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November 2007

Welcome to Geekadelphia


There seems to be a new Philly blog on the scene: Geekadelphia. Dedicated to all things geeky, and vaguely Philadelphia related, this blog has earned an automatic place in NNW for me.

My only gripes (and you knew there had to be some) are:

  • I didn't think of it first
  • I am not listed in their blogroll as a Philly geek. WTF? Don't make me show you my thousands of Star Trek cards!

Update: My geekiness has been recognized by Geekadelphia. All is right in the world.

I do not recommend this as a way to fix your iBook

angryfinder.jpgI'm a geek, this we know. I also happen to be fairly well known on the Mac web (for whatever that's worth). This means that my friends, family, and random strangers often turn to me with computer troubles. I've helped people I hardly know recover data, replace harddrives, figure out what computers to buy, and how to fix any number of computer issues. When I was doing desktop support I often joked that people figured I supported anything that plugged into the wall, so my co-workers would ask me about the fax machine, the microwave, or the office fridge.

I say all this to establish the fact that I generally know what I am doing when it comes to troubleshooting technology in general. Marisa has just recently employed troubleshooting tactic that would never have even crossed my mind. And I quote:

Getting back into bed, I spent the next half hour sending good thoughts to my computer. I imagined a beam of light pouring over its pearly white case. I told it how much I appreciated it and how I just needed it to work for a few more weeks. I reminded it that its purpose in life was to compute and by not turning on, it was denying that which it had been born to do (I have never claimed to be normal).

That is a very Marisa thing to do, but not the way I would go. That being said, her iBook did start working again so what do I know? Henceforth I am just going to forward all computer questions I get to Marisa and I suggest you do the same.

Do you believe every word of the Bible?

These YouTube Debates are pretty interesting (the Republican one can be seen here and the Democrats version here), though I am not sure if they did what folks thought they would. The idea was that if you open the debates to anyone and let them ask the candidates a question it'll make the debates more open and more relevant. This, of course, discounts the fact that not every submitted question will be answered, just those picked by CNN. Furthermore not every candidate has to answer every question (which makes little sense to me). The debate moderator picks who has to answer a particular question, unless the YouTuber in question addressed his question to a particular candidate.

I've embedded above a question from calciumboy which I found interesting. The question, which he posed to all the candidates, was 'Do you believe every word in this book,' and he held up the Bible (though not just any Bible, but the King James Bible, which calciumboy believes is the best translation of the Bible). He further stated that 'your answer to this question tells us everything we need to know about you.' Clearly, he meant that if the candidate isn't a Biblical Literalist (i.e. the Bible is the Word of God, and as such everything in it is literally true. Jonah was in the belly of a great beast, Noah built an ark that has 2 of every animal in creation on it, the world was made in 6 days, and so are. These aren't allegories but facts.) then case closed, we shouldn't vote for you.

The question was posed to:

All three of those men (and all the candidates, both Democrat and Republican I do believe) have stated that they do, in fact, believe in God. It shouldn't be too shocking that they all said that the Bible is the Word of God, but it is interesting to me that both Guiliani and Huckabee said, 'No, not every word is the literal truth. Some things are allegorical,' while Romney seemed uncomfortable stating that he believes the Bible is the literal truth.

It would seem to me that if you wear your religion like a cloak around your shoulders to get votes you shouldn't be sheepish about those beliefs when asked about them directly. Come on, Romney, I may disagree with what you believe (and I do) but I think you should have the conviction to plainly state your viewpoint.

I was raised Roman Catholic, though I'm an unabashed Atheist these days, so I've read my fair share of the Bible. I went to a Jesuit high school in which I spent many hours poring over The New Jerome Biblical Commentary (just seeing the cover to that book dregs up many memories from high school) writing up numerous exegeses about various passages in the Bible. This was all done in an effort to make us think critically about our Faith, in hopes that it would strengthen it. In my case it had the opposite effect, but I think it is laudable of the Jesuits to teach kids about thinking first, and then let the facts speak for themselves. Politicians could learn a thing or two from the Jesuits, if you ask me (which you didn't, but it is my blog so I get to talk about whatever I want).

Why all the Kindle hate?

kindlesmall.jpgI've been reading lots of negative thoughts about the Amazon Kindle (mostly via Daring Fireball) and I just don't get it. Sure, everyone loves physical books, but I sure as heck don't feel the need to own every single paperback I read for the rest of my life. Some books I want to keep forever and ever, some I just want to read and be done with. The Kindle is great for mass paperbacks. Oh, and did I mention it does newspapers and magazines as well (at the moment the content is limited, but do you think Amazon can't get more publishers on board?)?

I can understand that folks bristle when Jeff Bezos suggests that the Kindle is going to replace books. Bibliophiles will always want to collect books, feel books, smell books, and experience books. I count myself amongst that breed of people (I'm typing this post up in a room that contains at least 250 books, so believe me when I say that I like books). However, let's face facts: most people don't read. Most people don't care about books in the least, and that's why the Kindle (or something like it) is going to succeed in the long run.

A general lack of interest in reading doesn't seem to be a point in favor of the Kindle. The Kindle costs $400 and then, once you're plunked that down you have to pay even more to fill it up with books from Amazon (though in reality you don't, but that's another post). Why would a non-reader buy one of these devices? They won't, but you know who will? The bleeding edge techies like me that produce content, read books, and love tech. We'll be the first people to love these things (and I already love my Kindle) and the next generation of devices will be cheaper, look better, have more functionality, and appeal to the mass market. Imagine a $100 device that looks like a piece of paper, but which contains your entire morning paper, all your magazine subscriptions, and that book you really want to get around to reading. It can also be used to look things up on Wikipedia, and in a pinch to check your email. That's the promise of the Kindle, and it delivers on every point today other than price.

The Kindle isn't perfect, but is a still a very interesting piece of technology that only very foolish people would write off from the get go.

I'll be posting more about my thoughts on the Kindle and the PRS-505 in the coming days since I own both of them. If you have any questions for me about either device let me know in the comments and I'll try and answer them all!

Kindle sold out


Some of you might know that Amazon announced their new e-book reader called the Kindle on Monday. Following the announcement, the blogosphere said it was bound to failure (where have I heard that before?). As of 2:25am Wednesday, November 21st Amazon has sold out of its initial run of Kindles (they should be back in stock on the 29th).

There is no telling if this is a consequence of consumer demand exceeding Amazon's forecasts as to how many people would want this thing, or if Amazon is taking a page out of Nintendo's book and creating a little product scarcity to drum up business. All I know is I got mine in the mail today, and I'm already in love.

Flop? I think not.

Beautiful Mount Airy Lodge

If you grew up in the NYC area during the 80's like I did, then you'll immediately recognize this commercial. That damned jingle haunts me, because whenever someone mentions Mt. Airy, the suburb of Philly, I hear "Beautiful Mount Airy Lodge" in my head and then I can't think of anything other than these damn silly commercials.

Sadly, I will never get to stay at Beautiful Mount Airy Lodge since it closed in 2001.

Cute, Denny.

kucinich.jpgHave I told you lately that the political process in this country is broken (though it is great that I can post that opinion without fear that the government will track me down and haul me off somewhere unpleasant)? I'm watching the Democratic Debate on CNN at the moment and I am not pleased with what I hear.

Dennis Kucinich is part of the debate, though no one really thinks he has a chance in hell to win the nomination. We all know this, but that doesn't excuse his fellow Democratic candidates from patronizing him.

Kucinich was asked if people who voted for open trade with China should be held responsible for the various toy recalls and such. Kucinich answered with the obvious, 'Yes, they should be held responsible for the consequences of their actions. Senator Edwards voted for open trade with China, and he's a trial lawyer, he should know better.' I'm paraphrasing, of course, but that's the thrust of what he said. Edwards was given the chance to respond, and he said, 'Well, I don't know what being trial lawyer has to do with anything but...' Here's where Kucinich interjected with, 'Product liability.'

Now that's a zinger if I've ever heard one. What was Edwards' response? 'Cute, Denny,' he said with that bright smile of his and then went on not answering the question of whether he should be responsible, partly at least, for our troubles from China. It really turned my stomach because that phrase right there sums up the contempt the frontrunners have for anyone that says things we, the American people, know to be the simple truth. The truth ain't pretty, and as we all know it won't get you elected to be the next President.

Now, I don't agree with everything Kucinich wants to do but I damn sure think that his candidacy deserves respect. He's working just as hard, if not harder, than Hillary, Obama, and Edwards.

I'm just saying.

Happy 1st birthday, Fork You!

It has been exactly 1 year since we posted the very first episode of Fork You. The first episode, embedded above, took about 3 months to produce from start to finish. We've managed to get that turn around time down to about 3 days from filming to posting (though most of the time it takes longer than that, darned real life work!).

I'll be honest with you, I thought Fork You would be fun to do but I never really thought I could convince anyone else to work with me on it, or that anyone would watch it, or that we would continue to do it week after week (for the most part, though we've missed a few weeks here and there). 32 episodes, and over 110K views later it turns out I was wrong on all parts.

Now, that 100,000 sounds much more impressive than it actually is. Keep in mind that is the sum total of all our episode's numbers, and anyone in the online video biz will tell you that those numbers are pretty meaningless. We don't know if people simply loaded the video, if they watched it, if they watched it all the way through, or what. That being said, for a silly little podcast in Philadelphia with no backing that ain't bad at all.

Fork You has been much more of a success than I ever thought possible, and a year later I'm still having lots of fun doing it (though I can't speak for anyone else involved. I'm a bit of a bastard to work with). What more can a guy ask for?

I would like to thank Marisa, Thad, and Angie for thinking this silly idea was worthwhile and being involved from the start (Thad and Angie helped us film the very first episode, and have helped with almost every episode since!). I should also thank all my Philly peeps that are too numerous to mention (actually, I am too lazy to list them, but you know who you are) who help us make Fork You a reality. People seem to be excited about the podcast and that's pretty darned cool. I mean, even my mom likes it (Marisa's mom likes it too, but she only watches it because she has a crush on me)!

What does the future hold for Fork You? I have no idea, but we'll continue to refine the show, have fun, and see where life takes us.

If you have any ideas on how we can make Fork You ever more awesomer let me know in the comments!

Here's to another year of Fork You!

Fork You: Turkey sidecar

The second part of Fork You's three part series on Thanksgiving is ready for your viewing pleasure (we cooked a turkey in the first part, and that turkey was damned good). This time around we whip up some garlic mashed potatoes and a healthy serving of peas and carrots. As Marisa explains, we went with peas and carrots because I hate string beans.

Anyway, check out the episode and feel free to copy the recipes down and make these sides yourself (Scott and Marisa not included).