Lately I've been having SMTP problems in Apple's Mail client. My host requires authorization before SMTP use, and every so often I'll spend more than a few minutes writing an email that will exceed my host's timeout settings, and Mail will refuse to send the message, even after I check for new mail and attempt a resend.
So like any other problem, I go to google to solve it, but I can't find anything useful from a basic search. About the only useful link I could find in the first couple pages was the textad along the side offering a SMTP service. Then it dawned on me: Apple's program has terrible search engine usability due to the generic name that is shared by multiple uses and contexts. While I can see why Apple would call their email client "Mail" to promote simplicity on their desktop for new users, the name inhibits search engine use for information about the product.
I've enjoyed watching every televised world cup game since the 1994 cup that came to America, and I enjoyed the Women's World Cup too (who can forget Brandi Chastain?). It's great to watch women play as the game seems to focus more on the fundamentals with less brutal tackles and penalty kicks deciding a match. Early this year I caught a preliminary game and noticed the previous event was four years ago, making this year another World Cup year, but I haven't heard a peep on TV or news about it.
I dug around tonight and found out the Women's World Cup 2003 starts in less than a month. They've picked a US team and announced the matches in LA, Portland, Boston, Philly, Ohio, and Washington DC. I forgot they cancelled the planned event in China because of SARS, so I'm going to take advantage of it being stateside and try and hit at least a game or two, either in Portland or LA.
I hope the games get some air time on American television, the 1999 cup was one of my favorite sporting events I've ever witnessed and it was a great example of why women's sports matter.
update: thanks to TicketSatan, I just spent $400 on tickets to first round and semi-final matches, which I can't wait to see.
Adam Polselli posted a great write up on using Movable Type for photo albums. It was something I alluded to in the Beyond the Blog piece and he fleshed it out. Unfortunately, you can't do multiple galleries this way (though you could use categories to specify that if you wanted to organize "albums" in MT), but it works great for managing a big gallery (like my mobile phone photos)
The news that the BBC is opening up their archives online is some great news, but ever since I first heard the idea, I wondered why they hadn't already, and why PBS hasn't done the same.
I know they both have quite a cottage industry selling transcripts, DVDs, and videotapes, but it seems like a publicly funded station is under the obligation to make their content freely available for the public; that what the BBC is planning to do should be the norm not the exception it currently is.
I was tired of seeing great sites like TypePad Resources sporting lopsided multi-column CSS layouts (in Mozilla, in IE6/PC they are fine), where the columns are different heights and the white backgrounds don't extend all the way down, so I wrote up a small trick I discovered when testing out Typepad, and something I used when designing the PVRblog templates (they were based on the default Typepad templates).
A while back I described the hell my disabled and retired father is going through while wandering the depths of the Hinternet, and when his computer became completely inoperable my mom went down to Fry's and picked up a decent cheap new PC. After a few days using it, he was again left with a computer rendered useless by viruses and spyware. I told him to mail the new PC to me and I'd set it up properly.
Last weekend I formatted the machine, installed WinXP Pro, made the latest Firebird the default browser, updated the OS, added a virus scanning program, setup his email accounts, setup his dialup, and added dyndns so I could terminal into his machine to fix it in the future.
He got the revamped machine on Friday and used it happily for a couple days. Today I got a call from him, saying his email was no longer working. The error messages sounded like some settings were changed and he assured me he didn't modify anything in Outlook Express (I want to put him on Thunderbird, but he insisted on OE). After an hour on the phone troubleshooting and me using remote desktop on his machine, I could tell he installed some software and I could see he was using IE again.
It turns out he installed the PeoplePC dialer/mailer package, even though I setup dialup networking to use his existing PeoplePC dialup, and had shortcuts to OE and Firebird on his desktop. I guess a lot of users like to click on one thing that lets them dialup, shows them mail, and shows them the news.
But as far as I can tell, when he installed and ran the PeoplePC package, it rendered outlook express useless, because it changed his pop3 and smtp server settings on all accounts to 127.0.0.1, the loopback address. I can see why they did this, as my dad felt uncomfortable using dialup and OE alone, and went so far as to say he didn't want a cable modem in the future because "he had everything he needed in PeoplePC."
It seems that PeoplePC likes to keep people feeling that way. I explained to him that although he has been a paying customer of theirs for the past 3 years, their new software rendered his old settings useless, so he couldn't use his other email accounts. He felt they took care of everything for him because their software made sure that his alternatives no longer functioned. He got the picture and said he would look into getting a cable modem or DSL line, and stop being a PeoplePC customer.
I really hope there is a special circle of hell setup for people that approved decisions like the ones at PeoplePC. I hear stories like this time and time again, and I can't believe companies get away with such shenanigans. If you own a Ford truck, and you bring a new Chevy sedan home, the Chevy doesn't automatically drain the oil from the Ford while you sleep the first night, making the other truck useless. Companies can't get away with that kind of thing in the real world, so why do companies like that flourish on the internet?
I've always hoped that the increased communication that the internet provides would lead to freer markets; markets where people had more choices and could research company practices. It's still my hope that open, honest companies will win out in the long run. I'm reminded of SixApart's stance on such things, I know I'm happy to use Movable Type and Typepad, since the company has enabled import and export of data since day one. Let's hope in the future companies with policies like that are the only ones left doing business online.
NEC's ecotonoha project is interesting in how it mixes the virtual with the real world. Everyday a new "tree" is setup and people leave messages as "leaves" on the tree. For every 100 "leaves" added to the virtual tree, a real tree is planted on Kangaroo Island in South Australia.
There is plenty of armchair activism to be found online, but it's rare when anything real comes of it, and this looks like a cool reforestation project that uses the web to fuel it.
Since Heather's site doesn't ping weblogs.com or blo.gs, it doesn't pop up on my new fangled devices and I have to remember to go to the site by hand every so often. It's probably been at least a month since I remembered and it's been far too long so I'm posting this as a reminder to myself.
The Dooce is the best personal website, period, and my all-time favorite weblog. I can't get enough of it and I wish I could write one tenth as funny as she does every day.
A few months ago, I added a second monitor on my PC workstation and I grew to love it. I could keep development applications on the larger screen, and keep email and IM on the other. It was more organized and I could work more efficiently, sliding from one monitor to the other as needed. More recently, I've added my powerbook to my desk, and thanks to various specialized applications, I'm using that as well, but with three monitors spanning two operating systems, I'm finding it cumbersome to jump from one machine to the other regularly.
For a solution, I've been looking into KVM switches like this one. It would let me run my single USB keyboard and mouse on either the mac or PC, and I could switch operating systems on my main monitor with a click of a button. But using dual monitors has made me wish for something more integrated.
My ideal workspace would still span two monitors, and I would still get to use a single keyboard and mouse, but I would love to be able to slide between operating systems fluidly with the same dual monitor desktop setup. This would let me do development work in Photoshop and Homesite on my PC showing in one monitor, and my mac would be running in the second one, running Apache, Mail, and iChat. I could copy URLs from iChat and paste them into my PC running mozilla. Mac on the left screen, PC on the right screen, with a single mouse pointer controlling both and sliding effortlessly between the two; basically the best of both worlds, in a single desktop environment.
While my ideal vision seems impossible on the surface, I can't help but wonder if the best selling PC software emulator for the mac being bought by Microsoft would make this a real-world possibility. While I guess I could get a dual monitor mac setup, with virtual PC running in one full window, I don't want to be tied down to expensive mac hardware that ultimately runs PC apps slow as molasses. On the other hand, perhaps a full screen VNC session with the mac from my PC would accomplish the same thing, and let me stay on the cheaper hardware.
While Apple and Microsoft would likely never want to co-exist on the same desktop, as a computer professional I would love to be in the position of being able to run the best tool for the particular job at hand.
update: thanks to input from various readers, this has been solved!
I wonder if a new variant of the blaster worm is out that builds on the older outlook email viruses. I probably get a pointless email once every couple days with a virus attached, but today I've gotten about three dozen, and worse yet, I've gotten 3 bounces from people that got virus-laden messages with my return address.
Anyone know how to write a server-side procmail script to delete any incoming messages with attachments that end in .pif? I'd rather never see another again and it doesn't seem that hard to banish them forever (my Mozilla email client can't seem to create filters based on attachments).
In December of 1999, I sold my car from a page on my website, taking out online ads in the appropriate places and mentioning the URL.
The funny thing is I get a steady stream of emails asking if it is still for sale. If you check out the pages, I think it's pretty obvious it was in fact sold, but still once a week or so I get a request for it.
I don't know what that says about online readers or what it proves, but it still boggles my mind when I get one of those emails.
Oh good lord, my uncle is a city councilman for Chino, California and recently went on KROQ to refute a joke from the FOX show O.C., and has gone so far as to begin a letter-writing campaign against the network.
I grew up a short distance from Chino and visited my aunt and uncle often, always dreading the first 10 minutes of being there, until I got used to the smell. I spent several years in Riverside, just 20 miles away in the smelly wake of Chino and we could smell the cows with some regularity. When I was doing wastewater management work for a class I even got to visit a handful of Chino dairies first hand. Let there be no doubt that the worst smell I've ever experienced was standing over a runoff pond adjacent to a milking facility. Never in my life did I ever come so close to vomiting based solely on a smell.
Farms smell, that's what cows do, and everyone in Southern California knows Chino stinks a bit. I know I won't be scoring any points at the annual family dinner, but I really hope my uncle relaxes and lets it go. Afterall, it's FOX for chrissakes, and another lame show of theirs, at that.
Counter-Googling looks like it could actually be something that gets built into new business processes, if they're not already checking on customers.
While I figured it would be nothing but lame stereotypes paraded in front of audiences, after seeing a few episodes I'm totally hooked on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" href="http://www.bravotv.com/Queer_Eye_for_the_Straight_Guy/">Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. It's amusing and informative, this show about sending a guy to "gay camp" for the day.
When it comes to stereotypes and whether this show helps or hurts the average american's view of The Gay™, it seems like the show is this generation's Jeffersons. That show didn't exactly cast African Americans as brilliant upstanding citizens (George is pretty close to raving lunatic on every episode), but it did get people used to the idea of blacks as members of the upper class, and having black actors as leads in a show every week didn't hurt (also, throwing the white character into a mixed race relationship so the audience could put themselves into his shoes is similar to the entire idea of QEFTSG).
While surfing around Friendster tonight, I stumbled upon what very well may be the gayest friendster photo ever.
I've been using one Aaron hacked for me since then and it works great. I can keep track of media mentions of Creative Commons and MetaFilter automatically. I couldn't keep track of press at both sites without this feature.
On the CalTrain trip from San Francisco down to Stanford today, I decided to let MacStumbler run, assuming I might catch one or two open wireless points, but to my amazement I found about 50 along the 30 miles of train tracks. The train is notorious for quick stops, making it impossible to sit in one point for long enough to get online, but with the number of train riders using laptops, I think it'd be a real incentive for commuters if they could offer in-train wireless.
Best access point name from the trip: "Someone Set Us Up the LAN"
I've been meaning to pick up a copy of Dwell Magazine for the past few months, as I'm seeing it everywhere, and today I finally got my chance. After reading through it, part of me is a bit disappointed that the magazine has fetishized mid-century modern design and made it just another goal for the acheiving mainstream professional. I used to have to work to find stuff on this subject and I would guess people previously into it were fans of great architecture and/or insanely rich. Now young couples looking to keep up with the Joneses won't just need a subzero fridge and a bosch dishwasher, they'll also need a custom built minimalist modern home loaded with eames furniture and concrete surfaces.
On the bright side, for $4.95 I get to scan page after page of beautiful things I could only otherwise find in old expensive books or pricey imported magazines, plus if modern houses really do go mainstream because of this, it won't be half as difficult to get an ambitious new design past a city council in the US.
From the TypePad launch announcement:
TypePad registration will open on Monday, August 4 at 11:59 pm (Pacific) as a Preview Release.
You know what I call 11:59PM on August 4th? Tuesday.
Due to my reluctance to use the nearby wifi, I've been using a friend's MSN account as a backup. It required that I download and install the 10Mb MSN for Mac OS X package before the dialup would function, and after a couple days with it, I'm getting tired of the total control tunnel vision it requires.
They obviously went after the AOL market with this one. You log into the client and it has web, email, messenging, weather, and stocks, all in one window with giant happy colorful icons. It welcomes you during login, says goodbye when you close it, and it has all sorts of cheery sounds when you have email. You are directed to dozens of MSN properties from a front page that resembles the cover of a People Magazine; it's a total AOL clone. But it's also a walled garden.
First off, they make it difficult to use as merely a dialup provider. It doesn't store its dialup info in the mac's network profiles, and when I tried to enter all the information by hand, I cannot successfully connect. The only way in is using their tool to initiate dialup. When minimized, it makes noise every so often to remind you it is open, and you can't close it without disconnecting. The worst thing MSN does is block outbound connections on port 25. Unless your SMTP server is customizable or has an alternate port (mine does), you can't send out email. Now, they'll probably claim this is to thwart spammers, but anyone that knows what they are doing could easily use ports 2525 or 2500 on many mail servers (or a local spam cannon app) to get right around that limitation, which otherwise exists to simply keep people within the MSN client for mail. From start to finish using MSN, the message is clear: they are going for total lock-in with their users.
I'm housesitting for a friend in SF right now, and since they don't have a DSL line, I figured I could find an open wireless point to borrow. From one corner of the apartment I could get enough signal to get on a network but couldn't connect to anything online. I pulled down my airport status and noticed an option marked "Connect..." so I clicked it and to my amazement saw the reports from a modem. A minute later I had a connection. Then I realized what just happend.
Holy crap, I just caused someone's airport to dial out successfully because I told it to.
Now I've had an open wireless point in my last three homes, free for anyone to use because I think it's a great shared resource, and I'll rarely need all the bandwidth my DSL or cable line offers. I don't feel bad borrowing someone's line either, but tonight I felt like I crossed some boundary accidentally, by launching a modem and tying up a stranger's phoneline in a home somewhere nearby. I had no idea that Apple Airports allow network users control of the point's modem, but apparently it's been in there since the first versions.
So complete stranger, thanks for the bandwidth I'm using to post this, but I'm going to log off and probably not use it again.