Like Most Things It Comes Down to Money

southfilthy

I’m sure I’ve talked about this song before, but at least one of us has forgotten.  So once more, one of my favorite songs.

 

Sandra Lynn’s Blues if off South Filthy‘s wonderfully titled 2002 record You Can Name It Yo’ Mammy If You Wanna….  It’s a pretty uneven record.  It’s got some bad songs, some OK songs and a few excellent songs, including Spyder Blues, which is essentially the same song with different lyrics.

They have at least one other record, 2006′s Crackin’ Up.

A little more information on the band is available here.

An Ode to Stupid Jargon

blahMy extreme dislike of stupid words began around the time I noticed the first few car dealers replacing their used cars signs with ones that said pre-owned cars.  Put a new word on something, and instantly convince the masses that it’s something different.  The fact that it apparently works doesn’t help.  It just makes me mad at humanity for being as dumb and gullible as they think we are.

Since then, there has been a steady stream of invented words, designed to fool us into all manner of beliefs and action.  Web 2.0, semantic web, thought leader (by far, my most hated), etc.  In real life, when people start talking at me in this language, I belittle them by saying “I don’t understand all these made-up words you’re using.  Can you just talk regular?”  The look on the person’s face and the laughter from anyone who overhears this (some of whom, by now, know it’s coming) almost make it worth it.

It’s harder to stop this semantic madness when you’re reading stuff online or (if you enjoy day old information) in those quaint newspapers.  Over time, you become less sensitive to it, but it remains a mild irritant.  Like shirts with starch in them.  And ties.  I don’t need a neck tie, because I have buttons.  I don’t need to reach out to someone, because I can email them.

I’ve always been a Weird Al fan.  Now, I have another reason to be one.  This is my favorite of the recent Weird Al videos.

weirdal

NOTE: Some stupid deal made by somebody seems to be preventing people from embedding the video, which means we all get forced to the WSJ page to see it.  I just love the way old media tries to apply the old media rules to the web.  It doesn’t make us love you, folks.  It makes us as annoyed as some of the words in the clever music video you are holding hostage.

Regardless, the video is worth the trip.  Good stuff.

Right, Left, Blind Side

nobif-2014-07-20

Up from the ground, up from the cold.
I’ve been here before, I know how this goes.

Link (for feeds)

Fort Atlantic

When the Web was Cool

nerdalert

The Atlantic has a great read on the good old days when coolness (or maybe not) ruled the web.  Back in the 90′s, when all of this was new, there were some mostly (and mostly thankfully) now-forgotten trends.  One of them was publicly shared bookmarks- a list of (allegedly) interesting sites to visit.  This evolved into blog rolls, which you still see once in a while.  Another was guest books, where visitors could- if they were so inclined- add their names and acknowledge their visit.  Sort of a communal “Kilroy was here” sort of thing.  Another was were script driven, rotating lists of links where you could add your page’s link to the top.  Then return later, after it had rotated off, and add it again.  I remember adding the first iteration of Newsome.Org to such a list hosted by (and I’m not even kidding) some teddy bear company.

outpost

And there were awards.  Everyone had one.  The one I bestowed on lucky web masters was called the Rancho DeNada Outpost of the Week.  Awesome, right?  The graphic above is the original award from the mid-nineties (converted to png).

Here’s a screen cap of the page with the lucky winners, also from the mid-nineties.

Click for a larger version of this vintage awesomeness!

Click for a larger version of this vintage awesomeness!

Of those, the only one I still visit is IMDB.  I can’t even remember most of them.

Of course, the mid-nineties version of Newsome.Org also won some awards.  It was hard not to.  Here’s a screen cap of the page with some of those approbations, again from the mid-nineties.

Click for a larger image of this vintage awesomeness!

Click for a larger image of this vintage awesomeness!

Those were fun days.  Looking back, a lot of these trends look like the digital equivalent of a bad haircut.  But like haircuts, what looks silly today was rocking back in the day.  Or was it?

GoodSongs: The Stray Birds

NOBI17-140717

This is good stuff.

The Stray BirdsiTunes link.

(via Twangville)

Tech Farrago

Here are a few tech related items I came across recently.

Google Voice wants to make its transcriptions better.  That’s cool, since they haven’t gotten any better since this (which was over 4 years ago).  I like Google Voice, but the transcriptions are only useful as unintended comedy.

Speaking of Google Voice, you can also save the audio voice mails to Google Drive with this handy script.  I don’t do that, but it’s cool that I could if I wanted to.  What I want more is for Google Voice not to die a Google Reader death.

Save a web page as a PDF here.  You could probably just print to PDF via your Print menu, but where’s the fun in that.  I am still looking for an Automator, Apple Script, Hazel, etc. process to reliably and automatically convert documents in a specified folder to PDF.  Sounds simple, right?  But it must not be, because it doesn’t exist as far as I can tell.

labelmaker

I shouldn’t admit this, but I’m intrigued by the new Brother label printer.  I’m a big fan of Brother printers in general, and I too had one of those rotary label makers.

I love Fujitsu ScanSnap scanners.  Brooks Duncan (number one web site for paperless living) tells us how to disable the progress window.  I scan a lot of stuff, so this is good.

Not technically tech related, but awesome.  The New Yorker is opening up its archives.  Only for three months, though.

James Berardinelli explains exactly why I rarely go to movie theaters.  It’s the people, man.  Always the people.  I’m probably going to make a exception for the new Planet of the Apes movie this weekend.

As I noted the other day, I like the Philips Hue line of automation devices.  This light switch looks very promising.

My friend James has an idea for a new Apple device.  I don’t know.  The Windows convertible devices I used back in the day were, well, not fun.  On the other hand, I haven’t worn a watch in years, and I’m very curious about the iWatch.  Maybe Apple can recreate two previously obsolete devices.

Automatic, Not for the People

automaticsda

I’m very interested in automation and the aggregation of life data, and am a longtime user of Dropcams (excellent), WeMos (very good), SmartThings (kludgy, but OK once you get them configured, and possibly about to suffer death by acquisition), Philips Hue (good) and IFTTT (maybe the best thing on the internet).

So when I read about the Automatic Smart Driving Assistant (a reasonable $99), the under-dash device that promised to connect my car to my iPhone and then to IFTTT, giving me all kinds of helpful data, geolocating my car, and making me a better driver, I was interested.  A month or so ago, I took the plunge.  Shortly thereafter, I bought a second one for my daughter’s car (some teenage driver monitoring can be done now, via the device, but Automatic has indicated better monitoring features are coming in the future).  Here’s a summary of my experience so far.

The good?  Installation is easy.  When it works, the device and app combination clearly has potential.  The developers have an active and friendly presence in the support forums.  I want to love this device.  Hopefully, one day I will.

The bad?  Just about everything else.  The device is completely dependent on your phone for capturing and recording data.  Most annoyingly, the device only connects to my iPhone about half the time (and yes, even with the app open in the background).  Which means that I get data on about half my trips, and nothing, nada on the rest.  A taste of honey and all that.  One of the killer (potential) features of the device is that, via IFTTT, it will automatically create a spreadsheet on Google Drive that automatically logs your trips.  Awesome, right?  Except here’s a screen cap of my current log, which- like the Automatic app itself- says I haven’t driven since Monday (three days ago).

automaticlog

There’s a lot more information in the spreadsheet. It’s more awesome than the limited capture above.  When it works, that is.

That’s actually better than the one in my daughter’s car.  It says she hasn’t driven in over a week.  She just got her license and her first car, and drives all the time.

Automatic says the failure to connect issue has, at least in part, to do with limitations under iOS.  OK, but isn’t that like selling a jet pack and then saying its failure to work properly has to do with gravity?

In sum, the Automatic Smart Driving Assistant clearly has potential.  When it works, it’s pretty awesome.  But it isn’t quite ready for prime time.