Archive for the 'Software' Category

Screensaver hotkeys and iTunesControl

I made the switch to Windows 7 as my primary operating system on Wednesday night. As is customary, I decided to fiddle with and tweak my new setup. The first thing I went looking for was a global hotkey for turning on the screensaver. I sleep next to my computer so when I go to bed I want the screens to go blank. I was using Ultramon to accomplish this on Vista, but since Ultramon is kinda broken on 7 (Maybe I should just make the switch to DisplayFusion?) I was wary about installing it. After going through a couple freeware applications that didn’t work, and deciding not to purchase Turn Off Monitor, I bit the bullet and installed Ultramon. I basically disabled everything except the hotkey.

After looking into it further I probably could have used AutoHotkey with NirCmd. I’m not sure if this combo would work on Windows 7 but I’ll try it out this weekend and see what happens.

The next thing I wanted was to be able to control iTunes with my multimedia keyboard keys when iTunes didn’t have focus. I found 2 different ways to do this: a plugin for iTunes written in 2003 and iTunesControl. I tried the plugin first and it worked great but I was a little wary about what some people had posted about problems with smart playlists. I installed iTunesControl and was very impressed by the available features. At first the on screen display bothered me, but after playing around with it I really started to like it. It’s mostly unobtrusive and it allows me to skip songs without having to listen and find out what they are. It even pulls album artwork, which is something I really appreciate. I’d recommend trying it out and seeing how you like it.

January Failure

Did I make only one post so far? That’s atrocious. I went to California, does that make it okay? No, I didn’t think so either. It was a blast. I love skiing, it was warm in the bay area, and Napa was pretty sweet. Check out the Del Dotto Caves if you get a chance. The tour was awesome (and full of tasty wine!).

So I didn’t make my resolution this month. I read a lot though, and did some traveling. I’m back at school taking classes now and getting ready for Beauty and the Beast. Auditions are next week and we had a minor crisis with directors. It’s taken care of now, but it was a stressful couple days.

I’m going to keep reading books. I’ve been checking out LibraryThing, Shelfari, and Goodreads to try to figure out which one I want to use. This involves actually joining each one, adding books, checking out the community, etc. This might take a little while, and it isn’t my main priority.

This is about nothing at all

This is a meandering post about nothing in particular. I’m supposed to be writing 5 papers. I’ve kinda written an outline for the first one, but I just don’t seem to care enough to get it written. I don’t want to hand in something atrocious, which would be very easy to do, but I also can’t afford not to hand in anything at all. It’s a horrible conundrum.

I learned a new word last night: valediction. I found it while looking up the meaning of “yours truly.” See, in Snow Crash one of the main character’s names is YT, short for yours truly. It’s cute, but I wanted to know if it made sense by the formal definition, or if it was only acceptable in common usage. Not that it makes much difference, I just wanted to know.

New paradox of fun: “Yields falsehood when preceded by its quotation,” yields falsehood when preceded by its quotation.

I know this blog is mostly noise and not a lot of signal, but I just don’t think I have anything interesting to say. I know it isn’t true, but that hasn’t made me write anything of substance yet. I just ordered parts for a new computer on Friday. My old computer doesn’t seem to want to start, so it either means the motherboard has gone bad, or the power supply has gone bad. My options were to buy a new power supply and see if that fixed the issue, or to buy all new computer parts. I’d rather buy another motherboard, but this computer is 3 years old and they don’t make this board anymore. I suppose it’s also worth noting that 2 of the PCI slots don’t function correctly on this board, another reason to get rid of it.

So I spent $650 on new parts. There’s a $40 mail in rebate, so I’ll get a little bit of money back, but I really didn’t want to spend this money. If anything I would have bought myself a kindle. Actually, maybe I should just ask my family to pitch in together and get me a kindle for my birthday. I’d like that.

It’s a sweet new computer, I don’t really feel like talking about the specs right now. Maybe I’ll take photos of putting it together and then write a post about how awesome it is. Yeah…

So I started using twitter again. I’m also more noise than signal there, but what can you do. I just like to put stuff up about what I’m up to. Like right now. I think I mentioned using Remember The Milk and pimping out my Google Calendar. It’s awesome. I feel organized and I like completing things. Whoo.

I’ve run out of steam at this point. I’m sure I’ll have something to write about later.

Welcome to August

jeans

The summer always holds so much potential. In May, when classes end, September lingers at the other end of the world. There will be countless sunny days to go outside, spend at the beach, wander around the city, jump in a pool. And then you get a job. Sure, it’s 9 to 5. You have all afternoon to do what you want. You can still say up late with friends and the weekends are all yours! Yeah, it’s amazing how quickly your free time disappears. Get out of work, sit for an hour recovering from your day. Get/make dinner. Watch a movie. There goes your afternoon. Weekends? A weekend always holds such promise. Friday night is the greatest night of the week. And then it’s Saturday, and then Sunday, and before you know it it’s 9:00am and you’re at the desk again. Time just disappears, except for when it would be convenient.

I need new jeans. Actually, I think I need a whole new wardrobe. It’s not because my clothes are wearing thin and I don’t want to look homeless (my clothes happen to be in excellent condition, I make things last) but rather because every time I look at myself in a shop window as I’m walking by I see myself wearing these clothes and then wish I look snazzier. I am a simple man, but lately the urge to be trendy has been too much to ignore lately.Lucky for me the urge to spend money is very easy to resist when it comes to something like clothes. Those costs just start adding up. Pick up a shirt, two shirts, some slacks, two pairs of jeans, a belt, a new pair of shoes, and you’re talking about $200+. Sure, I have the money, but I don’t really want to spend it. I’ll save it for when my credit card bill creeps up on me at the end of the month. That thing must be a mutant of some kind, it just grows. Sometimes I don’t think I’d even need to use it and I’d get hit with a $300 statement. How 10 little charges comes out to $800 and I’m not even halfway through the month boggles the mind.

But back to jeans. I did what I always do, go to Google. Google is like older sibling, parent, counselor, boss, and grand-parent all rolled into one. If it can’t tell you the answer, nothing can. So I searched for jean recommendations online and common jean styles. Why do jeans cost $120? I think my previous estimates of $200 were a little low. Yes, I am a wal-mart, marshalls, and kohls shopper. I go straight for the bargain bin. I guess it doesn’t look as good on me, but you can certainly stretch a buck a whole lot further. But back to jeans, so I looked up different styles, what women online had said about them, and it became obvious that there was no general consensus as to what the best cut was. And its not just cut, there are different washes and they “rise” differently. That’s it, I now need a woman to go shopping with me and help me pick out clothes.

Jeans

I think this means I won’t be getting new clothes anytime soon. None of the girl I know have any fashion sense. Well, that’s not entirely true. They have fashion sense, they just happen to be on a boat in the pacific (if you ever read this, yes Jen, I’m talking about you). I wish there was something like “dial a girl with fashion sense to take me shopping.” That sounded a lot more eloquent in my head but you get the picture. If there is anyone out there who wants to help me shop, please let me know, I could use the help (and no, I’m not buying you things, I’m buying me things).

Random thought of the day: you know that nursery rhyme “Don’t step on a crack or you’ll break your mothers back,” well I guess when I was little I really took that to heart. Maybe it was the fact that Ducky (that great little dinosaur from The Land Before Time) said it that I truly internalized it. Who knows, but whenever I’m walking I will instinctively avoid cracks and dimples in the sidewalk. Those spaces between sidewalk tiles are a curse. I have to actively modify my stride just so I don’t step there. Curse you nursery rhyme, curse you!

I just found this the other day, and it is truly amazing. Want to listen to a song but you don’t have it on your computer? Don’t want to have to scour the internet looking for that mp3 to play for your friends? Well look no further, SeeqPod is right up your alley. You can search the web for any song, drag it over, stream it, and even make a playlist of songs. I find it particularly useful when I don’t have my full iTunes library with me or I want to play an obscure track. Check it out (it works on the iPhone as well, so awesome).

Last Night

After sleeping for much of yesterday I figured I’d stay up late and get something out of an otherwise wasted day. To pass the time I watched Happy Feet and signed up for twitter. I also tried to read some more of the Decameron but I couldn’t get into it.

A bunch of my friends went to go see Happy Feet when it came out in theaters. They went to the IMAX to see it, and always talked about how cute it was. It was around Thanksgiving and I had just started to date this girl. I wanted her to join us, but she was tired from her trip home so I decided not to go. In retrospect I probably should have acted differently, but there’s not much I can do to change that now.

So Happy Feet has been out for a while now, and I figured I’d find out what all the buzz was about. It was certainly a cute movie but not my favorite. I’m not sure that I would ever sit down to watch it again, but I could definitely put it on in the background.

After watching that, I checked my RSS feed reader and read a post about how it is possible to spoof who you are in Twitter as long as you know someone’s phone number. It really got me interested in Twitter, especially since I have been hearing so much about it lately. After I checked out Twittervision (amazing by the way) I went and signed up. You can follow everything I do here. Or sign up and be my friend, that would be cool too.

Today I plan on doing homework, listening to music, and probably watching a movie. I don’t know which movie it will be, but I’m sure I’ll mention it later.

Lazy Saturday

I seem to be making a habit of doing blog posts. I get into this cycle where I all of a sudden feel that for anyone reading this, I am the sole source of information they will look to, and if I don’t make mention of something, they’ll miss out. So for about a week I try to make a comment on everything I think is cool online, and post about it, and link to it, and then 3 months later its old and blase and I didn’t really make a difference in the big scheme of things.

To be a successful blogger, you need to be ahead of the curve. Or at least be so with the curve that you are making pointed commentary that influences other people. I don’t have either of those. Just recently I started reading personal blogs, rather then getting all my links from aggregators like digg, reddit, or slashdot. It puts me a little closer to the edge, but I still get all my information after someone else decides whats worth noting.

Do I really want that kind of influence? I don’t know. Probably not. I don’t feel that I’m educated enough in the fields where it matters, and I’m too young for my cultural references to carry any weight. Of course, now that I’ve realized this, I can stop trying to be a marketer, and finally post about things I like. Or in the case of this next point, things I don’t like.

I tried to watch Flyboys last night. I say tried because I didn’t make it all the way through. I got distracted, lost interest, and after that there was really nothing for it except to turn it off. I was really expecting something action packed. I wanted edge of your seat dogfights for the whole film. Give me Black Hawk Down with WWI airplanes and I’m set. But instead it felt like a Disney romance that was an hour too long, with way too little violence. I don’t know who their target audience was, but I certainly wasn’t it. If I had checked the reviews, I probably would have seen it coming.

As a Python fan, I’ve been reading a lot about other high level languages that make development easy. So far Python is still my favored language, but I am always tempted to get my hands dirty and see what all the buzz about Ruby and Haskell are about. I just recently found a great tool for Python that makes testing within the interpreter even easier. IPython. It adds support for shell commands from within interpreter, it has tab auto-completion, and the interface feels more informative and powerful. I am looking forward to my next development project so I can try it out.

I would also like to recommend that everyone get a Useless Account. Yes, its useless. No, it doesn’t have even the slightest bit of purpose. I got a good laugh out of it, and I just wanted to give everyone else the opportunity as well.

Performancing is a pretty cool Firefox Extention

If you don’t necessarily like to blog in a webpage, such as blogger, wordpress, or basically any other web based blogging service, then Performancing might be for you. It’s a Firefox extension (and you really ought to be using Firefox) so its part of your browser.

What I like most about it is that you have a webpage in half of the window, and the editor in the other half. This allows you to browse to pages you might be blogging about without having to switch windows and cover up what you said. Also, this allows you to drag text, images, and links into your post, so you don’t have to copy/paste all that stuff.

The editor has more features than Flock’s built in editor (at least since I last used it) and if you don’t need all the pizazz that Flock offers, then you’re better off with this. And if you’re using Firefox 2 you have built in spell checking, so you’re pretty golden. Check it out, it won’t let you down.


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