Blankbaby Zen

Tweet tweet, here's your password

twitterpassword.jpgOne of the many reasons I love OS X is because it includes a tiny little program called "Keychain Access," which does more than one might assume. It is sort of a central place where OS X stores passwords, credentials, and the like.

I use Keychain Access fairly frequently to come up with random passwords for various things. Today, I needed to create a blog account for someone, so I turned to Keychain Access to create a memorable, but complex, password. See that third password option? Twitter!

When the Twitter obession crosses over into password utilities it is clear to me that all the cool kids are using some new, and little known, service. I wonder what it is.


Ambrose, my trusty old PowerBook G4

PowerBook G4

This computer has been sitting in my closet for a number of years, neglected and nearly forgotten. A couple months ago I got it into my head that I should totally put it up on Craigslist and get a couple bucks for it (this is a circa 2003 PowerBook G4 with a couple gigs of RAM and a 1 GHz G4 chip... that's right, Mac users, there was a time when Apple didn't use the same chips as almost every other computer maker!).

I got it out of the closet, slapped Snow Leopard on it and then just put it back into the closet.

Today, whilst avoiding working on my new book, I decided that the den really could do with a little tidying (which it invariably can. The den is 'my room' in the apartment, which means that Marisa generally allows me to keep it as cluttered as I like... within reason. Sometimes it is too much for her and she cleans up a bit... there is only one place in the entire apartment that is off limits to Marisa: my desk. It is generally a disaster area, and that's the way I like it. Marisa tried to convince me that it would really be OK if she just straightened up my desk for me from time to time... but I will have none of it! She even went so far as to clean it up thinking I wouldn't notice. Foolish woman). I spent a few hours recycling paper, shredding stuff, folding clothes, and generally acting outside my normal routine.

As I was putting some pants back in the closet I spied the above PowerBook sitting in its box. I thought, "Heck, I can put it up on Craigslist right now for $100 and be done with it." So I grabbed it, cleaned it up a little and took a few pictures of it.

All systems were go, but I had forgotten if I wiped the drive of all my data, so I plugged the PowerBook in and powered it up. Well, I should say I attempted to power it up since the PowerBook wasn't interested in working.

Dead. A dead PowerBook!

Now I can't even sell the damed thing so I'll probably end up recycling it.

Oddly enough, seven years ago this month I was making ready to move to Philadelphia, and I even wrote a blog post using this very PowerBook on a train to Philadelphia where I was going to sign the lease on my first Philly apartment (and I was totally right about moving my stuff up four flights of stairs. It sucked... and I was about 100 pounds heavier than I am now so I wasn't much help. Sean and Elisa moved most of the stuff for me... though I did buy lunch and dinner for them as I recall).

Also found in the PowerBook box was this:

Wireless card

powerbookg4.jpgI know what you're thinking, "Didn't Apple sell internal AirPort cards for the PowerBook G4?" They did! Since this was several years ago I couldn't afford to get the PowerBook with the AirPort card pre-installed. In fact, the only reason I got this PowerBook G4 was because Apple, in a rare move, decided that they had so messed up with the industrial design of the Titanium PowerBook (which I bought the moment it was announced at Macworld Expo 2001. You can check out Steve wowing the crowd with features like a 5 hour battery life, a built-in DVD player (OMG!), being 1 inch thick and made of titanium. "Like the spies planes," quoth Steve Jobs.) that they had a trade in program. You sent Apple your old and busted Titanium PowerBook (I named mine Timmy) and they would sell you a new, aluminum, PowerBook for a steal.

I sent in Timmy and anxiously waited to see if Apple would send me a new PowerBook (Timmy may or may not have had a run in with a full glass of water that necessitated me leaving the PowerBook off and upside down for a few days to dry out). Luckily, Timmy was up to snuff and Apple sent me Ambrose.

airportcard.jpgI was quite exited to get a new computer, and shortly there after I ordered an AirPort card. The card came, I disassembled the computer to install it... and the darn card didn't fit! I figured out that I was putting it in upside down (I'm clever!) and it slide right in. All that was standing between me and wirelessly surfing the Internet was a plugging in a small cable from the PowerBook to the AirPort card. The cable was pretty snug, and it was JUST a little too short to plug in, so I pulled on it a little. Nothing. I pulled a little more. Nothing. Finally I pulled a little more and, success! If by success I mean I ripped the cable right out of the PowerBook.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is they I bought this external WiFi card for my PowerBook.

Anyway, I'll be recycling Ambrose at some point, but he was a good computer (I'm keeping my G4 Cube though!).


Canada, Tom Brokaw style

I've got to admit that I enjoy the taped segments, like this one explaining Canada to Americans, that NBC puts together for the Olympics a little more than the Olympics themselves (but I am rooting for the USA. I mean, I'm not a god damn pinko bastard or anything).

[via The Adventures of Accordion Guy in the 21st Century who is a real live Canadian! Who knew they had the Internet in Canada?).]


Balloon boy

Balloons"Helpful" is not a word that many people would use to describe me. I generally try and stay out of the way when some sort of physical labor is required (I have soft man hands after all).

Marisa, being the nice woman that she is, offered to throw Angie a baby shower. What does this mean to me? It means, of course, that I have "volunteered" to help with some of the logistics. OK, so I didn't volunteer at all... and I wasn't all that helpful but I did have to run a couple of errands that day of the shower.

Errand number one (and the subject of this blog post): go to our local Hallmark store and purchase some balloons. This is the sort of task that I do not excel at. I require, in these situations, very clear instructions: number of balloons, required colors, and so on. Marisa armed me with one of the paper napkins that she bought for the shower and said, "Tell the person at the store that you want balloons that match this napkin."

Marisa didn't pin the napkin to my sleeve, but I could tell she wanted to.

I took myself over to the Hallmark store, waited for the nice lady to have a free moment, and pounced. I pulled the paper napkin out of my pocket and said, "I need 12 balloons that match this napkin."

She looked at me for a moment and replied, "A woman sent you here."


2009 in pictures (and video!)

Last year you got 2008 in pictures, and now you get 2009 in pictures (aren't you lucky!):

January 2009

I went to Macworld (I didn't know it at the time, but it might have been my last Macworld trip! Though who knows what the future will bring):

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I took a picture wearing bunny ears that I use for my Twitter picture:

I'm a hoppy bunny

I started my new job at Comcast and took a picture of the view from my office (I'm not in that office any more, so the view has changed):

View from my office

February

I bought some candy (must have had a slow February!).

Vanilla & Cherry Tootsie Fruit Rolls

March

Took my picture with the World Series trophy.

Scott with World Series Trophy

April

Saw the cherry blossoms in DC:

Crowds

Got my fancy new business cards:

My business card

Gruber admitted he has a man-crush on me (you have to read the Flickr comments to get this one):

Silver Daring Fireball shirt

May

Drank some Pepsi with real sugar in it:

Pepsi throwback

Went to Lancaster and visited Central Market:

Marisa in Central Market

Took this cool picture:

Diebold

June

Bought my wedding ring (Marisa's took a bit more effort):

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Visited a bunch of cool places in Philly:

Looking into the old room

July

I had a lovely 4th:

Lobsters went on vacation before I did:

Lobster vacation

August

Marisa bought me a nice keychain:

I like you

September

I saw a tiny frog:

Ahh, right, I got married:

The Happy Couple

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October

We went on our honeymoon:

The Inn

I had no cell service in Vermont (grr!):

No Service

I had lots of pancakes and maple syrup:

Maple Sugar and Vermont Spice

I had a cow (HAHAHAAHA):

Moo 2

We stayed at a fancy pants resort that Marisa really liked (against her hippy roots):

Huge cabin

We visited Albany and saw the Egg:

The Egg

We slept in an Airstream (wouldn't recommend it):

North to Alaska

We were super cute:

The Married Couple!

I went back to work and created this video:

November

I bought yet another camera and took this neat picture:

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I broke my iPhone and had to get a 3GS to replace it:

This is why I got an iPhone 3GS

Barcamp! W00t.

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I saw some 3D stuff:

About to enjoy the Comcast Holiday Spectactular in 3D

December

I enjoyed the Yulelog in HD:

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And got some geeky ornaments:

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Wedding/Honeymoon pictures

Marisa and I got married a couple of months ago and I haven't put up any pictures! We took a bunch both at the wedding itself and during our honeymoon. I've collected some of the pics I like best in this post, but if you want to see them all they are on Flickr:

Here are the ones that I thought I would highlight on the blog:

The Wedding

First, we'll start with the wedding pictures. Most of these were taken by our good friend, and great photographer, Albert Yee (I'll point out which ones weren't!).

Marisa snaps a pic of me

This first picture was taken by yours truly. Marisa thought that perhaps she would have enough time to take her own wedding pictures.

Some random dogs showed up

While Marisa and I were exchanging vows I thought I saw a random dog walk past. But I knew that no one had brought a dog with them. Turns out the neighbor's dogs stopped by to wish us well (this pic was snapped by David Kirpan).

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Ah, the pro pictures begin!

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Marisa has a very large family.

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I don't. Behind me are my brother and mother. Behind Marisa are her parents and her sister.

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Raina played a song before we said our vows.

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About to take the plunge.

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Different people. Different shoes.

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Kissing! In public! Shocking.

Hands, touching hands

My good friend David Kirpan manned my camera during the ceremony and managed to get this picture. Good job, Dave!

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Marisa, being Marisa, made all of our wedding cakes herself. Here you see a destroyed flourless chocolate cake (which we made on Fork You once, video and recipe here).

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My relatives made the trek out to Philadelphia to attend (ain't they nice!).

My mom, her brother Robert, and her sister Maryellen

My mom, her brother, and her sister.

The Honeymoon

Bennington Pottery sign

The whole honeymoon plan was founded on visiting Bennington Potters (for Marisa), and so that was our first stop.

The Goodwill Store

Marisa also loves thrift stores, so we had to go here.

Another moose

All around Bennington they had these painted Moose. This one is the covered bridge moose which features a picture of the bed & breakfast we stayed at painted on its flank (I thought that was pretty cool).

No Service

My iPhone (and Blackberry and wireless data card) got no service for most of the trip, which was actually quite nice.

Steeple

A nice steeple. I just like the way this picture came out.

The Inn

The first place we stayed at in Vermont was the Inn On Covered Bridge Green, which was just lovely. Norman Rockwell used to own this house... though we didn't actually stay in the house proper. There is a little honeymoon cottage in the back (which used to be called the 'corn crib') that we stayed in. I'm certain that Marisa and I will be back to this place again.

Postcard material

This is what was painted on that moose.

Brownies

We left Vermont and went to Lake Placid, New York and stayed at the White Face Lodge, which was very nice indeed. They had brownies waiting for us in our room. You can't beat that!

Lake Placid

I thought this was a picture of Lake Placid, but I'm pretty sure it is actually Lake Mirror... either way it is pretty.

Free bubbly

Since I booked the Honeymoon package we also received some free champagne. It was pretty good.

Marisa with an armful of jars

Of course Marisa bought some jars.

Flag and cannon

And I demanded we visit some historical sites! This is Fort Ticonderoga.

We're cute!

Us being cute.

I assume this is Hurbert

A cannon.

Can you find Marisa?

The Kings Garden which is right next to the Fort. We actually happened to visit when some sort of farmers' market was going on so we managed to buy some vegetables.

Stickers

We also hit the Billings Farm & Museum which is neat (and I only heard about it because I was listening in on someone else's conversation at the Vermont Country Store).

Moo

This was outside of some tourist trap that we ventured into (and where we bought some rare Cabot cheeses that aren't available in these parts).

The Egg

The Egg in Albany, NY. Since we were driving through Albany I thought it would be fun to take the Capitol Building tour.

Library

The Library in the New York State Capitol.

Lights on the Airstream

A string of lights on our Airstream trailer.

North to Alaska

We stayed in an airstream (the one pictured above) at Kate's Lazy Meadow, which is surrounded by beauty. Marisa and I were both glad we only booked one night, however, since the trailer was tiny!

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I thought this was a cool picture.

The Married Couple!

And there we are being cute again!


I interviewed the Wiggles

The Wiggles. Kids go crazy for them, and until recently I had very little idea who the heck they were. That all changed last week when I sat down to interview them for my day job (yes, I was in the same room with them even though it might not look that way in the video).


They were nice guys, and I enjoyed chatting with them.

When I joined Comcast I wasn't expecting to interview anyone, but it turns out I quite enjoy it (I'll leave it up to you whether or not I'm any good at it!). Here's a link to the YouTube video if you're reading this in a newsreader or something.


A week of videos

I've been pretty quiet on the blogging front (well, at least here, I've been blogging like a mad man for the day job!) because I was writing my second book (OMG! I know! I'll have more to say about this in the coming days).

However, the first draft of my book is done so I have a little more time for random crap (huzzah!). I was thinking about what I could do and I remembered I have roughly 14,000 video capable cameras in my possession so why not create a video a day for a little while?

The first video is embedded here, and I'm asking you to suggest some ideas for future videos. Come on, you know you have some great ideas!


New glasses... kind of

Me wearing said glasses

I mentioned that I was in the market from some sunglasses and the kind folks at Shuron mailed me four pairs of frames so I could try them on my fat face and see if I liked them. Above you can see me modeling a pair (the lenses are just clear plastic). I'm going to put in an order for a pair with tinted lenses so I can use these as sunglasses. It'll be nifty, don't you think?


I have no glasses and yet I must see

No glasses ScottThe lens in my frames were pretty scratched up, and since I just started a new job I thought I would take my benefits for a spin and get some new lens (not new frames though, since I totally heart my frames).

Off I went to Eye Candy which has a god awful Web site, but a lovely staff. Since I only have one pair of frames I called ahead and asked how long they would need to keep them to install the new lens. They said it would take a day, which didn't seem too shabby to me. Off I went to get my eyes examined (which always freaks me out because they put things far too close to your eyes for my liking), and take a look at their sunglasses (my future is pretty bright after all).

I was pursuing the sunglasses with fully dilated pupils when the guy behind the counter came over to help me. He looked at my old glasses and said, "So you like the retro look, huh?" Since I do, in fact, like the retro look (though in a non-ironic fashion) I nodded and commented that all their frames were pretty modern looking. I did, however, try on a couple of pairs but it seems I'm an ocular Goldilocks: the frames were either too big or too small.

I wasn't worried, though, since I have frames that I are totally my bffs. Once my eye exam was done (OK, sidebar here: Whenever I am looking through one of those machines with the different lens in it and the eye doc flips one and says, 'Better or worse?' I always feel like they know the RIGHT answer... and they are just testing me to make sure I'm not pretending to need glasses. Am I the only one who thinks this?) I returned to the clerk and said, "So, I guess I'll be back to tomorrow to get my glasses!" To which he replied, "Your insurance requires that we send all frames to their lab so they can make the lens. They'll be ready in a week."

rendering.jpgWhat was I to do? I needed new lens, and I had gotten this far... so I left the store without my glasses and immediately walked onto a girder that was swinging from a nearby crane. How I survived that hilarious walk through that construction site I'll never know.

I should have my glasses back tomorrow though, which is a good thing since I've been hunching over all week so I can actually read stuff on my computer screen. My back is killing me!

Also, I'm thinking about buying these sunglasses. What say you, gentle reader? To the right you can see a very badly done rendering of what I might look like wearing said glasses. Pretty sexy, huh?


Life is good, everyone just overreacts

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I'm sure everyone knows about PostSecret (if you don't here is the quick rundown: you send an anonymous postcard to this address and every Sunday the best secretes are posted on PostSecret). This week's entry starts with the postcard above which I think pretty much sums up life.

If you enjoy PostSecret you should check out FMyLife, which is kind of like Twitter for embarrassing stories.


Comcast Voices: my new gig

ComcastVoices.jpg When I was a kid I wanted nothing more than to be a scientist. I blame that on a healthy dose of Star Trek and Quantum Leap (plus a liberal dusting of popular science books). I went off to Lehigh with the intention of majoring in physics and then going to getting a PhD and then doing some hard science.

My dream was crushed in calculus class. Math always came easily to me, but I found calculus to be completely alien. I couldn't wrap my mind around it (though looking back at it, I'm pretty sure I was just too darned lazy to do the required work) and so I did what any red blooded college student would do: I gave up.

It was clear that the hard sciences weren't for me, and that meant I needed a new major. There were two lead contenders: Classical Studies (i.e. Ancient History) or English. Since I always enjoyed reading and writing (and I was fluent in English at the time; Latin was all Greek to me) I figured I would opt for English (though I ended up taking enough Ancient History classes to minor in Classics, but I didn't fill out the paperwork for the minor, so that isn't on my academic record). That turned out to be a great decision, even though for the last ten years or so it looked like writing would always be a sideline to my 'real' job (i.e. being an IT geek).

Over the last few years I've been lucky enough write about lots of stuff and get paid for it (first at TUAW, then at Macworld and MacUser, and then I wrote a book, which I still think is super cool), and as I was doing all that writing there was a voice in the back of my mind that kept saying, "gee, wouldn't it be fun if I did this full-time?"

I'm no John Gruber or Jason Kottke, so I knew that making a living off of Blankbaby would be difficult at best (the market of people who are intensely interested in what I am doing at any given point just isn't large enough to monetize... plus whenever I hear anyone use the word 'monetize' I want to punch them in the throat). Freelancing seemed like something that might work, but all my friends who are indies (mostly working over at Indy Hall) seem to be working all the time (on what I have no idea). Plus a large amount of your time as an indie is spent making sure your clients pay you. I hate paper work, and talking to people isn't really my forte so being a freelancer just doesn't appeal to me (though I would like to work from home and not wear pants).

My business cardAs you all know (if you're been paying attention) I am now a happy Comcast employee. When I wrote that post (has it already been 4 months? I've been telling people I've been at Comcast for a little over 2 months! I'm bad with dates) I wasn't at liberty to give out the URL for the blog I was working on. Now that it is public knowledge I can present to you Comcast Voices.

Yep, Comcast Voices is Comcast's corporate blog and I spend my days managing it, thinking about what we should post on it, and generally making a nuisance of myself. Check it out and let me know what you think (I hope you don't think it sucks... well, it sucks as little as any corporate blog can realistically not suck)!

It is pretty funny that while I was in college I wanted nothing to do with computers. I hand wrote all my term papers until my professors, one by one, refused to grade them unless I started typing them up (no one, including me, could read my handwriting). I didn't own a computer until a year after I graduated college, and now I spend most of my time (and make all of my money) on computers, thinking about them, and writing about them.

What a world.