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February 2004 Archives

February 2, 2004

Look Out, Sedona

I had wanted to head north a couple weekends ago for part of a day, just to go wander around through the red rocks of the Sedona area. Then the garage told me after my oil change that my brake pads were down to 2% on the front. I decided perhaps it wasn't the best time to go ram-rodding around through the more mountainous portions of Arizona. Last week (and a chunk of embossed plastic) brought new brakes, however, so Sedona is a go whenever I can cram it back into my schedule. If you're planning a visit, whether it's your first or your hundredth, the Sedona Chamber of Commerce has some useful information. It's completely lacking in information on trails and such, since there are a dozen or so touring outfits vying for your dollar. They can all get sucked into one of those vortexes for all I care; I'm content to put on hiking boots and lead myself (and if you're that sort of person too, HAZ may be more your speed). There's been some discussion that there may be another Fray Café Sedona this year, as well. If that's the case, I plan to be there. Listening, not storytelling.

Safari 1.2

Apple released Safari 1.2 today for both Panther and Jaguar. It's available both through Software Update and direct download from the Safari product page. If you use Safari, go grab it now. It's added a ton of features, including full keyboard navigation (something I griped about months ago), support for personal certificates (download your S/MIME certificate for Mail), and LiveConnect for communication between Java and JavaScript. Oh, right, and the long-awaited capability to _resume partial downloads_! Go. Download. Enjoy. *Oh yeah:* There's a Java 1.4.2 update out today, too, required to enable LiveConnect.

February 6, 2004

"I have breasts?"

As I'm sitting here watching The Tonight Show, an ad for Victoria's Secret comes on. I look up briefly from the computer and see what I've never understood.

A model looks down at her chest, a shocked expression spreading across her face.

Yes, you have breasts! You are a woman, you are a supermodel, you have not had a radical life-saving surgery, therefore you have breasts. The guys in Hanes commercials don't gaze down for the "wow, I have a wang" look. Mr. Joe Boxer doesn't seem the least bit concerned about what's probably wiggling all over the place with that hyper dance of his.

I'm always reminded of the episode of Third Rock from the Sun where Sally becomes a model and Harry tells her to look at her chest like she's surprised. It's hilarious, but incomprehensible. Why do they have to look at their chest with shock and awe?

The world may never know...

Lights! Camera! Instant Message!

AOL released AIM 5.5. Apple released iChat AV 2.1 beta.

The two together form an unstoppable method of cross-platform video and audio communication. Mac users with an iSight camera can now have a video chat with Windows users, while Windows users can join the party with something considerably better than Netmeeting or Yahoo.

If I had broadband and any of my friends or family had broadband, I'd be excited. That's not the case, though, so only the abstract idea is exciting at all.

For my $0.02, we'll start to see video chat really take off in the next few years even though it's been repeatedly tried unsuccessfully. More computer owners than ever have or qualify for broadband, and iChat AV is one of the first solutions to provide fluid video. There's something immensely disconcerting about talking to a single frame per second, while the 30 possible now is almost as good as the real thing. The fact that it's tied into the AIM network is even better. Netmeeting and other predecessors almost always had the problem that finding your friend was difficult at best, and may well have required outside coordination. In this age, chances are you're logged into AIM if you're anywhere near your computer. A simple click is all it takes to start a video chat with a friend now. That's the way it should be.

If I woke up tomorrow and everyone magically had broadband, I'd be on my way to the Apple Store to get an iSight camera and begin my video conferencing madness. Letters and phone calls are nice, but there's nothing like being able to see the face of someone you miss.

February 10, 2004

Feels Like Home

Norah Jones' new album, Feels Like Home, is on store shelves and at the iTunes Music Store now.

I bought the previous one on a whim, having no clue if I would like it. While today it has been played less than most of my music, I can say without reservation that it's an absolutely beautiful album and was well worth the money.

Also at the iTunes Music Store -- this time the only place to buy it, at least until mid-March when it's released on vinyl and CD -- is Sigur Rós' latest EP, BA BA TI KI DI DO. Three songs, all typically abstract, designed to be played in any order. Ba Ba reminds me of a rainy day, while Di Do is just incredibly cool (except for the feedback at the end, which doesn't sound so hot on a Dell laptop's speakers). It's the first album I've heard that makes use of a music box, albeit in a disturbing Silent Hill sort of way.

February 13, 2004

A Winner Is You!

I finally saw Pepsi bottles with the iTunes giveaway caps today, so I gladly picked up a Sierra Mist. Popping the top, I found I had won a song! Being in public, I did not gleefully dance or even bat an eye, lest someone think I was completely insane.

Getting home, though, it took me a good two minutes to get the iTunes Music Store to accept my Pepsi code.

So here's a big hint if you pick up a winning cap yourself: chances are those things that look an awful lot like the number 1 are the deformed capital letter I.

Chandler Next 4 Exits

There is exactly one road sign in the entire United States that holds any great significance or meaning in my life. It sits in the same place on the Loop 101 South, day in and day out. Simple white-on-green text: "Chandler Next 4 Exits."

No matter where I go to, I know it will be there waiting for me on my return trip. In plain sight if I come back during the day, sitting in obscurity until my headlights wash over it if I return after dusk. No matter where I've been, there it is: Welcome Home.

Even the best trips grow excessively long after a while. You can expend a lifetime's worth of film on a trip, get that one image that might set you apart from the rest forever... but all you really want is your own bed, in your familiar setting, where all your stuff is exactly how you left it. Maybe a little dustier given the Valley air, but otherwise the same.

Just coming back from a day in Tempe or an appointment in Phoenix, that same sign is a welcome sight. Traffic sucked, the meter ate your change, you failed an exam... but now everything's going to be alright. Your animals are still waiting to greet you, photographs of memories past are still blue-tacked to the wall, the white LED of your Mac pulses while waiting to be awakened.

Everything in its right place.

It's home. Four chances to get there. You can't miss it.

February 29, 2004

Yet Another Flash MX Bug

I discovered another bug in Flash MX this afternoon while attempting to complete a project using a listener that gets notification of every keypress event.

The "Test Movie" function in the development environment returns the wrong keycodes for the keypad.

The proper keypad keycodes are 97-105 for keys 1 through 9. Flash MX instead detects them as 49-57, which are keys 1 through 9 on the main keyboard. I've never been a proponent of pirating software, but when a piece of software as expensive as Flash MX has as many annoying bugs as I've run into (and no bug fixes -- what the heck, Macromedia?), it's distressing to know you paid money for it.

Handy dandy workaround du jour? Utilize the fall-through properties of case statements to allow either set of keycodes to activate the desired function. Unless of course you actually need them to be treated differently, in which case you'll have to use something other than trace statements for debugging.

About February 2004

This page contains all entries posted to Middle Grey in February 2004. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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