Delicious Delicious Library 2.0

Wired: First Look: Delicious Library 2.0 Burns With Animated Cool. Looks like the 2.0 version (currently under development) of Delicious Library should address a lot of my criticisms of the program, as well as a lot of Core Animation goodness. Favorite features: publishing to templates, iTunes integration, export formats, library sharing, and smart bookshelves.

For comparison, here’s my Delicious Library feature request list from 2004. So far, it looks like they’re addressing #s 1, 2, and 5. I’d still like to see #6.

Halloween is Everyday

Alas, tis true—if you aren’t trick or treating or taking someone out trick or treating, the holiday is over way too soon. It was a pretty quiet day at the office followed by a relatively small parade of trick or treaters. (Favorites: the neighborhood “math kid” (he was Pi a few years ago) as the Pythagorean Triples, and the middle school kid wearing the halo, black leotard, and black wings, who announced herself as the “goth angel.”)

It’s a good thing I don’t live on this block. I have to believe that the trick or treat traffic at Youk’s place would be a lot heavier.

Getting to Inbox Zero with Outlook and Taglocity

A follow up to my earlier note about tags and Microsoft Outlook: I am happy to say that Taglocity has changed my life. I used to have folders in folders in folders and dealing with any received mail was torture. Now I’ve implemented tags and my workflow has totally changed.

I used to deal only with my unread mail, which was nice but it meant crud built up in my inbox. I used to flag mail messages as To Dos, but half the time I never got to reviewing the To Do list. Now I tag each mail message as it comes in (unless Taglocity can tag it for me), take whatever action is necessary on it, and move it to one archive folder. If I need to see a collection of messages about a particular subject, I use Taglocity’s filters or have it create a search folder for me.

My morning routine is a lot simpler too. I come in in the morning and the only things in my inbox are the ones that have come in since the night before. I delete most of the bacn, tag anything that I responded to the prior evening through Outlook Web Access (which doesn’t support tags), archive all tagged messages, and start processing all the new stuff.

The best part: that empty inbox. Now I work from my action list like I should have been doing all along. Inbox Zero is a good thing.

Some specific notes on Taglocity: using the Tag Cloud and other parts of the UI to assign tags and filters is a little challenging, since I tend to have a lot of tags. As in my tag collection in iPhoto, I find typing the tag name to be much, much easier. But having a Tag Cloud for my email is kind of cool anyway.

You know the Sox have won the Series…

…when greater Boston traffic goes completely and utterly to Hell the next morning. I swear, I spent 70 minutes just on the 10 miles of Rt. 2 between my home and 128, thanks to the four separate fender-benders I ran into.

I didn’t stay up for the end, and thus missed Colorado’s runs… and A-Rod’s hogging the spotlight. Dude, I think you could have picked some other night to announce that you are taking your punk ass to the market. You’d think that you would at least have waited until a few days after Red Sox pitcher (pitcher!) Daisuke Matsuzaka blew away your post-season RBI record…

Leopard of the Yard

I have been running Leopard for about two hours now, having picked up the Family Pack this afternoon and backed up the MacBook Pro (first full backup since I bought the thing, frighteningly enough). Notes so far: seems snappier. I thought I’d hate the changed handling of folders in the dock (stacks?) but I actually really dig it. If you only have one mouse button and don’t want to do the two-handed right click, it’s a much easier way to work with the contents of folders in the dock, and a much better application of Fitts’ Law.

I ran into a minor Keychain issue that seems to be responsible for this update after the installation, but that’s the only glitch so far.

I did notice one interesting thing. Software updates, even those that required restarts, used to download and install before signalling for a restart. Now the restart signal occurs and the installs happen after the user desktop disappears. Cuts into the user’s productive time, but perhaps safer and easier for the update installer to handle…

(Title reference here… only much less violent.)

iTunes craps out with err: -34 on large downloads

And that’s all I know, really. I can download small files from the iTunes Store, but larger files (e.g. a 98 MB movie) fail with the message that the disk I am downloading to is full (err: -34). The problem of course is that it isn’t full at all: 18 GB free on the primary drive, 60 GB free on the external drive where I keep all my music.

A little Googling led me to this support thread which suggests restarting the Airport Extreme Base Station, or copying a dummy large file then deleting it, as potential workarounds. We’ll see.

Iā€™m not planning to blog the whole Seriesā€¦

But I like the way we’re starting: three up, three down from Beckett. He steps off the plate; the TV (and maybe in Fenway, I don’t know) plays the Pixies’ “Here Comes Your Man.” Which has to be a first for MLB.

Then Padroia steps up, and whaddaya know? Home run. Then Youk gets a double, and Manny singles him in.

You know what, folks? We are downright spoiled.

I just hope they can play the game. The “drizzle” looks pretty heavy from here.

FriendCSV: Your data doesn’t stay in FaceBook

That didn’t take long. TechCrunch is reporting about a FaceBook application called FriendCSV, which allows dumping selected pieces of data about your contacts to a comma-separated format. TechCrunch has the right angle about this; it’s fundamentally about getting your data back out of FaceBook and not being locked in their trunk.

Some of the folks in the comment thread are getting a little spun up about this. I think they miss the point. As one user says, there is nothing in the data set that cannot be viewed by going to the person’s profile page, and you aren’t pulling any data from anyone who isn’t your friend.

What’s that? or, Car envy

One of my neighbors was selling a Mitsubishi 3000 recently. I thought, “How nice, he’s outgrown fast cars.” Not so fast. Lisa pointed out a new car in his driveway when we were out on a walk, saying, “I think he got a classic Porsche.”

A closer look told me it was no Porsche (though the hatchback/fastback made it look a little like a 911 from the rear), but what it was was a little more obscure. Definitely a British sports car: right-hand drive, and the original British plate was still on the vehicle under its Mass. plate. But what model? Then I saw him start to back it out of the driveway, and it hit me. I told my wife, “I think that’s an Aston Martin—the James Bond car.”

I got a closer look as we went by. Sunroof with a cloth top, the famous winged Aston Martin logo on the back, gunmetal gray paint. I memorized the lines as best I could and went home to look it up. I was unfortunately unable to do the check that day, as that’s when the stomach flu that grounded me for much of the weekend into yesterday kicked in. But I looked it up today, and my neighbor is driving an Aston Martin DB Mark III. It is the James Bond car, but not the one that appears in the film. When Ian Fleming wrote the novel Goldfinger, he had Bond driving a DB Mark III, but this was upgraded to Aston Martin’s latest DB 5 when the film of Goldfinger was made.

As a longtime British car fan (I grew up with my dad’s project car, a 1967 MGB that he rebuilt or fixed from the chassis up, and drove my own 1977 MGB, his second project car, until an unfortunate carburetor fire), I am extremely jealous. Oh, to be in a small, potentially unsafe vehicle again, low to the ground, loud, and responsive…

Service Request takes front stage

Rob England writes in a recent ITSMWatch article about the evolution of the ITIL Request, from not even being mentioned to being a peer with Incidents, and points out that ITIL could go further:

ITIL v4 will, most likely, I predict, finally recognise that the Service Desk deals with generic Requests/Tickets/Issues/Incoming. These Requests have multiple categories. Each category has its own variant of a more general process that applies to all of them, in much the same way as there are several categories of Change which all undergo variants of the general Change process.

Oddly enough, iET ITSM has dealt with incoming issues in this way for years. Each incoming issue (these were actually called inquiries in earlier versions of the software) could be an incident, a request, a question, a complaint, or some other type of action. The logic behind this approach is that the end user’s interaction with the service desk may be fulfilled using one of several processes depending on the type of issue.

The important thing to do is not to oversimplify this concept. There is a big difference between simply flagging an inbound customer issue as a “request” and providing the right data and behavior to correctly automate the request process. The ITSM software must provide support for those processes that goes beyond simple categorization.

Missing the Glee Club … for the Glee Club

The Virginia Glee Club will be in Cambridge on November 3, singing with the Wellesley College Choir (repeating a pairing that was done back in 1991 when I was a first year). Unfortunately, I won’t be in the audience at the First Congregational Church to see the group, because (in one of those weird coincidences) another Glee Club member is getting married that day. Yep, Jim Heaney, the Mothman himself, will be tying the knot in DC, and I’ll be there doing whatever a groomsman does (it will actually be my first time participating in the ceremony from that perspective). Should be a reunion of many kinds, as the Suspicious Cheese Lords will be in attendance as well.

Twister = 0, so far

I didn’t hear any twisters during the night, and a quick scan out my window shows only some leaves on the ground, so I guess I survived my first experience being on a tornado alley. So far, the only actual indication of a twister coming through has been a report of a possible tornado that went through a town about 12 miles up the road.

It is perhaps a sign of how sleep deprived I am that I say: the actual outcome wasn’t worth the sleep I lost. I should have stayed in bed.

Of course, I’m sure that my flight home will be disrupted; hopefully they are able to resume flights this morning.