Archive for March 2003

Making email easier

During a conversation at PC Forum about the difficulties of using technology, especially as it related to configuring email clients, this thought occurred to me: why can't my email client just ask me, "What address would you like to use?" and then look up the POP or IMAP info from the MX record and save it? Why does it make me type it in, espcially if I have an active Internet connection? It could say, "What address do you want:" and then "What's the username:" and "What's the password:" and then it'd be done. Even the most novice user should be able to do that. Of course, that still leaves the user to enter his/her SMTP info, but that's a problem to solve for another day...

Update: this sounds like it won't work, more later. Flying to Chicago now.

Bad server juju

Alas, shortly after I arrived in Arizona a pox fell upon the web server and it was down and out for a couple of days, allowing none of the exciting reporting from the road that I'd thought about providing. It came back up in time for me to spend a disconnected day on the plane flying back to New York City, because that's how these things work.


Coming to you live from LGA via the Sidekick, with not much to say except I wanted to try this out and airport CNN is driving me crazy. It is so full of non-news and rife with "supposedly" and "maybe" and "perhaps". Also too omnipresent is the American smile while reporting about things like the "bunker buster," one of America's largest bombs. Yippee! I'll be happy when this bout of travel is complete and I can never watch CNN again.

Huh, weird. This didn't actually publish properly, hence its late arrival. But it did post to MT. Must be something odd with MT, the Sidekick, and page reloading? Any one?

The weblog revolution

I've posted my keynote from the 2003 Midwestern Conference on Film, Language, and Literature. It's a 250 KB PowerPoint document entitled, "The Weblog Revolution: How technology and amateurs are changing the way we communicate." My slides tend to be pretty bland and don't cover a lot of the talk, but I guess you'll get the gist, if you're interested. I'll try to get an HTML version online later today, but for now I'm just going to go listen to some other people speak for a while. I'm happy to have it over with!

Update: Here's the HTML version. It's generated straight from PowerPoint, so it's pretty ugly, but you, again, will get the idea of the presentation.

Crazy travels mapped!

Bryan's created a really cool application called IndyJunior which takes an XML file of latitudes and longitudes and creates a Flash map of one's travels. I've set mine up here: so you can watch me crisscross the continent and the Atlantic over the next few months. Lest you think I'll wear myself out with all this, I've sworn off travel after June and will go awondering no more. At least until fall. Really. I swear!

Happy travel tales

In the span of one week, I've been to five airports (EWR, DFW, PHX, ORD, and LGA), and had to pass through security at four (all but DFW), and I'm happy to report that the security process was actually pleasant! Staff was courteous and efficient at every airport I went to. There was always a manager overseeing the operations. Directions were clear and consistent. And though the process was still onerous: laptops need to be removed from bags and x-rayed separately, shoes and belts removed (the man ahead of me at LGA looked as if he were doing a strip show, removing his jacket, belt, and shoes before being allowed through), there was a comforting consistency in the routine no matter where I was. Another plus -- whether due to war or process improvements I can't say -- was the lack of lines. In every airport I was through security in under ten minutes. Add to that the ease of check-in (e-ticket boarding passes printed out from airport kiosks and twice from my home printer!) and the experience was as good as you can expect these days.

Kitchen tips

In theory this list of how to do all sorts of kitchen things is great. In reality, it's not quite great. The pictures accompanying some of the instructions look like they were taken with the Danger Hiptop camera attachment (small, grainy, bad, etc.). And they frame the content they point to. Still, there's some useful information there.

Best take yet

I don't know how I missed this until now, but Stewart's blurb about the Google/Pyra deal is great.

Andrea's Photo Blog

There are photo blogs, and then there's Andrea's Photo Blog. A recent perusal of posts and accompanying photos will treat you to: Japanese joke pants, strange men's underwear where the male unit is replaced/covered (?) with a banana; a scientific experiment determining whether, "wrinkled clothing hung in a hot steamy shower room become less wrinkled"; the world's smallest pancake; and Japanese toilet seat warmers in action (and by action I'll see). It's a daily reminder that blogging can be fun and silly, and that Japan leads the world in strange consumer products.

Google ripoff

2002: Mom's Google cooking.

2003: Google hack Cookin' With Google.

Update: My mom posts that in fact, it isn't a ripoff and that Tara Calishain of Research Buzz contacted her for permission. And that my mom will be credited for Google cooking in the upcoming
Google Hacks
book. Might I add that it would clear up confusion if she were also credited on the site?

Some new words

Fauxdunk: a small town whose original 5 & 10, feed store, and greasy spoon have been replaced by art galleries, antique shops, and Starbuck's.

Meat Village: the overlap of Manhattan's West Village and the Meatpacking district, where cobblestone streets lead to warehouses.

Make your cat unuseless!

Matt from, reading about my (recently disclosed) penchant for odd Japanese products, sends a pointer to 101 Unuseless Japanese Inventions: The Art of Chindogu. What a book! These duster slippers for cats are the best thing I've ever seen. I'm putting my kitty to work as soon as I get home.

Wild Style in SF

For everyone in San Francisco: Wild Style, the pioneering 1982 movie about hip hop, graffiti, and break dancing, will be showing March 7 & 8 at the Red Vic Movie House on Haight. The director, Charlie Ahearn, will be in attendance at the evening screenings.

Not to get too old school on you, but I saw this movie in 1983. I loved it and a week of breakdancing mania followed, wherein I tried to procure a giant piece of cardboard (no luck), tried backspins on the kitchen floor (no luck), and attempted to moonwalk where ever I went (absolutely, positively, no luck). Check out the movie if you're into early hip hop culture, it's fantastic. And then grab your cardboard and bust your moves.

Losing our stupidity

Doc and Dave have produced World of Ends: What the Internet Is and How to Stop Mistaking It for Something Else. It is an excellent attempt to explain what the Internet really is, why it works, and what it means for our behavior. They summarize the World of Ends very nicely with 10 points, ending with "Some mistakes we can stop making already." Amen, brothers.

Today's news, a poem

Composed entirely from this morning's My Yahoo! headlines

Dow Drops
Unemployment Rate Rises
Record Gas Prices in April

Stocks Slump
War Fears
Seize Chunk of Gaza Strip

Weak Jobs Data
Payrolls Plunged
Shares Fall
Inflation Pressures
Fourth-Quarter Loss

Iraq Must Be Dealt with Now
Prospect of Imminent War

Welcome Australians!

The Age (from Australia) mentions megnut in this week's Blogon column. If you're coming to the site after reading the article, welcome! For those interested in seeing the article in its orignal form, here's a scan of it [172k] nicely sent in by Ben H. Thanks Ben!

Early hip-hop photos

Dheeraj reports that Punch Gallery in San Francisco has an exhibit, "Yes Yes Y'all" running March 6 - 31st, 2003. It's 70+ photos documenting the birth of hip-hop from Charlie Ahorn, the director of Wild Style, including "pictures of kool herc, furious 5, busy bee, lots of nyc subway train graffiti, etc..." He also says that Mr. Ahorn will be at the gallery this Saturday for a Q & A session.

Chinatown buses, another view

You may have heard a lot about the great Chinatown buses that will zip you to Boston or DC for ridiculously low rates. The Morning News' Clay Risen reports on what it's really like to take a trip. If you're looking for cheap transport up and down the east coast, his article will help you figure out if the Chinatown bus is the transportation solution for you.

A response to a reader

Dear anonymous megnut reader,

First off, thanks so much for taking the time to write! I love getting mail from readers, it's one of the things I most enjoy about doing this site. Hearing others' thoughts and checking out the links they send is enlightening. So it was with relish that I opened your message.

You write,

how does this figure into your pro-death perspective?

Since I hadn't realized I possessed a "pro-death perspective," I was keen to read the link you sent. Imagine my dismay when the URL returned the message, "Sorry, the page you have requested is not available." And then, consider my consternation when I realized the return address of your missive was "". Why, there was no way I could even respond to your kind note for any sort of clarification! We seem to be at an impasse.

Still trying to figure,


HBO idea

HBO has done a fantastic job of distinguishing itself from other cable movie stations like Showtime by developing high-quality original programming like Six Feet Under, The Sopranos, and Sex in the City. They've got their brand associated with quality, here's a plan to strengthen it. Push the low-end, re-run movies out to HBO2 and other HBO channels. Then fill the remaining slots (those that don't have original programming or sports) with superb films and documentaries. Show things like No Man's Land, and Sundance/Cannes picks. Make it so that every time I turn on HBO, there's something worth watching.

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