Phew for a minute there I lost myself (again)

Okay, I think I was in PowerBook withdrawal today. Fortunately the Computer Store had an adapter. Afterwards I fought through the traffic (who knew that the University District has the worst traffic in Seattle?) to meet Lisa, and we wandered down the hill to the wine tasting at the Pike and Western Wine Shop. Afterwards we had appetizers and more wine at an undisclosed location overlooking the Bay.

You know, there’s something to be said for just enjoying the time together.

O Superman


Laurie Anderson
Big Science
Warner Bros., 1980

O Superman, O Judge, O Mom and Dad, Mom and Dad.
O Superman, O Judge, O Mom and Dad, Mom and Dad.
Hi. I’m not home right now. But if you want to leave a
, just start talking at the sound of the tone.
Hello? This is your Mother. Are you there? Are you coming home?
Hello? Is anybody home?

Well, you don’t know me, but I know you.
And I’ve got a message to give to you.
Here come the planes.
So you better get ready. Ready to go.
You can come as you are, but pay as you go. Pay as you go.

And I said: OK. Who is this really?
And the voice said:
This is the hand, the hand that takes.
This is the hand, the hand that takes.
This is the hand, the hand that takes.
Here come the planes.
They’re American planes. Made in America..
Smoking or non-smoking?
And the voice said:
Neither snow nor rain nor gloom of night
shall stay these couriers from the swift completion
of their appointed rounds.

’Cause when love is gone, there’s always justice.
And when justice is gone, there’s always force.
And when force is gone, there’s always Mom. Hi Mom!

So hold me, Mom, in your long arms.
So hold me, Mom, in your long arms.
In your automatic arms. Your electronic arms. In your arms.
So hold me, Mom, in your long arms.
Your petrochemical arms. Your military arms.
In your electronic arms.

PowerBook battery blues, day 2

Well, I’ve narrowed down the likely causes of my PowerBook battery charging problems:

  • It could, as it has been a few times in the past, be a power adapter problem. (This would make the third power adapter replacement I’ve had to do on this machine, which tends to lend credence to the claims on this website.)
  • Rob McNair-Huff, of MacNetJournal and The Equinox Project fame, emailed me to say his similar problem turned out to be a dead battery.
  • The local Apple reseller, The Computer Store, suggested that there might actually be damage to the sound board, which is where the power plug on the Pismo is mounted. There is at least a non-finite chance that the problem is inside the PowerBook.

So I’ll be trekking up to the University District this afternoon. Hopefully it will be a quick fix.

Becoming Blogcritical

Like Greg, I’ve gone into syndication. While Greg is a contributor to the Political State Report, I’ve joined Blogcritics, Eric Olsen’s collective blog for reviews. I’ll continue to publish my reviews here, but they’ll also appear on Blogcritics, where they’ll get a wider audience. My first posting is an extended version of my review of the Cheeselords’ album from earlier this week. Maybe, if I can find a site that offers referer bounties, I can post my beer reviews there too…

Talkin’ PowerBook G3 Battery Charging Blues

When I plugged in my PowerBook this morning, the icon in the menu bar that indicates battery status didn’t change to show it was plugged in. Uh oh, I thought. The last two times that happened I had to replace the AC adapter. But this time the adapter doesn’t look damaged? Is it the famous “power management reset” problem? No, apparently not, if the instructions I got for resetting the power management unit are any good.

Boy I wish the Apple store in Bellevue had opened already.

.Mac Address book synchronization is here.

As promised during the 2003 MacWorld SF keynote, the at online address book in .Mac can now synchronize with your Address Book in OS X. In fact, if you’ve already been syncing your address book to .Mac with iSync, you don’t have to do anything but go into the address book preferences and turn on the synchronization. The online Address Book will then use the synced copy of your address book already sitting in your .Mac account and bring itself up to date.

How useful is this? Pretty useful, I think. There have been plenty of times that I, as a newly PDA-less person, wanted to have an address and was unhappy that it was only in my home address book. Now I just have to go to and bang, it’s there. The main drawback to usefulness that I see is that the online version of the address book doesn’t preserve categories, so there’s no way for me to easily see just my family, for instance. But search works quickly and well, and the UI in general seems pretty clean and functional. There are even pretty instructions.

Here’s a screenshot (with names hidden to protect the innocent):

Getting a little behind

As Esta graciously pointed out in an email, I’m behind in my reading. I didn’t realize that Thacker had bowed out from his nomination after a storm broke about his statements. Still, I think the bulk of my earlier comment stands. The proposed money for AIDS relief is promising. I just hope that the administration’s wobbly grasp of reality doesn’t turn it into a massive campaign to promote abstince in sub-Saharan Africa.

Small ray of light

I got home too late to watch the State of the Union address, but I’m reading the transcript now. Along with my expected knee-jerk reaction to the administration playing the partial-birth abortion card, continuing to insist on Saddam’s WoMD and vaguely linking him to 9/11, there was one thing that pleasantly surprised me: Bush’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief:

…tonight I propose the Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief a work of mercy beyond all current international efforts to help the people of Africa. … I ask the Congress to commit 15 billion dollars over the next five years, including nearly ten billion dollars in new money, to turn the tide against AIDS in the most afflicted nations of Africa and the Caribbean.

What will be interesting to see is how the Administration reconciles “turning the tide against AIDS” with their war on the condom. And their appointment of Jerry Thacker, the Bob Jones University employee and “AIDS is a gay plague/homosexuality is a deathstyle” blowhard, to the Presidential Advisory Commission on HIV and AIDS.

Odd random linkage from Australia

The Age, the newspaper of Melbourne, Australia, published a link to my blog in a listing of “home improvement weblogs” back in December. The fact that I never saw the referral suggests some things about their readership’s web literacy; still, it was funny to see my name in print on an .au site. God only knows what the readers made of the description:

Just reading about Tim Jarrett’s Christmas decorations is enough to make one go politically correct and not “do” Christmas….Jarrett’s blog is not all about settling into his new house but he has window contractors to deal with, boxes to unpack and plenty of plans to look forward to. The rest of the time he’s singing nonsense carols and wondering where his funk went.

The quotation was in reference to a post from December 1 about getting the Christmas tree in place. Apparently the article showed up in a few other sites, all Australian as far as I can tell, including the Sydney Morning Herald. The author, Jenny Sinclair, apparently writes a column called Blogon that reviews a handful of weblogs each week.

Get well soon, Dad

A quick shout out to my father. As Esta reported, he went in for carpal tunnel surgery today. The preliminary news is that he came through the surgery well and is okay to travel. This is actually the second time he’s had surgery for the same condition, which gives me lots of confidence in the procedure… Carpal tunnel syndrome appears to be another one of those conditions that runs in the family. I have at various times felt stirrings of the distinctive pain, and Lisa has had fairly severe bouts with it at various times. Here’s best wishes that Dad’s surgery is a complete success and that he’ll be back to painless wrenching on the MG’s twin carburetors soon.

Busy day; lots of list markup

Things have been pretty crazy at our office owing to the SQL Slammer worm. We’re just starting to settle back to normal, but I expect to continue to have an impacted blog for another day or so.

In the meantime, go take a look at the much faster loading Dave updated the page design this morning, based on some seriously heavy CSS lifting by Douglas Bowman at StopDesign. There are some really good lessons to be learned about list coding in this redesign. The big table was turned into an ordered list; each entry in the list has a blog name and an update time. “But wait!” you cry. “How did he get the time to float to the right?” Very simple. He surrounded each time with emphasis markup (em>) and defined a rule for emphasis inside an ordered list that floated the emphasis all the way to the right hand side of the bounding box.

Semantic? No. Tricky lightweight code? Absolutely.

Cheeselords recording now available

Run, don’t walk, to your nearest web browser and place your order at Amazon for the first recording by the Suspicious Cheese Lords, Maestro di Capella: Music of Elzear Genet. Being a huge fan (and former member), I had to post a review. Here’s what I said:

Elzear Genet, also known as Carpentras, was a prolific composer in his day who is relatively little known and little recorded these days. Hopefully this recording will help to change that. The Cheese Lords have selected a program of a never before recorded mass (Missa “Se mieulx ne vient”) and previously unrecorded motets to inaugurate their recording series.

The recording, made at the Franciscan Monastery in Washington, DC, is spacious and resonant, but the ensemble’s precision and nuanced dynamics are in evidence throughout. The motets show off several facets of Genet’s musical style, from chant-influenced polyphony to the rhythmic, almost dancelike “Jubilate Deo” and the haunting “Haec est illa dulcis rosa.” The mass is largely without the contrasts in tempo or style that a Josquin or Byrd would have brought to the form, but the prismatic unfolding of the music from the stately Kyrie through the more urgent Credo into the resolute Agnus dei is still a glorious exemplar of the art. Highly recommended for a window into the music of this era.

(Disclaimer: I am a former member of the group, but have not sung with them for quite some time.)

One degree of separation

It’s a little humbling to realize you’re in the presence of someone great. Even one degree of separation from greatness can sometimes be intimidating. I just found out that one of my co-worker musicians from the pick-up band that played our holiday party is a recognized harmonica authority who once met Howlin’ Wolf. So not only do I know a world authority on the harp, I’m now only one degree removed from Howlin’ Wolf. Kind of a comforting thought.

QTN™: New Belgium Frambozen

So a while back I was talking about fruit lambics, and I said something to the effect that the beer was better when it didn’t taste overwhelmingly like the fruit it came from. Well, the Frambozen from New Belgium Brewing Company is not overpowered by the taste of raspberries. The bit that’s awkward is that it could actually use a bit more raspberry flavor, or something. Great brown ale, but I think the lambic flavor—the natural yeast—would have brought out the raspberry a bit more. Still quite pleasant and drinkable, but as New Belgium have had a history of putting out beers that approach the highest Belgian standard this one doesn’t quite hit the mark.

NetNewsWire got categories.

Brent’s done it again. The new beta release of the pro version of NetNewsWire not only supports categories, it now reliably downloads recent posts for editing on Manila (as confirmed by the release notes). Also some very nice minor “fit and finish” enhancements, such as the anchor tag window now putting the cursor directly into the input field.

There’s now no reason for my Manila Envelope software to continue to exist, at least in its current form.

Maybe. One thing that I do notice posting to my weblog through NNW is that it seems to take much more time than using Manila Envelope. This may be because NNW uses the MetaWeblog API, which is kind of a second-level API that probably turns around and calls the native Manila API. Manila Envelope, on the other hand, calls the Manila API directly, as its name implies. And there’s a ton of stuff in the Manila API that isn’t in any other blogging API, such as controlling templates and taglines. Maybe it’s time to think about repurposing the app to be the ultimate Manila client.