Geek Radio Lives Again

Way back before podcasting existed, or the iPod existed for that matter, there was Geek Radio. Mark "The Red" Harlan and I created Geek Radio to interview interesting people and write about interesting stuff. Interesting to us, anyway. We got through a momentous two issues before stalling out.

Today I restored the site from backups and converted the old audio to MP3. Version 1.0 featured an interview with Scott Knaster of Macintosh fame. Version 2.0 featured an interview with Special Agent Von Holt of the US Secret Service. I recalled these being good, but on listening to them again for the first time in years, they're really damn good.

Moving Web Hosting

I just moved multipart/mixed over to VPS hosting at I've been very happy with SliceHost (I moved Choka On It several months ago) and unhappy with TextDrive, so now I'm bringing the rest of my sites over.

You may have noticed that all URLs go to now, and hopefully I've got redirects for all possible URLs — let me know if not. That's part of my longer-term plan for this site.

Apple Can Still Pack 'em In

store photos

You gotta give Apple credit, they know how to release products. Tonight they released Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) with great fanfare and no shortage of fans, either. I've seen impressive crowds at previous product releases and Apple Store openings. But what impresses me now is that, even though Apple has four stores in the Denver/Boulder area, and this is the sixth version of Mac OS X, they still drew hundreds of people to each store for the release.

I snapped these photos as the Flatirons Crossing store opened for Leopard. Once they packed the store and the line outside had cleared somewhat, mall security brought over the other line of people that couldn't fit in the first line. I went and got a bite to eat. Came back, store's still packed, line still outside. As I said, impressive.

4x4 Offroading Checklist

I'll say upfront I'm no professional 4x4 guide like Bill Burke. But I am obsessive about researching my gear, and one of my recent obsessions is offroading. I've compiled my list of essential (or semi-essential) accessories that I carry in my FJ Cruiser while adventuring in the Rocky Mountains. This list is based on many conversations I've had, web sites and reviews I've read, DVDs I've watched, and of course the essential on-the-trail "boy I wish I had... [x]".

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Coco (Yerba) Mate + Horchata = YUM

Just a quick tip for the caffeine fiends out there: my favorite morning drink these days is a combo of Yerba Maté (South American tea) and Horchata (milk with cinnamon). The best Maté I've found out there, by far, is Coco Maté made by Café Maté. You can buy it in bags or as loose tea. Then I get Rice Dream Horchata, heat it up in the microwave, and mix it 50/50 with the Maté. The combo is stellar: it's like the best parts of a latte, tea, and Turkish coffee all in one.

Also, if you're into loose teas, my favorite accessory is this French Press mug. I use it for both tea and Maté. It's more convenient than tea bags because once you're done steeping, just push the plunger down — you don't need to worry about finding a trash can for the tea bag. Plus you can mix teas if you like, e.g. I'll often mix a green tea with an herbal spice tea.

Dude, Where You Been?

I owe an apology to regular multipart/mixed readers (Hi Joel) for the long delay in posting. My daughter Genevieve was born last June, plus I've got a new job. As for being a dad, let me just ask: when can I get a full night's sleep again? Despite my grogginess, Genevieve is an awesome kiddo and I love being a dad.

More important to the geek readership is my job: I'm now working at Danger, Inc., makers of the T-Mobile Sidekick. For those of you who followed General Magic, the Sidekick is truly the realization of the vision behind Magic. It's the mobile communicator that becomes your information hub—phone, email, web, SMS, it's all there. Back in the General Magic days, when you heard Bill and Andy talking about their grand vision, the Sidekick is exactly what they were talking about. Fitting, isn't it, that one of Danger's founders was a guy I worked with at Magic.

But despite all that, I've got articles to post here, and I'm going to get on them. Really, I promise.

Coca-Cola Blak


"Carbonated fusion beverage," so they say. Nowhere on the packaging does it say what components they fused, however.

Turns out it's Coke and coffee. I'm a devout fan of both, but the combo is kind of disgusting. At least it comes in a real glass bottle, which is how Coke should always be distributed.

New Choka Home

Recently moved the world's longest poem (in progress) to a new home: It's now at 1100+ couplets and growing all the time! I can taste the smell of victory already.

Web 2.0 Business Models vs. Mobile Services

Interesting read here on the business sense (or lack thereof) with Web 2.0 startups. Russell Beattie compares the services these startups provide with services offered by mobile phone companies:

Maybe it’s because I straddle the Web and Mobile worlds why I think this is such an issue. I deal with companies every day who have no qualms about charging 25 cents to send 160 characters of data from one person to another, or who have no problems charging $3.00 for a 10kb .gif image or a bad .midi version of a popular song, or even up to $10.00 for a small Java clone of Tetris - a 20 year old game. Unlike the web world, the mobile world is accustomed to charging for every thing that has the slightest bit of value. The difference between the markets couldn’t be more drastic.

Maybe it's just me, but isn't it a good thing that most Web 2.0 startups aren't gouging their customers $3.00 for bad MIDI songs? Here's my take on the topic:

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Mini-Tip: SFTP Server on MacOS X

If you need to transfer files between your Mac and other machines, do not use the Mac's "FTP Access" in the Sharing preferences. FTP transfers passwords in the clear, which is an unacceptable security risk. Instead, turn on "Remote Login." This enables SSH and SFTP access to your Mac. These protocols encrypt your password and also data traveling across the network. Use SFTP for moving files around.

If you must use FTP, consider creating a separate account on your Mac. That way your primary account's password won't be compromised if someone snoops your FTP traffic. Change the FTP account's password frequently, and always consider that account vulnerable.

Geocaching: Weirdest Hobby Ever?

getting warmer

I stumbled into geocaching via a misdirected Google search; somehow I drifted from Krylon spray paints into this bizarre world of... what? That was my first question: what the heck is going on here? Turns out that geocaching is where people hide small "caches" of stuff and, using GPS, post the coordinates of the cache on a web site. Then others, also using GPS, go find the caches.

Is this hide-and-seek gone horribly wrong? Or has it just gone high-tech? I had to find out more.

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Extensis Suitcase Fusion: Who's Your Customer?

One of the darlings of last month's Macworld expo was Suitcase Fusion. It even won a Best of Show award. As a Suitcase user, I was excited to see the announcement, and I downloaded the demo first thing.

The feature I especially wanted to try was the new Font Vault. I even read the manual before using it, which tells you to turn on the vault and then drag your font folders (or entire hard disk) into the Suitcase window. The result?

  • Fonts now in the vault did not replace the existing fonts; now I had two copies of each.
  • All keywords assigned to my fonts were no longer present in the vaulted copies.
  • A bunch of fonts were listed as damaged and irreparable.

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Choka On It

I have some, ah-hem, affiliation with a publicity stunt web site which is in the process of composing the world's longest poem, in Japanese choka form. I encourage everyone who can count syllables to stop by and contribute!

Mouse Haiku

cordless mouse skitters
no cursor movement on screen
batteries are dead

How to Paint Your Keyboard

painted keyboard

I've done a heck of a lot of typing over the past ten years, and my keyboards show it. They look grimy and beaten down, but continue to work flawlessly. After doing a rubik's cube paint job on my first Kinesis keyboard, I decided I'd fix up another, this time applying lessons learned from the first. This article describes to you can create your own New Hotness like mine pictured above.

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How to Use Your Competitor's Product

Guy Kawasaki insists that you know your competition, and that includes using your competitor's products. Here's how we used some competitor's products at Spectra Logic.

ADIC Scalar 1000 automated tape library: with some minor modifications, it makes a great beer cooler. Refrigeration goes where the tape drives used to sit, tap goes on the door, and a keg replaces the robot. Credit goes to master machinist Juan Aviles.

StorageTek 9710 tape library: turns out it makes an excellent smoker. Juan replaced the rotating robot with a rotating 4-up rack, then added gas and grill on the right where the tape drives used to go. At our 2005 Christmas potluck we ate smoked BBQ chicken made in the 9710. Pretty tasty, too.

My Debt to Guy Kawasaki

Guy Kawasaki just started blogging, and I'm compelled to mention it because I owe him one. Rewind back to 1994. I'm a EE/CS major at Duke University, but what I really want to be doing is creating super-cool products. I'm a recent Macintosh convert and a huge fan of the crew that created it. I had just read The Macintosh Way by Guy Kawasaki and a big article in Wired about General Magic, and I think: "the next Macintosh is being created right now, by the same guys, and I so desperately want to be there."

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Scotts Classic Push Reel Mower

For those following my discussion of push reel lawn mowers (posts here and here): I returned the Brill Luxus 38 mower. With some research on Colorado grasses it quickly became apparent that the grass needs to be cut at 2.5 to 3.0 inches. This contributes to better root growth and more efficient use of water. The Brill only goes up to 1.8 inches, so that just wouldn't work.

Not wanting to abandon the concept of reel mowers, though, I bought the only mower fitting my requirements: the Scotts Classic. Following is my experience with it over the past several months.

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Pigs will fly and...

...I'll put ads on multipart/mixed. Yea, I know, it's a low move. But web hosting isn't free and I'd like for this site to pull its weight, or some fraction thereof. Please give an advertiser a click if you don't mind.

UPDATE: nah, forget it. Ads are gone. This site is a labor of love and not a money-maker. I did, however, add Amazon Associates links in some articles where I discuss specific products.

Brill manual reel mower, continued

I now have a second mow under my belt with the Brill manual reel mower. As expected, it was much easier than the first time around. With the grass starting shorter and following the terrain closely, the second cut had about half the binding problems. I expected almost no binding, but alas, such was not the case.

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First thoughts: Brill manual reel mower

Now that I have a real house with a real yard, I have to (yuck) mow the lawn. I don't want a gas mower because of the noise and pollution. That leaves two options: manual and electric. Here's my experience to date.

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