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July 2004

Give Ebooks or give me death

The whole staff here at Blankbaby Industries are avid readers, and geeks. Give us a novel and a new toy and we are amused for hours. Technolust nirvana can be found in the elusive Ebook; well, an Ebook worth owning we shoudl say.

Sanford May, an editor over at Gizmodo (for our money the best gadget blog out there, has penned "Feature Creep: 500 Books In Your Gadget Bag," which pretty well summarizes why we won't be spending out hard earned cash on an Ebook reader any time soon.

We just want a PADD and we would be happy.

Philadelphia Architects and Buildings

I came across the Philadelphia Architects and Buildings while browsing UPENN's website. Here is a blurb about the site:

The Philadelphia Architects and Buildings database provides authoritative information on three centuries of Philadelphia buildings and designers. PAB incorporates data and images from the collections of more than 25 Philadelphia-area repositories. The database is added to and amended daily, and additional building and biographical information is welcomed through our user feedback.

I found out that the building I live in is a registered Historic Place. I am not sure what happened here, other than this is my first residence in Philadelphia, but I am sure it was something very cool.


You know, I shouldn't label my iPod postings as 'Mac Stuff' since our PC friends can be proud iPod users, but what can you do.

Anyway, decaffeinated asks the question: What is so special about the new iPods?

He thinks that WiFi is the missing factor to make the iPod new and exicting:

Wi–Fi and OpenTalk means wireless auto–sync whenever you’re in range of your home network. It means contact sharing, calendar sharing, multiplayer games, and streaming audio. If that whole color screen thing does actually come to fruition, it could mean photo sharing too; and in a really adventurous world, a Wi–Fi–enabled iPod with a microphone attached could be your own personal VoIP audioconferencing solution or even an internet radio station. At its most mundane, this ‘AirPod’ could be the remote control you always wanted for your Express setup.

I agree, but I don't think it is going to happen any time soon. However, if it does I plunk down my hard earned money to get a new iPod, even though I really don't need one.

Am I Annoying?

Are You Annoying? asks a recent article by Computerworld.

Do you tell IT insider jokes that users don't understand? Do you sprinkle technical jargon through discussions with business people? Do you find that you've usually got the right answer to any problem and you let everyone know it? If so, you may be something you didn't think you were: annoying.

I don't think I am annoying, I mean sure I post long winded articles about gadgets that doen't exist yet, but no one is forcing you to read this here blog. When I am donning my IT professional cap I try to be as polite and understanding to the user as I can be.

As I was reading this article I came across this paragraph:

And IT folks often require the "right" decision, says Gerry McCartney, CIO at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School in Philadelphia. "[They] have difficulty between shades of gray," he says. "Sometimes there are a lot of 'rightish' answers," and insisting that there's just one can be annoying.

And I was totally like, 'Dude, I know him.' Mostly because I work in IT at Wharton (I have finally given up any sense of anominity I had on this thing. I have realized that I have my full name posted all over this blog, and pictures of myself, so who am I fooling?).

But Gerry is right about 'rightish' answers, I often say that there are 3 right answers to most technical questions (sometimes there are far more).

Anyway, do YOU think I am annoying? And if so, why are you still reading this blog?

Biker Bush

I just can't wait for the Google searchs that this title comes up in.

Anyway, it looks like President Bush likes to mountain bike:

But mountain biking is inherently dangerous, as the president has learned firsthand.

On May 22, he lost traction on a dirt road, scraping his chin, upper lip, nose, right hand and both knees. The next day, a Secret Service agent riding behind him slammed onto the ground at high speed on a paved section, breaking his collarbone and three ribs.

I am all for physical fitness, but should the President really be doing this kind of thing? You may or may not agree with the man but you have to agree that it would be a very bad thing if he seriously injured himself while riding on his ranch.

Shouldn't the Secret Service tell him to take up swimming or something?


treovsipaqBoy, they just keep making cool gadgets that I feel compelled to by. Given the incident, I have found myself without a PDA for at least a fortnight, a situation which I do not enjoy. Now, mind you I have more often than not been in this very situation but I find that I am actually moderately more productive with a small peice of technology telling me what to do and where to do it.

I also like to foster convergence in all things that I do. I was one of the first people to own a Sidekick, and I liked the hell out of it, however it couldn't sync with my desktop, and that made me sad.

My Tungsten C was great, it had WiFi, it synced (sanc?) with my Outlook account at work. The only draw backs were that I couldn't actually check my Exchange account on it without spending money for some 3rd party products, and it wasn't a phone. Plus, I broke it.

Now I am thinking about getting either whatever Palmone introduces after the Treo 600, or the newly announced HP iPAQ Pocket PC h6315.

Let's list the pros and cons of each.

First the Treo 6xx (remember this is a fictional device, I am not considering the Treo 600, which is available now):


  • Uses the uncluttered Palm OS

  • Great Design

  • I am familiar with Palm products

  • Software for the Mac

  • Not run by Microsoft software

  • Good size that packs a punch

  • Integrated Keyboard


  • Doesn't sync with Exchange natively

  • Doesn't Exist yet

  • Might not have Bluetooth and WiFi

  • No free terminal client for Windows Machines

OK, and now the HP iPAQ Pocket PC h6315:


  • It exists, or will on Aug. 26th

  • Complete Exchange Intergration

  • Bluetooth, WiFi, and GSM/GPRS, this thing is connected (and it can be connected to all three at the same time)

  • Terminal Client

  • Give me a chance to learn the Pocket PC

  • User Replaceable Battery

  • Has a little camera for taking pictures of random crap


  • Microsoft® Windows® Mobile™ 2003 for Pocket PC - Phone Edition

  • Looks a little bulky

  • No Mac software

It is a tough choice. I am going to wait until I see the HP in person before I decide, and by that time PalmOne may announce a new Treo that will have me drooling more than the HP iPAQ Pocket PC h6315 has.

New iPod's Hidden Niceties

Macworld Editors' Notes Weblog: New iPod's Hidden Niceties

I've only had my click-wheel iPod for a few days, but today I discovered a new feature that initially annoyed me -- but now I find quite clever.

Basically, if you've only got a set of headphones (or any other device) connected to your iPod via its mini jack, and that jack gets pulled out, the iPod senses it and automatically pauses. So if you're walking somewhere and you accidentally have your headphones ripped from your iPod (hey, it does happen), the iPod will not continue to play while you regain your senses and decide what to do next.

I think it's a pretty cool little idea. I admit it might be annoying if you were just trying to quickly transfer your iPod from a speaker to headphones or back again (as I was when I discovered this feature), and it might be nice if you could turn it off. But it's still a cool little detail.

It is the little things that make the difference, and Apple is all about the little things. Too bad I don't have a good reason to get a new iPod. It is also too bad that Apple has decided not the release a firmware update to the G3 iPod that would give them most of the new features of the new iPod.

My life is so tough.

Backwards Blogs Broken?

Seth Godin asks the question: Are blogs backward?

Here are his main points:

a. a lot more blogs should be posted in chronological order, like books. If you're trying to chronicle something, it makes a lot of sense to start at the beginning, as long as you provide regular readers an easy way to just read the current stuff (That's what RSS is for, right?). No, this isn't right for gizmodo. But it makes a lot of sense for someone, say, chronicling her experience in a 12 step program.

b. we need Movable Type or someone to create a simple way to create "greatest hits" pages. Not an archive, but a simple way for a new reader to read the ten posts we want them to start with, in the order we want them read, before they dive in.

The greatest hits page is a good idea, but I think his first thought needs refinement. I don't think that the main page of a blog should be chronological. New visitors want to see the freshest content first. However, I do think that ARCHIVES should be chronological. Many times I have gone to a blog and reverse read all the posts. It makes much more sense, at least to me, to have the older posts shown in order of posting with the least recent on top.

Joi Ito, who has forgotten more about blogs than I know, thinks that the current format of blogs is too entrenched to be changed. But I must point out that books were printed for years without numbered pages, and everyone thought they were just fine. Suddenly someone prints tiny numbers on the pages to make reference much easier, and books are changed forever.

Are we not Men? We are Devo!

26PAREThe New York Times: Devo: Snappy and Smoldering in Jumpsuits and Upturned Flowerpots

Paradoxes have always collected around Devo. It started as an art project, turned into a cult band and had its moment as a pop novelty hit maker with "Whip It" in 1980. Its songs use constricted structures to foster both tension and comedy, as when Mark Mothersbaugh proclaims, "I've got an uncontrollable urge," to music that's strictly under control. The tunes are built on stiff, jerky rhythms that somehow hint at funk anyway.

Hide the children, lock up your wives: Devo is back, baby! Whip it, whip it good.

TMBG Concert Update

I have decided to skip the Washington, DC concert today. It is supposed to rain in DC, and since I am going to New York next week to see them, I thought it made sense to just wait.

So that leaves today wide open and full of possibilities!

Hiptop Version 2

Engadget has posted some pictures of the forthcoming Hiptop2 from Danger.

Suddenly I am over come with technolust.

I had the orginal Sidekick, and it was a very good internet device, but a so so phone. If there is a way to sync this thing with Outlook and to check an Exchange account I will seriously think about getting one.

Stalk of Wheat

I have to agree with Jen on this one, TMBG's new CD 'The Spine' is vintage Giants.

As I do with every new CD I purchase I listened to it several times in its entirety. I do believe that my favorite song is Stalk of Wheat, which is delightfully surreal.

On a related note, I am getting very excited about my day trip to DC to see Them.

Who else is excited?

One Earphone or Two?

iPod etiquette:

At Stanford University, "when friends run into each other on campus, each removes one earbud so they can converse and listen to music simultaneously."

While walking home today I saw three other people wearing that 'white earbuds' that are a sure sign of an iPoder.

In New York it seemed that every other person was wearing them, but here in Philly it doesn't see as prevalent, however I think the iPod is gaining ground.

And while we are talking about the iPod, head on over to Wired and read the article about the Birth of the iPod. It is an interesting read.

Halo 2

haloI am not much of a gamer, but Halo 2 is definately a game that I will be purchasing.

Since I do own an Xbox, I am going to enjoy the heck out of this game. I don't think I am going to go as far as taking the day off of work to play it, but I may go to sleep pretty late.