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The eclectic musings of a pragmatic mind
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13th-Feb-2009 09:56 am - Finally Dead Here: I've Moved...
byron glacier, alaska

As I mentioned in my last post, I was considering moving away from LiveJournal. I don't like the new advertisements on a piece of property that I consider an exposition of myself. I also haven't found any new features useful to me in a long time. And so I've done it.

Visit my new place at splutterance on Blogger. My most recent post there was the exciting discovery of an upcoming feature in Gmail.

My posts are still not coming very often, because I've been very busy. But I'll try to refine my posting scheme. Perhaps shorter entries that don't take much time. Ideas welcome!

BTW, I'm still pageblogging on my shared items in Reader.

Ciao, LJ! It was good while it lasted.

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Yes, I'm back after too long. And the sad thing is my temporary disappearance came after George Carlin's death. Notice that the AP article linked in that entry is no longer available. Not long after posting, I discovered that hosted wire service articles die a horrible death after 30 days. Grrr! That's the last time I link directly to a newswire article on Google.

In other news, I wanted to inform you that I have been linkblogging (though it's more like pageblogging) via Google Reader. You may (or may not) find my shared items interesting. But for me, it's a bit easier to do and less time consuming than writing a whole blog entry. Note that there are also now a number of important people in US politics pageblogging via Reader.

Of course, I have had another form of linkblog available for a much longer time: my delicious bookmarks. But I expect fewer people to be interested in that, because I do it more for my personal use than for sharing. But hey, if it works for you, than that's fine with me.

Lastly, if you really want to keep up to date with all of the above (including my YouTube favorites (feed)), there's my FriendFeed. But that's only for hardcore addicts.

Okay, that's enough self-advertisement for a year. As a side-note, I'm seriously thinking of dropping LiveJournal (LJ) for something else, probably Blogger. I first started with LJ back in the day, because it had a number of features I wanted that the other options didn't. Nowadays, LJ has not advanced much at all, at least with respect to what I'm interested in. LJ has been consistently developing its community-oriented features, none of which I care to use, but it has not developed actual usability improvements or enjoyable features for a solo blogger to have. On the other hand, in recent times Blogger has been drafting quite a few interesting things. So, I've pondered now and again about whether I should move. Of course, that only matters if I actually post anything. Any thoughts from the audience?

23rd-Jun-2008 06:50 pm - George Carlin: Dead at 71
byron glacier, alaska

George Carlin mourned as a counterculture hero (AP):

"The whole problem with this idea of obscenity and indecency, and all of these things — bad language and whatever — it's all caused by one basic thing, and that is: religious superstition," Carlin told the AP in a 2004 interview. "There's an idea that the human body is somehow evil and bad and there are parts of it that are especially evil and bad, and we should be ashamed. Fear, guilt and shame are built into the attitude toward sex and the body. ... It's reflected in these prohibitions and these taboos that we have."

So true. The same thing goes for talking about death. It's a part of life, so why shy away from it? (Warning: As usual with George Carlin's comedy, the embedded video may be offensive.)

Thanks for opening our eyes, George. And thanks for the laughs!

17th-Jun-2008 10:30 pm - Firefox 3 Download Day Workaround
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Unfortunately, Mozilla is having trouble getting their website to work properly for their great world record attempt. The servers are either down or slow to respond or showing the download links for version Ugh...

Fortunately, there is a way to get around it and download Firefox 3 such that (I'm fairly certain) your download counts for the world record. If you want one of the following configurations, I've done the work for you:

If you have need for some other configuration, follow this procedure:

  1. Go to the Firefox download page.
  2. Assuming it loads, copy the appropriate download link for your system and language. (In Firefox, right-click or ctrl-click (on the Mac) to bring up the context menu. Select "Copy link location.")
  3. Paste the link in the URL field of your browser.
  4. Change part of the text of the link from "" (without quotes) to "3.0" (also without quotes).
  5. Hit Enter and start downloading! The download went very smoothly for me. I think it's just the website that's having the problems.

I hope by the time you read this, the problems will all be dealt with. If not, at least there's something you can do.

Update @ 23:16: 45 minutes later, it appears that Mozilla has the proper links up now. Happy downloading!

8th-Jun-2008 04:47 pm - Photos: Ghent & Bruges, March 2008
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A while back, I met this girl, code-named Darshana. Well, I thought she was pretty cool, and she seemed to think likewise about me. So, we decided to go for a weekend to check out a few cool places in Belgium, namely Ghent and Bruges. Of course, this being March, everything in this part of the world was — literally — cool. Nonetheless, we had a grand ol' time. I've even got the pictures to prove it. Watch the slideshow below or browse the photos (with captions of course!) in my Ghent and Bruges album.

Highlights of the trip include:

6th-Apr-2008 06:48 pm - A More Perfect Union
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Barack Obama in Philadelphia on March 18, 2008: A More Perfect Union (embedded). Watch the entire 37-minute speech. You won't regret it.

'Nuff said.

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It's been a while since I said hello to the small world that reads my blog, so... Hello!

I recently acquired a mobile phone for use here in the Netherlands. Yes, I have been disconnected for almost three months. In many ways, it was nice. But I found several reasons to jump back on the bandwagon, so here I am.

Another thing I (re-)discovered was this wonderful song performed by the Muppets: Mahna mahna (whatever that means).

I looked up the video after reading comments on this shirt design (which I love). As I was listening and reading, I thought it would be nice to have this sound on my new phone. So, I pulled it out, looked around the menus, and learned that it has a recording ability. Then, I'm somewhat embarrassed to say, I attempted to record off of my MacBook speakers the sound from the YouTube video. It was difficult, especially since every snippet of laughter and applause became nasty white noise on the miniature phone speaker.

Well, there had to be a better way. Perhaps I could find an MP3? Of course! Google led me right to mahnamahna.mp3, a decent quality recording without audience interruptions. So, yes, I next attempted to record that off the speakers. I really shouldn't be telling you this, should I?

But wait, this seems silly. (I finally realized.) Doesn't my phone have Bluetooth? I wonder.... So, I opened up the Mac's Bluetooth preferences pane. Let's see if we can ping my phone. Searching... nothing, yet. Okay. Maybe I need to enable it on the phone. Digging through more menus. Aha! Bluetooth: on. Got it!

I wonder if I can transfer a file. I can! Let's download that MP3 and send it. Ta da! Set as ringtone... done.

Well, suffice it to say that this was an enlightening adventure. I'm not usually a ringtone kind of guy. I'm too cheap to pay to surf the web on my phone and download some $2/€2 ringtone. And I'm generally too lazy to care. But this song has a special place in my heart. It just makes me smile whenever I hear it. So that is why I went to all the trouble.

Now, I just want people to call me so I can hear my phone ring. Unfortunately for the caller, however, I may not answer before the call switches to voicemail.

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I recently went on a trip organized by ING to see the Postel Abbey in Mol, Belgium. We also visited Eersel, a small town in the Netherlands. Here are the photos.

22nd-Feb-2008 10:37 pm - Utrecht on YouTube
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Here is a decent video (embedded) with scenes from Utrecht. The second half has some things that I walk by on a daily basis: the library (more video thanks to Mom) and The Basket.

19th-Feb-2008 11:51 pm - Costa Rica Photos: Day 3
byron glacier, alaska

Before you even get started: Yes, it's been a long time since I took this trip. Yes, I last posted pictures just about 2 months ago. I know, I'm slow. Oh well, deal with it.

Part of the reason is that I've been waiting to get a photo editing program. I used Photoshop Elements on Dad's computer when I was staying with my parents, and it's really (really) hard to go back to nothing (no offense meant, iPhoto) after that. So, I just recently installed Apple's brand spankin' new Aperture 2. It's quite nice, fairly easy to use, and has a lot of nifty little features.

The other reason for the delay is basically that there has been a heck of a lot going on. Life has been rather complicated of late. Perhaps one of these days I'll sit down and write about that. Maybe.

Well, enough meaningless dribble for now. You should go check out the photos from day 3 of the Costa Rica trip that Elizabeth and I took in November last year. For more background, Elizabeth wrote a bit about Arenal and Baldi. Be sure to check out the army ant demonstration, pictured to the right.

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