Category Archives: Internet

Every so often an AC hits one over the fence.

This comment came in the middle of a /. discussion about a plan by record labels to distributed music in DRM-free 300ish kbps MP3 on microSD cards (not a bad plan, but not showing a significant advantage over the Amazon MP3 Download store I was talking about recently):

In the age of the internet, they have conceived of a method of using physical media to transport bits.  And they’ll still charge $15 for an album.

You know, watching these guys over the last decade has been like watching a retarded child learning to go poo in the toilet.  They’re six years old when they finally get it right, and then they look at you like they’ve just won the Olympics.

No disrespect to retarded children intended.

Supertramp for cheap.

I’m really enjoying the Amazon MP3 Download store.  Last night, I remembered what brought me there in the first place — the specials.  The first one was Depeche Mode — a 21 track album for $2.99.  Right now, they’ve got Supertramp’s Breakfast in America for $2.99, which I bought last night.  I even signed up for a marketing email that will tell me what the new free/cheap things are as they change (I got a free one off of Lindsay Buckingham’s new CD last night also — it sounds a lot like Lindsay Buckingham, but it was free).  I never ever like marketing emails — I get very nasty at the places that spontaneously decide to send them to me without me opting-in.

The only thing that bugs me about the place is the windows-only client.  But no DRM and they don’t (at last word) watermark the files — you just agree not to distribute them.  A music service that doesn’t treat you like a thief — and that doesn’t steal back the music you paid for when they go out of business.  And you know what you’re getting — higher bitrate than the usual bootleg mp3, the whole song, and the song you wanted. 

And I’m not getting paid for saying any of this — I haven’t touched my Amazon Store on my website in years, and I’ve never gotten a check from it anyhow.  Just in case you were wondering.

Chat Client again.

For those who haven’t been paying attention, you might not know that I use different chat client systems, but hate, loathe, detest every OEM chat client I’ve seen — too much bloat, “features” I don’t want, flashy moving things of any kind, etc.  I quit using those a long time ago, when I moved to jabber clients and servers that let me use those systems without using those clients.

When I moved to Kubuntu, I tried out Kopete, which natively runs on all the networks I want without requiring my registration a jabber server — some of those gateways weren’t all that reliable, due, in part, to shenanigans on the part of the networks who would tweak the protocols without notice just to break third-party access.  Kopete has worked well under KDE.  Under Windows, I’ve been using Pidgin, which has worked pretty well as well.

So, then, showed me Digsby, and I’ve been trying it out, primarily for it’s support of Twitter.  Twitter’s support of im via jabber has been broken for months now, but Digsby, a few days in, is working just fine.  I’ve moved over my MSN account and it’s working just fine too afaict. 

Now, I’m considering moving my other accounts over as well.  I like having just one client, but I also don’t like moving from a client that’s doing what I want.  We’ll see how things turn out.

Arts and Letters Daily Hat Trick.

I think I’ve mentioned before that I subscribe to the Arts & Letters Daily RSS feed — It was Blog of the Week in a recent Blaincast — and that I frequently find an article there of interest, but rarely do I read and like all three articles. 

Today is one such day.  Here is the day’s entry:

Arts & Letters Daily (27 Aug 2008)                


The Cuban judge sat with his feet up on the desk reading a comic book. The sentence for opposing the Revolution: thirty years… more

Most conquerors try to convert their subjects. Hitler’s empire was built on the idea of exterminating the natives… more

We Americans can adjust our compass heading, says John Lewis Gaddis, if we can make ending tyranny once again our priority, as it was through most of our history… more

All three articles are quite interesting, and I recommend giving them at least a look over, as well as consideration of shoving the RSS feed into your aggregator. 

100 Reps

I’ve been trying to find a way to work some fitness things into my life again.  I started the 100 pushups for breakfast program a while back, but backed off it when I realized I wasn’t going to be having to take a fitness challenge for a job, and it’s been quite a long time since I’ve had running as part of my active life.  But StumbleUpon keeps pointing me at fitness sites from time to time, and that’s how I ran into Project Fit.

Project Fit has two programs I’m following, both by RSS feed.  Starting Monday, they’re going to publish workout programs that use bodyweight and resistance (meaning you don’t need a gym or a bunch of equipment to do it) on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  But the other program is already going — the 100 Rep Challenge.  I started that yesterday.

The nice thing is that these challenges come with beginner, intermediate and advanced versions, so, as I go, I can find where I best fit.  The idea is to get 100 reps in, in however many sets it takes, before the day is out — no time limit.  Yesterday’s challenge was dips, and, even doing chair-dips, I could only get 50 done by the end of the day, in sets of no more than 10 (several sets of 50, and that left me with arms that were hard to lift, like when I started the push-up program.  Today’s challenge was Hip-Floor Raises/Extensions/Bridges, and I managed to get all 100 done in one set.  My legs are stronger than my arms. 

Next time I get to dips, I might be up to doing the 100 before they day’s out.  Who knows.

Stupid address parsers, and stupid address things.

I live a block from the Post Office in a relatively small city.  It qualifies as “rural,” which means that the Post Office doesn’t have to deliver mail to my home, so as to guarantee revenue to the PO in the form of renting a PO box, something which has increased in price at about five times the inflation rate while I’ve lived in my house.  Thus, if anybody is sending anything to me via USPS, they have to send it to this PO Box.  Thus, my bank only has the PO Box address for me.  However, anybody sending anything to me by any other shipper can’t use the PO Box, so they need my street address.  Fortunately, USPS has an ingenious way of handling this:  they only look at the last address line above city, state ZIP to deliver to.  Thus, you can put whatever you want above that line and USPS will blissfully ignore it and deliver it to that last listed address.  Not a bad little system, really.

But it is way, way too complicated for people who write address parsers.  Some will allow multiple address lines, but they don’t seem to understand why those other lines are there.  Paypal won’t validate my full address, with both street and PO Box forms, because the bank doesn’t use both.  Not a few online merchant systems barf when you try to ship to a Paypal non-validated address, and hillarity has ensued not a few times when a merchant has decided to ship to my street address with USPS. 

Well, today’s adventure was with, someone who has shown up on a RSS feed I have for tech bargains.  They had some items I wanted at prices I wanted, so I decided to try buying them.  Silly me!  They had an option for Paypal checkout, so I thought I’d try that and reduce the number of companies with my credit card number in their databases where they can be stolen and misuesed.  Silly me!  Their system notices that there is a P.O. Box in the shipping address (along with my street address, as per USPS guidelines), and locks down — can’t possibly process a transaction with a P.O. Box in the shipping address.  It turns out that, not only can I not use PayPal checkout, I can’t even pay via PayPal because, when you try that, it sends you to PayPal checkout, third base. 

Stupid address parsers.  I’m telling you.

Then, adding to the annoyance, when I do their check out, sending my stealable credit card information to their site, their address form munges up my phone number, stuffing the whole number (area code included, and hyphens) into the “phone number” not including area code field and the field is only seven characters wide.  And then it barfs when I try to submit the form as it’s sent up — like it’s my fault that their form munged up the phone number.

I’m still doing the purchase, but I got really, really annoyed along the way.

Stupid address form scripts. 

Trying out Plurk

Okay, I’m trying out this Plurk thing, and it was supposed to embed my widget in the code under this. I’m not seeing anything other than a link to the Plurk website, but I’m grouchy and don’t let my browser do things I don’t like. If anybody’s seeing something here, please let me know.

Also, if you happen to already be plurking, feel free to let me know — uid: blain (I got there in time to not need to add my last initial!). This is all quite new to me, so I’m not yet recommending it. I’m just trying it as a twitter-like service because I still can’t twitter from my IM client (although Plurk isn’t working through IM right now either).

Update: I tested this under IE, and I’m still not getting anything in the widget space other than empty space. So I tweaked the code and let’s see if this fixes it:

Nope. Anybody else?