Breaking Radio Silence

Apologies for the lack of posts lately — no real excuses for the radio silence, but there it is: a hair under 3 weeks since my last entry. Here’s a quick sum up of the past few weeks:

  • Bernie put out a call for citizen co-signers for a petition against the current Wall Street bailout. Signed that, and encourage EVERYONE to contact their Senators and Congressmen ASAP, as this is something on the floor NOW.
  • Been introducing Jessica to Dr. Who, in all its glory. Currently in season 2 of the new series, and discussing with several friends picking up the old series and doing a Who night going through the whole damn thing.
  • Picked up a 1TB hard drive (LaCie Quadra) and an eSATA card for my laptop, which is making me happy — I was effectively out of room on both my laptop (120gb) and my extra drive (250gb), and this way I’m nicely backed up once more and have a bit more space.
  • Purchased a new domain: As the name might suggest, it’s going to be a travel related blog, with essays and writing and photography about various trips and locations (and even some local stuff from various places I’ve lived that I think are neat). It’s not really live yet, as I’m waiting until after WordCamp to properly set up the site. Looking forward to it, though!
  • WordCamp is this weekend, looking forward to it. Sounds like we’re going to get to preview WordPress 2.7, and the event has been filled to capacity (around 150 people). Woo!
  • Have the wanderlust, BAD. The air is finally starting to cool and turn autumnal, and as usual, it is sparking both the creative impulse and the desire to go explore.
  • Planning to head up to Seattle on October 3rd to attend Neil Gaiman’s reading from his new book (The Graveyard Book). Should be a fun trip!
  • Yes, I’m still looking for work. Had a phone interview with Apple last week regarding a Mac Genius position, which (while effectively a retail position) would provide full benefits and decent pay and help lock me down to an actual living situation again (how novel!). Despite having passed the phone interview, I’m not holding my breath, and continue to look and apply elsewhere, like Omni’s listing for a Software Test Pilot, which is WAY too up my alley to not try for (and for a company I like, to boot!).

So, err, yeah, I think that about catches ya’ll up. I’m still debating whether or not to split personal and professional blogs again for Critical Games (still have the nadreck subdomain after all, so why not use it?). As is suggested by me going out and getting a new domain and hosting service for, I’m more and more leaning to making the materials more granular, instead of converged. (“All things have their place.”)

Testing Flock

Trying out a new web browser that is purported to be highly Web 2.0 centric… so, built in blog editor, built in Flickr support, gmail support, deicious, etc etc etc… all built on top of the Firefox engine.  Kinda neat. Flock.


So, I’ve been applying for jobs all over the place, and this includes having a long-running search agent on Microsoft’s staffing site. When jobs I’m qualified for come up, I’m notified, I log in, decide whether it’s something I should apply for, apply, log out. Easy.

Except they’ve been doing a lot of work on the Passport network of late, migrating things for Windows Live support and who knows what else, which is causing problems. Like, now I can’t fully sign out, but when I try to sign back in, it claims I’m not using a current enough browser, and should upgrade to IE6 (not even possible if I wanted to — I’m on a Mac). I swap out my reported user agent for IE7, and the sign in process now works. I can forgive the sign-in funkiness, since I AM using a brand new, beta release of Safari 4.

However, signing out still doesn’t work, and I STILL can’t reach my job agent. That, my friends, is lame.


DailyLit is a system to receive books to read in small chunks via email or RSS. The basic idea is that as part of our day to day lives, we find it hard to find time to sit down and read, but we can usually find time to spend 5 minutes reading an email or post. So with that in mind, the folks at DailyLit took a bunch of books from public domain and creative commons licenses, and broke them into manageable parts, and allow you to receive these parts via email or RSS. They’re also experimenting with using Twitter, which is how I first heard about them. Very slick!


But, sure. I’ve been hurt. I’ve been hurt by my own doing. I’ve made mistakes. I’ve opened up at the wrong times, to the wrong people, under the wrong circumstances, and I’ve been involved with the emotionally distant and the scary obsessed. I’ve been unable to reciprocate someone else’s love, and I’ve loved without reciprocation, and both situations have been crushing. I’m okay with that. (Pussy, By Debauchette.)

Interesting post.

Twitter Links

I’m sure many of you are already familiar with Twitter, which is sort of a messaging service to allow for more ubiquitous communication. For those who aren’t aware, the folks at Common Craft have made an excellent video to explain it:

So, there are a variety of ways and places you can include Twitter. Personally, I have it set up via IM using their Jabber service, and also have it added as an application on Facebook. I’ve even added it as a sidebar on my website. These are all free services that haven’t required me to install anything to use.

However, there are some really fantastic other options for those who want a bit more of a robust user experience. Icon Factory has an OS X stand alone application that sort of set the gold standard for 3rd party twitter apps, called Twitterrific, which integrates your tweets right into the operating system, making for a seamless and easy experience. I used it for a while, however when they started charging for it, I stopped using it, and instead stuck with the Jabber services, which, while adequate, lacks both the punch and the reliability Twitterrific offered.

Recently, however, the IM services Twitter offers went down due to overload (a LOT of people use Twitter, and it is a constant battle to keep up with user demand), and has remained down for over a week, leading me to re-look at the 3rd party landscape. So, now I’m trying out an application called Spaz, which has been written using Adobe’s AIR framework, Spry (a free AJAX framework also from Adobe), and jQuery. It’s open-source (modified BSD license), free, and multiplatform (OS X, Windows, and Linux). While I miss the seamlessness (and lack of another icon cluttering my Dock) of Twitterrific, otherwise it seems to be a very respectable client, and well worth the time to check out.


reCAPTCHA is a free CAPTCHA service that uses text that OCR scanning technology couldn’t translate as the random text:

But if a computer can’t read such a CAPTCHA, how does the system know the correct answer to the puzzle? Here’s how: Each new word that cannot be read correctly by OCR is given to a user in conjunction with another word for which the answer is already known. The user is then asked to read both words. If they solve the one for which the answer is known, the system assumes their answer is correct for the new one. The system then gives the new image to a number of other people to determine, with higher confidence, whether the original answer was correct. (reCAPTCHA Website)

Truly, we live in the future.

I’m now using this system for user registrations (which are required to leave comments). So go register, and help read books!


This really deserves a fuller posting than this, but the gist of it: Microformats are a way to make your data more machine-friendly, related to (but separate from) the Semantic Web movement. There are several microformats out and seeing use, including hCard and hCalendar. Several more microformats are currently in draft form, such as hReview, and hResume. What’s really nice about this is that it makes your content readable for both humans and machines, and their extensive use of classes allows a built-in versatility in layout via CSS.

Of course, the drawback is that it’s more cruft to try and remember to implement. The folks spearheading the movement seem to understand this, though, and most of the drafts and specifications have online creators that you can use, and several plugins for popular blogging applications (like WordPress) are in development. I just used the hResume Creator to create a basic resume which I’ve posted here.

826 Valencia

I might be late out the gate on this, but I wanted to call attention to 826 Valencia, which is a non-profit writing and tutoring center started by the folks at McSweeney’s. There are seven branches around the country now, which each one running a unique storefront to help fund their efforts. The original location in San Francisco runs a Pirate Supply Store. The one in New York City is for superheroes, while the one in Los Angeles is for time travelers. Seattle is all about space travel (appropriate since the Sci-fi Museum is also in Seattle), Chicago is meant for spies, while Ann Arbor, Michigan offers a home for itinerant monsters, and Boston is home to cryptozoologists from all over.

So friggin’ cool. I wish stuff like this had been running when I was a kid.