Stupid RX-8

I was on a roll. I was going to get SO much done this morning. I had a list. One of the things was to go put very expensive tires on my RX-8. While waiting for that I was going to do a bit of shopping in the area of the tire store. Call the tire store, make sure they have the tires and make a appointment for 9:30.

Go out to the car, book, iPod, to do list in hand. Move Mrs car from behind mine. Get in a turn key.

No go. Turns over but never catches. Crap. I know what this is, and the only way to get it running is to tow it to the dealer. I mean Mazda pays for it and they will provide me with a loaner, but I have to wait for the wrecker. Probably have to wait for the rental car. Crap!

They say they are going to replace the spark plugs – which they did last time – and the starter and the battery. Hopefully this won’t happen again. I also need to get in the habit of letting the car run for 10 seconds after I start it before I start going.

I’ve got two shoots today with friends. One is at 1 and I’d like to have done my shopping by then. We’ll see.

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Remember the Audience

I’m sitting here waiting for the Robert Rodriguez chat on DVDFanatics.com. So I thought I’d have a little rant first.

I’ve been reading a lot of film and filmmaker websites lately and one thing that is seriously getting on my nerves is how indie people think their movies are better than the studios because they are indie. This doesn’t follow. A lot of “indie” stuff sucks.

Sometimes it sucks because it is amateurish. The quality of the production or the writing isn’t there. Other times it sucks because it is trying to make you think, or preaching to you, or is about something that is boring or depressing. The audience for a film about heroin addiction – which according to one blogger “had to be made” – doesn’t materialize. Imagine that. I come home from work or get my precious weekend time and I’m really looking forward to living the life of a heroin addict.

I understand why someone might feel this movie had to be made. Drug addiction is a terrible thing and most people want to avoid thinking about it. They need to be motivated to do something about it. And since art, and cinema, is about emotion, it can be a powerful motivator. But most people watch a movie – or listen to music or read a book – because they want to feel good, or powerful, or happy. So a movie that makes you feel sad isn’t going to attract a big audience.

And people thinks studios are stupid because they don’t give these movies wide distribution or funding. Studios are heartless, but they aren’t that stupid. You make a movie that will attract an audience and they’ll throw money at you. Read Rodriquez’s story. They saw a film in Spanish and knew they had someone with talent, then the money just poured in. It wasn’t just that Rodriguez was indie, it was that he was marketable.

Anyway that’s my rant for the day.

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Spamwalls are Spam

I just got through going through the process to send an email to someone offering to help them to fix their down website. You don’t know how long I sat seething, thumping my fingers, trying to decide whether he deserved my help given he had wasted my time, bandwidth, mail account space, etc. But in the end I clicked the link and went to the website and entered the code.

Of course then I’m spammed by SpamArrest (they deserve no link). I know it isn’t really spam, just an ad, but since I didn’t want it to be on their site in the first place, I was extra annoyed.

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Windows Media Player

I wish people would realize that there are a lot of people who don’t conform to the will of Microsoft. I run two browsers, OmniWeb and FireFox on my Mac and neither of them have a WM plugin. So if you embed a video in your web page, I have to dig into the HTML to find the link so I can open it in Windows Media Player.

At least throw us a bone here and give us a link so it can be opened by a helper app.

Begin rant.

I think that people steeped in Microsoft technology on the web are the least technically able people. Those on the cutting edge are using linux servers and OSX or linux for development. MS is for those who are too stupid to figure out how to do it right.

The thing that hurts me most about this is I’m talking about church websites. They are the most dedicated to the MS throne. The reason church websites generally suck is because they just don’t have technical people who know squat. So they go with the “standard” while people who know the net, cringe that the word standard is even used in association with MS. MS’s products are everywhere, but they aren’t easy. They aren’t the best. Bill Gates isn’t the smartest man in the world because he’s the richest.

Sorry had to get that off my chest. Rant over.

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Milk Containers

Via Joanne Jacobs: They are getting rid of the little cardboard half pint milk cartons.

”Those … square containers are awfully hard for kids,” says New Hampshire Agriculture Commissioner Steve Taylor, who has watched the trend spread to some 320 schools in New England. ”Teachers say you can spend the whole lunch period just walking around and opening those containers.”

The article admits the main reason they are doing it is because the dairy industry thinks kids will drink more milk if it comes in round bottles. But the comment above inspired an eye roll.

Come on. When I was an elementary school kid I figured out how to get these things open. I mean you could give them to a monkey and they’d eventually figure out how to get the contents if they wanted it. You could definitely train a monkey to open one.

Maybe the teachers shouldn’t spend all her time making it easy for the kid to get their milk open and they’d learn to do it themselves.

Rich Site Summary – WTF!

So I see a headline from CNet in my news reader for an article saying Google may support RSS in Blogger again. I start reading the article and the first sentence of the second paragraph blows me away. It needs fisking, so here it is.

RSS, or Rich Site Summary, lets online publishers automatically send Web content to subscribers, giving readers a powerful tool to compile news headlines on the fly from several sources at once. Next to Atom, which launched as a challenger last year, RSS has become a leading candidate to form the basis of an industry standard for an entirely new style of Web publishing.

First the writer is clueless. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. How clueless can you be writing an article like this and not do a simple Google search to find out what you are talking about?

Atom came out last summer and RSS came out in 1996. RSS is the standard for weblog syndication. Has been for years and is so entrenched I doubt it is going a way for a long time to come.

Atom is the new kid on the block and the biggest thing it has going for it is that Google supports it. I’m using a beta version of my news reader, NetNewsWire Lite, which is the dominate news read for the Mac, so I can get Atom for one site. This means the main Mac newsfeed reader doesn’t support this new fangled feed type yet. How many other news readers do?

The author of the article goes on as if RSS is some kind of fringe thing and Atom is the standard.

Next to Atom, which launched as a challenger last year, RSS has become a leading candidate to form the basis of an industry standard for an entirely new style of Web publishing that lets readers compile news headlines on the fly from several sources at once.

RSS isn’t the “leading candidate”. It is the standard.

Another thing I don’t like about this article is it provides a link to the Atom page, but not to the RSS home page. That would be because the author never went there.

And what is the relationship between RDF and Atom? I see a lot more sites with a RDF feed than I do with an Atom one. But it isn’t mentioned

Were Google to support both RSS and Atom equally, it might help ease growing pains for a swiftly rising movement of Web publishing. It would also restore Google to the status of a neutral party in the midst of a bitter fight between backers of RSS and Atom, who have been divided since last summer when critics of RSS banded together to create the alternative format. Since then, many blog sites and individuals have rallied behind Atom.

Since I’ve been doing this blogging thing there has been a debate about RSS and wether to use it. Mostly this had to do with control. People didn’t like the fact Dave Winer controlled the format because he invented it. But as with many things those that were arguing about it we a small loud minority.

Sam Ruby, an IBM software engineer, launched Atom last summer as a way of bypassing what he and other critics called Winer’s de facto control over RSS. … Detractors of RSS argue that the format is closed because it is essentially governed by one man, Winer.

Notice this paragraph points out twice that the problem with RSS is that Winer controls it. Don’t miss it its an important point that we must make at the expense of good writing.

The gatekeepers for this standard are writers of aggregators and blog software. All blog software writers put in support for RSS first because it is dominant, easy to do, and all half way savvy users will demand it. All alternatives are more complicated to implement and most authors didn’t want to put the time in to implement one. On the aggregator side, the origin of aggregators is RSS. The players in that field aren’t likely to change and no one is going to take any kind of market share writing a Atom only aggregator.

And you have the classic chicken and egg software problem. Aggregators didn’t want to support new formats until blogs started using them, and blog software didn’t was to support the new feed types until aggregators did.

So the best thing that ever happen to Atom was Google buying Blogger and choosing it.

My personal thought on Google’s change of heart is they realize the market wants RSS.

Written while listening to “Country Boy Can Survive”
album Fire It Up (EP)
by Kid Rock
Written while listening to “Irresistible”
by Jessica Simpson
Written while listening to “Say It Isn’t So”
album Greatest Hits Rock ‘n Soul Part 1
by Hall & Oates
Written while listening to “How Soon Is Now?”
album 200 km/h in the Wrong Lane
by t.A.T.u.

Cats

I work for a small company with a small office. We have two small bathrooms. But right now the guys bathroom is home to a stray cat. It had to be put there because the other two cat holders are already full. And no I don’t work for an animal shelter. Just seems like it.

And why the guy’s bathroom? All the guys want to feed the cats to a big dog. But the inconsiderate person who put them in our bathroom didn’t want to put them in the girls bathroom because it smelled too “chemically”. So we guys are using the women’s bathroom and I’d like the say that whole thing about women’s bathrooms always being cleaner is a myth.

So I’m a little pissed about this. Can you tell?

As a follow up to my post about being pissed at work. Things finally worked out. The person who calculates days off was wrong, thought it pained her to admit it and she had to do it in a way that implied she was doing me a favor. Now I do get to go see my parents at Xmas without having to do it without pay.

Written while listening to “Misunderstood”
album Bounce
by Bon Jovi

I’m Pissed

I’m pissed and its about work, which means I can’t blog about it. Crap.

So why am I even posting this? Because I need to vent a little. And I want a have a record of this. I can look back and say “oh yeah in December I was pissed at work. I know what that was about”.

Also I can’t deal with this at work until tomorrow because the person who ruined my day is out of the office which is ironic if you knew what the problem was. So I have to brood on it for at least 24 hours. Which will not do well for my personal mood.

Written while listening to “Around the World”
album Aquarius
by Aqua
Written while listening to “Doctor Jones”
album Aquarium
by Aqua