something new

I’m trying out a new blogging tool, and this is a test post.

Windows Live has a blogging tool called Live Writer. I just read about it in PC World magazine, and thought I’d try it out.

So far, it looks pretty cool. But I haven’t figured out how to insert a split post. That’s important to me, and the button to do it is on the tool bar, and I read the instruction in help, but the button is dead. That would be a deal breaker.

There’s really not much going on around here tonight. I guess the kids are trick-or-treating. They’re being quiet about it. I’m a single guy who needs to keep candy out of his life, so I don’t get involved. I used to hang out at my folks’ place while the kids were out and amuk, and made it my task to look after the dogs. But they’re all in doggie heaven now, so I stayed home tonight. I’ve got a movie to watch.

Well, I’ve typed a few paragraphs and the split post button still won’t work, so I guess this software isn’t ready to go. I checked out forums for it, and the answer isn’t encouraging. Seems the new split post functionality of blogger isn’t playing nice with livewriter yet. So I guess I’ll uninstall this thing and stick with posting at blogger. Bummer. It’s fun to play with.

paper is pretty dead

A friend said that to me once, only not about paper. We were talking about nutrition and he said, “meat is pretty dead.” I think it applies to paper pretty well too.

When I got my new HP pc in early August, I was promised a free upgrade to Windows 7 when the time came, which it has. So I decided to scoot online and order my Windows 7 freebie upgrade today. God knows when it’ll actually arrive – weeks I guess – but there’s no rush.

I tell you what, though. I have a scanner and I’ve got to start getting in the habit of scanning things like receipts. They wanted the “proof of purchase,” and 6 boxtops from Lucky Charms, either uploaded or mailed separately. I had trouble remembering where on God’s Earth I might have put the receipt. I finally found it on a little shelf-table thing in the kitchen-dining room, where I keep my keys and phone and stuff.

When we buy something we might need the receipt for – anything that’s supposed to last, like electronics – I think the store should offer to e-mail a digital copy of our receipt to us. Because the whole world needs to stop printing important information on sheets of dead tree. And it seems like I can’t go out in public without somebody trying to give me freekin paper to clog up my life.

Whatever happened to the paperless office we were promised when we all started getting computers? We have computers in our offices and homes, surrounded by mountains of cellulose. Our landfills are overflowing, and the fact that paper is often recyclable doesn’t make up for the fact that we’re still grinding up forests to print out crap. I know people who print out their e-mails! E’Gads!

So I scanned my receipt and uploaded it to HP, and e-mailed it to myself, and backed it up on a disc. Now I just need to figure out where I’m going to store the original little slip of fading thermal paper.

Poor trees, we hardly knew ye.

hiding in plain sight

Well this is cool. Hanging out in Starbucks in Carp, drinking a mint tea (already over-coffeed for the day) and working online. It’s nice that they finally got around to taking care of their customers with a little Internet hook-up, but I still have to question their methods.

What Starbucks has done is to make another deal with a major telephone company for limited access to select customers, when they should have hooked up everyone for free. I had to put money on my Starbucks card, register it (and there’s the rub), then sign up for AT&T membership. That’s free enough, but still could have been better.

I have been in coffeehouses where the wifi was open to anyone in range, though you were expected to buy something of course. At others, I was given an access code with my purchase, and that was cool too. The advantage to these approaches was anonymity. I didn’t have to give anyone my name and address, as I did on the Starbucks site today.

So I wonder, when I logged on here at the store, was my exact location revealed to some database, accessible by the FBI, the NSA, CIA, or some other misbegotten, misanthropic progeny of the NKVD and the Spanish Inquisition? We are being watched, you know. Some of us are, and none of us is safe from it.

Thanks, Starbucks. And the tea is a little weak.

Save XP

Which Operating System do you use? If you have a new computer, it’s Vista. Blech. I mean, it’s pretty and it’s slick, but it’s full of compatibility problems. And what if you have an itch while working with Vista?

click to enlarge

See? You can’t even scratch yourself. Those security warnings are endless and maddening. So I support the movement to Save XP. I got this e-mail from them tonight:

“Dear ‘Save XP’ petition participant — SaveXP.comThank you for signing our ‘Save XP’ petition. You’re getting this message because you told us you wanted updates on new developments in the ‘Save XP’ campaign. Here’s what’s happening: Close to 200,000 people have signed the petition since January 14. However, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer thinks we’re not serious about the Save XP movement, nor does he seem to take the people who signed it seriously. That’s where you come in. Help us meet our goal of 300,000 unique petition signatures by June 2008. Please ask your friends, family and colleagues to join the movement by signing up at”


when woof comes to worse

Jeff Gordon, tech blogger/podcaster for APM, reports on a study which found that a robotic dog was “as effective as a real dog in relieving loneliness and fostering emotional attachment.”

Hold on to your flea collars kids, because I’m about to disagree: Oh, what a pile of puppy poo. (Hey, this is a family blog.)

If you can convince God to let you keep it – even after 12-16 years – by changing the batteries, then you can’t form the essential bond that is born of the irredeemable finitude of life. Everything is on it’s way to somewhere else, and that basic fact of life is what makes our short time together here precious. As one who has loved and lost pets, I assert that it is love – not entertainment – that defines our relationships with animals, and distracts us from the truth that we all die alone.

“We who choose to surround ourselves with lives even more temporary than our own live within a fragile circle, easily and often breached. Unable to accept its awful gaps, we still would live no other way. We cherish memory as the only certain immortality, never fully understanding the necessary plan.”

“The Once Again Prince” from Separate Lifetimes by Irving Townsend

That being said, I’ll make these allowances for the fleeting consolations of materialism:

We all have mementos of those we’ve loved and had to let go. I have my dog Tasha’s collar hanging on the bed post.

Remember these little guys from the classic movie Silent Running ?

Alright, I’ll admit that it was impossible not to feel attached to Hewey, Dewey, and Louie. But I just don’t think that artificial anything can ever be a substitute for a real little heart, beating at your feet.


Apple has some advice for PC-based iTunes customers that are considering upgrading to Windows Vista: Wait!

In a support document updated Thursday, the company warned such customers that its digital music software has some compatibility issues with Vista, the latest version of Microsoft’s flagship operating system. Among the known issues: Songs purchased from the iTunes music store may not play; contacts and calendar entries won’t sync to customers’ iPods; and customers could corrupt their iPod unless they eject it from Windows using iTunes.

San Jose Mercury News