Note To Self: UPDATED

Smallville Season 8 premiers tonight. The CW’s take this season:

THE JUSTICE LEAGUE RETURNS TO FIND CLARK AFTER THE COLLAPSE OF THE FORTRESS; THE NEW CEO OF LUTHORCORP COMES TO TOWN — The Justice League, lead by the Green Arrow (Justin Hartley), hits the Artic in search of Clark (Tom Welling), who disappeared after the fortress collapsed. The team immediately has a confrontation with the new CEO of Luthorcorp, Tess Mercer (Cassidy Freeman). Meanwhile, Chloe (Allison Mack) is being held prisoner by a suspicious group who has discovered she has a new power, and Clark has been stripped of his powers by Jor-El. Erica Durance and Aaron Ashmore also star.

I still haven’t watched the abbreviated season 2 of Heroes.  Other than that, Battlestar Galactica sounds like it’s postponed until next April and that’s all I watch.

UPDATED: Impressions of S08E01 past the break

Read the rest of this entry

Stride Microsoft Points Giveaway

If you need Microsoft points for something go here: http://stridelovesrockband.com/ and sign up.  I signed up on Monday and got my winning email today (found it in my junk mail so maybe I won yesterday).  If anything, it’s a free $2 for you to spend however you want on the MS store.

Now Listening To

Coincidentally most of the songs are recent Rock Band 1 DLC songs.  So great!  Very varied though eh?

RSS Addiction

I’m officially addicted to RSS.  Let’s start at the beginning here.  Most modern day web pages publish articles to their website but simultaneously to a sort of simple version of the site as well which is just the collection of articles.  This is their RSS feed.  Now knowing that such a page exists, the technology also exists with which you can see when the feed is updated and pull the new article into a reader.

Anyone who peruses their favorite web sites for the newest news can know how silly it might seem to hit refresh every 60 seconds or just randomly browse and hope there might be a new update to the page.  However, if you begin to use an RSS reader you realize how great the automation becomes when the reader tells you fairly quickly after a page is updated.

So I started my RSS journey with the Sage plugin for Firefox.  Instead of opening up every single page I read and hoping to read the new news, I simply told Sage which feeds to check and I’d hit one button and it would give me the list of news.   The downside to this method is that I have to set it up for every computer I use which is very cumbersome.  Overall, this is a much faster way to read and digest new articles of news.

But then one day I find out Google has an RSS reader as well.  After setting up my feeds in Sage for the 983792857th time, I was hesitant to start again.   However, I decided if I set it up on Google I’d never have to set it up again because it’s based on the web, which is one of the HUGE plusses.   So I went and made the dive.

There are levels of effeciency that come into play when dealing with this sort of stuff that are probably beyond my set of knowledge.  But the switch to Google Reader has been, what I feel like, an incredible boost in keeping up with current events.  I’ve moved from 20 feeds to 49 feeds because I feel like Google does a much better job at keeping me up to date, yet I’m maintaining relatively the same amount of time to read them.  I think even though there’s more to read, I filter out quite a bit and read maybe 1 out of 20 articles.  You’ll find that some feeds have higher quality reads but low volume or vice versa.  There’s this obsession now to want more and more, but I’ll probably reach a limit of feeds that I can’t keep up with.

One of the cooler parts of Google Reader is now evidenced on my sidebar.  I can actually share stories I find interesting with the click of a button so you can sort of keep up with what I keep up with.  Additionally there’s a specific link for my stuff located at: http://www.google.com/reader/shared/15227217337039956264

So at this point, I try to advocate the sort of switch from aimless browser refreshing to a more reliable way of keeping up via RSS.  It definately clicks with some people, but with others I think it might be too foreign.  For those in the too foreign camp I imagine they don’t utilize the web as a sort of informational overload, but more as a passing recreation which is why the obsession to be kept up to date isn’t keyed in for them.  Either way, it’s worth checking out.

My tip for you, I use Chrome set with reader as my homepage.  This goes along with the multibrowser thing I detailed below in the Chrome post.  I find quirky things to use individual browsers for.

Thanks HAMMERON!

Firefox Tip: Keyword Search

I was talking to a friend about Chrome concerning the way they unified the search and address bar.  I have a variety of search engines in Firefox/IE that I use so I frequently go to the search bar, type in what I want, choose the relavent engine, then hit bombs away.  However, it turns out there’s a far faster and far better way of doing this in Firefox coupled with a handy shortcut key.

In the first place, control+L will take you directly to the address bar in every browser EXCEPT IE.  Couple this with smart keywords and you have a killer way to basically move to an all keyboard solution to searching quickly and effeciently.

Visit the page that has the search field that you search with. Right click on the search field. Choose Add a Keyword for this Search… The Add Bookmark dialog will appear. Give the bookmark a name, e.g. “IMDB Search” and create a keyword e.g. “imdb” and file the Bookmark somewhere. Firefox comes with a Quick Searches folder so you could use that. Click OK

Now enter imdb Matchstick Men into the Location bar and press Enter. You’re done! You can repeat these steps for any searches you use – e.g. Amazon, your corporate phonebook, your favorite bittorrent site, anything!

So now, what you can do is have google set as something like “g” and then hit control+L then type “g cats” and it would run a google search on cats.  Run a similar setup for wikipedia, youtube, etc and you have this really cool shorthand search method!

Thanks to Hammeron for the tip!

Google Browser: Chrome

Chrome Documentation

Chrome Download

Read the documentation, it’s very interesting how they’ve gone through the architectural process.  I was thinking just the other day how I use IE/Firefox/Safari all fairly interchangeably.  Yes, I said Safari, I actually think it is the fastest web page renderer but I’m not sure.

I feel old recalling a time where if you used IE you were doomed to spyware and other bad things, but most things have been resolved in IE7, not all, but most things.  I’m not a big plug-in user for Firefox so the transition is pretty seamless between all the browsers for me.  The big plug-in I use is Sage for my RSS feeds but I keep getting pressured into using Google Reader.

Anyway, it’ll be very interesting to see Google entering the browser war.  I wonder how quickly it will be adopted.  If they can deliver on the speed and reliability, I think a lot of Firefox users would probably switch.  IE has such deep penetration on the market because of its bundling with Windows.  There are A LOT of people who can’t abstract the idea that the Internet and IE are seperate entities.  I had someone at work who had no idea that you could get to web pages with something that wasn’t IE.  So we’ll see.  There’s a level of marketing that would have to be pushed out to go to the average user.  Alternately, if they have some great packaging options like they seem to be doing with things like Adobe Reader then it might take off pretty quickly as well.

UPDATE: Anyone using Symantec Endpoint Protection (which includes anyone at TTU using the antivirus software)

If upon boot you see this message: “The application failed to initialize properly (0xc0000005). Click ok to terminate the application.”

You need to remove the Application & Device Control from the installation of this product – i.e Add/Remove programs – click on Modify and unselect it

Fantasy Football

For the last several years my friends asked me to fill in a spot on their fantasy league.  It wasn’t until last year I was faced with the ultimatum of “Play or we’ll get someone else” to which I finally agreed to play.  Unfortunately for them, I was the all time greatest player ever in the history of their league!!!  Ok maybe a little hyperbole, but I did end up winning the playoffs which was pretty funny however, I found out my victory is a little hollow due to how the system is setup.  The playoffs are played where most of the first string players are sort of kept fresh and don’t have as much playtime as usual.  So the best overall teams of the season get a little gimped when it matters most.

Ok and like last year, I missed the draft again.  So my automated team looks like this:

Manning, Eli QB NYG
Smith, Kevin RB DET
Tomlinson, LaDainian RB SD
Burleson, Nate WR SEA
Mason, Derrick WR BAL
Ward, Hines WR PIT
Gonzalez, Tony TE KC
Folk, Nick K DAL
Jaguars DST

Campbell, Jason QB WAS
Bush, Reggie RB NO
Edwards, Braylon WR
Olsen, Greg TE CHI
Texans DST

I think I got a fair team for missing it entirely.  Let’s see if I can pull off a 2 year streak!

Performance Sorrow

It’s not until I hear really great pieces like this (English Folk Song Suite 2nd Movement) that make me feel bad about putting away the oboe.  In truth, I stopped playing my senior year knowing full well I never practiced as much as I should and never really maturing to the point where I could sound as good as the intro in this piece.  But listening makes me want to go to a pawn shop or find a used oboe on ebay and start up all over again.  Combine this with playing Rock Band which throws you in the fake position of showmanship and I have this building regret.

I feel like a problem with growing up is that I find more and more things interesting enough to want to create new hobbies.  This is in stark contrast to how I’ve grown up wanting to only do something if I’d be good at it.  To dabble in a little of everything would mean I probably can’t dig deep enough into it to be excellent.  So much to do in so little time.

On the flip side check out the guitar interpretation of the above song:

Blizzcon 2008

I’ll be going again this year it looks like. Last year’s event was a total blast. Seeing Wrath unveiled as well as playing hands on Starcraft 2 was amazing. Meeting the people I boss around in my guild was cool too. =)

Last year I toted my backpack everywhere which was pretty much useless. This year I’ll travel far lighter and leave the backpack. The area had wifi, but to sit down, break out the laptop, connect, then do whatever sort of distracted from the environment.  Probably a shame too because I’d probably have more to write about or twitter about this year with Diablo 3 and Starcraft 2.  I’ll try to use my iPod Touch since I can update the site and tweet from there but I hate the keyboard.  I’m currently in the Wrath beta so I guess I could start writing up some of my experiences and post some shots maybe.

I saw lots of relatively famous people last year, obviously the Blizzard crew like Chris Metzen, Rob Pardo, then others like Richard Knaak, Leroy Jenkins, and journalists like Jessica Chobot.  I should gotten better pictures I guess.  I ate great food, drank the most alcohol I’d ever drinken in my life, and actually it wasn’t that much since I don’t usually drink which might be sad for some of you, and met a chinchilla.  I’m hoping for more of the same.  A lot of the guildies want to have a Rock Band night so I’m looking forward to that, unless they make me sing.

Digsby: 3 Weeks Later

My inital impressions of Digsby are documented in a post below.  However as one gets more familiar with an application one’s opinions can change drastically.  Have mine?  No way!  Digsby RULES!

One week after I installed it I thought to myself, I wonder what I can possibly find to not like about Digsby.  I hunted high and low and finally found my one big gripe.  Memory hog.  It was up to about 85MB of RAM.  85MB OF RAM FOR IM!!!  It seems pretty insane.  But was I gonna dump Digsby because of it?  No, because of they actually have a beta release (which actually the stable release I think is also coined beta as well making this a beta beta release)  which addresses optimizations, notably in memory. Check it out here.

So after reading about how they’ve dumped the memory resources, I hopped on the beta beta release bandwagon to scope it out and sure enough.  I dropped to 30MB max and I’ve seen it go down to 12MB at a minimum which rocks.  The features I use are AIM/ICQ/Yahoo/MSN/Twitter so it might go up for you crazy people with Myspace/Facebook.  Overall, 3 weeks later, Digsby still rocks and only gets better.  It was fun GAIM/Pidgin/Trillian, but I think we finally have a juggernaut.

My only remaining gripe is that you have to have/make a Digsby account.  The pros of this are that whenever you log into Digsby it will load up all your modules you need, but I often swap between different IM accounts.  My laptop may be on one AIM screen name but then I switch to my desktop AIM name occasionally which becomes sort of a pain with an account based setup.  I suppose I could make my account global and include every screen name I’ve ever used but I’m not sure if it’s smart enough to know to enable some and disable others.  With MSN/Yahoo you can’t have multiple logins so you get disconnected and can’t auto reconnect.  This gripe is so minor and specific to me I’m not sure many other people would have such a unique gripe.

And speaking of 3 week later type of evaluations, I’ll be going back over Flickr/Picasa as well.