Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Hey, it’s really useful!

I got a message from Macromedia this morning about this new content product called Contribute. Supposed to make updating content on websites much, much easier. So I checked it out. I love it. I managed to get a backlog of content updates done very fast. I will defintely buy this when it's released for sale next month. It's $99, at least that will be the intro rate, a little steep for what amounts to an add-on. But I figure the time it will save us will pay for it pretty quickly.

The one thing I did notice about it is the code has to be absolutely correct in order for Contribute to work for updating content. If there are missing tags, such as unclosed table cells for example, it warns the content contributor not to do anything until it's fixed. I think this is a Good Thing.
posted by lee on 11/12/02 at 04:59 PM
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Wednesday, November 13, 2002

ColorMatch 5K

This may have been around for a while, but I just discovered it: ColorMatch 5K. It's a pretty handy dandy little color mixer that gives you a good palette of matching colors. I would love it if you could enter a hex value for a color and get the matching colors - but I'm not complaining, just glad to be able to use it.

I found the link to this on MezzoBlue, which I found while reading through comments on an article about Contributor (see yesterday's post) on Evolt.
posted by lee on 11/13/02 at 11:46 PM
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Thursday, November 14, 2002

ooh, texture heaven!

Check out Auto FX Software - textures for the taking, royalty free, for just registering. Lots and lots of very nice textures.
posted by lee on 11/14/02 at 11:43 PM
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Friday, November 15, 2002

Privacy will be non-existent

Read You Are a Suspect in the New York Times, Op-Ed page:

Every purchase you make with a credit card, every magazine subscription you buy and medical prescription you fill, every Web site you visit and e-mail you send or receive, every academic grade you receive, every bank deposit you make, every trip you book and every event you attend -- all these transactions and communications will go into what the Defense Department describes as "a virtual, centralized grand database."

William Safire outlines the dangers of passing the Homeland Security Act as it stands at present. John Poindexter rears his disgraceful, slimy head in the midst of all this.

Do you want every facet of your entire life knowable by some government bureaucrat? Your medical records? Your web surfing habits?

Is Oracle giving Poindexter a huge sum of money to push this through? (You think I'm kidding? Have you read what Larry Ellison has to say about a national database?)

You thought TIPS was a nasty piece of work -- that was NOTHING compared to the evil this will wreak.
posted by lee on 11/15/02 at 01:27 AM
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things British

BBC NEWS | England | Moors murderer Hindley dies - even though I was only in the fifth or sixth grade when this woman was convicted for the Moors murders, I still remember the hoopla surrounding it all. I think I followed it because she and her lover were kid killers. I can't say I'm sorry she croaked - she was worse than just a waste of oxygen.
posted by lee on 11/15/02 at 09:42 PM
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Saturday, November 16, 2002

my favorite cookbook(s)

I've been meaning to do more reviews -- I like reading reviews in other blogs and journals, a lot, so I think it's time I start returning the favor more often. Today's review is of a cookbook, or more apt, a how-to-cook manual, with another mini review of another cookbook by the same author.

bittmanbook.jpgHow to Cook Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Food, by Mark Bittman, is simply one of the most useful cookbooks I've encountered in all the years I've been looking at them (and I used to do indexes for cookbooks, so I'm very familiar with them, the good, the bad, the ugly ... ) This book gives you the basics on how to cook stuff, what terms mean, where to find ingredients and how to buy them, what kind of kitchen equipment you need (and the stuff you can hold off on buying), and more. The recipes are easy to follow and easy to adapt -- Bittman even gives several variations to try if you're too nervous to improvise on your own. What this book does, basically, is teach you how it all works so you have a basic understanding of what you can and can't do to get good food prepared well. He also makes a strong case for cooking "from scratch" at home, versus eating out or buying prepared meals -- it's often just as fast, if not faster, to make a meal yourself than to buy the pre-made versions of most foods. Better for you, too.

minimalist.jpgMark Bittman writes the "Minimalist Chef" column in the New York Times, which I read regularly. Last year I bought his The Minimalist Cooks at Home: Recipes That Give You More Flavor Out of Fewer Ingredients in Less Time (I noticed that he sure doesn't go for minimalist titles!) and use it often enough that I wish the pages were plastic instead of paper (I'm not the neatest cook in the world ... ) Most of the recipes in this book are very good to eat and pretty easy to prepare, though there are a couple that sound great, but taste awful (even Stanley rejected the Fennel-Orange Compote, and he tends to eat whatever I serve him with no complaints). But I wanted more, so I got the Big Book. Both are wonderful cookbooks and definitely belong in your kitchen.
posted by lee on 11/16/02 at 04:13 PM
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Review: Beneath Buddha’s Eyes

Before my review, a disclosure: we (Stanley and I) made the author's website, www.beneathbuddhaseyes.com. And we really like author, Tony Anthony.

bbe_bookcover_amazon_small.jpgThat said, another pre-review comment: I was nervous about finally getting to read this book. I assumed it was good enough for a publisher to spend scarce publishing money on, but I didn't know whether I would find it a good read. Via Puppet Press, our ebook publishing company, we get so very many submissions that, well, suck. Most of them are of the "It was a dark and stormy night ... " ilk. I never thought Tony's book would fall into this category, but what if I didn't like it ... what could I say ... ? I'm very happy to report that my worries were groundless -- Beneath Buddha's Eyes is very, very good. I submitted this review to Amazon, so here it is, unedited:
posted by lee on 11/16/02 at 04:38 PM
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Tuesday, November 19, 2002

Tom Delay, Dishonorable Member of Congress

Stanley and I have each gotten calls, at various points, telling us we've won some Republican leadership award, and please call back this number, etc. etc. We always thought it was a little weird and never returned the calls - if we'd really won some award, we figured, they'd call back. Especially weird since we're not Republicans - not by a long shot.

So, this morning, I had a message that I could barely decipher about "some award," with a toll-free number: 1-800-650-8375. I was curious, so I called. Land sakes alive - I'm a business leader in my community! I'm kind of wondering how, since we don't even belong to the Norwalk Chamber of Commerce (we would if the fees weren't way too high for a micro business) and know just a few business people in Norwalk.

The person who answered the phone asked me to listen to some canned greeting from Representative Tom Delay (from Texas) and then she'd get back with me to fill in the particulars. Seems I was chosen as not just a leadership award winner, but chairman of some small business committee! Seems like Delay would've a least personalized the message to the chairman-to-be (or at least removed the sexist language). I listened to about 5 seconds of Delay's hyper-right rant before my crap meter kicked in. I couldn't tolerate following this any further, and politely told the woman (she was probably some minimum-wage telemarketer) to tell the Republicans to get lost, and hung up.

Did a little research, though, and found this article from ABC.news: GOP Fund-Raising Tactic Questioned. Seems it's a Republican Party scam to shake money out of the pockets of small businesses, and for $300 to $500, you get the chance to attend policy meetings with movers and shakers. Oh boy.

The award thing is a money-raising scam. With Tom Delay as the chief flim-flam man. An indication that it's not a legitimate award is that they had to withdraw it from one guy because he was in jail for child molestation. Another guy is under federal indictment for distributing drug paraphernalia. Gee, that's the kind of august company I want to be associated with. Not.

I've seen some websites were individuals brag about their "appointment" to the Small Business Advisory Council, claiming to have been chosen after an "exhaustive" search. What a total pile of crap. It's kind of like web designers bragging about being members of the HTML Writer's Guild - like you have to do anything besides fill out a form and pay fees to join this group.

It's time to cost the GOP some money: call the toll-free number above and find out about your leadership award! Try to wangle an invite without having to pay any money - bet you can't.
posted by lee on 11/19/02 at 12:48 PM
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Wednesday, November 20, 2002

yet another IE patch

'Critical' Windows, IE Hole Plugged, according to PC World. Yet another security hole found. Yet another patch to add. I think there are more bytes in patches on my Win98 OS than there are from the actual, original 2nd edition software. So it goes. The patch can be found here: yet another MS patch.

I wonder if my current software will run on Lindows? I guess we'll know soon enough, since Stanley ordered a copy of it to test it out.
posted by lee on 11/20/02 at 11:45 PM
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Friday, November 22, 2002

what’s your geography score?

Go here to take the National Geographic Roper Geographic Survey 2002. Most Americans suck at geography. I always loved geography, and I only blew the religion question on this survey.

Apparently, American students rank dead last when it comes to matters geography. Don't they teach it in school anymore?

And why do people brag about being geographically stupid? That's like bragging that you can't do simple arithmetic -- it's not cute, it's just pathetic.
posted by lee on 11/22/02 at 12:46 AM
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