About the author.

Welcome to The blog of whall

Come on in and stay a while… laugh a little. Maybe even think. Read more...

Hi, This is Wayne. This is my site, my stuff, my blog, blahblahblah. The site itself is powered by WordPress and the Scary Little theme. I thought it was cool, and I still do.

I’m in favor of Cloud-like services.

I now have

  • 25GB Microsoft SkyDrive from live.com (free)
  • 20GB Amazon Cloud Drive from amazon.com (free for one year)
  • 50GB premium Dropbox account from dropbox.com ($99/yr, free for 2GB)

I prefer Dropbox for many reasons – the primary being I can sync a folder from My Documents on my laptop, desktop and also access files from my iPhone… all without having to worry about a thing.  I haven’t seen SkyDrive and Amazon have that kind of integration yet, so it’s worth the $99/yr to get that for more than the free 2GB Dropbox gives you.

I think I got the 1 yr Amazon for buying the Weird Al Yankovic album “Alpocolpyse” for $3.99.  After I purchased it, it said “hey Wayne, we can store this music in your free 20GB Amazon Cloud drive – would you like to do that?” and I was all “um, are you really talking to me, cuz usually people just do what they want and don’t ask first, so yeah, I guess I might like that because I’m really happy you asked and did you” and then it interrupted me with “Just answer the question, I don’t have time for your prattle, meatbag” and I was like “Um, yeah.” and it said “Ok, done.  Now don’t start talking again. Just take your free space and enjoy your cheap album, cheap human scum.  All your files are belong to us.

Maybe I like most Cloud-like services, but Amazon’s kind of a jerk if you ask me.

Apple’s keynote presentation on iCloud also looked interesting, so I’ll be glad to add that into the mix when it comes about.  I don’t remember the technical details (size, limitations, etc) but I do remember it’s “free” with IOS 5.  I saw a lot of things I liked in IOS5.

One thing that will surely come about one of these days is a way to sync all of them.. so it’ll be like a backup of all the cloud drives.

Speaking of sync – I’ve been struggling with syncing up all the contacts from Google Gmail, my iPhone, and Outlook.  I’ve been playing with Syncfriend, gSyncit, and scrubly.com to try and find the Holy Grail of de-duplication, merging, and syncing of all the people and notes I want to keep around.

I’m almost there.

I think.

I think, therefore I am.  Almost there, that is.

I sync, therefore I am.

Ok I just designed the next killer app.  iSync.  iSync, therefore I am.  That would be the tagline.  It would sync EVERYTHING – files, contacts, email, music, notes, music notes (for composers)…

Shouldn’t I be rich by now?

If you’re one of my friends, have known me (or my family), like me, and/or trust me, or have been referred here by someone you know, like or trust…

…I’ll save you time and just ask that you please go and vote for my wife’s artwork entry in an online voting contest. There’s no login required, Login to Facebook if you have an account, and you can vote once per day (see update at bottom) until 3/28.  Please spread the word (more details below).  I’d really appreciate it.

For everyone else… this is my plea to you.

Most of you who have read my blog (it’s been up for what, 5 years now? Almost 6?) have noticed that I rarely write about my wife.  My son Jaden (now 9yrs old) is all over the place on the blog (he loves the attention and being “on the internet”), and every once in a while I write about my 16yr old Caitlin, but both my daughter and my wife prefer to be a little more private than the rest of us.

My Wife

My wife is completely wonderful.  Those of you who know her know this.  We’ve been married 18 years, have two beautiful children, and get through the daily and yearly challenges of life together.  She’s supported me throughout my career and I want to support her now for something that is very important to her.

It is out of respect for her privacy that I shy away from extolling her virtues and bragging about her all the time.  This blog would be filled with her awesomeness if I could have that publishing embargo lifted, but, alas, it was not meant to be, and I’m fine with that.  Her privacy is important to her, so that makes it important to me.

When I say “privacy”  I don’t mean aloofness, or elitism, or anything like that. She just doesn’t “get” online stuff like many of us do — she’s not on facebook; she doesn’t “do” twitter; heck, she doesn’t even read her email but a couple times a month.  She’d rather talk in person or on the phone to connect with people. People who have her email address know that they can wait a looong time before a response comes.

She just has this… wall.  A wall exists between her and online communication.  She has zero interest in online camaraderie, forums, blogs, tweets or facebook status updates.  She’d rather have a tea or coffee with a friend than type away on a keyboard or read other people’s comments.  It’s just not her thing.

Some Details

One thing I’m allowed to share about my wife is her love and admiration for Duran Duran.  She’s been a Duranie since before I met her, and that was a looong time ago. I wouldn’t even attempt to put into words here what she feels for them for fear that I’d mess it up horribly. Just know that D2, as they’re affectionately called by their fans, means a lot to her.  An incredible lot.

Another thing I can share is that my wife is an artist.  She’s extremely creative and has solid talent in lots of artistic mediums.  She’s simply brilliant.

When she heard that Duran Duran was doing a contest — an ART CONTEST, no less — well, let’s just say it tore. down. that. wall.

The Contest

So here’s the deal – Duran Duran’s contest is where fans submit their artwork and then get people to vote for their artwork.   They are promoting their new album All You Need Is Now (I suggested they call it “Whall You Need Is Now” but they turned me down).  The artwork is judged on Creativity/Originality (50%), Relatedness to Duran Duran’s “All You Need Is Now” (25%) and Aesthetic appeal (25%).  They specifically are looking for art inspired by their new album’s look and feel.

The top 10 vote-getters will advance into the next stage where the band actually views the art and votes on a winner — that winner gets a framed print of their art signed by Duran Duran, 2 tickets to see any tour performance of choice, and 2 tickets to the meet-and-greet tour performance of choice.

That’s right, I said “meet-and-greet”.

Once she realized that the contest was an online contest, I had to explain what an online voting contest was, and that it was largely a popularity contest, and it involves getting people to go online to vote and OH WOULD YOU PLEASE GET PEOPLE TO VOTE FOR MY ARTWORK WAYNE?!?!?!?! YOU’RE A COMPUTER GUY WITH ALL THE TWEETY FRIENDS AND BLOGGERS AND STUFF!!!!

All of a sudden she was OK with making a facebook account and emailing and tweeting and retweeting and asking others to ask others to vote for her artwork because — SHE COULD POSSIBLY GET THEM TO SEE HER ARTWORK!

For her, getting to the top 10 means knowing that the members of Duran Duran saw her artwork.  And judged it. Reviewed it.  And considered it closely.  AND THEY MIGHT LOOK AT MY ARTWORK, WAYNE!!!!!

What You Can Do To Help

This, my friends, is what I’m asking your help for.  I want my wife to get her artwork seen by the members of Duran Duran. That will only happen if she gets to the top 10.

Would you help us?  We need as many votes as possible.

Here’s her artwork – click on it to vote for her entry.


electriciD artwork submission for Duran Duran contest

(click here for larger image)

Remember, you can vote ONCE PER DAY (!!!) from now until March 28th.   That’s almost two weeks of voting.  Set a calendar reminder if you have to. (see update, below) You can click on this link, once every day until 3/28 and it will help her achieve her dream.  You don’t have to login or join Facebook – it will only make you type in a couple of verification words to prove you’re not a robot.

And if you know anything about marriage, you know a happy wife makes for a happy husband.  Maybe I should say “happier“.

How to Help More – Share the Love

Won’t you please share this with your friends?  I’m looking to make this as public as possible so she get tons of votes. Point them to my blog entry with http://bit.ly/d2whall or you can use

http://tinyurl.com/voteforchristy

as a short link in Facebook, twitter, email, etc. to go directly to the voting page.

If you’re on twitter, here’s a link that will tweet for you (editable of course)

And if you need a Facebook status to copy and paste, here’s one:

Vote for Wayne’s wife in a Duran Duran art contest, up until 3/28!  http://bit.ly/d2whall (Please share with others!)

Thank you so much!

Update [3/18]: It appears that even though the Official Rules of the contest state that “Limit one (1) vote per person per day“, the voting widget itself says “You can vote for each entry once during this contest.”   This discrepancy and the fast rise in voting for her entry are causing people to question the validity of voting.  I’m not sure which rule is accurate and I surely don’t want to cause anyone any grief.  So, for now, concentrate on your one vote (and vote through Facebook if you can) and spreading the word.  We’re all D2 lovers around here and drama can check itself at the door.

…then there’s something wrong with you.

This is just plain neat. 

I start thinking about the code, the testing, the algorithms, the physics and the talent needed to pull something like this off.  How many hours went into it?  How FUN was it to work on?  Did they have all-nighters?  What kind of cameras did they use?  How much power does it require?  How much does it weigh?  How many crashes did they have from the time they started filming this series of examples to the end? 

What also comes to mind are other facets of human existence that could be augmented by the additional automation and robotry that this new advancement offers. 

It might help with rescue operations…

…or enable remote-controlled terrorism.

It might be unique art and decoration…

…or create new methods of vandalism.

Maybe a little entertainment?

…or present new lows of debauchery.

How about labor savings?

…or cause further atrophy of mankind’s declining work ethic.

It could manifest itself as any sort of task that would become optimized in some way from a self-flying maneuverable object with hand-like protrusions or a payload of some sort.  The mind boggles at the options that are made available.  As computers increase their processing power, analytical judgments and macro-like routines to be stored and called up with a keystroke (or triggered by a stimulus), well… this isn’t your dad’s model rocket, now is it…

How about you?  Do you initially see this gadget as a beacon of hope for innovation and improving our species, or is it a harbinger of the eventual proof of Einstein’s adage that states “our technology has exceeded our humanity?” 

What was your instinct when you first saw the video?

When I read about Bottle Bombs recently after a neighbor saw one down the street from us, right in front of the Elementary School, I wonder about our humanity.  Bottle Bombs are home-made explosive devices made with Drano, tin foil and a plastic soda bottle.  The pranksters terrorists carefully make it, carefully set it somewhere, and carefully LEAVE IT BE.  As soon as it’s moved or jostled by someone, a chemical reaction takes place and 30 seconds later, it explodes with extreme force and boiling liquid.  There’s a video at the Snopes page I linked to.  The idea is they leave it somewhere where someone is likely to pick it up, and leave it somewhere where they’re likely to have to carry it for at least 30 seconds.

I’m not sure how I’d react if my 8yr old son’s hands were blown off by some teenager’s twisted idea of what constitutes a funny prank, all because my son wanted to pick up some trash on our doorstep, in our yard, or at the playground.   Trash.  Trash that was left there intentionally for kids to pick up and become horribly injured by.

I wish nature had a way of making people earn their knowledge.

In a way, I guess it does.  At some point, we’ll all kill ourselves.  That’s likely “the plan” going around in the Universe anyway – surviving our own selves is a rite of passage into the Brotherhood of Intelligent Species up there in the heavens somewhere.  Someone out there is probably betting on us; gambling Republic Credits or Federation Starchips on the 1000:1 odds that we even make it to what we call The Year 2050. 

Who knows – maybe it’s a solid universal fact that no species makes it “in” the first time – that they have to grow, explode, die off and then grow again, hopefully keep something around to remember our mistakes, grow again and eventually “get it”. 

Maybe Atlantis was our most previous try.  I’m pretty sure we’ve forgotten it all.

The whole thing conjures up quotes from Dr. Ian Malcom (played by Jeff Goldblum) in 1993’s Jurassic Park:

The lack of humility before nature that’s being displayed here, uh, staggers me.

I’ll tell you the problem with the scientific power that you’re using here: it didn’t require any discipline to attain it. You read what others had done and you took the next step. You didn’t earn the knowledge for yourselves, so you don’t take any responsibility for it. You stood on the shoulders of geniuses to accomplish something as fast as you could and before you even knew what you had you patented it and packaged it and slapped it on a plastic lunchbox, and now you’re selling it, you want to sell it!

Yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.

I tweet a lot.

A lot.

facebook-wall

Because I have Twitter cross-posted with Facebook, this means my “wall” (or as I like to call it, my “whall”) fills up quickly.  For those who don’t know about “cross-posting”, just know that it’s basic integration betwen social networking systems.  It’s a way for the different social mediums to work together, like Twitter, Facebook, Utterli, ping.fm and a hundred others, so that none of them hog you all to themselves.  In fact, the more a social medium shares (ie, cross-posts) with others mediums, the more likely people are to use it as their primary interface.

It’s like love.  The more you share, the more you have.

Or fire.

Anyway, I’ve gotten a couple of comments a few times from my Facebook friends that I’ve spammed up their news feed, or that my status updates have hogged up their home page.  For that, I apologize.

I’m not likely to reduce my twittering, however.  So, I’d like Facebook to listen up and see if they can come up with a way to solve this.  I have two ideas in this area:

@replies should be a comment, not it’s own update

When I put in “@username” in a status update, I’d like facebook to make my a reply in that person’s status update, if they also have a Facebook account integrated with Twitter.  It takes up so much less real estate and helps promote that person’s facebook page as much as, if not more than, my own.

If they don’t have a Facebook account, then maybe they could just make it look like the following example, but instead of “status” say “tweet” and have it link to the actual tweet. 

      facebook-comment

Threads should be recognized and put into comments

This is very similar to the first one, but is different enough.  If I do a status update, then someone replies to me on Twitter, then I reply to that reply, I want Facebook to figure that out and put BOTH updates as comments on my original status update. 

Even if the other person isn’t on Facebook.

Yes, I know facebook would have to go searching for the tweet.  But computers are good and fast.

For example, I might have the following conversation on twitter (shown in reverse chronological order here)

   tweet-example

In Facebook, this would typically turn into five (5) different status updates with my picture and everything. (actually, it appears as though maybe it’s not doing that anymore – is Facebook blocking @replies as status updates now?).

Instead, I’d rather it show up like a threaded conversation. 

   facebook-2

I see that there’s a facebook app called “Selective Twitter” that allows you to add a hashtag (#fb) to tweets to determine whether or not to actually update facebook.  I think that’s a good first step, but I’ve noticed tools such as TweetDeck (my desktop and iPhone tool of choice) allowing me to specify, per tweet, if I want to update facebook as well.

Once my ideas are implemented, hopefully I can be nominated for the Nobel Peace prize.  I could use the $1.4 million dollars.  Oh wait, the government normally taxes at least 50% of all “winnings” so I guess the prize isn’t that high. I know the prize is tax exempt in Hungary and several other nations, but I don’t know if it’s tax exempt in the US.  Anyone know?

I’m very glad for my feedreader.  I use newsgator.com, which offers three different ways of reading blogs

  1. Online at http://newsgator.com when I want it quick, or when I just have a browser
  2. On PC with the (now) free FeedDemon software
  3. On blackberry with Newsgator Go! software

Nice thing about it is when you read a blog on any one of them, it marks it as read on the server.  That means I don’t have to “re-read” the blog or mark it as read with the other methods.

I do use all three methods, and the only annoying part so far is some blogs don’t let me make comments from the blackberry, and it’s not like it’s the feedreader’s fault.

However, there is one enhancement I’d like in my blog reading, and I don’t know if any tool out there offers it yet.

That is – the ability to make a list of blogs to read made up of one blog post per blog.

There are some blogs I read where the blogger posts once a day while others blog every few days.  Some blog more than once a day.  I want to find a more equitable distribution method, where I at least see the most recent blog post for each blog when I decide I have time to read blogs.  I don’t want to miss, for example, one of Marty’s Snowy Sundays or Scooter Sundays.  At least, I don’t want to have to wade through 7 posts from one of the faithful daily bloggers before getting just one of the kinda-weekly bloggers. 

Maybe it’s better explained this way: if I have time to read 25 posts, I’d rather hit 25 blogs, not just the most recent 25 blog posts from 25 blogs, because inevitably, I’ll miss someone.

So, I end up doing this manually, which means I fail.  I fail because the manual way is to expand out all the blogs, click on each one and try to just read one of that blog’s posts.  It’s so hard to do that.  It’s like picking your favorite kid – you feel bad for not picking all of them.  At least if the software provided an easy way, I wouldn’t feel so guilty.

What do you do?  What do you WANT?

April
29
2009
11:45 am
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Facebooked?

Facepalm?

Facewhahhh?

I got on Facebook because there are a lot of less-tech-savvy folks in my life who I care about keeping in touch with.  I’m talking about people who really don’t “get” blogs, twitter, utterli, or instant messaging.  Or maybe they “get” them but they really don’t care to dive that deep into someone’s online persona, or that it’s too much work.

For many people, Facebook leaves most of that other stuff behind because it’s just plain easier.

The average Facebook user doesn’t need to know about RSS feeds, tweet streams, instant messaging clients or anything technical.  They just use a web browser and they’re in. They’re connected.  They have friends. Then they get an invitation to be in the Mafia.   Who could want more?

The only thing I use Facebook for at this time is to re-broadcast my tweets.   My tweets rebroadcast my thoughts, my blog entries and my utterz, the latter two being also thought rebroadcasts themselves.

In one big huge way, Facebook is better than twitter because of the concept I like to call threading.

Twitter can do quite a number on a conversation (in a bad way), and while there are tools to help figure out a thread, it’s not intuitive. Facebook, on the other hand, makes the conversation very intuitive, and very public.  So public that people who don’t even know each other can meet, in a way.

Oh yeah.  The OTHER main benefit Facebook has over twitter is the email notification of replies.  Twitter can email you for direct messages, but not replies.  That’s a biggie.

Facebook is also apparently very addictive.  I’d like to share with you a glimpse of all the things I DON’T do on Facebook (for those of you who have invited me or tagged me with things and don’t understand why I haven’t responded, this may explain it).  These are the outstanding requests I have on my Facebook page, sitting there waiting for me to act.

Look at that.

It’s no wonder Facebook is so addicting.  It makes everyone feel so… so… wanted.  So requested.  So invited.  So exclusive.  So rockstarish.

I still have 6 friend requests from people who I have no idea who they are.  And it’s not like they’re strangers – oh no.  I’m sure I know them, online.  But I don’t know their REAL name.

There are people out there that have their online names and lives (poohbearextremeLOL) completely lived separate from their real names (John Quincy Doe III).  Facebook doesn’t allow for pseudonyms, so someone I probably have known online for 3+ years can send me a friend request and I have no idea who they are.

Or (this is the kicker) – I know of them online, but I don’t actually know them.  What do I do about those?  I still haven’t figured it out.

Maybe you can now see why I blurred out names from that thread snapshot above.  Those people?  I don’t know if they want their real names displayed.  Some I know don’t mind.  Some I know DO mind.

I’m sure if I let myself, I could spend as much time on Facebook as I do eating, walking the dogs, playing with the kids, hygiene, and commuting combined.  I think a lot of people already do.

Someone hit me if I get that bad, k?

Thanx to Dave2, I now know how to Trek Myself.

But what fun would that be? Instead, let’s make it a little controversial.  oh, AND fun.  Never forget the fun, especially if you can rile up a few people.

See if you can guess who this first one is

Here’s another one I made. Can you spot the speech?

hmm, I wonder if the colorful skin gives it away.

Here’s the next in the series, where Jaden gets in on the fun (please do not call Child Protective Services).

And one last one simply because I couldn’t help myself

(btw, I made all of these external links because when you embed them, they auto-play.  Last thing I want on my blog is auto-play sound.  Well, maybe not THE last, but it’s in the bottom 10,000 things).

Hmm.  Once Upon A time, on this Windows 7 thing there existed absolutely no Windows Movie Maker.  I use WMM to make my DITLs, so it was kind of frustrating to realize that I was required to do more work just so I could do the work to get it to work.

That’s like me being the dude, playing the dude, disguised as another dude.

Being the savvy and worldly beta user, I decided to google about windows 7 and windows movie maker first to make sure someone else hadn’t accidentally deleted all their videos and set accidental fire to accidental baby kittens from installing the beta version and trying to create new content.

What I quickly found out was the version of Windows Movie Maker that Microsoft makes available is A) part of Windows Live (a collection of many online tools) and B) devoid of many advanced features that I depend on.  For example, I’m not a bit funny by myself, but Windows Movie Maker has that setting where you can make it “decently funny if a bit quirky” and I have mine set to 70%.

However, I also found out soon enough that MS packaged up the Vista version of WMM (2.6) for those of us who still needed the advanced features.  This made me happier than finding out Michael Phelps is more human than I expected and the media is more inhuman than I expected.

While I’m playing with installing WMM 2.6, I thought I’d give Live Writer a try – it’s a blog publishing tool that comes with the Windows Live collection and works with all sorts of blog platforms, including WordPress (which is what I use for this blog).

In fact, I’m actually composing this blog post with Live Writer.

About the only things I care about regarding blog composition that save me time when writing a blog post is A) indenting text (which it seems Live Writer does NOT support) and B) pasting in pictures.  I pasted in the picture above, so we’ll see how it looks.

It kinda looks freaky with the whole picture within a picture thing.  How did it do that?  And how far does it go?  I’m scared.  I’m writing in my blog about writing in my blog, so I guess it’s like two mirrors facing each other.

I’ve used Microsoft’s Word 2007 to publish blog entries before, mainly because it had a geek factor to it and it also supported all my special little styling whims.  I could also compose while offline (like when taking bus to work) and publish later, and I always had a problem with that on WordPress.  This seems like a suitable replacement. Oh, and if your luggage ever gets lost or stolen, Samsonite is also a suitable replacement.

Time Passes…

So now I’ve attempted to publish this entry as a draft on my blog, but I keep getting a 500 Internal Server Error.

I’m too tired busy to troubleshoot if this is a WordPress 2.7.1 problem, a Windows Seven problem, a Live Writer bug or if it could be possibly explained by too much gluten in my diet.  (Wayne, don’t be so silly. Ack!)

February
20
2009
10:19 am
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I got this in email yesterday and decided that I’m one of the stupidest people on the planet since I keep getting the countries wrong.

As you can see, I’ve been able to choose Egypt and that’s about it.  So that’s one hint you get.  That will make you 2.5% smarter than me from the outset.

One of the nice things about this little “Select-a-country” tool is that it’s a learning tool, not a contest or game.  There’s no score; there’s no time limit.  You don’t have to vote anyone else off your island and you don’t have to create back-stabbing alliances and put down your opponents.

This would be cool to have for EVERY geography.

  • United States
  • Counties within a state (or parishes in Louisiana)
  • European Countries
  • Asian Countries
  • South African Drug Areas
  • Amsterdam Hot Zones
  • Canadian Beer Stops
February
4
2009
12:38 pm
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…it will not be televised.  It will be Google Latituded.

We are all Big Brother’s willing participants.

Check out http://google.com/latitude  and wave your freedom goodbye.  

But wave “Hi!” to me as we pass each other on our google latitude-enabled cell phones.  Maybe someday we’ll be notified that we happen to be at the same restaurant.

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