Dylan: May 2004 Archives

How I Use Movable Type

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Mena, of SixApart, is asking for feedback on how people are using Movable Type. Here is my trackback-sending post.

My installation has 3 weblogs and 3 authors. My wife, my mom and myself each have a blog (although my wife has yet to post a single entry :). All of the blogs are non-commercial, personal sites.

I would gladly pay for a license but am wary of committing to a system where each new weblog/author I add potentially means I need to upgrade my license. I'm never going to ask for installation or migration support, and will give back to the Movable Type community in the form of new templates, blogging advice, and posts describing my MT experiences.

I think the current (revised) licensing scheme still limits the usage too much. I feel that it is restrictive enough that people are already considering alternative software packages to just avoid the hassle of license upgrades and the guilt of potentially withholding money from Ben and Mena when a license is somehow breached.

Stupid Cellphone

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Kyocera 2345 cellphone I own the Kyocera 2345 cellphone. It came 'free' with my Sprint plan when I signed up over a year ago. The phone has done me well, but has one irritating characteristic: it is incapable of charging the battery while you are using it.

This means that if the phone is about to die while you are talking, it doesn't matter if you plug it in, it will still die. The DC input is just ignored. This also means if you it is charging and you make a call, it stops charging while the call is connected. Also, The phone will not turn on if just the power cord is plugged in without a battery.

This just doesn't make any sense. I wonder if it is something requested by the phone companies to guarantee that you can only talk for a battery-charge amount of time.

Well, regardless of the reasoning, they overlooked one method of getting the phone to work solely off the DC adapter. If you remove the battery while the phone is already plugged in and charging it will stay powered on and let you make calls. Coolio.

Sony's answer to the iPod

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Sony has announced a portable music player to apparently directly compete with Apple's iPod.

Featuring 20GB, USB2, a 320x256 colour LCD and a pretty interesting touchpad-like interface. That grid of black dots is a set of sensors that you interact with by running your thumb around on them. It's hard to tell how bumpy they actually are, but the idea of having a tactile interface is appealing to me. I'm sure there are other cool features, but my Japanese is non-existent. Oh yeah, it apparently also plays music. :)

The 20GB storage plus a colour screen tells me this should easily double as a photo storage reservoir while on vacations. My previous trips have usually meant lugging a laptop around to dump photos to as the digital memory card fills up. Having a small device (like the iPod) that I can upload photos to (like the iPod) and view them on a colour screen (unlike the iPod) seems pretty darn nifty.

I have to admit that 'VGF-AP1' doesn't quite roll off your tongue in the same way that 'iPod' does.

Headphones

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When I needed some headphones a year ago for use at work, I drove to the local Fry's Electronics, bought the $20 cheapie Sony's and was done with it. They were alright for regular listening, were downright impressive when compared to my cheapie-cheapie previous headphones, blocked out some noise from work, and generally kept my ears warm while typing.

Now a year later I've noticed that after a few hours I need to take them off because they squish my ears against my head giving me a headache. Also, they suck on airplanes. The dull roar of the engines just seems to change tone rather than decibel level while I knowingly wreck my ears jacking every volume level I can get my hands on to 11.

Then I discovered headphone.com. An information-rich site providing all sorts of relevant details for the inquisitive headphone-hunter. Think of it like the DPReview for headphones rather than cameras.

First I tried the Sennheiser PXC-250s. A nice compact, folding set of active noise-cancelling headphones. The were comfortable to wear, gave excellent sound, and blocked much of the ambient noise that I hear from my cube. They came with a nice little case, had kevlar-strengthened cords and nice attachments for use with a stereo or a plane. Sadly, I took them back after 5 days when I discovered that extended use of the noise-cancelling made me feel carsick and dizzy. If I couldn't use the noise-cancelling then the extra money was just being wasted.

For future reference, Magnolia Hi-Fi will happily match any price you find online and gave me no problems when I brought them back.

Next I ordered the Etymotic ER6 headphones that you actually insert into your ear canal to seal out all noise. They arrived on Tuesday and I'm so far loving them. They block out more noise than the PXC-250s without the side-effect of the nausea. Sticking them properly in your ears is a little strange at first, and both the headphones and the headphones.com site comes with instructions on how best to achieve this. I was a little perturbed at their suggestion to moisten them before insertion, but have since gotten over that and now thrust them in there with a saliva-coated pleasure. I doubt I could return these even if I wanted to.

They definitely feel weird for the first little while. Similar to the feeling of having your fingers in your ears. You get used to it though, and soon forget about them and just enjoy the rich, ambient-noise-free, nuances of music you never knew could sound so good.

The final test is to see how they are on the plane. Since they are essentially sealing ear-plugs I don't foresee this being a problem.

Happy listening!

Photo Gallery

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Well I got around to finding some online gallery software I liked, compiled a few collections from my ample archives, and now present it to you for your viewing pleasure.

I'm starting off with three collections.
  1. Victoria Springtime - 8 photos from my recent trip back home to Victoria, BC Canada. Notice the absence of igloos.
  2. Driving around Ireland - 16 photos from the trip Tracey and I took to Ireland last September. I can still taste the beer.
  3. Backpacking in Yosemite - 6 photos from our trip in 2002 just before Tracey moved back to Canada. This was my inaugural backpacking trip (and, to this day, my only backpacking trip).
Enjoy.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries written by Dylan in May 2004.

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