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Monthly Archives: July 2005

I created a new page header (one that doesn’t have San Francisco in it). If you scroll over it, it shows footprints. Let me know what you think.

Too cheesy?

Internet Explorer. The bane of my existence.

Apparently, this entire website was not showing correctly in IE. Since no one notified me, I’m assuming either all of you, my friends and family, are using Firefox, which makes me very proud.

Or, you all think I suck at web design, which might be slightly true.

Either way, everything is fixed now for IE. You might, however, want to check out Firefox if you’re reading this in IE.

Unlike most people in this world, I do not have a real job. (Not that anyone really ever expected me to) Well, part of my not real job is the luxury of working from home. This style of career comes with many benefits including working my own hours, showering when I want, working in my underwear, and chillin’ all day with my dog, Storm. The one aspect of an office space career I do miss, however, is working with people face to face. My home environment, though, is never lonesome.

Besides hanging out with Storm, I decided to open my life to a new group. A couple of weeks ago, I duct taped a disposable “Bowl of Noodles” container to a metal post, one sticking out of my window for God knows what reason, and filled it with generic Kroger bird seed.

The feeder

Not much happened for a few days. I told my partner Rahul of my plan and he recommended leaving a trail to my window from my trees. Well, I improvised on this idea and started throwing handfuls of bird seed onto my lawn. Two days later, I was greeted by a set of field sparrows. There were only a few at first and, in no time, there were dozens throughout the day.

These general field sparrows are the most prominent visitors to my eatery. Watching them has taught me one interesting fact about birds: they’re mean. Besides eating, they spend their time pecking at each other and knocking each other off the feeder. You can tell who nests together because they have no qualms about tag teaming. Their chirps can be quite lovely, but they have this mean gurgle they use when they are being territorial that can wake me up in the back of my apartment. For the most part, however, they are very lovely and fun to watch. Every once in a while they are joined by black-throated finches. Together, they make a neat little collage on the feeder.

Sparrow families Single sparrow

My favorite couple out of all my birds is the cardinals. The male is an absolutely stunning red that always catches my attention no matter where I am in my living room/office. Like many song birds, they only eat the sunflower seeds and so I have often thought of putting out a bowl of just those seeds next to my current feeder. The neat aspect of the two is the way the male protects his female. He always flies in first and shoos off the other birds. They then dine together for a short time before the male takes up his guard again while his mate feeds. He perches on the base of the deck and flies up at any bird that comes close to his gal and the feeder.

Cardinals Eating Defending his mate

Do you remember these guys?

Goodfeathers Goodfeathers Goodfeathers

The Goodfeathers from the Animaniacs. Well, here they are in real life.

Pidgeons watching their turf

Just like the mafia roles they played in the cartoon, these tan pigeons fly in and bludgeon all the other birds away. They then take turns sitting in the feeder and eating so that nothing else can share in the festivities.

Pigeon in bowl Pigeon blocking sparrow

There is a new bird, however, that just showed up this morning. It makes all of the other birds look like angels. Its cry sounded like a dying hawk and woke me from sleeping in my bedroom, two rooms away. It does not have to attack the other birds because they all fly away every time it comes back. I have no doubt in my mind why the crow is always associated with death. This guy even gave me the creeps.

Crow on Bowl Crow Eating

For the most part though, the feeder is always full of life and a joy to watch. Here it is with seven sparrows in it and a finch trying to fly in!

Feeding Frenzy

So, I have officially found THE coolest light! I know. I know. You’re probably asking, “How could you possibly know that Juicio?” And I answer you, “Just look at it! The Mathmos Airswitch!” Most of you know Mathmos as the originators of the Lava Lamp. Back in 1963, when Edward Craven-Walker saw an egg timer where a drop of rising liquid signaled the egg’s readiness, he thought, “Hell, I could do that and sell millions!” Well, he did. Mathmos Airswitch

Many generations later of cross-breeding lava lamps with strange and wonderful things, they have created the Airswitch. In essence, it is a cool looking lamp that turns on or off by waving your hand above it! Better yet, by moving your hand up and down vertically over it, you can change the dimness level. How cool would it be to walk into your house Jetson-like and just wave your hands over the lamps to turn them on? Or, what if your special someone is over and you’re like, “Hey, let me dim the lights,” and suavely float your hands above the lamps? If that’s not cool enough for you, Mathmos has a whole set of cool ambience lighting great for any living room or evil scientist lab. I highly recommend checking it out.

Not Mathmos Airswitch

Want to get healthy this summer? Go to a baseball game and eat your heart out. According to the latest journal of the American Chemical Society, many compounds found in the foods at baseball games are good for your health. Apparently, beer can reduce the risk of heart attacks, sunflower seeds may lower blood pressure, sauerkraut contains potential cancer-fighting ingredients, and onion battle osteoporosis. Sadly, for you non-vegetarians, the studies also confirmed that low-fat hot dogs are better for you, but they don’t taste as good as regular fatty ones. Check out the articles here and here.

Looking at fighting record high gas prices? Perhaps, you should check out the Dell-Winston School solar car challenge. Eight high school teams have put together solar-powered cars they will race on a 1,600 mile route through Texas, Mexico, and Arizona to the finish line at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratories in California. Let’s hope they don’t run into Dennis!

‘Holy anniversaries’ is right! Yesterday, in the car with Alex, Rachel and I realized that next weekend will be our one-year anniversary. Being that we are going to attend the wedding of Ms. Prunty and her wonderful fiancé down in Kentucky, we decided that she would not be very happy if we skipped out of the reception for dinner and date. Thus, we did a mini-celebration last night. We began by doing what all young and exciting couples do: half-price book store shopping. While Rachel continued to fill up her teacher’s shelf with books like “Stuart Little,” I looked at engrossing titles such as “Code Complete” and “The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master.” After wandering around Kenwood mall for a while, we decided we needed to do an anniversary dinner.

For our evening meal, we enjoyed the perfect feast for a young entrepreneur and a college student. We began a two-course meal with incredible six-inch subs from Subway. Subway has been a staple dining-out restaurant for the life of our relationship and, as such, the perfect place for our anniversary soiree. Subway was just a precursor, however, for the true pinnacle of the evening’s meal: Chocolate Mouse cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory. If God ever came back as a desert, it would be this heavenly delight.

After a quick pit stop to walk and feed the puppy, we ended the night with the essential date event: the movie. Down at Newport on the Levy, we attended a late showing of Batman Begins. I have to say, it was awesome! I grew up watching reruns of the old 1966 TV series with Adam West, as well as ‘Batman: The Animated Series’ in the 90’s. The aspect of the film that impressed me the most was Christopher Nolan and David Goyer’s loyalty to the original Batman comics. They did a superb job capturing Batman’s history, as well as a terrific job recreating a dark, sinister Gotham City. As one of my favorite movies of the year, I would recommend this to anyone. And if you do not care for the plot, it is worth seeing just for the stellar cast including Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine.

After the movie, we ended the date with the scenic overlook at Newport. The vibrant city sparkled on the river at our feet underneath a clear night sky. It was a wonderful anniversary, but mainly because I was with Rachel.

I would like to thank those who made this anniversary possible:
Cliff Brown
Mr. Barnes and Mr. Noble
The New York City Underground
General Cincinnatus
Liam Neeson and Katie Holmes

From 3:00pm on Tuesday afternoon until midnight of Wednesday, I spent over 26 hours coding an awesome piece of JavaScript that bakes navigation back into AJAX applications with ease. I’ll talk more about this later. Instead, I want to rant why it took me so long to do. It is actually just a small piece of code, albeit a powerful one. The main problem that plagued me is the one that plagues all web developers in the world: Internet Explorer.

Unlike all other browsers on the market (Firefox, Opera, Safari), Microsoft does not believe that they need to follow international internet language and functionality standards. I am sure this arrogance does not come as a surprise to many of you. No one would disagree that Bill Gates is one of the most influential people in the world due to his money. His money, however, did not come with clean hands.

Even in the recent weeks, IBM and Microsoft finally settled a 2-year long lawsuit between the two. Back in the mid-1990’s, Microsoft used its growing influence to bully IBM and prevent the development and success of it OS/2 operating system and SmartSuite desktop application suite. And just recently, Go Computer filed suit against Microsoft for similar charges. Back in the 1980’s, Microsoft used its influence to curb the financial backing of Go Computer and prevent hardware manufacturers from using their operating system. There have been plenty more antitrust cases, but very few have the money to compete with Microsoft in the judicial system.

It is clear that Microsoft is founded on antitrust actions and bullying. Nothing makes this case more clear than Google. For almost 30 years, no one has been able to compete on par with the operating system giant, but this one small company based on innovation has done just that. By focusing on innovation in an area Microsoft could not bully them (the Internet), Google has created an empire that is leaving its rival in the dust.

The last six months have proven this fact. Almost a year after Google came out with their desktop search tool, Microsoft came out with their own. After Google began not only mapping the world but releasing its software and mapping sites for anyone to use, Microsoft tried to compete with their own products. After Google released their AJAX code, Microsoft came out claiming they would do the same.

Honestly, Microsoft just cannot keep up. Does this bigger competitor make them gain a little humility and realize they need to change their strategies? It does not seem so. In a recent interview on, Arthur Sorkin, a national wiz on operating systems, talks about the times Microsoft tried to hire him. Upon inviting him to their headquarters, they tried to quiz him on technology rather than try to sell him on the company. As to be expected, he turned them down.

This same corruption spreads to Microsoft’s software. Just recently, they have been trying to acquire Claria, formerly called Gator, and well know for its pop-up ads and software that tracks people on the internet. Claria’s GAIN spyware is one of the most prominent (if not the most prominent) spyware on the internet. All major spyware removal programs categorize it as needing to be removed or quarantined. Microsoft’s anti-spyware software did the same until recently. Now, its software recommends that the user ‘ignore’ it. In other words, Microsoft will take off all spyware software on your computer except theirs. This blog has a nice description and screen shots.

I know that most of you reading this are doing so in Microsoft Windows. I will not recommend running out and installing Linux, a much sturdier operating system. That day will come. Instead, I will set my sites on the reasons I began writing this post: Internet Explorer. Much of this Microsoft angst has been fueled by my frustrations with this browser’s lack of standards and attempts to do things its own, non-innovative way.

Internet Explorer is an insecure, weak, and problematic browser. At this time last year, the Department of Homeland Security issued an official document recommending that users not use Internet Explorer. Since that time, we have even seen books written on why not to use Internet Explorer. (“Don’t Click on the Blue E!” from O’Reilly)

I recommend that if you are reading this in Internet Explorer, please download and try Firefox. Not only is it faster and more secure, it includes many more features than IE like tabbed browsing and built in RSS. It is also much harder for spyware to embed itself into Firefox.

Good luck and happy browsing!

Like most geeks did on this year’s fourth of July, I celebrated my independence by staying up late into the early morning watching Nasa TV. As most people know, around 1:52am on the morning of the 4th, our space techies hurled a ginormous hunk of copper at comet Tempel 1 at a speed of about 23,000 miles per hour. At that speed, it could fly from Las Angeles to New York in 6 minutes and around the Earth in an hour. Upon impact, the space vehicle obliterized in a brilliant explosion equal to 4.5 tons of TNT. If that doesn’t beat my old M90’s and ground flowers, I don’t know what will.

It was very exciting watching the whole demonstration live as the pictures of the comet kept getting closer and closer. Knowing that the images were from 130 million kilometers from here and occuring almost real time was incredible. It was also cool to know that the years of effort that the ecstatic NASA and JPL crews put into it paid off.

Living deep in the city, however, prevented me from seeing the resulting light from the explosion personally. I did try, but the magnitude just wasn’t there with Cincinnati’s light pollution. Wild Cherry Pepsi and exploding comets, however, were a good way to start Independence Day.

As most days, the rest of my daytime was spent slaving away my shiny box that sits in front of my keyboard. The evening was much more eventful. The gal, Rachel, and our friends, Shannon and Megan, and I all headed out to ‘Red, White, and Blueash’, the largest 4th of July fireworks in greater Cincinnati (specifically, Blueash. Punny, huh?) While Richard Marx peforming was tempting, it didn’t compare to Styx from last year. Thus, we brought my dog, Storm, which prevented us from actually getting into the gated event.

This turned out awesome, however, because we ‘took a wrong turn’ trying to get to the festival. Like all 4th celebrations, you are required to park a minimum of a mile away from the actual fun. Our ‘wrong turn’, however, led us to a random street that had at least 1oo peeps camped out on it. It was somewhat industrial and had a big field to lay our blankets on. Everyone was incredibly friendly and no one had a problem with me keeping Storm off lead.

As it turns out, this was the prime spot for watching the fireworks. With almost no obstructions, the explosions seemed to appear almost over head. Not only did we have a great spot, the fireworks were some of the best I had ever seen. That mixed with great friends and a gorgeous summer night made it an absolutely wonderful evening. As Shannon pointed out, “Yay for kicking the Brits in the shins every 4th!”

Deep Impact Slamming Into Tempel 1

Well, it is a gorgeous Saturday in Cincinnati today. The temperature is high-80s, but the breeze makes it feel like mid-70s. I will, sadly, only dream of enjoying the day. I am learning very quickly that such is the life of the young entrepreneur. Besides DispatchThis, I have been offered a pretty cool consulting job up in Cleveland. To the chagrin of my girlfriend and parents, however, I am not allowed to discuss anything thanks to those lovely NDAs us startup programmers are so often obliged to sign. Between the two jobs, I seem to be spending a lot of time getting to know my computer.

Even with work, the last two nights have been pretty exciting. Thanks to my friend, Matt Kelley, being in town, I have been forced to go out and enjoy myself. Thursday night we grabbed a bunch of friends and hit up the Blue Note, an awesome jazz/rock bar here in Cinci. Thursday night at the Blue Note, though, is College Night, which means 25 cent drafts and dollar well drinks. A few of the bands left quite a bit to be desired, but with quarter drafts, who could complain?

Last night, Matt and I went to La Rosa’s and enjoyed a fabulous meal. For those of you who do not know the glory of La Rosa’s, it is an incredible pizza chain here in Cincinnati. While I enjoyed half of their Lil’ Italy covered with spinach and mushrooms, Matt enjoyed the other half covered with the toppings of their famous Montgomery Bar-B-Cue. The best part, however, was their kettle chips. Not only are they made fresh to order, they come with nectar of the gods that they call Diablo Sauce. Not only does this ambrosia embody a wonderful plane of spiciness, it has a rich sweet flavor unlike anything I have ever tasted. If anyone knows if they sell it in stores, let me know and then buy stock in it.

After our gullets were full with Italian awesomeness, we traveled to this café/bar called the Silverton Café. Our friend Brice was DJing the karaoke, so we met up with a bunch of friends to hang out there with him. I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised with the place. It was one of those local bars where you only go if a regular invites you. In the back they had a whole graveyard of awesome games from the past four decades. Our favorite was the ski ball bowling that only cost a quarter. Between that, shuffleboard, darts, and video games, all the grounds were covered. If you’re looking for a great little bar in Cincinnati, I would definitely recommend the Silverton Café.

Well, I guess that is enough procrastinating for now. Back to work.