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September 2007 Archives

September 2, 2007

Koom

Kaitlyn and Kathryn have invented their own word: koom. It means a lot of things, but the general zen of it is “I’m happy.” A variation on it is “Poom!” When they get a favorite food at a meal, “koom!”. When one kid does something funny, “Koom!”. When daddy stubs his toe and starts hopping around in pain, “KOOOOOM!”

Someone told me recently that I have not been putting up movie ratings recently. Good point. Here’s a few:

  • Woman on Top: Eh. I give it a “sympathy” rating; it was clearly a low budget romantic comedy.
  • Premonition: Eh. I give this one five feet. It was [intentionally] somewhat confusing while trying to be clever, but even the most trivial of plot analysis shows some gaping holes in the storyline.

Kaithlyn likes carbs. Kathryn likes red meat.

We’re finally trying to transition the munchkins to real beds. The next step is to remove the movable crib side so that it’s effectively a 3-sided crib. However, I was completely stymied by how to remove the darned thing. It has spring-loaded pins that keep movable side in its rails; I don’t see any way to retract those pins because they’re wholly within the crib side and rail (i.e., there’s no way to grab/retract the pins). The instructions that came with the crib about how to dissassemble it are nonsensical. I googled around and found a few other instances of people complaining about this exact issue, but only one cryptic reference to calling the help line of the company (which is not open on the holiday weekend, of course) who then gave “alternate” disassembly instructions which worked fine. Sigh. I guess I have to wait until Tuesday when the help line opens (which kinda defeats the point of weekend projects…).

Notre Dame got creamed by Georgia Tech in men’s football the other day. My (very sidelines coach/non-football expert) $0.02: if we don’t have some semblance of an offensive line, it doesn’t matter which quarterback we put in — he’ll get creamed, too.

September 3, 2007

Apples and Oranges

I recently got iLife ‘08 for my iMac; I had previously been using iLife ‘07.

I really like iPhoto ‘08. The “events” organization is awesome. However, I did have one repeatable crash when I moved one specific event’s pictures into another event. I’ve merged/moved/edited dozens of events; it was somehow only a problem for moving pictures from this one specific event to another specific event — I got iPhoto to crash 3 times in a row. I dutifully submitted problem reports each time. (Sidenote: I just got a software update for iPhoto — v7.0.2 — I don’t know if this problem has been fixed or not)

And I love the .Mac gallery publishing in both iPhoto and iMovie. That’s where I publish all my family pictures now. Gallery was good, but this is waaay better.

I used iMovie ‘08 last night for the first time to make a home movie. Eh; it’s ok. It definitely does have some nice new features, but there are also some features that I sorely miss from iMove HD (‘07):

Pros:

  • The video skimming is pretty cool/useful, but it takes some getting used to. I’m not totally used to it yet.
  • The ability to trivially specify which hard disk to save imported video is great (because video sucks up sooooo much space!).
  • Having all your video clips in one place — and being able to share them between multiple projects — is quite handy. I had to do some whacky stuff to share clips between multiple different iMovie projects (which usually resulted in quite a lot of wasted time and disk space due to clip copying).
  • Trivial creation of movies to multiple different resolutions, bundled with the one-click publishing to YouTube, .Mac, etc. is wonderful.

Cons:

  • Video skimming can be “jumpy” if you’re on older hardware, like my iMac G5.
  • There is no way to fade in/out audio tracks. You can set the audio level for a clip and the background music track, but you cannot fade it in or out. It might be ok if you could do this in conjunction with Garage Band, but the majority of home movies I make are paired with audio purchased from the iTunes store, but Garage Band will not let you use those tracks (yes, I know I could burn them to a CD and then re-rip them, but I don’t want to/shouldn’t have to. I purchased them and iMovie lets me use them — why won’t Garage Band?).
  • I found it very useful in iMovie HD that you could see the exact time/frame number where you were editing. iMovie ‘08 no longer shows this information; it made it harder for me to exactly edit the movie like I wanted to.
  • You cannot meaningfully import iMovie HD (‘07) projects; all your transitions, titles, and extra audio tracks are lost. An iMovie tutorial on apple.com calls this a “feature” (“Now is the perfect time to update your old project”); I completely disagree. Luckily, I found by accident that the iLife ‘08 installation does not overwrite the old iMovie HD application; so you can still access all your old projects though the original ‘07 application. But that kinda defeats the point of iMovie 08’s consolidation-of-all-video-clips feature.
  • I definitely ran into some bugs in iMovie ‘08. Here’s some examples:
    • Sometimes when I create a new project, it’s not possible to edit the name. I have to quit and re-launch iMovie for the new project’s title to be editable. That’s just weird.
    • Sometimes in the ;trim clip” view, the end-of-clip grab handlebar spans two clip heights making it difficult to grab-and-drag properly.

I’m not a big user of Garage Band or iWeb, so I can’t really comment on those.

All in all, iLife ‘08 is worth the upgrade, IMHO. The .Mac publishing alone is great. I was a little disappointed with the regression of some features in iMovie, but I’ll probably cope with a mix of using iMovie ‘07 and ‘08. Oh well.

September 10, 2007

Google Analytics

I setup Google Analytics on JeffJournal a while ago to track who’s coming here (if anyone), what they look at, etc. The majority of hits on JeffJournal are (unsurprisingly) from people searching via google. Google tells me what people were searching for when they landed on JeffJournal. Here’s some of my favorites from the list, in order of frequency:

  • Purple (yes, just the word “purple”): 27 times
  • Ted Nudget: 14 times
  • “Get out of my chair dillhole”: 12 times
  • Tublecane: 4 times
  • Do elephants sweat?: 2 times
  • Insusient: 2 times
  • Past, present participle: 2 times
  • What does sagacious mean: 2 times
  • Winshields on 92 Saturns: 2 times
  • “Garelli 5000”: 1 time
  • “AIX sucks”: 1 time

Many of these hits come from the fairly random titling of my journal entries (it’s nice to see some other News Radio fans out there…). But it’s still amusing, nonetheless…

September 11, 2007

Disassembling cribs

Recently, I was trying to remove the moveable drop-sides from my munchkin’s Babi Italia cribs. I was dutifully trying to follow the instructions that came with the cribs about how to remove the sides to no avail: I couldn’t get the #$%@#$% crib sides off. I even gave the instructions to my wife — a mechanical engineer — and she couldn’t figure it out.

So I googled around and found one cryptic reference to someone who said that they called the Babi Italia support line and got some “alternate disassembly instructions.” That was a bummer for me; it was Sunday and the support line is only open during weekday business hours. But I called and left a message anyway. Eventually, they got back to me with a PDF containing the magic “alternate disassembly instructions.” The new instructions worked like a charm.

I asked if I could post the instructions here, but Babi Italia prefers if people call their support line to get the instructions specific to their cribs. So if you found this post via web searching, do not despair — simply call the help line and they’ll get you the right instructions.

September 13, 2007

Mac mac mac

My sister got one of the shiny new iMac’s - woot! I now have a co-rebel in the family.

She actually had the machine shipped to my house and then drove down for a visit (well, she was coming for a visit anyway). I gave her a crash course in Mac stuff. Aside from a potentially-annoying-to-install printer driver (looks like a job for me over Thanksgiving…), it seems to be working ok for her.

Louisville KY just recently got an Apple store, too. I haven’t been there yet, but Tracy walked by it the other day and said, “Oh yes, you could easily spend a lot of money in that store…”

September 22, 2007

Religious spam

Among the tech-geek volunteering that I do for my church, I administrate their e-mail listserver which they use to communicate among their various committees, support groups, and the big parishioner broadcast e-mail list that is used to send periodic parish-wide announcements.

But there’s a slimy side-effect of this volunteering: I see a fair amount of Christian-oriented spam. The spams are sent both to the lists themselves (thankfully the listserver automatically discards posts from non-members) and to the technical addresses associated with the lists (e.g., the “owner” e-mail aliases, etc.). The spams masquerade as things that a Christian church should want to send to its parishioners: “Fatima retreats,” “Cost-effective bibles,” and my personal favorite: “Hear [insert pseudo-religious name]’s message for peace.” There’s even offers to enable you to spam “your important religious messages to tens of thousands of Christians.” Amazing (but sadly not surprising).

Some of the spams are clearly made by public relations professionals — slick graphic spreads featuring sincere, distinguished-looking men in religious-looking robes holding bibles and/or preaching from a pulpit. They’ve obviously got some real money behind these endeavors — many of them have real web sites with information supporting the content in their e-mail.

Although these spams masquerade as legitimate businesses and have professional appearances, they are just the same as your common word-misspelling / random-phrase anti-spam defeating / image-based 419, pharmaceutical, and stock pump-n-dump scams: it’s all about the money. You have to pay to see whatever valuable message they need to deliver to you to guarantee your salvation.

One could easily argue that it costs money to do anything in this world, even to put out the good word of your favorite religious message. And it’s quite probable that some of these messages are from real organizations who are just trying to put out the good word of their god. Fair enough. But when when these announcements are sent unsolicited to “postmaster@lists.mychurch’s.domain,” they’ve lost the moral high ground: that’s clearly an attempt to drum up business. The fact that I only get this kind of spam from e-mail addresses associated with my church clearly indicate that the spammers are targeting religious organizations.

I know to ignore these scams and report them as spam to our ISP. But others don’t. Spam wrapped up in religious overtones can be a lot more attractive because it plays on an emotional response from its intended victims. How many not-internet-savvy users have fallen for these schemes? I have no idea — I freely admit that I’ve done zero research in this area; this journal entry is solely based on my opinion.

But the fact that I continue to receive these spams, some of which clearly cost a lot of money to make, is quite discouraging / saddening.

About September 2007

This page contains all entries posted to JeffJournal in September 2007. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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