Month: July 2004

Summer Music Schedule

Alright, since it’s nearly halfway through summer, I’ve barely seen any bands (unless you count Psychic TV) and things need to change. Here’s a personal reminder of shows I need to catch:

Franz Ferdinand – 09-09 – Roseland Ballroom
Casiotone for the Painfully Alone – 08-03 @ The Big A Little A House or 08-04 @ Tommy’s Tavern both in Brooklyn
Modest Mouse – 08-09 – Hammerstein Ballroom

Okay this is a beginning… feel free to add to this in the comments…

At last – a Pizza Blog

One of the great things about living in NYC is the enormous numbers of pizza joints in the city – it seems like every three steps you take there will be a hole in the wall ejecting slices oozing with melted cheese and tomato sauce. The problem is, if you’re new in town, it’s fairly difficult to discover how to separate the merely average slice from the melt-in-your mouth thin crust goodness that can elevate you to a higher plane of existence for the few minutes it takes you to wolf it down. Until now that is, well, until now that I discovered Slice – the Pizza Blog. I remember Mark Argo telling me about this site when we went to go see the Will Ferrell / Ben Stiller / Owen Wilson-mafia flick Anchorman but was never motivated enough to find it until today. Ack. I’m drooling all over my keyboard, I’m running off to Muzzarella to grab a slice.

Three things that are broken on the mobile web

In the last few weeks I’ve been using the supercool Nokia 6600 to fumble my way into moblogging, test some new mobile apps that I’m working on, play games, send SMSes, take dorky pictures and (gasp) even make regular calls. In the midst of all of this frantic telephone activity, I thought it might be a fine idea to use my little portable computer to perform some tasks that I do normally, like web browsing, reading email, posting to blogs and reading blogs (via RSS). Nokia includes some applications on the Series 60 platform to do the first two, and there are a few applications out now that let you do the last couple, but it was while I was attempting to install these applications that I realized that there a few things fundamentally wrong with the mobile web experience.

1. URLs are really difficult to type in without predictive text. In fact, I am so addicted to Nokia’s flavour of predictive text that I will often avoid using other phones entirely because their predictive text algorithms suck. Okay maybe I’m being a bit of an idiot about this, because most phones use Tegic’s T9 predictive text system, but still, I find the Nokia interface the most intuitive for my particular texting needs. Something needs to be done to shorten mobile URLs – maybe something like the abbreviation system that tinyurl uses or even a URL-predictor addon for T9. Please! Someone hear my plea.
2. Nokia’s built-in web browser blows. It blows goats. Opera is so good by comparison – it must make Nokia feel like a kid at the science fair who barely knows how to explain where he got the materials to make his project. Thankfully, Nokia has thrown some dosh at the uberbrains at the Mozilla Foundation to get them to make Firefox Mobile (I wish). Seriously, a good browser that’s bundled with the OS can’t be that difficult to crack. But maybe Nokia’s made their browser particularly crap to avoid the type of troubles that a certain other bundled browser company ran into… hmm…
3. OTA downloading sucks AKA J2ME applications need more system hooks. I downloaded this great J2ME web browser called WebViewer from Reqwireless and then thought that I could use this to download this sweet little moblogging tool called BlogPlanet as well as it’s companion RSS reader called Orbit (same link) but no go. It gave me some error message about not being able to download Java applications within a Java application. Great. So, this web browser will let me view sites (pretty nicely too I might add), but I can’t download anything that requires the core OS to be involved. That’s great from a security standpoint I suppose, but fairly crippling from a development perspective in my opinion. But I suppose that’s the trade-off that you make with the ease of developing in Java as opposed to C++. So hopefully I’ll get some mobile browsing going tomorrow. I’ll keep you updated.

Currently bobbing my head to: 2ème Gnossienne from Piano Works by Erik Satie

Avast! Evil Comment Spam

Comment spam is the bane of old blogs. I had a couple of blogs that I was running as my school journals which were getting spammed a few times every week with lurid offers of bestiality, incest and pen1s enlargement. As much as I appreciated all the attention my blogs were getting, something had to be done. Here’s what I did:

Step 1: Download and install the awesome MT-Blacklist plugin from Jay Allen. Lather. Rinse. Delete.
Step 2: Download and install the MT-Close2 plugin – a wonderful evolution of David Rayners MT-Close script (which didn’t work for me) which was in turn based on this script from Jeremy Zawodny. This handy dandy script closes all comments on your blog before a certain time – say five days – and prevents comment spammers from sowing their evil links deep within the forgotten entries of your blog.

Currently bobbing my head to: Jeune Loop from Loops From The Bergerie by Swayzak

A surreal living

Alright, so I know I should know better, but I’m a sucker for reality television. I don’t know if it’s the fact that it’s so far removed from most people’s realities, but still, stick some random people together, give them some loose premise to make them fight for (or against) and wham – instant eyeglue.

My latest guilty pleasures are Joe Schmo 2 and The Surreal Life. Have you ever been at a party and everybody is giggling and you get the feeling that people are having a joke at your expense? Yeah, Joe Schmo 2 nurtures and breeds those feelings of paranoia in a fake reality show called Last Chance for Love where everybody except the 2 schmos are actors. It’s really funny and an education in the art of smooth talking.

The Surreal Life is the kind of reality show that could have only been dreamed up by nostalgic coked-up execs – but it also has its moments. It’s a show where nothing much happens except you get to watch MC Hammer, Corey Feldman, Vince Neil, Emmanual Lewis and other D-list stars slum it in an LA mansion.

Highlights are the philosophical discussions between Hammer (“It’s so wimpy to complain”) and Feldman (“But I’ve never made $15m on any project), laced with witticisms from Webster (“We are really in the woods y’all”). Ok, I’ll admit it – I am the king of low brow sloth. Just send me some Wayans Brothers DVDs and I’ll stop offending your highly refined Kurosawa sensibilities.

Currently bobbing my head to: namewithnohorse from field recordings 1995-2002 by fennesz