T-Mobile Sidekick

The Danger Hiptop device, star of PC Forum last March is "coming soon" as the T-Mobile Sidekick. PDA, Web browsing, cell phone, AIM client all wrapped up in one slick little device -- I can't wait. In the past I haven't been crazy about the integrated devices but this one actually looks usable and cool. If I left the house more often, it could be practical as well.

T-Mobile Sidekick Warning

A lucky megnut reader writes in to share his experience, and warning, about the T-Mobile Sidekick,

Beyond the novelty of the "flip top" mechanism, it's a device with some useful (and fun) functionality...That said, I wanted to give you a heads up about the device's downside: the clarity of the voice option. The phone quality is bad, actually it's really bad. You are required to use a headset, which makes it sound like the other party is speaking to you from a tin can lined with thickly-applied insulation.

Apparently improvements are underway but whether they will make it into the first release remains to be seen. Drat!

Hit or Miss Classic Rock

I'm listening to Internet radio today instead of my personal music collection because I thought it would offer a nice change of pace as I crank out some code for a project due next week. Alas, the "classic rock" station I've chosen has been hit or miss, as in "Wow! I totally love this song and had forgotten about it. It's really great!" or, "Oh God, this is just awful. What the hell is this?" and five or ten seconds later groaning, "Is this song still going? WTF?" Examples of the former include: Tom Petty's "American Girl" and The Rolling Stones, "19th Nervous Breakdown." Examples of the latter include Starship's, "We Built This City" and ZZ Top's, "Can't Stop Rockin'." (To which I say, "Yes, yes you can. Please stop now.")

Correction: Newsweek article

Correction from the other day: When I said the Newsweek article had mistakes, I should have said "mistake." The only one I'm aware of is the statement that there were three Pyra founders, rather than two. My apologies to Steven Levy for misrepresenting the facts here myself.

I'm mad as hell

What ever happend to the talk about health care for every citizen? I'm in one of those moods today because my health insurance premium has increased 85.3% in the last five months. Of course, I called and talked to three different people for thirty minutes, and I never had the right person on the phone who could give me the information I needed.

Why can't businesses organize themselves around the customer? I don't care how they divvy up the work behind the scenes, but can't I talk to one person who can tell me a) my premium, b) what my plan covers, c) how much I've paid this year towards my deductable, and d) the difference between my current plan and a cheaper one? I couldn't at HealthNet. Argh! Can't we get some kind of universal health care system in the US? For those of us that are self-employed, and for those that are unemployed, health insurance continues to be a big expense, and an even bigger pain in the neck.

Blogger turns 3

Happy Birthday Blogger!It's Blogger's 3rd birthday today. I didn't even realize until I saw Dave's birthday greeting. Not noticing the date makes me feel like some dead-beat dad that never remembers to send birthday cards to his children.

A strange grip?

I'd like to imagine the reason this photo is currently number one on Yahoo! most popular photos is because everyone is trying to figure out what kind of forehand grip this female tennis player is using. Alas, I think there's a "bigger" issue behind this picture's popularity. (Ugh, did I just write that? And this was going to be a rant about the objectification of female athletes...)

AWA - Another Weblog Article

Living in the Blog-osphere is another article about weblogging, this one from Newsweek. I've been hesitant to link to it because it annoyed me (again) for getting simple facts wrong (again) and I didn't want to bore you with my complaints (again) about it. But then I decided I'd post it because there are folks who read this site who might enjoy the article (Hi Gram and Gramp H and Gram and Gramp Pete!) and not see it elsewhere.

For what it's worth, I think the article does provide a nice introduction to blogging and I'm still thrilled with the continued press coverage and the further "mainstreamization" of blogging. Also, there were two founders at Pyra, not three. And I'm bummed they didn't mention our new book, We Blog: Publishing Online with Weblogs. (Which contrary to what Amazon is saying, is published. I guess they haven't gotten it yet. Grrr!)

Fall is coming

I got up a bit earlier today than usual and noticed the sun wasn't yet shining into the living room -- it was still hanging low, behind the houses across the street. Quite suddenly, I experienced that pang of "summer's over," as I realized how the days have already grown shorter and images of dark cold winter flooded my mind. Of course, winter in California is neither that dark nor that cold. Growing up in New England must (weather) scar one for life.

Design snafu

Update: I'm an idiot. I guess when I added the XML link, I forgot to close the <span>. Apparently I know CSS but not HTML. So the footer of this site has decided to move off to the far right when viewed in IE/Windows, for some reason unbeknownst to me. I haven't changed a thing, and it looks fine on my Mac. I've looked at all my files and can't see anything that would cause this (like a giant invisible .gif hidden between lines of text?) and I'm at a loss as to how to fix it. Any CSS gurus have any ideas? I thought I knew CSS but now I'm beginning to wonder.

pb's Alaska Pics

pb returned from Alaska with some wonderful photos. Reminds me that a) I'd love to go back to Alaska and explore further -- it's so amazing and b) I never posted the photos from my trip. Alas, I'm so lazy.

Gizmodo launches

Gizmodo has just launched. According to creator Nick Denton, "it's a vertical blog devoted to superskinny laptops, spy cameras, wireless wizardry, and all manner of other toys for overgrown boys. All gadgets, all the time." (I suspect it will appeal to overgrown girls as well...)

What makes Gizmodo really interesting in my mind is that it's a commercial venture: the blogger updating the site, Pete Rojas, is being paid to do so. The business model? According to Nick, "All I know is that weblogs are a compelling form, gadget addicts are all online, and it's easy to plug into Amazon's electronics store." Sounds like a great start to me. Who would have thought people would respond to my Megnut column so quickly? ;)

Freak Pea Accident

Man dies in freak pea accident. There's really nothing more to say about this one.

Jurying for Dollars

Juror Wants $100 an Hour to Serve, "When computer consultant David Williamson was summoned for federal jury duty and told that he should keep August free of commitments, he replied he was ready to serve – at his normal rate of $100 an hour."

Having recently been summoned for jury duty, I can totally relate to this man's approach. I was kept hanging for a week, never knowing until the night before whether I'd need to go into the court house for the selection process. It's hard to schedule meetings and in general run one's business -- whether you're the partner of a small firm, such as this man, or self-employed, as I am -- when you don't know what your schedule will be the following day. Seems to me like they need to change the way jury duty is structured to better reflect the way people work in the 21st century.

Blogging for Dollars discussion

There's a good discussion about my recent Blogging for Dollars column going on over at Blogroots. Please join us if you have any thoughts about this. One of the main reasons I wrote the column was to spark a discussion about money and blogging.

Blogging for Dollars

My newest O'Reilly Megnut column is up, Blogging for Dollars - Giving Rise to the Professional Blogger.

"We Blog" is not published

Correction: according to the Wiley site, "We Blog" isn't being published until August 13, 2002. You'd think I'd know when my own book is being published, but for some reason, this isn't information any of our editors bothers to share with us, the lowly authors. Also if you follow that link, there's a piss-poor description of what the book's about. The book isn't simply a "how-to," there's a lot more in there about why you'd want to create a weblog, and we also devote quite a bit of space to discussing the social implications of blogs. Argh!

"We Blog" is published

Though Amazon is still saying you need to pre-order, in theory, We Blog: Publishing Online with Weblogs is published and available for purchase. If you spot it in any stores, let me know. I can't imagine that many bookstores will carry it, so I'm curious to hear which, if any, do.

Tuscan Panzanella, or Bread Salad


4 (1-ounce) slices Italian bread
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup torn fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 (16-ounce) can cannellini beans or other white beans, rinsed and drained
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

Tuscan Panzanella

The other day, a friend with a bountiful garden gave me a bunch of ripe tomatoes. Last night I finally got my butt in gear to do something with them, and I recalled a recipe that Mena shared with me a couple months ago for Tuscan Panzanella, or bread salad. All I can say is: if you like tomatoes and basil and olives and bread, make this right now while tomatoes are in season. It was so delicious, I'm about to make it again for lunch!

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