Possibly useful thoughts collected throughout May:
Sorry about the point release, but we had a tiny regression bug between RC4 and 2.0 which was only noticeable under rare circumstances in old versions of Mozilla. It is now fixed, and the update, as usual, requires only the swapping of your sifr.js file. Head over to the Official sIFR Landing Page for the download.
I’ve always loved Mike Doughty’s lyrics and vocals but could never figure out what I didn’t quite like about his former group Soul Coughing. Now I know. The rest of the band. I went to Doughty’s show in Seattle earlier this month, and it blew me away. Usually when singers leave bands to go solo, they get worse, but Doughty has not only gotten better as a singer, he’s a better songwriter as well. More soul, less coughing, as one magazine puts it. The guy loves touring too. Before the Seattle show, he stood on the streetcorner outside the club with his acoustic guitar taking requests from fans and cracking John Curley jokes. I’ve never seen anything like it. Oh, and not only does the man play for free on streetcorners, but he’s a Movable Type user as well. How can you not love that? *Note to Doughty’s IT guy: The man gives you music. Please get him onto MT 3 or WordPress already.
Their latest album “Picaresque” is my Album of the Year so far. The band’s previous release “Her Majesty the Decemberists” never did a lot for me, but this effort is epic. Long live folksy pirate music.
Croftie may not like live music but I do. As a result, I’ve found myself downloading a ton of shows lately off of Archive.org. It’s a bit frustrating that most shows are only available in lossless (see: overkill) formats like SHN and FLAC, but you can convert these to MP3s with a program like xACT. Can someone please point me in the direction of an app which automatically tags your converted MP3 files from a playlist file or something? Manually entering song info for each track you download is a pain and a half. Is there an AppleScript perhaps (or Automator workflow maybe?) which will convert an entire folder of FLAC/SHN files to MP3 and then tag them? That would be of incredible use.
If anyone is in the market for a good city bike, I just picked up a Marin Fairfax and I love it. Hybrid bikes are usually either heavy, ugly, or both, but this thing is only slightly heavier than a road bike and made of brushed aluminum and carbon fiber. I got mine for $599 at a local shop, but you can get the 2004 model for $329 online at REI if you don’t mind different components and a few other details.
Thank god the end of good TV season coincides with the beginning of summer. This year, we had some great reality shows and some dud dramas. Survivor made a strong comeback from last year’s miserable season proving that it’s still the king of all reality shows. The Apprentice was entertaining, if not much better than the previous two seasons, and finally The Donald hired someone who isn’t a white male. Surreal Life was its normal entertaining self, making you embarrassed to be a human being, in a good way. And the newcomer, The Contender, proved to be a great addition to Mark Burnett’s lineup, despite Sylvester Stallone’s and Sugar Ray Leonard’s complete incompetence as hosts. On the flip side, I’m sad to say that the hitherto spectacular show 24 appears to be on its last legs. This season went south after about the 8th episode when the plot climaxed prematurely, the most interesting characters were killed off, and the least interesting (a.k.a. Tony Almeida) were brought back. The most pathetic episode saw mild-mannered Chloe O’Brien wielding a machine gun and shooting up a Jeep. Ummm, yeah. Time to put this show to rest. Quit while you’re ahead Fox. Somehow I don’t think they’ll listen to me, and somehow I’m sure I’ll still watch season five.
Haagen Dazs Creme BruleÃ©. I can’t believe it took this long to invent this flavor… or maybe it just took me this long to find out about it.
I’m not too concerned with getting off of coffee, but if you’re looking to kick your Coke and Pepsi habit instead, I highly recommend replacing your thirst for fizz with high quality mineral water. I didn’t drink mineral water for the first 20-something years of my life, but I’ve really taken a liking to it lately and have been virtually pop-free for about six months now. I recommend San Pellegrino especially if you’re new to the stuff. It’s a lot milder on the fizz than most other brands.
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Just a quick note to let all Mike Industries readers know that the Walt Disney Internet Group is looking to fill over 80 positions in our North Hollywood and Seattle offices right now. These are mostly technical positions ranging from the creative side of things to the engineering side of things, and I can tell you from the over four years I’ve worked here that it’s a great place to get your groove on.
To list every position available in this blog entry would take quite some time, but just in the Seattle office, I know we’re looking for engineers, technical producers, designers, managers, Java people, SQL people, project managers, and a handful of other positions. The North Hollywood office has other openings as well.
If you’re a talented, motivated person who is interested in working for Disney, please check out the Walt Disney Internet Group job site and submit your information through there, or also feel free to send me your stuff through “disneyjobs at mikeindustries.com”. I’m not sure every opening is listed on the WDIG Jobs Site so if you’re a talented web professional, send us your stuff and we’ll try and see if there’s a fit.
UPDATE: If you’re interested in WDIG jobs out of the Orlando office, there are some openings there as well.
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Picked up by the New York Times, Toronto Star, San Jose Mercury News, Kottke.org, Gizmodo, Boing Boing, and Popular Mechanics among others, the first installment of the Mike Industries iPod-A-Month Creativity Competition was a bigger-than-expected hullaballoo. Thanks again to all who entered.
For the second installment, we’re going with a nostaglic theme: Great iPods in History. As is the case with all of these competitions, the person who suggested the theme will win one iPod Shuffle, and the person who wins the actual contest will take home the other (suggestion pool still open through the end of the year). Congratulations to “Getmeparu” for suggesting this contest… as soon as I figure out who you are, a Shuffle will be forthcoming.
As is illustrated by the slightly modified 1945 Alfred Eisenstadt photo to the left, the aim of this contest is to place an iPod Shuffle into notable historical context. You can modify famous photos, upload audio narratives, shoot video, or even design a mini-site. I expect most of the entries to be altered photos, which works well for this particular contest, but I just wanted to remind everyone that rules can always be broken. You are free to submit anything you like, as long as it’s yours and it was created specifically for this contest.
This contest, along with the remaining seven, will run for two weeks. The deadline for entries is midnight, May 31st.
Submission rules are as follows, and cannot be broken:
<img src="yourimage.jpg" />tag to enter it into the comments section below. Please also keep your filesizes reasonable (as small as possible, but definitely under 80k or so).
UPDATE #2: Maybe the big red exclamation mark will help here — all images must be EXACTLY 418 pixels tall by 418 pixels wide. Not 418×200. Not 500×500. It is not a “maximum width”. 418×418 please. The management thanks you.
What is a musical baton?
18.05 GB… Mostly from actual pressed CDs
“The Runaway Found” by The Veils
“Mojo Pin” by Jeff Buckley
* Honorable mention: Any of Inman’s favorites from the “Video Game Beeping” genre.
Have you noticed me bugging you a lot over Instant Messenger these days? If so, you’re not alone. Over the last two weeks, I’ve finally discovered something hundreds of thousands of Mac users already know about: Adium.
Adium is a multi-protocol Instant Messaging client which lets you connect to all of your peeps on MSN, iChat, AOL, Yahoo, Jabber, and a few others. I’d tried Adium in the past but found it too riddled with bugs and incompatibilities for everyday use, but I’m happy to report that as of version 0.81 (can I get a 1.0 please? have some confidence in your product!), Adium is most clearly the best instant messaging client in existence, and dare I say, one of the nicest pieces of software I’ve ever used.
I tend to judge software on its details. Most programs these days can do the big tasks correctly, or else no one would use them, but the true test of a great app is how it handles the little things. How does it look on screen? How does it react to certain clicks and drags? How does it alert you? How customizable is it? These are the very things Adium excels at. Here are some particularly nice examples:
All in all, I only have two complaints about Adium:
If you’d like to give Adium a try, here are some links to get you going. Everything is free of course:
He entered early. He entered often. He is Davin Risk, master food sculptor and photographer from Toronto, Canada, and he is the winner of the Mike Industries “Make a Meatspace Shuffle” creativity competition.
Davin’s first entry, made entirely of goat butter, arrived only hours after the contest began and set the pace for a field of over 40 excellent “interpretations of iPod Shuffle as food”. Davin followed up his well received goat butter creation with a Parsnip Shuffle, a Tofu Shuffle, and the eventual winner: The Banana/Apple/Spaghetti Shuffle (shown above as the first piece in our honor roll slideshow).
Davin’s winning entry was both creatively assembled and brilliantly photographed, which helped it withstand the onslaught of entries throughout April. Stephen Lodefink’s Spam Shuffle garnered the most attention around the web and gave Davin a run for his money, but the toughest test came only 90 minutes before the contest closed when iPod case designer extraordinaire Nikki Sevcik submitted her tantalizing “Morning Shuffle”, consisting of a frothy espresso drink, chocolate covered strawberry, and exquisitely placed “Shuffle wafer”. Nikki’s entry is the second in the slideshow.
The Mike Industries staff (me) thought long and hard about how to pick the winner, but in the end, there was no perfect solution. At least 12 entries were award-worthy, but since Davin had four of them, his food sculpting prowess was the most clearly established of all the contestants.
I’ve provided an honor roll of 20 of the most worthy entries above and I thank everyone for participating in this first of 9 contests. Besides the first two slides, the honor roll is in no particular order. Enjoy.
And finally, although I can’t award a second place prize, I’m happy to point readers in the direction of Nikki’s portfolio of custom iPod cases. They’re one of a kind.