Category Archives: Reviews

Podcast Recommendations

Having recently moved, my commute has now increased from an easy 25 minutes to about 65 – 70 on a day without too much traffic.  With the increase in commuting time, my iPod is now getting a workout, but my music library can’t keep up.  So I’m looking for Podcast recommendations.

Currently I listen to NPR’s On the Media regularly and BBC Radio4’s In Our Time (sometimes).  However, those alone aren’t enough to cover the whole ride.  Can anyone recommend any morning news programs (e.g. NPR Morning Edition) and any interesting music podcasts for the ride home?

Horizon Blue: What Makes a Bad Website

There’s no avoiding it – Horizon Blue’s members only section of their website sucks. It’s just plain bad. Why? Two reasons. First, it only works with Windows Internet Explorer. I can’t log on from Firefox on either the PC or Mac, or Safari on the Mac. Second, it doesn’t offer me any way to contact anyone at the company who might be in a position to allow me to vent to them how much their website sucks.

Seriously, guys, way to go.

Musings on Mac

I’ve had my Mac for a few weeks now, giving me a chance to think about what I like and dislike since converting over from my longtime staple, Windows. And although I am overall really happy and excited about the switch, there are still a few things I miss about Windows XP.


  • A built-in dual button touchpad – seriously, Mac, why DON’T you do this? It makes life so much easier.

  • The Windows Clipboard (Copy / Paste Functionality) – every day at work I take advantage of the ability to simply click the little button and paste as text, paste with formatting, match destination formatting, etc. This truly is fantastic and I haven’t seen it built in to the Mac OS natively, at least not yet.

  • Windows Media Player – Quicktime, for actually playing video, is one of the worst out there in my experience. I personally miss VLC player, which is what I used on the PC for most of my video watching, but Quicktime is terrible. No free full screen mode? And why does clicking on the screen cause the video to pause? And the Flip4Mac plugin to stream Windows Media streams is a joke. I’ve tried using it a few times and have given up entirely – I now switch to Parallels and use Windows Media Player through there to watch live streaming video.

I recognize there are those out there who will disagree with my characterizations, but these are the areas where my Mac experience falls down. They seem minor, but they definitely affect my overall experience in a direct, tangible way. And while I am very happy to have my Macbook, even Steve Jobs has some room to improve.

Now With Photos

Finally! On top of making WordPress work in under an hour (take that, Movable Type!), I’ve also got a Photo Gallery working too! Sure, it needed a few minor script fixes, but it only took about an hour to figure that out compared to four weeks of failure with Movable Type. I’ll post an update soon once I finish updating all my recent photos.

Mondovino

In between the intensity of my project at work, I’ve had an opportunity to start enjoying some Netflix DVDs again now that the current tv season is finished. I just got through Mondovino, a 2+ hour documentary on the global wine industry. I’m still not sure exactly what to make of it all, so I’ll just throw out my key observations.

1) Jonathan Nossiter (or at least his cameraman) really, really loves dogs. They make an appearance continually throughout the documentary no matter what country / city he’s in, from the remote parts of Argentina and Brazil to cities in the US and Europe.

2) The French blame the Americans for “globalization” of the wine industry and the decline of French traditional control over the wine industry. Robert Mondavi and Robert Parker are locked in a gigantic conspiracy to destroy the French. They especially dislike the fact that Americans use a dirty tool called “marketing”.

3) However, the French applaud the work of Bernard Magrez, essentially a French version of Mondavi, who is spreading the same brand of global wine and has a similar up-from-the-bootstraps kind of story. Even though he’s basically cut from the same cloth, he’s ok because he’s French.

4) The Italians (or at least the many marquises interviewed) liked Mussolini, are split on the Mondavis, and were concerned about the Social Forum.

5) The global wine industry, like so many things, is heavily afflicted by racism and nationalism.

6) Everyone interested in producing competitive wine at an international level should just call Michel Roland.

New Tolkein Book

I read with amusement that there was a ‘new’ Tolkein book being published, since the J.R.R. Tolkein himself hasn’t written any new material since 1973. Still, I will likely pick up a copy, having read several of the fragmented books put out previously by his son Christopher based off drafts of manuscripts and notes.

Did We Watch the Same Game

Did this guy and I watch the same Super Bowl? I found this year’s commercials to be the weakest in years, while the game was above average as far as interest goes. Maybe I’ll have a different opinion after I watch the YouTube links.

Update: No, still no. I watched the ads and turns out I had actually seen most of them, but they were so weak they were forgotten before they were over. My verdict stands: weakest bunch of Superbowl ads in years.