SlashdotReview

This is the first podcast that I started listening to back at the end of 2004 (maybe October or November). At the time I had just heard of SlashDot and was intrigued. The problem was that I already read a lot of stuff on the ‘net and, interesting as SlashDot looked, I was going to have to pass on it.

But I had heard about this cool thing called podcasting and, having started a new job with a 40+ minute commute, I was looking for some variety over the audio books that I was listening to.

Slashdot Review

Enter Slashdot Review, the host is Andy McCaskey. He promises and delivers:

SlashdotReview is a ten minute audio podcast summary of recent technology news items from Slashdot.org

I enjoy being able to listen to the "cream" of Slashdot’s content each day.

As an added bonus, Andy is quite the fan of Garageband.com and posts a track by a featured artist in each podcast after the news. I must admit that I did not think that I would find much to like in the usually non-commercial music being featured here. My musical tastes are pretty banal, but there have been a couple of tracks that I must confess took me by surprise and I’m now keeping an eye on this feature to see if any more gems come up for me.

Posted under Podcasting

This post was written by Marc
on March 30, 2005 at 6:57 pm

Doppler Podcast Client

Doppler button   I am using Doppler as my podcast client. This mini-review is for version 2.0.0.3.

I like my podcast clients to be relatively lean but still have enough features to simplify the process of keeping up with my feeds.

I use the scheduling feature of Doppler to seek out new content from each of my feeds once a day at about ten to seven in the morning. It downloads them into iTunes for me and I usually attach my iPod to the computer to synch up just before I leave in the morning. (I allow the iPod to recharge in my exercise room where I can listen to it if I wish while working out).

Pros

  • Just need to type in the URL for my podcast and Doppler gets the rest of the info for me
  • Ability to preview the podcast before I commit to downloading the whole thing on my iPod
  • Ability to retrieve only a single feed if I want
  • Intelligently designed "Catch Up" ability that allows me to set up new feeds without needing to download every podcast that has been posted to the current feed
  • Intelligently designed "History" that allows me to quickly see what has been downloaded and, if I want, I can blow away history entries to have them download again. Again very useful for picking and choosing podcasts in a newly set up feed.
  • When I delete a feed, it also offers to clean up all the associated files from that feed to.
  • I like the fact that when I sort a column it stays sorted. I sort by "Last Updated" so I can always see which feeds were most recently downloaded.

Cons

     

  • The Bittorrent implementation is a bit of a nuisance. I realize it was set up that way so that I could plug in any bittorrent client I want, but for some reason I just can’t seem to configure bittorrent to work well on my machine. Probably a combination of blocked ports and the dreaded MPAA and RIAA closing down all the bittorrent resources in sight that is complicating this for me…

I recognize that there are scores of client features that I haven’t mentioned, but frankly I just don’t use or need them.

The podcast client is free, the podcasts are free, much of the content is kind of amateurish, but there is a lot of really good stuff out there too.

I’ll be posting separate entries for my favorite podcasts over the next couple of days.

Posted under Podcasting

This post was written by Marc
on March 30, 2005 at 6:10 pm

Spell Checking plugin for WordPress

A quick shout out to Coldforged for his plugin to provide spell checking functionality within WordPress. A very handy feature.

It’s great that WordPress is designed in this manner. Very minimalist but with plenty of plugins (and more showing up every week) to customize and tailor the product as you see fit. This keeps your site as lean and mean as you want it to be.

Posted under Tech Stuff

This post was written by Marc
on March 27, 2005 at 11:34 am

Ladies’ Shoes – poll

Green Shoe

All you ladies out there. How many pairs of shoes do you have? I’m talking just shoes. You don’t need to count boots. But shoes, sandals, beach shoes, shoes for buying shoes anything that you would class as shoes.

Mich has about 41 pairs of shoes and I’m trying to figure out if this is normal or if I have another Imelda Marcos on my hands.

Please leave a comment and let me know how many shoes you have in your closets and around your home. Any shoe that isn’t actually in the trash can counts! 🙂

Posted under Affluenza, General

This post was written by Marc
on March 27, 2005 at 11:21 am

Arthur the Turtle

** updated September 7,2008 – unfortunately this mini photo gallery plugin is no more so I’m retrofitting the images with flickr versions. **

I thought I’d christen the introduction of mini photo galleries to my blog with a couple of pictures of Arthur, our pet Turtle.

He’s a red-eared slider who was purchased from a local pet store back on January 10, 1990.

Arthur the Turtle

Arthur the Turtle

Kudos to Ben at Benlyal.com for coming up with this innovation!

Posted under Photos

This post was written by Marc
on March 27, 2005 at 9:31 am

Asimov’s Guide to Shakespeare

Asimov\'s Guide to Shakespeare : A Guide to Understanding and Enjoying the Works of ShakespeareI’ve been working my way through this book for the past couple of months. It’s a major undertaking, but I have to say that it’s been extremely satisfying. I was really only acquainted with a few of Shakespeare’s works from my High School English classes. And, of course there are loads of derivative works out there that use Shakespeare’s stories as springboards from which to launch their own established characters into new and compelling situations.

The book comprises two volumes – First the Greek, Roman and Italian plays and then the English plays. I have to say, the first volume was by far the more interesting. Asimov does a wonderful job in providing you with the context with which the educated Elizabethan would have enjoyed these plays. And in doing so, he explores and articulates many facets of mythology associated with the play being examined. There is a lot that I have encountered in my other reading that existed as “orphan” knowledge that this book has helped me tie together. Particularly with respect to the chronology of events and the meanings of turns of phrase and expression that I have heretofore taken for granted.

This is not a Cliff’s Notes nor is it a compendium of Shakespeare’s works. It is, rather, a valuable aid to understanding the motivations of the characters and circumstances driving the events of Shakespeare’s plays.

On completing this book, after a brief Shakespeare hiatus, I intend to pick and choose my way through several of the plays that seemed especially interesting and read them for the first time with this rich background laid out for me. As well, I will be revisiting some of my favorite Shakespearean works with an eye towards the many nuances that completely passed me by because of my lack of classical / historical knowledge.

Posted under Books

This post was written by Marc
on March 27, 2005 at 2:22 am

Easter Funny

I’m not sure if my dad will appreciate this story now, but it’s been many years so I think I can safely tell the story without too much embarrassment.

Michelle likes to hide Easter eggs. Even though we’re fully grown and don’t have any kids around in need of such amusement, every Easter she will trundle off out of the conversation and activity that goes with getting together during the holidays and hide little chocolate Easter eggs. She picked this little tradition up from my mother who used to hide Easter eggs until we were all well into our late teens and insisted that everybody go searching for them.

Usually, Michelle gets creative enough that not all the eggs are found by the end of our Easter get togethers and she just leaves the rest to be found by whomever hosted the event over the next couple of weeks.

One year, while at my father’s place, she decided to hide an egg in the pocket of a pair of shorts that were hanging up on the hook of the bathroom door. Not surprisingly, this particular egg was not found before the day was out and she forgot all about it.

A couple of days later we received a call from my father. He has a nice pool / jacuzzi combination at his condo and he likes to swim daily and alternate between the cool pool and the hot jacuzzi. I think you know where I’m going with this…

Unfortunately, Michelle hadn’t recognized those shorts for what they really were, his swim trunks.

It might have been just a little bit of a shock or surprise for my father, but on that particular day my father was chatting with some of the other condo tenants in the jacuzzi when he happened to stand up and notice that there was a trail running down his leg. Not knowing what was going on, he quickly made his exit and went to the locker room to investigate.

The mystery was solved when he found the remains of the foil wrapping used on the Easter eggs in his mesh pocket. Needless to say he’d been finding eggs in socks, shoes, drawers etc. for the past couple of days, so it was quickly obvious where this chocolate trail began.

Michelle continues to hide eggs every year, but she’s a little more discriminating about where they end up. But every year at Easter we have a little chuckle over dad’s apparent post-Easter incontinence. 😉

Posted under General

This post was written by Marc
on March 26, 2005 at 7:57 pm