothing broke. It was a very unusual experience, however. I reported my very unscientific observations to the Seismology guys as the US Geological Survey Earthquake Hazards program.

The official USGS report on event "usceaf"
A minor earthquake occurred at 03:09:41 (UTC) on Thursday, August 25, 2005. The magnitude 3.8 event has been located in NORTH CAROLINA. (This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.)

Magnitude 3.8

Thursday, August 25, 2005 at 03:09:41 (UTC) = Coordinated Universal Time
Wednesday, August 24, 2005 at 11:09:41 PM = local time at epicenter

35.878N, 82.797W
Depth 5 km (3.1 miles) set by location program

* 4 km (2 miles) ESE (122) from Hot Springs, NC
* 14 km (9 miles) NW (308) from Marshall, NC
* 23 km (14 miles) WNW (284) from Mars Hill, NC
* 40 km (25 miles) NNW (327) from Asheville, NC
* 104 km (64 miles) E (95) from Knoxville, TN
* 564 km (350 miles) SSW (207) from Pittsburgh, PA

Location Uncertainty
horizontal +/- 7.8 km (4.8 miles); depth fixed by location program

Nst= 28, Nph= 28, Dmin=100.1 km, Rmss=1.42 sec, Gp= 79,
M-type="Nuttli" surface wave magnitude (MLg), Version=6


Event ID usceaf

qv: USGS Event Link

Preggers Magazine

Preggers Magazine
imagined by Phil Yanov.

Lovely Linda makes the cover of Preggers magazine!

Ok, we admit it. There is not really a Preggers magazine, well at least not that we know about.

There is, however, a really clever tool at Flagrant Disregard that lets you create your own magazine covers from your Flickr photos. Will the fun with Flickr ever end? We sure hope not.

qv: Flickr Blog

Google Talk Is Here

You really need to Instant Message, but wanted to wait until Google entered the fray? Today's the day for you. Need a pal on Google talk to test with? I'm ThinkHammer.

UPDATE: What an amazingly lean interface and application! It downloaded and installed in seconds. I've given it a very small test and it looks great so far. Without default encryption, dialing in and out, and the other features of Skype, or the established user community of Yahoo it's hard to see how Google wins the instant messaging battle in the short term, but with their money and talent they can play the long game. We'll see.


Sudoku - Wordless Crossword Puzzles

When I first saw the Sudoku I new that this was a puzzle that most any brain would have fun with. The American then Japanese now American number puzzles fit nicely on a very portable piece of paper and can be done while waiting for a bus, relaxing at home, or while eating your morning bagel. Puzzle master Will Shortz will be on Wednesday's The Early Show to explain the phenomonen and introduce the viewers to solving the puzzle. Will will have a new book of Sudoku out soon, so it may be a chance to get a preview of that as well.

Useful Sudoku Links:

* Sudoku Puzzle Books at Amazon
* Six Tips for solving Sudoku from Will Shortz
* Solve sudoku online
* Will Shortz mentions Sudoku on the Sunday Puzzle (Listen)
* Seth Stevenson talks about Sudoku on Day to Day (Listen)


Monday, August 22, 2005

Google set to make announcements this week...

John Markoff reports in today's New York Times that Google is poised to make two product announcements this week. The first is a new version of their already useful desktop search tool and the second is an unnamed "communications tool." Markoff speculates that we might finally get Google's Instant Messenger.

qv: NYTimes - Where Does Google Plan to Spend $4 Billion?

Even a Blind Frog...

Even a Blind Frog catches a bug once in awhile.Even a blind frog catches a bug once in awhile.


Friday, August 19, 2005

Ogden Nash on Flickr

Some scrapbooks
have good looks,
but Flickr is slick'r.

an original poem by Phil Yanov,
in honor of the birthday of Ogden Nash.
(c)2005 Phil Yanov, all rights reserved

Happy Birthday Ogden Nash.

Ode to a Haiku

A haiku's a poem
of a moment intense

It's seventeen syllables
that never make sense.

an original poem by Phil Yanov,
in honor of the birthday of Ogden Nash.
(c)2005 Phil Yanov, all rights reserved

Happy Birthday Ogden Nash.

Notes on Bushes

Acceptable arborealy
pugnacious politically.

an original poem by Phil Yanov,
in honor of the birthday of Ogden Nash.
(c)2005 Phil Yanov, all rights reserved

Happy Birthday Ogden Nash.

Ode to our (expected) Baby

Dear little princess,
not yet arrived

Mother and father
are feeling deprived

Expectations are swelling
and so are the feet

Their new little girl
they'd sure like to meet

We know you'll appear
when Nature decides

but give mom a break
and stop kicking her sides.

an original poem by Phil Yanov,
in honor of the birthday of Ogden Nash.
(c)2005 Phil Yanov, all rights reserved

Happy Birthday Ogden Nash.

Indifferent Design

Mother Nature is Grand,
but a Fatherly hand
must have given her a push
declares President Bush

an original poem by Phil Yanov,
in honor of the birthday of Ogden Nash.
(c)2005 Phil Yanov, all rights reserved

Happy Birthday Ogden Nash.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Megarhyssa is bugging me...

I had this idea that the dead tree in my yard might be dead due to lightning damage. It has been dead awhile, but it stands because it is attached to two living trunks that I like. I went out last night to inspect it and found that there were some monstrous bugs crawling on it.

Yipes! They were three inches plus a four inch ovipositor. I sent the pix off to a few friends as well as the bug guys at Clemson. It turns out that the bugs were giant female wasps that were laying eggs in the wood to kill other wood eating larvae. I've got an entire predatory ecosystem in the yard.

It's a bug eat bug world out there...

qv: Phil's Gallery of Bugs at Flickr

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Farewell to the King

It just wouldn't be right if we didn't make mention of the passing of the King today. Sure, we miss him. Thank goodness he left us all of those tunes. We must not be alone in enjoying his hip swinging styling, Forbes magazine continues to rank him as their top earning dead celebrity.

Need some company in your time of sadness? Phil Arnold covers Graceland's Elvis Week activities at the ElvisBlog.


Cats slay dogs at Flickr

Who wins a fair fight Pepsi or Coke? Are Dogs or Cats more photogenic? You may never know for sure, but you can know how many photos bear any particular tag at Flickr. It's all the rage on the Flickr Blog

qv: Flickr Tag Fight

Monday, August 15, 2005

Seven Deadly Sins Wristbands

Miss out on the LIVESTRONG bracelets? Perhaps they didn't convey exactly the right message for you. No matter, Archie McPhee has the wristbands you have been waiting for. Sold only in full sets, you can now own rubber wristbands color coded and imprinted with each of the seven deadly sins. Feeling a bit vain? Slip on the purple. These might be the mood ring for the new century.

via: Archie McPhee

Podcast: Digital Photography on YourDay

Want to listen to the podcast of today's Your Day segment on digital photography? Download it here. The digital photography discussion begins at 48:23.

Listen: YourDay podcast

Your Day Technology - Digital Photography

We'd like to welcome our visitors who caught the Digital Photography segment on Your Day. Here are the items we discussed on the show.

My first Digital Camera
To the right is a picture of my very first digital camera. It was a Logitech Fotoman. The camera took up to 32 grainy, low-resolution photos and held them in memory until you downloaded them to your computer via an RS-232 seriel cable. The actual specs were 376 x 240 pixels by 256 gray levels. (Not color) The camera failed mysteriously when I lent it to a friend, so it and most of the pictures I took with it have gone to the bit bucket.

A fabulous way to get your pictures from your camera to your computer. It's a great photo organizer, red-eye reducer, picture fixer, and gift maker.

This is quite possibly the best way share photos on the web. You can control if photos are private to family, friends, other contacts, or the public. Groups of family and friends can create group photo albums and discuss and comment upon their pictures.

Got something to say?
If you'd like to comment upon or suggest future topics for the Your Day technology segment drop me a line.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

There is no cat. Einstein's radio.

Google offered this quotation on my home page today:
You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat.
- Albert Einstein

It seemed appropriate to the theme of today's previous blog posts.

Podcasting is what happens when you put parts of the cat in a time machine.

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YourDay begins podcasting!

A quick look at the Your Day website today reveals a new podasting icon. Previously I have tricked their audio files into appearing in my feed so that I could have a copy of their WMV files for my very own, but now they are offering a regular RSS feed with mp3 files.

RSS Feed:

If you happen to own an iPod or use iTunes, they have included instructions on their help page. If you are using iPodder or one of the other podcast grabbing applications, just paste in the feed listed above.

Phil Yanov coming to a radio in South Carolina

I just got word that the first of my Your Day segments will air on August 15th. Your Day airs statewide on the South Carolina Public Radio System.

Here is their promo:
How to handle a digital photography habit. Eric Rodgers asks Phil Yanov, executive director of GSA Technology Council and president of Thinkhammer Communications, about solutions to managing and sharing your digital photos. His free software suggestions include Picasa for organization and Flickr for web sharing.

The interviews discuss the perils, uses, and triumphs of personal technology.

Update: Doh! The date challenged Phil Yanov originally posted this with the wrong date. The very nice Charlotte Holt advised him of the error. The correct date is August 15.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Krystal Commits to 100% Wi-Fi

All 243 of Krystal's company-owned restaurants now accept payment by credit and debit cards and are also official "Krystal HotSpots," with free Wi-Fi Internet!

Krystal claims it is now the largest provider of free Wi-Fi of any fast food chain nationwide and the only chain that has extended Wi-Fi access to all company-owned locations.

via: QSR Magazine
qv: Krystal in Greenville

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Paris Hilton is showing her buns

Great ideas: 1) Have Paris Hilton star in a "spicy" video to sell spicy hamburgers to hormone charged young men. 2) Claim the video is "too hot" for TV and show it in only on the internet. 3) Include a pass-along link by which would-be enthralled viewers can alert their friends to this supposed soft-porn.

Poor execution: The "spicy" ad is lame. Paris Hilton looks like a marionette of herself. I've seen Al Gore move with more concupiscence. It's not spicy. It's not sexy. It's just dumb.

Clever ideas rarely overwhelm mediocre execution. Let's see.

Look if you must:

How should a Blogger Advertise?

"Formidable" Law Blogger Ann Althouse has an incredibly lucid (and peer reviewed) evaluation of Blogads v. Pajamas Media in her Althouse blog. It's good reading for those who are trying to decide what next steps they might take in cashing in on their blog.

qv: Althouse : Pajamas Media vs. BlogAds -- the blogger's perspective.

Does Blogger Spell Check have an axe to grind with Technorati?

Sometimes I just have to go for the easy laugh. I uncovered this Easter Egg while spell checking my previous post, of course.

Is Technorati doing the job? Calcanis says no and offers $50K to fix it...

Jason Calcanis has started a lively discussion on Technorati's perceived failures to deliver the goods.

He outlines the charges as follows:
1. It counts sources not links.
2. It is not updated often.
3. People drop off the list for no reason.
4. Its based on the number of links for all time.
5. Why 100?

Calcanis doesn't supply detail for all of these, but the stickier ones get the full treatment and I suspect the others are deemed too obvious for elaboration.

What he has done is clearly identify a number of unsolved issues in the blog rating world. The company who is doing the best job in the market is not doing the job to the satisfaction of the blogging community it hopes to support.

of Technorati jumped into the fray first and says he will review the feedback. The blogging community awaits, perhaps with pitchforks and torches. (At any given moment in time, the blogosphere is only about five posts away from becoming an angry mob.) In the meantime, Jason Calcanis is offering $50,000 for someone to come up with an alternative.

At Get Real, seems to be conducting a thought experiment of what a meta-ranking engine might provide.

Read this: Jason Calcanis - The Blog 500 Challenge

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Starving Blogger forced to sell magazines door to door

Sure, we'll blog for food, but we'd even tromp door to door selling magazines to keep body and soul together. Sales and service provided by the very reputable Click us, feed us. Thank you.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Lie, Cheat, and Rule The World - Diplomacy Reigns Supreme

Listen as Weekend America covers the annual convention for the players of the boardgame Diplomacy. I've been to plenty of boardgame conventions, and I feel sure that I knew people who were there. At least one of my pals usually makes the trip to this convention. The great thing about this story is that a decidedly geeky boardgame got covered in a national story. It's something to celebrate, especially since the players at this convention almost seem normal.
Manipulation. Lies. Betrayal. It's all in the name of fun.

qv: Taking Over The World at Weekend America

Will the big bad Fox eat Skype?

Cringley observed two weeks ago that Skype was almost a Murdoch Property for $3 Billion, but Guy Kewney reports in today's Wireless Watch that Tim Draper thinks Skype is worth much, much more... How's a cool $100 Billion dollars?

I read: The Register

Dixons Shutters 35mm Cameras

The UK's photography and electronics reseller, Dixon's has sadly bid farewell to 35mm cameras. Digis are outselling film cameras 15 to one.

qv: Channel Register

Apple's iTune goes gold in four days. 1 Million songs sold.

Just four days after launch of iTunes Japan, Apple has sold over 1 million tunes with only 15 record labels signed. Sony has not come on board yet, but the two are in talks. This is something of a surprise as Sony has begun releasing CDs with a copy protection scheme that makes it unusable by iPod owners. The CDs are reportedly selling well, but the iPod crowd has been seen carrying pitchforks and torches to Sony.

I read: Business Week

AOL buys its way into wireless market

After losing 917,000 of its paying online customers last quarter, AOL has accelerated its entry into the wireless market. The AOL wireless group has purchased Wildseed, makers of customization software for cell phones. AOL says it wants to bring the AOL experience to a cell phone near you.

I read: USA Today

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Don't know what Defenestration is? does.

I'll admit it. I already knew what defenestration does to a person. But if I hadn't known, I would have gone to for the answer. Simply put, is the most amazingly useful aggregation of information collected under one link anywhere on the web.

Don't know anything about tofu? delivers a definition, history, nutritional values, links to recipes and related topics, as well as translation of the word into 15 languages. Want to know what happened today in history? brings birthdays, events, news, quotes all onto a single page.

The pages on are more likely to have the information I am looking for than any other reference tool on the web. Quite frankly, I'm almost afraid to share with others, because I think knowing that URL gives me a strategic advantage. It's at least a ten point boost to my IQ.


Friday, August 05, 2005

Now I've seen a purple cow

A Florida casino is... ahem, field testing Seth Godin's Purple Cow advice. In a move to generate publicity and notice far beyond it's cost, the Golden Palace has painted their domain name on 100 cows in bright purple and pink. The casino has even managed to avoid the wrath of the PETA peeps by having some of the cows carry the "Go Veg" message. Go figure.

qv: Yahoo

Vacationing Bush Tells Soldiers To Stay The Course

Vacationing Millionaire Oil-Tycoon and part-time President takes yet another break. He'll be back in the office after Labor Day.

I read: Washington Post

Viva Las Blogos! Elvis Lives!

Are you lonesome tonight? Missing Elvis? that's right.

Suffer no more. Phil Arnold offers fresh Elvis and Elvis fan sightings each week as he posts to the eponymously titled Elvis Blog.

In a recent post, Phil reports on a curious link between Elvis and vampy mistress of the dark, Elvira. Come to think of it, with her connections, she may be one of the few people alive who are able to make regular contact with the King.

The rest of us have to read ElvisBlog.

AJAX - Scrubbing Bubbles for Web Apps

Want to write cool web apps that look like local apps? Think Google maps is the bomb? Want to be cool like the drag and drop of Amazon's A9 or Microsoft's Start?. The secret is AJAX, asynchronous Java and XML. Learn how to do this and you can design websites that clean up.

I read : Wired

Zen Vision Ready for Mortal Kombat with Apple's iPod

Killing Moves:
* 30 GB Hard Drive
* Stores up to 130 hours of video, including TivoToGo
* 13 Hours of playback on a removable, rechargeable battery
* 3.7" Color LCD

Move that makes you go huh?
* Syncs with Outlook

I'm watching movies and listening to tunes, not trying to remember my shopping list.

We want this one for review. Pre-order today for $399. Available in your choice of fabulous black or sparkly white.

I read: CNet

Napster Seeing Red...

Napters loses $20 Million on $21 Million in revenue. Sounds like they need more advertising! Remember Napster is the company that allows you to download all the music you want for a flat fee, but the music only plays on selected digital rights managed devices and all your music evaporates should you fail to maintain your napster subscription. Yes, that's right -- Napster brings the self-destructive charm of 8-track tapes to the digital age. That's a losing proposition?

I read: Forbes

Thursday, August 04, 2005

MSN feeling catty. Start leaps from sandbox to scratch at Google

MSN says is an incubator project, but the new offering seems especially well formed.

The new MSN Start page is clean, good looking, interactive, and genuinely useful. It's drag and drop interface allows visitors to quickly add news, weather, RSS feeds, stock quotes, comics, and even a ticking clock to their custom page.

The MSN Start page is powerful, a delight to use, and easy to adopt. It looks like Microsoft is getting this exactly right. Let's see what the public has to say about it.


Clemson University Radio Production Studio

In response to overwhelming (and entirely imaginary) fan demand, I am posting a photo of our recording session in the Your Day studio. That's me on the left and Eric Rodgers on the right.

By the way, I've got a new way for you to offer feedback. In addition to commenting using the links at the bottom of any of these posts, you can now click on over to [TalkToMe] and give feedback on the blog, the radio show, my published articles or any other thing you'd like to chat about.

Cellphones Killed the PDA?

Gartner Reports...
BlackBerry shipments grew a whopping 64.7 per cent in the second quarter. By comparison, former market leaders Palm and HP's market share fell 29.7 per cent and 15 per cent respectively...

qv: PC Pro

I have never used steroids. Period. Paranthesis. That I know about. Close parenthesis.

Rafael Palmeiro may find out what happens to famous people when they lie to congress about drugs or money. (See Martha Stewart.) If found guilty of perjury, Palmiero is reported to have asked if they can mount the monitoring device in the hollow of his bat.

qv: Detroit Free Press

Yoga ties up Martha Stewart

At first, we had hoped our favorite domestic diva would have her sentence reduced for good behaviour. Alas, it is not to be. Our bad girl went to yoga and drove around her estate in an off-road vehicle! Bad, bad Martha! Three more weeks of confinement to your estate!

qv: LA Times

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Dems still looking for dirt on Roberts... ask to see his briefs.

It's politics as usual in Washington. Sometimes it seems like it's more about the games than getting results we can use.

Here's a solution: How about having John Roberts publicly answer 30 minutes of questions from people selected at random from the voting population? Would this help congress make an informed decision faster?

qv: The Progressive - Ruth Conniff wants to inspect John Roberts' Briefs

Print your own dinosaurs!

Every kids dream. Well, maybe not every kid, but certainly this kid. A printer and cutter that is designed for home use. This gadget can print boxes, models, stickers and envelopes. The website has downloadable templates in PDF format. You simply choose print, and the appliance prints and cuts out the selected pattern.
This looks a scaled down version of the device that you see in many sign shops. In fact it is made by a corporation that supplies vinyl cutting equipment to sign shops. Very cool. Partner this up with a paper airplane book and we can have some real fun.

qv: CraftRobo (in English)
via: Paul

Apple Comes to Save The Day!

Apple's new "mighty mouse" for the Mac has four buttons instead of just one. Steve Jobs says it's "revolutionary!" Wow. If that's all it takes, then since I have four eyes, (two of them glass) shouldn't I be revolutionary as well? Good for Mac users, they get more buttons. I admire the commitment that Apple has kept to lean, clean design. Their allegiance to a one button mouse, however, has been something that has plagued them for years. I am glad to see them get over it.

Saying that a one button mouse is better than a multi-button mouse is crazy. Especially so when most humans have five fingers, four of them pointed in the same direction, on each hand. I guess Apple would have had you believe that mittens are better than gloves, too. Anyone who has had to scrape the ice off their car windows in the winter knows gloves are far more useful than mittens. In fact, mittens are only better when you want to keep your hands warm and you don't actually need them to do any work. Uh-oh... Have I stumbled on to something here?

Welcome Mac users everywhere to the multi-button club.
(All this time you have been wondering what to do with your other fingers.)

via: TechTree

Let them eat cake!

Adults everywhere are tired of eating meat and vegetables. They want pasta!

I'm sorry to hear about a business going bankrupt. It's difficult for the people involved and it's got to be especially for those who have experienced some measure of fame. We certainly don't know yet, what caused the company to fail, but I am sure Americans everywhere take some guilty pleasure in knowing that at least one group who would look at them shamefully for enjoying a roll with their dinner is gone.

The even sadder news is that neither Atkins nor any other diet craze seems to be doing much to help people get their weight under control.

Heck, I don't really care about other people. It's me that I am worried about. Maybe I should have my jaw wired shut...

I wonder how the people at Wonder bread feel? Have they emerged from their Atkins induced bankruptcy yet?

via: USA Today

Bush wants 'Intelligent Design'

President thinks the nations children should be taught all of the facts... and then some.

via: Washington Post

Astronauts clean bugs from shuttle windshield

Having a Ph D. and a seemingly unlimited budget is no proof against having to clean your own vehicle.

via: CBS

I love radio...

It's the voice that teaches, entertains, or inspires while I drive, walk, or mow the lawn. Now that I have podcasting to allow me to listen to shows at times other than when they are broadcast, it's even better. I can listen to shows when my schedule permits.

I love doing radio for a different reason all together. It's an opportunity to try out new ideas with others who may be struggling with the same problem. Even when the show is not a listener call-in format, there is opportunity for host and audience to work together on the challenges of the day.

Radio is instant community. By the way, if you haven't figured it out yet, I am writing about radio that talks to people, not radio that plays music. Music radio builds a passive community which is great for relaxing, but it's not the kind of radio that I get excited about. Radio that talks gets people to do something. I don't need help relaxing. I want to do something.

As humans, we are a cooperative species. We need to work with others to accomplish the really big goals. This makes us naturally attuned to the voices of other humans. We want to hear what people around us are saying so that we can understand if they are becoming a threat or an aide. Our instinctive behavior causes us to constantly evaluate our operating environment, paying special attention to other human voices. Our brains want to know whether we should be running away or getting closer. So, we listen. We listen... so we can act.

Radio communities are built upon common principles. If someone hears a show on the radio that they can understand and identify with, they keep tuning in. If they tune in long enough, hearing the host's voice often enough, they become familiar the host in the same way they might become familiar with the voice of a friend or family member. At some point they feel so comfortable with that voice that they want to contribute to the conversation much as they might with any of their other friends.

Now think about the hurdles they have overcome. First of all, the host is a disembodied voice. The listener doesn't have your face to look at. It's not natural to hear voices but not see faces, but still your listener has made the leap and will allow themselves to naturally process your voice. Next, the listener might feel like the host is in a position of authority and be uncomfortable calling them. Finally, if the show is not a call in format, it might actually be difficult to contact the host as they might not publish their phone number or email address. The listener who wants to talk to the host might not have an easy time of it at all, but still they persist. At least some of the audience will have a driving need to contribute to the conversation and will persist until they are successful. That is when the fun begins.

An audience that starts talking immediately begins feeding back course corrections and new ideas. They applaud what they enjoy and criticize what they don't. Some will focus on grammar and presentation, others want to integrate these new big ideas into their views of the world, religion and politics. Some will offer incredible useful support and advice. Some will remark upon environmental factors that are simply beyond the host's control. It's ok. The engaged audience presents the feed stock of the shows idea machine as well as a bit on unworkable scrap. It's a reasonable tradeoff. With a great audience, a good show gets better all the time. I love radio.

By the way...
I am now recording Personal Technology segments for Your Day, the statewide public radio broadcast of Clemson University.

Your Day airs from 12:00 noon to 1:00 PM, Monday through Thursday throughout the South Carolina Educational Radio Network:

  • Greenville, WEPR-FM 90.1

  • Columbia, WLTR-FM 91.3

  • Sumter, WRJA-FM 88.1

  • Conway, WHMC-FM 90.1

  • Aiken, WLJK-FM 89.1

  • Charleston, WSCI-FM 89.3

  • Beaufort, WJWJ-FM 89.9

Your Day can be heard live or archived on the web at