Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Getting back around to this blog

I've had no time to update this blog recently at all. I'm too busy working on my startup Bscopes. If you are interested in Web 2.0 stuff, or if you have gotten overwhelmed trying to keep with the all the feeds in your RSS newsreader, then check out We help you cut through the clutter by visualizing the blogosphere.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Unboxing and setup of my new Apple TV

Man was this easy! Of course, even though the Apple TV box arrived at 10:15 AM, I didn't get to start to play with this until 9:30 that night. Work... kids...

But it was easy enough. Simple enough to hook up to the tv. It's default resolution showed up on the screen and then I reset it to 720p to match my Samsung DLP's native rez. It found my wireless network. I have mine locked off by mac address, but Apple nicely printed that info right on the outside of the box next to the serial number. So I could take the box upstairs and type it in. Back downstairs to confirm it joined the network. Then, one more trip up the stairs to punch in the magic 5 digit code and the Apple TV was paired to my iTunes on my Mac.

Syncing started instantly. I've got 9 GB of my CDs, 9.5 GB of photos from iPhoto, and a few free TV shows and movies from iTunes. It turns out you can even use it while the syncing happens in the background. I played around with it for a while and things looked very nice. Syncing happened overnight and by the time I woke up it was all done.

I picked up a extra Toslink cable and now have the sound running direct to the receiver. To my poor ears, the sound from iTunes is pretty much the same as if I had put a CD into my DVD player. Certainly good enough for running in the background at a party with a nice album art slide show.

The family photos are now 100% accessible on the TV. And my 5 megapixel shots look great from across the room. This will be a very nice way to share photos with relatives. A very 21st century approach to forcing people to view my latest vacation slides :-)

As for video, it looks nice. I have a few TV shows that I downloaded for free from iTunes. The two episodes of Battlestar Galactica showed up in widescreen. This is nice since Comcast doesn't have an HD feed of Sci-Fi channel. So I've been watching it via my TiVo on the analog feed and then stretching it to fill the screen. So the 640 x 480ish episode looked just as good.

I need to sit down and really watch the one free Lost episode that I got. That show I record in High Def. So I can't imagine that it would look anywhere near as good. The real question is just how close will it be.

I did spend $1.99 on one of the Oscar winning short films. I was going to watch that on the computer but never got to it. So now I guess I get to watch it on the big screen. The first 30 seconds looked very nice in 1.78:1 widescreen. More on that when I watch it.

I do need to copy all our home movies into iTunes to have them available. I had been storing them in a separate location. It'd be nice if the Apple TV box could just find those DV files and play them since iMovie knows about that codec. But I'll just do the export/import thing this weekend.

It'll also force me to clean up the albums in iPhoto since they are a mess. And the playlists in iTunes. But hey.... I love to be organized anyway!

Click on the picture below to see the unboxing:
Apple TV Unboxing

Thursday, March 22, 2007

New Apple TV

I've been way busy for a long time. So I let the blog go fallow. But I'm now waiting to get home and unbox my new Apple TV. FedEx tracking shows it was delivered. If I'm lucky I'll get time tonight to set it up!


Friday, April 14, 2006

Face-to-face interaction

I just read a blog entry by Kathy Sierra(Creating Passionate Users) on face-to-face interaction.

This confirms a lot of the experiences that I've had in the software world. I've been a trainer on and off for the last 20 years. Lots of times managers concerned with cost would ask me to come up with some kind of computer based training. None of the attempts ever worked a fraction as well as the live training sessions.

I've also spent time in both sales and pre-sales technical support (FAE). Again, the in-person sales calls and presentations were a ton more effective than any kind of webinar. Telephone sales calls (even ones where we tried to also walk folks through some PowerPoint or PDF slides never worked.

Of course, YMMV. And for buying/selling simple, low cost items, I don't think this applies. The same is true for highly motivated folks. Those folks can learn lots of things from books, internet tutorials etc.

Bottom line for today: go out there and see someone face-to-face.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Another great video

Guy Kawasaki, whose books and blog I enjoy has one of his presentations available over the net. The Art of Innovation is based on his book, The Art of the Start and on notes from his blog.

I found the things that he said to be quite useful. They reinforced some previous lessons learned and confirmed some of my current approaches. I'd recommend it for anyone in a small startup situation.

You can see the video by clicking here.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Interesting Video Lecture

I love the internet! Especially with everyone having high bandwidth connections.

I'm a regular reader of Seth Godin's blog. But I've never had the pleasure of meeting him or seeing him do a presentation in person. And unless I end up at a conference where he's giving a lecture (not likely any time soon), I'd probably not get to hear him talk any time soon.

But thanks to Seth and to Google Video, I got a chance to see him present on the topic of "All Marketers are Liars" at the Google HQ.

I'd read the book, but hearing the talk -- and the associated Q&A was very informative. I'll be taking a lot of new ideas about my web development away from this.

I wonder if something like this will be "permanently" available on google's site? I might want to rewatch it in a year or so. I'd rather not download it and archive it just to make sure it is available.

You can click here to see the video direct on the google site or just hit play below.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Added Technorati Favorites

I just found this new feature on technorati. I thought I'd play around with it, so I added it to my sidebar.

The ability to cut/paste the iframe code right off of Technorati's site was very nice.

It'll be very useful, though, if it helps me bump into one or more good new blogs linked from ones I'm already reading.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Two interesting sides of the same coin

Guy Kawasaki (whose book Art of the Start I have sitting in my pile still to be read) posted a pair of interesting lists on his blog:
  1. The Top Ten Lies of Venture Capitalists

  2. The Top Ten Lies of Entrepreneurs
These lists resonated with me quite a bit. I certainly haven't been through this process from the VC side. But, I have watched this process (more than once now) from the entrepreneur side (as a member of the team, not as a founder).

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Blonde joke circulating on blogs

I distant cousin of mine (Hi Adam!) has a blog that I try to follow. He posted the best blonde joke ever. Enjoy.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Debugging PHP

Alright... now that the day job's project death march is over (3rd time is a charm), I can get back to working on this php project. It is certainly a lot more interesting.

I am finding debugging a bit difficult. I'm resorting to print statements a lot. Most of my problems tonight are from not knowing the associate array sub-fields. Since it is a dynamic language, the functions I'm calling can return different sub arrays depending on the circumstances. And if my code is accessing a field that doesn't exist, then it just keeps on going. No error message.

I'm thinking I've got to download the trial version of Zend Studio and see how debugging goes with their product.

Oh well. Just a bit more and then off to bed. At least as long as I still have to also work the day job.

Friday, November 11, 2005

First Post

I'm starting to blog about my most recent software development experiences nights and weekends. Right now I'm working with PHP and server side scripts.

This is a big difference from most of the last decade where I've been working with more static, strongly typed, compiled languages. Also I've spent lots of time working on Real-time and Embedded distributed systems. So web apps are both very similar and very different from my last work on distributed programming and Command and Control systems.

As a plus, my Mac came with Apache and PHP preinstalled. Wow! Made things very easy.

There's a major speed boost given the existence of PEAR and some of the packages available including new web services (like Amazon).

More later. I'm thinking once I get done with PHP on the server side I need to master JavaScript and AJAX on the client side. What do you think?