One less worry in life

I’m an adult now and I have a home and savings and have all my bills in check, but I can never forget what it was like being 18 with my first bank account, back when using an ATM was like playing roulette (and like any form of gambling, I walked away empty handed more often than with any cash). So even though it’s been ten years since I’ve left an ATM empty handed, I can’t get an irrational thought out of my head every time I use an ATM: that I’m surprisingly and suddenly dead broke. It’s sort of an adult version of the “waking up naked at the exam” nightmare I used to have in college.

Until now. I was poking around my small town credit union website and discovered a new alert feature, where they send an email based on your account activity. So I setup an automatic email that goes to my cellphone’s email address when the checking account is below a fairly comfortable level. The feeling didn’t leave immediately the next time I used an ATM, but after I saw the feature work when a bunch of bills went through, I now know that it is instantly wired to my bank balance, even when I’m far from a computer.

A lot of stuff I’ve read about simplifying your life involves removing all those little irrational worries that clog your thoughts and keep you from getting things done and living happy. In addition to this small thing, I’ve been to the dentist for the first time in years and removed the other big irrational fear that my teeth would fall out any day now. It’s been nice to remove these worries from my life forever, as I’ve got a whole bunch of new worries lined up to deal with. :)

links for 2005-01-26

links for 2005-01-25

Google Video Search

The google video search is pretty freaking cool. You can tell they’re scraping show transcripts which lots of services already have (I seem to recall something called TVeyes used to email me when the word “blog” or “metafilter” was mentioned on TV, which used to happen only once or twice a year). But they also are doing screengrabs which is really interesting, so they must be pulling down video. They even show me all the local stations near my zip code that show up in my searches. Maybe someday Google will be like a iTunes Movie Store where I can one click download programs I wanted to watch?

Anyway, here are a couple cool searches: the only blogger I could find mentions of was Nick Denton and it looks like Movable Type really was mentioned on Jeopardy and those cards weren’t just photoshop mockups someone posted months ago.

Oh, and of course Lessig shows up. That guy is everywhere.

Oscar, schmoscar

So I’m plugging away at my list, almost done seeing every film I aimed at seeing and so far I’m fairly disappointed. I think it was a bad year for film if these are floating to the top. Sideways, especially, surprised me in how much praise it garnered vs. how I felt after seeing the credits roll. I’m a huge fan of Paul Giamatti, but he’s doing another Harvey from American Splendor character and maybe I found Thomas Haden Church’s character’s behavoir abhorrent, but the performances were good and it was a bit of a buddy roadtrip movie that made me want to watch, but in the end I wasn’t blown away by any of it.

I’m kind of surprised by its place on every best of 2004 list. It was a fine picture and all, but I guess I didn’t identify with either main character so it’s probably just me.

Audioscrobbler – like an iPod shuffle for computers

I’ve been logging every song I listen to over on my audioscrobbler account for almost two years now, and I discovered a really cool random feature.

There’s a feature called “Personal Radio” that lets you stream songs from a user’s profile (you have to be logged in to see it, and you might need to donate to them to get it — I donate $5 a month to Last.fm). Last night I was playing music from my own profile, on a computer that doesn’t have any of my music collection locally. I expected to hear my current collection streaming back at me, but what I was heard was a randomized collection of all the music I’ve heard in the last six years of mp3 use.

I didn’t realize it, but Audioscrobbler has a record of every song I’ve ever listened to, which currently numbers about 5400 songs. My current iTunes collection only contains 1800 songs, because I do a monthly delete of songs I no longer care for as I add new ones. I completely forgot about my 1999 era music archives I heard on two other computers in the past two years, but no longer listen to.

What’s cool about this is that I can log into Audioscrobbler from any computer on earth and start streaming my entire all-time music collection without having anything more than a player that understands music streams.

links for 2005-01-22