Quick Notes

Wow, five posts in five days. That hasn’t happened in a while. Too bad I couldn’t finish it off with an Excel post. Here are some random thoughts.

Facebook:

Sean said

Get with it…if you aren’t using it already, now’s a good time to give it a try.

So I signed up. I don’t get it. I have two friends. I joined two groups whose members are MVPs and I’m not sure what the difference is or is supposed to be. I used to work at KPMG, but I can’t join that group because I don’t work there anymore. The university I attended has a group with 20,000 members. The utility of joining that group is suspect. I can’t join the Daniel J. Gross High School group because I’m not a student there.

I checked out the Omaha, Nebraska group. I thought Facebook was MySpace for college educated people. It turns out that it’s MySpace for people who are no longer teens, but haven’t quite hit 25 yet. To wit, this Facebook app. All I can say is WTF.

Mower:

I’m still using my mower and it’s going well. I need to do an in-depth review, as I promised, but reviews are hard.

Excel projects:

My goal this summer was to write an office add-in and sell it. In order to achieve that goal, I will have to turn down hourly consulting work. To date, I have not been able to do that. I hope to develop the intestinal fortitude soon.

I have a big office project at work, but I won’t be doing it. I’m so busy doing non-Excel work at my real job and doing Excel work at my fake job that I don’t have time to do the Excel work at my real job. Instead, I’m currently writing a spec so someone else can do it.

Ruby on Rails:

Instead of developing an office add-in, I’m considering developing a web app using Ruby on Rails. I think it would be fun.

JMT Utilities:

JMT Excel Consulting updated JMT Utilities (somewhat) recently. Also, they’re working on a version for 2007.

Tablet

I decided to get a tablet last winter, then talked myself out of it. I’m currently trying to talk myself back into it. If and when I get one, I’ve decided to get a Motion Computing tablet. I don’t need a tablet, it would be purely for entertainment purposes. What do you think: 47? flat screen or a tablet?

Apple TV

My dad recently got an Apple TV. It’s pretty cool, but I can’t get past iTunes. I use iTunes for my iPod, but I simply refuse to buy downloaded music through iTunes. I buy the CD through Amazon and rip the MP3’s. It’s way more work, but if I ever change devices, my songs go with me.

Bloglines:

Recently I changed my Bloglines preferences to show only feeds with new posts. Why didn’t I do that before? How long will it take before I discover that one blog that hasn’t had a post in years? Do I even care?

DailyLit:

Which book should I “read” first?

Dayton:

I really appreciate that the Dayton airport offers free WiFi. It’s a shame that both Bloglines and Delicious are blocked by something called WebMarshal.

webmarshal dayton airport wifi

My attempt has been recorded? Thanks Big Brother.

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19 thoughts on “Quick Notes

  1. It will be harder to keep anonymity, as a right. We have a webmarshal at work which blocks everything that ‘someone’ considers to be not job-related incl. amoral or illegal.
    Curiosity is a powerful force so public people will never have a complete privacy. But I agree with this video, a global identity will come: http://www.identity20.com/media/OSCON2005/

  2. Wow. I thought Websense was annoying, but at least it didn’t “report” on my activities. Or at least it didn’t tell me if it was. Just to be on the safe side, you really should get PHProxy and load it into some obscure directory on your webserver. It’s very easy to install, and you never know when it’ll be a lifesaver.

    http://whitefyre.com/poxy/

    There’s thousands of publicly available proxies to use, the problem is they are mostly blocked by the web filters. Chances are that http://www.dailydoseofexcel.com/foo/bar/mysupersecretproxysite won’t be.

    Another way around the filter: Try loading the site via https, often that won’t be blocked even though the http URL is.

    Another way: install logmein on your home pc. It’s free, and then you can remote into your home pc and surf from that connection. I hear TightVNC works just as well.

    The best way: don’t work for a company that filters. I understand self-employment is a particularly good way to go…

  3. I tried Google Reader for a couple of weeks, but went back to Bloglines. In fact, I tried several alternatives over a couple months, but nothing was better than Bloglines. The thing I don’t like about BL is that reading one unread post in a feed reads them all. The ‘mark as new’ is just too cumbersome if there’s a lot of posts.

    I don’t remember why I didn’t like GR. Maybe I should try it again. I like the scrolling-past-marks-as-read feature.

  4. DK,
    You talked about itunes and their proprietary formats that can’t be played in any mechanism other than ipods.

    I found a program called Tunebite that will convert the Apple file format to mp3.
    According to them:

    “Tunebite is a Windows software product, which, once installed on the PC, records media files that were purchased online as the files are played. It is completely legal to record and playback on a different reproducer of yours. Tunebite is technology-proof, does not bypass any digital copy protection and therefore confirms with all digital copy protection measures, provided that the user is legally entitled to listen to the music.”

    I used it to convert a year’s worth of itunes songs into mp3 songs. It cost me about $50 but it’s been worth it. I personally think it’s a travesty that Apple holds its customers hostage with their file formats. Where are all the Open Source loonies when it comes to itunes?

  5. “Which book should I “read” first?”

    Definitely Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome. Then My Man Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse.

  6. Google Reader was a bit funny at first, especially right when the beta first came out. A few things didn’t work the way I’d like. But I like its portability and its flexibility, and they’ve fixed some things I didn’t like, and probably I’ve gotten used to others.

  7. I second the motion for Google Reader. I rely on it now the same way I rely on Foxmarks: I can swtich between work PC, home dektop and laptop and everything is just there and working.

    Do try Ruby on Rails – it really is fun. Ruby’s a lovely language. I’m wondering if the dynamic language work that Microsoft are doing might one day lead to a new Excel macro environment based on the DLR. Being able to use Ruby as a full-blwn VBA replacement would be fantastic.

  8. Can somebody give me a link to that Tunebite software ? I would really like to convert my files, because I am planning to quit the iTunes program and I heard that all my files won’t be working anymore, because of some DRM protection.

  9. “I thought Facebook was MySpace for college educated people.”

    It would seem that there is no test for this…

    A guy using his Facebook, who will call his child “Spider Pig” if he gets 100,000 votes to do so…. Oli Young from Australia has got 48,000 votes and counting…. so it looks like the child’s fate is sealed.
    “All I can say is WTF” – same here!

  10. Facebook is for the people that use Facebook, so there’s a critical mass for it to make sense. It’s pretty big here in Norway, with people of all ages, and our company has a huge community in it. Then it works.
    Also, journalists and reporters use it, so group member counts and discussions are often referred to as “thousands joined the protest” and “caused huge internet activity”. Pretty powerful and very fast tool for such things.

  11. I have just registered with Facebook to see what all the fuss is about – after a quick search for current cp-workers I have found that they have a “Drinkers Club” that is complete with pics and stories of drunken nights out…

    It seems to me that this is an incredibly stupid thing to do – if the press are using Facebook as a resource in Norway, how long before employers / potential employers are using it as part of a selection process??

    Social networking is a good concept but I do wonder how long it will be before the first stories of sackings start to appear – just like they did with blogs a few years back.

    Online presence has a habit of coming back to bite!

  12. Simon –

    I’ve heard of college and high school kids getting in trouble for things they’ve (stupidly) posted on line. Also colleges and employers have already discovered online communities as a way to screen applicants.

  13. Employers and headhunters have used online research for a long time and this is well known here. Our police are also known to investigate YouTube recordings of violence and abuse. We norwegians are gadget people and early adopters (in fact used as a test nation by several companies, if it doesn’t sell in Norway then it won’t sell anywhere). So we are aware of those things, educating our kids and generally behaving pretty well in public. Read also some european liberalism into this -Janet Jackson wouldn’t make a Tv scandal over here.

  14. As I’m recruiting at the moment I suppose I’d better start looking at My Space and Facebook then…

  15. *makes a note not to even bother applying to Simon’s company….*

    Harald – interesting point re YouTube. It is renowned in the UK for hosting “happy-slapping” videos uploaded by schoolchildren, which the police here pointedly ignore even if they’re given the URL for the video.

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