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Metaspark

Thursday, May 1st, 2008

Or: Further experimentation with personal aggregation services

After my initial experimentations with personal aggregation basically failed I’ve decided to take another stab at it, but this time with a DIY bent. I registered metaspark.net and am working a complicated series of WordPress plugins to attempt to create the functionality I want.

Unfortunately it’s not entirely baked yet, but keep your eye on that domain – once I get a few RSS aggregation, twitter update, and posting date issues sorted out it should be ready to go fully live, and with style no less.

Stay tuned!

Quest for the IMDB 250

Monday, April 28th, 2008

As part of my 101 in 1001 project I set myself a goal to see at least 100 of the top 250 movies of all time as voted by the seething masses at IMDB. In taking stock it would seem that I’ve already seen 73 of them meaning I have 27 left to watch in roughly 27 months leaving me with an entirely manageable cadence of one a month.

A quick glance through the collection shows I have 8 of these movies unopened in my collection so those will be first up on the viewing list:

Barry Lyndon (1975)
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
Hotel Rwanda (2004)
Juno (2007)
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)
Magnolia (1999)
Reservoir Dogs (1992)
The Shining (1980)

Which leaves 168 remaining movies to select from, listed in the full post. If you have a suggestion of a favorite movie from below that you particularly like and think I should prioritize onto the list leave a comment and let me know!

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High entropy living

Thursday, April 10th, 2008

The last two weeks have been interesting and full of change. First off today is my last day working for MSCOM. I’m leaving after two years with the team as a Project Manager to go join the business organization which owns the Volume Licensing Service Center to pursue a career in Product Management. Moving from the implementation to the requirements side of the house is a good move for me and really has me excited about the opportunity to effect change and really challenge the space I’m in to continue to innovate.

Next off I met David, one of the sweetest men on the planet. I’ve spent practically the entire last week and a half with him and I couldn’t be happier about it. It’s one of those intense whirlwind relationships that seems to go at a million miles an hour – fun stuff while it lasts and heres hoping that it will last a very long time!

Finally Skype got to meet David’s roommates 12 week old pit bull puppy Porter. The two of them have been beating up on each other every other day or so and having a blast at it. David is a really active guy and thanks to his influence Skype’s activity level has roughly doubled. He seems happier for it and I hope to keep him active like this as long as he can keep up.

Approaching the first bridge

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

Wired just wrote up a great profile on my favorite futurist Ray Kurzweil. It’s an interesting read – particularly if you follow his work or have read any of his books. While some of his longevity techniques might be a bit off the deep end (hello 210 vitamins) he’s right on the money as far as I’m concerned when it comes to bridging human biology with technology.

Experimenting with aggregation

Saturday, March 22nd, 2008

In an effort to bring together the wonderful wide world of Sparky* I’m experimenting with Tumblr as an aggregation service. The hopes of my experimentation is to create a single point of contact for all my personal web content. Currently to get every last drop of Sparky goodness (and who doesn’t want that) visits to my blog, Flickr stream, Facebook profile, and Twitter are necessary. By providing this aggregate source of Sparky – henceforth referred to as Meta-Sparky – a single website can be visited to consume Sparky, Sparky, Sparky, and more Sparky.

Without further ado: http://sparktography.tumblr.com/

Update: Tumblr ended up being close to what I want, but not quite it. Tumblr will only allow short form content and won’t import long format blog posts. I also noticed it copies Flickr photos locally and re-compresses them which adds a slight color cast and loses the tack-sharpness that so much effort goes into on the front end.

Anyone know of a better aggregation service with similar features that I could check out? Leave a note in the comments with a link to it. If I don’t find anything readymade I guess I’ll have to roll up my sleeves and make something.

*wonder, wonderment, and wonderfulness not guaranteed. All Sparky all the time has been known to cause health complications in certain situations. If you experience a Sparky lasting more than 4 hours consult with a physician immediately.

Confirmed: iPhones are fun

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008

GigaOm points us to new data from M:Metrics confirming that iPhone users are more likely to browse the web, watch videos, and in general get the most our of their digital life while on the go courtesy of the iPhone’s cutting edge features. From a personal perspective I know I use my iPhone a lot more than other phones due to the well implemented features, and desktop-like browsing experience.

iPhone metrics

The article also points out that the iPhone is far from dominant with only 2.2% of the total US cellphone market, although if you ask me that’s a pretty impressive feat having not been on the market a full year and costing $500. I find it interesting that the iPhone beats out all Windows Mobile phones (none of which even show up in the top 25), and is rapidly gaining on RIM’s Blackberry devices.

AppleTV/Hairspray review

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008

Yesterday Apple released the AppleTV Take2 software update. Of course upon getting home I immediately installed it and started playing with some of the shiny gooey goodness and I have to say I’m impressed. I really liked the first version of the AppleTV and they really have knocked it out of the park this time.

The entire user experience is re-envisioned to be more flashy – much more fun to use. The fact that the AppleTV can now independently sync podcasts, buy music and TV shows on the iTunes media store, and rent movies makes for a most delectable icing on an already moist and delicious media cake.

For some strange reason I decided upon Hairspray as test of the new HD rental service. The rental experience was a breeze – two clicks of the remote (plus a one-time password entry) and the HD movie was playing with surprisingly good quality within two minutes.

I went into Hairspray with low expectations and came away impressed. The movie is fun, engaging, and oddly thought provoking. Don’t get me wrong – it’s completely campy and over the top, but really well executed. The music and choreography is well thought out and the cinematographer did a great job of showcasing some of the dance moves without distracting the viewer with too much camera movement.

Featuring fantastic performances by John Travolta, Christopher Walken (it had been so long since I’d seen the Weapon of Choice music video I’d almost forgot how good a dancer he is), and new to film actress Nikki Blonsky who leads the film with confidence and flair.

For the record: John Travola in drag is just plain wrong, but wrong in the kind of way that I can get behind. Travolta in drag for President 08!

Life after people

Tuesday, February 5th, 2008

Like the good little media consumer I am I finally broke down and shelled out $4 on Amazon to check out The History Channels ‘Life After People’ and I have to admit I’m impressed. It’s a 90 minute presentation about mans influence on the planet and exactly what would happen if people were to mysteriously vanish.

The show covers everything from the more immediate effects in the days and weeks following our disappearance, and continues on for 100′s and 1,000′s of years showing the effects of natures reclamation and the collapse of the great works of man. The special effects are surprisingly well done and do a great job of illustrating how important day to day maintenance and a good coat of paint are at keeping the global landmarks of today from turning into rusted heaps of metal.

While the concept is neat there is one thing about Life After People that bugs me: the lack of people. While the whole premise of the show is about what would happen if people vanished in an instant I can’t think of a good scenario which would bring this about. There are no dead bodies, no damage, nothing to explain it in the show – people (although not their pets or any other animals) just vanish. There are plenty of ways that people could vanish from the earth, but none of them would leave no trace of our destruction like the show proposes.

All in all a highly recommended watch though – check it out if you like thought-play, engineering, or ecology! Such a visceral depiction of mans greatest achievements and technology facing the true test of time really does provoke thought and give the brain something to chew on.

Living the Traskpro life

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

I’ve been so busy and productive of late that sadly Futurist Now has suffered from it – barely a post a week on average. Aside from the normal work stuff I’ve been slammed with tons and tons of development work on Traskpro. I’m becoming extremely proud of Traskpro – it’s becoming a very robust solution and I’m all but running my life out of it now.

What makes Traskpro so great? What do I do with it?

Amazing ehh – give it a whirl or check out the Traskpro blog – you can do all these things and more! With Traskpro’s flexible design you can track almost any kind of information – all for free!

Now what would a big Traskpro advert like this be without a few power user tips? Traskpro uses the URL to determine what tag you are viewing – this means that you can bookmark frequently used tags for quick access. I am able to use this feature by setting my internet home page to my “work” tag at work, my “personal” tag at home, and the high priority view on my iPhone – whenever I open a browser I immediately see a highly contextual view of tasks related to my current environment.

Further to URL bookmarking when setting a sort preference the sort preference is added to the next page view URL. This allows you to bookmark not only a specific tag, but also to make it so whenever visiting the bookmark the sorting options can be left intact – useful for power users looking to really take control of a large list of tasks.

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