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Really it’s just melted plastic

Late to the party, I spent some time with a hot glue gun for the first time this weekend.  Here’s the output.  Truly a work of Ert, if I do say so myself!

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Cleansing time again

August 22 through Labour Day! You know the drill. Respond if you’re interested.

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Apple Mail defeats Google I/O

So, for the last few weeks I’ve been anticipating a repeat registrant early-bird invite to Google I/O 2011, just like Google sent out last year for Google I/O 2010, and presumably also in 2009 (I didn’t go to 2008). Nothing ever materialized in my email, however, and every time I checked the web site it said “general registration opens soon” and if you watched their twitter feed they let you know that registration would open sometime during working hours Pacific time today.So I figured that, with the increased interest, Google had just done away with the early bird registration this year. And then came the denial-of-service-fest that was the hour of open registrations today before they sold out. Presumably they would have sold out much faster if the site had been able to handle the load.

Rejected and dejected, I picked through my email again, and found the invite that Google had sent a couple of weeks ago for early registration.Spam filtered.

By my Apple Mail reader.

So Apple conveniently made sure that my invite to the Google developer conference ended up buried in a pile of junk mail, and I’m not going this year (even though I’ll be in the Bay Area, anyway.)

Far be it from me to imply that “Google developer conference” is hard-coded as spam deep inside Mac OS X…

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Cleansing time again! Healthy eating, first two weeks of February

As we do early in every year, my wife and I (and anyone else we can convince) will cleanse out our systems by eating uncompromisingly healthfully 24×7 for two weeks, give-or-take.

Our diet pretty much becomes vegetables, tofu, fish and whole grains, with an absolute ban on refined sugars, alcohol, caffeine (except green tea), dairy products, wheat, mammals and birds.  (She may tweak it a bit because of the whole breast feeding thing).  I’ll also drink all kinds of yucky-tasting herbal solutions purported to help flush the system (generally these ones).   By the end of it we always feel a lot better — more energy and less in the way of cravings.

This season we’ll be starting this Monday, January 31, and going for two weeks.  You’re welcome to join us, either by trying the diet yourself (with or without yucky herbs) or by implementing your own healthy diet and saying “well, at least I can eat more than Ert!”  While we do this a couple times a year, the harvest time one is the best because of the availability of fresh produce in these parts.)

If you’re down with the plan, drop me a line.  I’ll try to say something actually interesting on this blog before the next cleanse.

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“How do you like your coffee?”

“I like my coffee crisp”

Day three of my Autumn ‘10 dietary cleanse and my thoughtful coworker has brought in a bunch of awesome chocolate bars from the homeland to tempt me. Have retreated to a training room with a mug of green tea and an apple. I suspect by the time I emerge my other coworkers will have consumed the problem treats.

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Cleansing time again! Healthy eating, September 7-21

As we do every harvest season, my wife and I (and anyone else we can convince) will cleanse out our systems by eating uncompromisingly healthfully 24×7 for two weeks, give-or-take.

Our diet pretty much becomes vegetables, tofu, fish and whole grains, with an absolute ban on refined sugars, alcohol, caffeine (except green tea), dairy products, wheat, mammals and birds.  (She may tweak it a bit because of the whole breast feeding thing).  I’ll also drink all kinds of yucky-tasting herbal solutions purported to help flush the system (generally these ones).   By the end of it we always feel a lot better — more energy and less in the way of cravings.

This season we’ll be starting this Tuesday, September 7, and going for two weeks.  You’re welcome to join us, either by trying the diet yourself (with or without yucky herbs) or by implementing your own healthy diet and saying “well, at least I can eat more than Ert!”  While we do this a couple times a year, the harvest time one is the best because of the availability of fresh produce in these parts.)

If you’re down with the plan, drop me a line.

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Children don’t make your hair grey, but DRMed eBooks do

So last night I decided that I would finally sit down and successfully borrow an eBook from my local library and read it on my iPhone.

I realized there would be some bumpiness in the process, but noted that having a book show up at my door via Amazon was more streamlined than getting a book from the local public library, but not overwhelmingly so.  I figured a similar level of jumping through hoops, probably just finding a blog post somewhere detailing a couple of key apps I needed.  My local library belongs to the Minuteman Library Network, which uses the wildly popular Overdrive digital collections management system.  Couple that with the cutting edge smartphone of the day (at least for the moment), and I was certain that I’d piece together a way to do it.
A couple of hours and several software downloads later (calibre, OverDrive Media Console mac, OverDrive Media Console iPhone, Adobe Digital Editions, Stanza mac, Stanza iPhone), I lay broken and defeated.  At the core, it seems that OverDrive mainly carries DRMed ePub format titles for borrowing.  Last year Stanza announced that they would support DRM ePub on the iPhone, but a couple months later they were bought by Amazon and quietly cancelled those plans.
I’m not sure who I should be yelling at.  Apple?  Amazon?  Stanza?  The Somerville Public Library?  The DMCA?  Maybe I’ll throw in Disney for good measure, noting that I have zero problem getting public domain books onto my iPhone but Disney is bound and determined to make sure that nothing published after Mickey Mouse’s debut should ever fall into the public domain.  But I’ve already been apoplectic for years over the dearth of 20th century public domain works, and the inability of my library to lend out electronic books for my platform of choice clearly requires a new target of scorn.
Interestingly, audiobooks appear to be much further along.  Perhaps I can couple them with some speech recognition software.
I’m going to go make some lunch and read Anne of Green Gables on my Newton.

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New job! New bat-channel, same bat-kendall-square!

After a good while doing part sabbatical and part working on commercializing my own ideas the time has come for a change.  I’ve just signed on with Endeca, starting full time in the middle of August!
So, Endeca.  The short version of Endeca is “search software.”  The longer version is they have a high performance data storage engine that makes it easy to answer questions about your data when you don’t know enough about your data to know what questions you should be asking.  You’ve almost certainly unknowingly (or knowingly) used Endeca’s software on an e-commerce website many times before while searching for products.  For the even longer description I point you to a two year old interview with one of the founders.
I’ll still be in Kendall Square, so it’s the same commute I’ve had for years.  (A reasonably short bike and public transit commute was a major requirement for me, in fact.  I was shocked at the number of people and companies I talked to who consider 30-60 minute car commutes interchangeable with, if not preferable to, commutes where you get to exercise or read at the same time.  This is a whole other topic, mind you.)

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“Limitations on … funding prohibit … extending the Green Line beyond College Avenue” No taking the T to Whole Foods :( bit.ly/aAg7pq

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