Shame on me

I have had a blog at Alistair.com for around 12 years now.  At the beginning it was a simple ftp down > edit html > ftp up.  Now it’s WordPress and though I am nowhere near as prolific as my friend Derek, I use this site extensively for many other projects that are not public.

As a faculty member at BCIT (in Web Development, no less), you’d think I would have a nicer web site, or at least on that is current.  Alas, I have constantly struggled with my writing and end up abandoning many posts because I get frustrated with the process.

None of that should prevent me from working on template and the interactions on the site, though.  I thoroughly enjoy assisting my students achieve their potential when crafting their own creations, but somehow I slow down when working on my own.

So, I have reverted the site back to the default design that comes with WordPress until I can put the time and effort in to build something I am proud of.

Let’s see how long that takes.

Mobile Blogging

While blogging from your mobile device is nothing new, it’s still nice to be able to do it. iPhone users can get the most excellent WordPress app, but the rest of us can still get close with the wPhone plugin.

The author says he will not continue with releases, but with the number of Blackberry users out there, I suspect we’ll see this trend continue.

iPhone in Canada? Other Apple Goodness?

Papercraft Steve JobsI am becoming less and less excited with each new show/keynote that comes along. I have all the Mac stuff I need and the iPhone only really interests me in regards to Canadian availability. I carry a Blackberry for work and I am simply uninterested in carrying two devices around.

However, I still look forward to each new announcement, hoping something really fantastic comes along. So, for today’s keynote, I decided to build a wee papercraft Steve Jobs from a site I found the other day. It’s easy: some thick paper, a paper-cutting knife, ruler and glue and you’re ready to go.

The Lander Attempts to Land

Today is a pretty big day for NASA and the Phoenix Mars Lander. In about 1 hour, the Lander will attempt to touch down safely on the planet’s surface. This is not an easy feat, with previous landers having a success rate of about 50%, with at least one crashing on the surface due to a miscommunication between units of measure (metric vs imperial).

NASA must be feeling confident today, however, as the marketing surrounding this landing has been impressive. I have seen interest from CBC, Discovery and Space channels, but there is more as well:

Very soon, Phoenix will enter the 7 minutes of terror (video) that will make or break this project.

NASA seems to have a lot of confidence that this project will succeed.  Good Luck, Phoenix!

TiVo: Just in time

For many years now, I have been lamenting the lack of TiVo in Canada. So, it was a happy/sad day today when I discovered that the set-top box will be available to us on December 11th, just in time for Christmas.

Happy? Well, I’ve coveted the system for years now and am excited about the opportunity to include it in the bundle of technology connected to my TV.

Sad? Primarily because it’s pretty close to Christmas and I’ve already committed most of my funds. This is another $350 (or so: $199+tax for the box and a minimum 1 year subscription at $129) that I shouldn’t be spending. Also, because it means that I’ll likely be watching more TV.

There are many cool things about TiVo:

  • It will record shows for you on a built-in hard drive, up to 80 hours.
  • You can auto-skip commercials upon playback.
  • An entire series can be pre-programmed to record, so I’ll never miss an episode of myself Adam Savage on Mythbusters.
  • You can search for content by keyword rather than having to know the show title.
  • Record another channel while you watch TV (perfect for when the Canucks are playing at the same time as I’m on Mythbusters).
  • Transfer shows to your computer, your iPod or burn a DVD with TiVoToGo.
  • TiVo will make suggestions for programs you might like, based on other subscribers who selected similar programming (much like Amazon makes suggestions after you’ve viewed/purchased a few books).

These are all great features for someone like me who isn’t home a lot but still has a few favorites on TV. The last one, though, is interesting for Canadians. I can only wonder if the suggestions are being made on the entire pool of TiVo subscribers (hence, more U.S. content) or if there have created a subset for Canadian subscribers.

I guess we’ll see if Corner Gas or How it’s Made (Canadian version) comes up when I get my very own TiVo.