Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Google TV

Now that Google has conquered most forms of traditional digital media (that just sounds strange), it looks like TV might be next. According to ZD Net Australia, it looks like Google may be attempting to do for broadcast TV and cable TV what it did for web content. Of course Yahoo!, Microsoft, and AOL are also looking into this next market space.

Image the possibilities... I love the idea of being able to watch the things that I want to watch when I want to, this is on-demand TV to the next level. Want to see that episode of M.A.S.H. where Radar learned about love, just Google it from your TV based search bar and away you go. Or the 1985 Superbowl, or Tori Amos live on SNL, etc, etc.


Ghostly Mirror

With the release of the Flash Video Kit earlier this year Macromedia has added some very powerful abilities for Flash developers. As with any new technology, most of the examples of its use thus far have been very straight forward Ford's F150 Mini Site, Philips Home Entertainment, etc.

But something that always happens, with a technology that is new and promising is innovation. Enter the Ghostly Mirror, a very use of Flash and Flash Video technologies. This is why I love being a geek. There are always new toys, new methodologies, and new experiences just waiting to be discovered.

Monday, November 29, 2004

New at Target...

Update: Looks like someone at Target realized that things weren't right... Oh well, it was funny while it lasted.

I'm not sure what is going on here. I guess Target is just expanding into new markets...

New Car Smell

Saturday afternoon I picked up my first totally new car, a 2005 Hyundai Santa Fe. With 4 wheel ABS, traction control, alloy wheels, 2.7 v6 and power everything, I have to say, I'm quite happy with it. Plus, how many other cars (trucks, SUV's, etc) can you find with so many features and a price tag at $20,000? Oh yeah, and there is that little 10 year - 100,000 mile warranty.

Its a blast to drive and meets all of my needs, so color me a happy camper! Oh yeah, camping... can't wait until Spring!

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Harry Potter Release Date

Over at The Leaky Cauldron there is a report about the possible anouncement of a release date for the next Harry Potter book. Please let it be this year, PLEASE!!!!

Friday, November 26, 2004

Thanksgiving Part 2

Well I'm about to leave for my third Thanksgiving dinner in two days. Behind me are dinners at my wifes moms house and her dads house, now all that remains is a quick drive up to Chicago for dinner with my parents. And of course, like always, there is a winter storm between here and there (always happens!). With any luck, the fine folks at I-DOT (Illinois Deptartment of Transportation) will keep the roads clear for the next couple of hours...

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving!

This is one of my favorite holidays. Why? Because, Thanksgiving is about spending time with those who are closest to you, your family and friends. Sadly, Thanksgiving has become the one of the few times a year that Americans really do this anymore. We have lost the art of the family dinner and I for one am sad to see it go. ABC News did a - somewhat lacking - but basically informative
story last night about this. It covers the basics of the Slow Food Movement as well as the "new found" success of organic foods.

I think that many of the social issues troubling Americans today could be at least partially fixed if we were to embrace the basics of Slow Food. Families that cook and eat together tend to stay together. Parents who involve themselves in their children’s lives by simply having a conversation around the dinner table are more likely to raise “well adjusted” children. The people I grew up with who came from families that sat around a table each night tended to have the best family lives. My wife and I have already promised ourselves that when we have kids, the family dinner will be a requirement. This won’t be too tough as we already each dinner together every night.

The benefits of Slow Food, from a social perspective, are clear; but there is another piece. If all of us were to seek out and eat only fresh foods, that are grown locally and where ever possible organically grown, the health benefits would be huge! It is hard to measure how much damage we do to ourselves with the chemicals used on our food – but it should be clear to everyone that food grown without is got to be better for us.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Kevin Sites | Blog

Kevin Sites Blog

I just came across this blog -- wow.

Stories and pictures for a freelance combat correspondent currently working for NBC in Iraq. His words and images are quite incredible.

Harry Potter DVD

I am a big Harry Potter fan, ever since the first book, I've been completely hooked. I'm also a big fan of the movies. When the third one came out earlier this year, I have to say, I was not very happy with it. While Chris Columbus did a very good job in translating the books to the big screen, I felt that Alfonso CuarĂ³n really was too loose in his vision of the book. Sure the basics were all there, but many of the details were missing, and the plot was out of order.

Since I'm never totally sure about a movie, I saw it twice in the theatre. I still felt it was the worst of the three. After watching about half of it on DVD last night, my opinion has changed a bit. I still am unhappy with the loose script translation, but I really picked up on how true to the characters Alfonso's vision was. Still not my favorite, but it is a Harry Potter movie, and therefore it will be in my collection forever.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

The Next ColdFusion

As Macromedia gets closer to releasing the next version of ColdFusion, several examples of the new tools (or toys, depending on how you want to see them...) are being shown off.

New Cell Phone

So I decided yesterday that I needed to get a new cell phone. The Nokia 3595 that I had, while still functioning, had started to show some serious signs of decay. It was dropping calls, rebooting itself and the Java engine was refusing to load about 50% of the time.

Since I don't really need a fancy phone, and I didn't want to pay a lot I started looking at the Cingular (doesn't work in Firefox!) website for free or near free options. Since my contract with them was up, I figured I would be able to talk my way into at least some basic free phone. I noticed that the Motorola V220 was being offered as a free phone for new contracts. So I did a little research (CNet V220 Review and others) and decided that if I could wing it, I would try to get a new V220 for me and my wife.

I was very surprised at how easy it turned out to be. I walked into my local Cingular store, expecting a fight, and within 15 minutes of being there, I was signed the new contract with 2 new free V220's. Of course, after setup, car charger, protective case, and hands-free ear-bud, I still spent over $100. But none the less, that is the first time a cell phone company hasn't been a total pain to deal with when it came to upgrading - good job Cingular!

As for the phone, it is exactly what I expected after reading the CNet review. Though I think perhaps that CNet was a bit rough on it. The camera is decent, the sound quality is way better than CNet suggested and so far battery life is great. All-in-all, a good basic phone.

Monday, November 22, 2004

World's Fastest Electric Car

This may not be the coolest looking car, but it is faster than a Porsche 911! I'm happy to see that engineers are finally trying to look outside the box with electric cars; because I truely believe that is the only way we will finally see cars being created that are truely replacements for the environment-destroying gas-slurping ones we drive today.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Too Good to Be True..

I didn't really think the Bears could beats the Colts. But I didn't expect the defense to play so poorly, ouch! Oh well, the Cowboys got destoryed again, so hopefully the Bears can beat them on Turkey day.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Bears vs Colts

I can't believe it, Sports Illustrated editor Peter King is perdicting that the Chicago Bears are going to beat the Indianapolis Colts!

Could it be true? Can the Bears win 4 in a row? Will the mighty Colts do down? Man I hope so...

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Fun Toy

Ascii.art is just too cool. It takes any image file (JPG, GIF, PNG, BMP) and converts it to Ascii art via a web page. Does really serve any purpose, but it is fun. :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

ColdFusion OOP or Thinking in DAO

One of the best things about Macromedia ColdFusion is also, perhaps one of the biggest flaws. ColdFusion is a very easy language to learn, in fact, in my opinion only HTML is an easier web language. Just like HTML, basic ColdFusion is procedural making it very easy to understand and code. Many programmers learn how to code with ColdFusion, without learning how to program in a clean, clear and concise way.

With the addition of CFCs to the language in version 6 (MX), Macromedia has moved the CF more towards being a Object Oriented Language (OOP) while still maintaining its procedural roots. Once a CF programmer gets to the point that they are developing more than just simple applications, it is very important to learn about and use a coding methodology.

Enter DAO (Data Access Object)... Joe Rinehart of clearsoftware.net has written a very good article on using DAO with ColdFusion called Be a DAO Disciple that is worth a read for all CF programmers, regardless of your skill level.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Bears Win, Again!

With starting QB, last year’s co-MVP, out resting up after a chest injury; the Bears rolled into Tenn. looking to prove that they were not the bad team everyone thought they were.

The Bears offensive does suck. Not because they lack players with skill, we have plenty of them. Gage, Wade, Thomas, Jones, and even Terrell (though damn, can he please learn to catch!?!). But the thing that wins games for Chicago is Defense. And for the second week in a row, the Chicago Bears Defense came through in a big way.

Considering that we are now 4 and 5, which puts us in the playoff hunt, I think it's time we get a little respect. The Colts will be a very tough team to be beat next week, but it’s at home, and I think we at least stand a chance. We have the 13th best Defense and the Colts have the 31st (of 32!), so we should be about to do something against them offensively and maybe even slow Manning down a little on his push to beat Dan Marino’s record of 48 touchdowns in a single season.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Killer DHTML site

Everyday I spend at least a couple of hours "randomly" surfing the web for sites that catch my interest. Today I found the home site of Scott Schiller, and all I can say is damn! His site has to be one of the slickest all DHTML sites that I have ever seen. If he had used Flash, it would still be slick, but doing it in DHTML... wow I'm impressed and inspired... back to the drawing board...

Bill Mahar

Comedian Bill Mahar is being sued by ex-girlfriend who claims he promised her marriage and a house in Beverly Hills, once owned by Ben Affleck and J-Lo. She says that when she quit her job as a flight attendant he became angry and physically abusive.

Anyone who is a fan of Bill, or who has at least watched his HBO show a couple of times, knows that he always talks about how he will be single for life. So there is something about this that doesn't fly. Of course, everyday, there are woman who have been abused or conned by men and need the system to help them get justice; but I don't buy that this is the case. I am so sick of the court system being used by gold diggers and attention seekers for personal gain.

Of course, there may be nothing we can do. If we limit the justice system and we risk real people with real problems falling through the cracks.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Sweet Flash based Weather App

This is too cool!! A very nice RIA (Rich Internet Application) that shows weather for the US using Macromedia Flash.


Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Mozilla FireFox 1.0

In the good old days (note the sarcastic tone), designing web sites meant you had to worry about many different browser versions. I remember all to well trying to make the same interface work in Microsoft IE 3, IE 4, Netscape 2, 3, 4, 4.07 & 4.77 (never mind AOL and others!).

Thankfully, as of late, the browser wars have been more or less over. That is not to suggest that we, as consumers, won -- it just made our lives a bit less complicated. With Microsoft finally beating Netscape, and AOL running it into the ground it appeared that IE (with its many flaws) was to be the browser that we all had to deal with. And all was good -- ok, maybe not, but it was at least nice to only have one major browser on the market to design for.

But for months now, Mozilla FireFox has been gaining ground. I have used it as my primary browser for months and even though it means more design work (mostly just dealing with flaws in IE and its CSS limitations); I’m happy to say that v1.0 is finally out! If you are worried about security, wish for a faster browsing experience, or are just not a fan of IE – give FireFox a try, I think you will like it.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Bears Win!!!

Two games in a row, I can't believe it! And on the road no less. As with many games, the final score does not tell the whole story...

Early in the game, it looked like Kurt Warner and Tiki Barber (I'm big fan of him and his brother) was going to keep the Bears out of the game. The Giants got 14 points very early in the game and it really looked like the Bears were going to get blown out (I don't think the Bears were able to get a first down until almost the end of the first quarter). With the beginning of the second quarter, everything changed. The Bears put up 28 unanswered points by the beginning of the fourth quarter and really out played the Giants all the way around until the end.

Could it be the Bears may be able to beat the Titans next Sunday? They are both 3 and 5...

Friday, November 05, 2004

Back to the real world

After an hour of waiting on the tarmac for the flight crew to decide if it was safe to fly (our A320 had a faultly AC unit), and a trip to IKEA, I am finally back home in Urbana.

I have to say, New Orleans is one crazy city. I loved it, but I don't know if I could handle it for more than a week at a time! The French Quarter is an amazing place - filled with living history of our country - and Bourbon Street, well it is just the biggest party I have ever seen.

So now I have a weekend to relax - and then back to the real world...

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Kerry Admits Defeat

So much for the Redskins game being able to predict the outcome of the election.

I was really hoping that the voters in this country would see past the "moral" issues that so many of them cited in voting for Bush and realize that this country really needed change. I'm still coming to grips with the fact that Bush has won, and I have to say I'm worried.

Heres to hoping that the country can survive four more years of Bush...

No President Yet

Well Election Day has come and gone, and we still don't know who won, yet. According to CNN, right now there are still 3 open states and sadly Bush is leading by 2 electoral votes. I really hope that the fine people of the state of Ohio realize how badly this country needs change and went with Kerry.

I'm quite pleased to see that Illinois (there was never doubt there), Minnesota, Wisconsin all went Kerry. It shows me that the upper Midwest is not so behind in our thinking from our more liberal, open-minded friends on the East and West coast.

Everyone keeps talking about how important this election is - and I couldn't agree more - I hope by the time this week is over, a change has in fact occured in Washington. *fingers crossed*

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

MAX 2004

I've been in New Orleans since Saturday and I have to say this is one crazy town!

After a very crazy weekend (more on that later), Macromedia MAX 2004 has finally kicked off. Right now, I'm sitting in the back of a session on the future of ColdFusion and I have to say it is looking pretty damn good! ;)

I haven't been able to get much net access until today, but, now that I have it, I will post more soon.

Vote or Die!!!

Today is Election Day in the USA and while voting is not required to live in this country, I personal feel that everyone who is legally able should.

If you do not, you are missing out on an important part of what is means to be an American.