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To iWeb Or Not To iWeb February 24, 2006

Posted by Lee A Haynes in Computers, Creativity, Personal.
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Yes, I’m doing it again. I am contemplating moving Braver Newer World yet again. My new camera has got me taking another look at using iWeb to make pages on .Mac. Last night I started playing around with using my own pictures to enhance one of the iWeb templates. I was pretty happy with the results. The pages look clean and uncluttered but most importantly they look like mine. I flipped my way through next blog on WordPress last night. It is somewhat disconcerting how so many blogs that have such a wide range of topics and content all look alike. I like this template but you know so do an awful lot of other people. Sure iWeb has a very limited number of template’s but it is easy to fill all of the spaces with unique content.

The drawback will be losing the random drop in’s. It seems that Apple is committed to a very invitation only website. No random “next blog” kinda discoveries. Being that my invitation only audience would be limited to my mother, my ex-wife and my friend John, I’m risking writing only for them, which, no offense guys I really don’t want to.

But there are ways of getting my url out there even with Apple working against me. I think the trade off is worth it. iWeb is a program that doesn’t require a lot (read almost none) of technical knowledge to produce pages that look exactly like I want them to and to change them on the fly.

This transition may take a little while though. Once again I’m going to want to copy over all of the work I’ve done this year. That all has to be done in order as the blogging function of iWeb doesn’t allow you to insert entries out of order. Thus I have to do all of my back dated posts in order. This will allow me to add some pictures and maybe some other content to brighten things up a bit. Stay tuned. I will however continue to post here until my iWeb/.mac site is completely up to date.

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That Promotion Worked February 23, 2006

Posted by Lee A Haynes in Computers, Music.
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Last night around nine-thirty I found myself, like many many others, downloading some music off of iTunes. This is something I rarely do and it all had to do with that counter to one billion downloads. Apple was giving away a new iMac, ten 60GB iPods and a $10,000 iTunes gift card. I couldn’t resist. When the counter froze at a billion I was in the process of downloading “The Life Aquatic Studio Sessions” by Seu Jorge. I just love all that Bowie music sung in Portuguese. It even made my morning playlist.

Every morning I get up to write in my journal, read what horrors humanity has inflicted on each other since I went to bed and if I’m feeling it and have the time posting here. I have a playlist just for these times and it’s all whole albums. The kick off is the same album I’ve been using when I wake up for years: “Victorialand” by the Cocteau Twins, then “Astral Weeks” by Van Morrison, “In the Wee Small Hours” by Sinatra, Belle & Sebastian’s “Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like a Peasant” and now the Seu Jorge. That brings the time up over three hours so I may need to cut an album. I’m just not sure which one. I think I’m just going to switch the order around. iTunes says I’ve listened to “Lazy Calm” 60 times since I got this computer just last month. Seu is going to the top of the list.

Where Have I Been? February 4, 2006

Posted by Lee A Haynes in Computers, Creativity, Personal.
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Been in a funk. Not a terribly bad funk. But a funk nonetheless. Some things were up in the air and I’m finding I don’t like that very much. The company bought out a competitor next to my sister store on Chestnut Street and I’ve been helping out with that conversion for the last two weeks. During that time I’ve only spent three days in my store.

I also made my last three major hardware purchases for my Mac. I’ve been waiting on delivery of my 20″ widescreen Dell monitor, the 250GB external Hard Drive and the upgraded internal DVD burner for the Mac Mini. Over the last week these things have all arrived and made there way into my life. The DVD and the hard drive have finally made my PC completely obsolete. I transfered my last files over and no longer need my PC to burn DVD’s.

The monitor has been the biggest change. I just got it late Thursday so I’ve only had a couple of days to work with it but so far I like it. I like it a lot. The ability to keep two full page windows open side by side is perfect for reading and writing. After all that’s what I was supposed to be doing with this year. Reading, writing and sharing. I haven’t been very good with the sharing lately. Even the writing has been a struggle. I skipped Wednesday in my journal and the last week the entries have been late or light.

Updates January 26, 2006

Posted by Lee A Haynes in Computers, Creativity, News and politics, Personal.
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Well I made a test page in iWeb and posted it to my .mac site. I’m still not sold. I’ll play with it some more tonight. I still have 10 days before my .mac account expires. I’m not even going to put a link to it here yet. It took forever to upload even the most basic changes. So I came back to do a little work here and see how much I liked working with WordPress after iWeb.

I decided that it was time to clean up some of the stuff that was still just being placeheld. I finally started putting up some links and I made catagories for every post. I also updated my About page. I’ve decided that I’ll let the internet decide who I really am. Just click it you’ll see.

I have more bookmarks to put up. Sites I like. But the ones I put up today are truly daily reads. I watch no TV, the only newspapers I read are print editions of the two links I listed. I subscribe to the New Yorker and Esquire and pretty much read them from cover to cover. So these links give you a good look at what my media filters are.

Arrg! I’m Doing It Again! January 25, 2006

Posted by Lee A Haynes in Computers, Creativity.
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Can’t seem to let things go with the whole which blog to use debate. I’m starting to lean back toward the .mac solution. I feel like I’ve got 10 days to make up my mind. That’s how long I’ve got left on my free membership. I got ahold of a copy of iWeb and I still can’t tell if it’s the perfect thing for me. Is it simple enough that I will just worry about content rather than the technical side of learning web page development? Or will I find that I’m going to outgrow it just when I’ve started to invest real time into it? I’m going to keep posting here until I can make up my mind and maybe get some content done on it first.

Speaking of providing content. My weekend is just about over. I’m back to the store tomorrow. I can’t believe I just had two days off and didn’t actually post anything. It hung over me the whole time too. I had that whole “school project is due after three weeks and I haven’t cracked a book” feeling these last two days.

What I have been doing is screwing around with my computer. I copied all my New Yorker DVDs onto one of my hard drives so I can just virtual disk them and keep the DVDs fresh. That was part of a whole morning of re-doing my folders on my hard drives. That and I’m trying out still another web browser. Camino seems very fast and very stable. I like my Firefox but lately it has been unstable. More than that. It has been crashing all the time on the site I’ve been spending most of my internet time on: digg.com. I miss some of my extensions but less so since I installed Tiger and most of their functionality is just F12 away.

I’ve started gaming on my mac too. After a bit of a backlash from when I quit selling video games for a living I’m back to enjoying them. Mac has my favorite series: Age of Empires except for the new one. I have Age III for my PC and I like it a lot but it’s not enough to make me want to keep my PC. I’ve been playing Warcraft III and it is a lot of fun. An RTS with a story, cool. I’ve never played it before but I did give up a couple of months of my life to World of Warcraft. Now I’m starting to get the story background. I may even turn my account back on after I’m done with Frozen Throne. (Yea, I’ll have time to blog then, sure I will.)

So tonight I took a break from all the review and tips and tricks on the internet. I took a break from renaming files and cleaning out what I don’t use but trying to keep space for what I might use. I took a break from weighing the integration of the Apple products and the automation of them working together with the fact that Apple wants a hundred bucks from me for stuff that I can piece together cheaper. What stupid things to worry about. Very silly.

iPod Update January 22, 2006

Posted by Lee A Haynes in Computers, Music, Personal.
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Yes, on Thursday my iPod did recover to work another day. Well half of another day at least. Friday morning found me facing my morning commute with my trusty tunes. No worries.

Friday night I left the store with my headphones on. The living Elvis started in about the Angels wanting to wear his red shoes. By the time I reached Starbucks on the corner my iPod had frozen again. Having lived through the rollercoaster of the night before I did not panic. I might as well have. Elivis Costello would make the last sounds my iPod would ever produce.

When I got back home I started in on the web. The Apple site had good instructions on how to unfreeze my drive. The trouble was that it wouldn’t reboot. At all. No matter what I did. All I got was an icon with a picture of an iPod with an unhappy face on it and the address to the very same Apple support site I was already looking at.

Well let’s just say that my iPod wasn’t the only one with a sad face. I the unit only a month ago on ebay. It was defiantly used but until Thursday had worked perfectly. Of course I knew next to nothing about the history of my iPod. I looked up my options on the Apple site. If it is covered under the warranty they will replace it no charge. If it is beyond the warranty period there is a small service fee of $249. Oh yea plus $6.95 in shipping. No charge or $250. Not much of a middle ground there. I wasn’t too excited about my prospects either as I had only paid $215 for the machine. Heck the Apple store had the same unit refurbished for $249 with free shipping.

So for the next two days I fretted about it. Yesterday and today I even dusted off my old Creative Zen Micro. (Absolute piece of garbage) for the ride to and from work. The Zen freezes with regularity but is very easy to reset because of it’s external battery. About once a week I would lose music for about half my commute while it ran scandisk. The headphone jack also wont maintain a good connection with the plug and has to be held in an absolutely still manner with two fingers pressing it in place. That combined with the fact that it simply wont update with iTunes for the Mac or PC and won’t register on my mac with any software makes me real enthused to buy a Creative product again. They even have the nerve to rename Podcasting to Zencasting?

So today I got off of work early and made my way down to the Apple Store for the moment of truth. I told the greeter at the door my woes hoping I would be lucky enough that he could point me in the right direction or tell me who to talk to. I must have forgotten where I was. Thought I was in Target or something. He took me right away to a computer and punched in the serial number or the support website. (How did I miss that?) This is where my luck kicks in strong. Although the initial warranty ended in late November the original owner had paid for AppleCare Protection. He sent me upstairs to the Genius Bar.

Upstairs I signed in and checked out the software for about 10 minutes until my name was called. (I couldn’t resist picking up my old favorite PC game Age of Empires II on mac) I explained why I thought the drive was fried to the guy who took in into the back for about 3 minutes. He came back to say, “Yea, it’s gone”. He reached behind the counter for a sealed box with a pre-made shipping label, filled out a form on his computer and then asked me to sign the page that printed out. He still hadn’t asked for any personal information. I signed the form and he handed me a brand new 40GB iPod. That was that. I slipped it into my back pocket and went downstairs to pay for my game. What else can I say: Apple, you rock. You really do.

My iPod Froze Today January 19, 2006

Posted by Lee A Haynes in Computers, Music, Personal.
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Not a nice way to start the day. I was coming off the end of the Mason Street Cable Car line when right in the middle of Sinatra singing “You’re Getting to be a Habit With Me” it just stops. Backlight still on, middle of the song will not respond to anything. Will not shut down, will not, well will not do a damn thing expect display that at 1:20 into the song everything was just stopped.

Over the course of the next couple of hours I would try every kind of button combination that I can think of. Plugged it into two different iBooks, ficked the hold button back and forth to try to free up the scroll wheel. Nothing. Finally I realized my next best hope was when this damn thing ran out of juice. Sure enough four hours of constant backlight finally shut the thing down. And to my relief after a little playing around with it I got it to mount on my iBook.

Whew! Not a nice feeling. Sure I have multiple back-ups of all my music, but that’s just not a device an urban commuter without a car wants to face life without. It was good the whole way home and is happily linked up with iTunes from the dock right now. I just hope that was an isolated incident. Feel like I dogged a bullet on that one.

A Pretty Productive Weekend January 17, 2006

Posted by Lee A Haynes in Computers, Creativity, Personal.
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I’m back to work this morning after a couple of days off. Taking stock of those two days off shows that they were pretty productive. The big one was setting up this blog. True there is still a lot to do. If fact I haven’t even written a “I’ve Moved” post on my Blogger page yet because I want this site to be in better shape first. But I’ve thrown up ten entries and being that I haven’t posted anything in two weeks that’s a big step forward for me.

The other big thing is the back-posting. I decided to make up the missing dates in 2006 here only because I felt I had the notes to capture my moods and what I was thinking about during those times. I knew I had that in my personal journal. My journal however had gone through a big change last week. On Thursday the twelfth I stopped writing in my Moleskine and switched to keeping a journal on my computer on a program called Notebook. Notebook from Circus Ponies is simply my favorite software on the Mac. It indexes everything. Automatically. Everything.

Anyway before I was able to start posting here I decided to transfer over the pages I wrote longhand into my Notebook. I finished that project yesterday. With the addition of those twenty-five pages I now have a completely updated 2006 journal. As I expected this made it much easier to do my blog posts. I did not finish those, but should be able to in the next couple of days. If I catch up two days a day I’ll be done by the end of the week.

I have to take this opportunity to gush about my Mac Mini again. She preformed beautifully during this work. Never hung for even a second with tons of browser windows and tabs, Notebooks, and of course the ever present iTunes. My PC never would have been that stable.

Oh, and a quick shout out to Flock. A new browser still in development that I downloaded on Friday and am starting to grow fond of. It is already my browser of choice when blogging. It’s based on Firefox but has built in features to access your blog and flicker as well as a social bookmarking integration that is just too easy.

Changed My Mind Again January 16, 2006

Posted by Lee A Haynes in Computers, Creativity.
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I’m afraid that this his going to be a short-lived home for this blog. I’m probably not even going to tell anyone about it. Just when I had made up my mind to go with a new free service I came across a cheap host that specializes in WordPress hosting. $4 a month billing month to month with no set up fee. I can do that. Skip Starbucks once a month. I can handle that. This is not an doesn’t qualify as an endorsement yet because I haven’t used the service yet but the terms are good check them out: Webble You.
So I just went ahead a finally registered lacadaz.com. I’ve been using that as my alias on the net for years now. I would be sad if some other guy with the initials lac decided that he wanted to have the lacadaz website. Yes this is petty and foolish but so is life, blame god not me.

Oh but wait Host my site has good terms too. Ahhhh. just need to make up my mind.

First Post on WordPress January 15, 2006

Posted by Lee A Haynes in Computers, Creativity, Personal.
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So I guess this is hello to wordpress.com. My attempt to get all of my tools, machines, plans and devices in order before the new year started came up short. But that’s ok. I have spent almost all of my free time, energy and cash on these very things the past couple of weeks. I made quite a bit of progress, found some cool things, and learned a lot.

The most important event was the completion of my conversion to Apple. On January 7th I bought a Mac Mini on clearance at Comp USA and haven’t turned back since. This switch to WordPress from Blogger came out of investigating wether or not I wanted to continue past my trial period on .mac now that iWeb has come out as part of the iLife suite. Today I took a walk down to the Apple Store to check it out and the answer was no. Not worth the $200 Apple Tax.

But all of these are other stories. Stories I’m going to cheat and fill in the blanks to tell. I’m going to turn on a time machine so I can get my homework in on time. What I’m saying is that all of the previous posts were either written after this one or are copied from the previous incarnation of this blog on blogger.

Brand new day. Brand new year. Braver Newer World.