Monthly Archives: June 2007

IT: Got No Idea

Exchange a few minutes ago as I’m walking into work. The elevator’s arrived and I’m stepping on when a fairly attractive young woman approaches, and then suddenly stops and flips through her purse.

Her: Do you know where the meeting is? I’ve got no idea where to go.
Me, looking like a young student-to-be that may be going to this meeting but really isn’t: I’m not sure…I’m just headed up to the fifth floor, IT, not sure about any meeting.
Her: I don’t even know what that is, but OK, I’m sure I’ll find out.

This post started with an intellectually-elite-assholish way of thinking that she “absolutely should know what IT is if she’s going to college,” but then I realized that her life is probably simpler on a magnitude of about 3 million without knowing all that, so maybe it’s not so bad. Let’s hope nobody shatters her innocence until she’s good and ready.

A dose of reality on the iPhone

With all due respect to those disrespected by Geico, you’d have to be living in a cave if you didn’t realize the iPhone is being released tomorrow. The press coverage amounts to a giant puddle of drool over this thing — I can’t say I’ve ever seen so much excitement for a phone before. You know AT&T is happy, seeing how they’ve got the exclusive.

Paul Thurrott aims to balance things out a bit. He’s right, too — in essence, the iPhone is a $500 phone that, if it weren’t for the touchscreen and Apple-ness, would be given away for peanuts. EDGE data? Ridiculous. I realize that AT&T’s 3G network doesn’t have much of a footprint yet (trust me, I lament it daily), but that’s no reason for Apple to just omit it from the phone. To use that phone’s strengths effectively, it clamors for 3G. Yes, it’s got Wi-Fi, which is cool, but what good does that do on the go?

I think it’s neat how Safari on the iPhone can browse the Internet proper without having to worry about “mobile versions” of pages. However, there’s a reason for mobile versions of pages, because no matter how wide the screen is on the iPhone, it’s still small. Period. The fact that I’d have to zoom and scroll and scroll and zoom doesn’t really attract me all that much. There are other advantages to well-created WML pages, too: they will generally perform better, will be less taxing on the phone, and quite frankly I would not be too crazy about having the full flash and pomp of the Internet on my phone. My fear is that the advent of Safari on the phone may make designers lazy and not provide good alternatives for the 99% of the Web-on-phone-using population.

Death Stars and other trivia

Last night at about midnight, I officially joined the Cult of AT&T, as my cell phone no longer reflects “Cingular” as my service provider. The last gasp of Cingular is the branding that was screenprinted on the bottom of the phone. That was a good brand…a lot more hip than “AT&T,” which just screams “giant corporate behemoth.”

And now, a random note that has nothing to do with AT&T or Death Stars: I don’t talk about my professional life much on here outside of the limited freelancing I do, but for the last month I have been the interim webmaster at CofC. It’s been quite exciting — definitely one of those “never a dull moment” kind of jobs. This has had a lot to do with the slowing of my blogging pace, because quite frankly, it’s just tough to get on a computer when I get home after I’ve been on one for close to eight hours a day.

I’m wondering if it’s going to rain on Charleston in a couple hours. There’s a cell that appears to be holding together as it traverses its way down the coast. It’s been quite the rainmaker, dropping a radar-estimated three inches of rain on portions of upper Charleston County. It’ll probably rain itself out before it gets here, but then again, you just don’t know. The clouds were fairly ominous this morning.

Back to the grind…

Sad day in Charleston

I’m up here at work with the memorial service for our fallen firefighters up on the laptop. WCBD’s site is taking quite the beating right now, but the streaming has held up reasonably well. The Coliseum is well done for the memorial — I’m glad that the public will have an opportunity to pay their respects.

It takes quite a person to willingly sign up for a job where putting his or her life on the line to save others is a job qualification. I certainly lack that kind of mettle. To those who serve, you have my unending gratitude.

Ale’s got pictures of the procession this morning as it turned down Coming Street off Calhoun.

Where was Mike Veeck with Gregg Marshall Night?

Billy Donovan Night is too funny:

The Fort Myers Miracle, a Single-A minor league baseball team in the Florida State League, will poke fun at the Florida Gators coach who backed out of his deal with the Orlando Magic when it hosts “Billy Donovan Night” on June 20.

Just like Donovan escaped his five-year, $27.5 million contract with the Magic, fans can try and negotiate their way out of their ticket purchase.

If there’s one thing you can count on with minor league ball, it’s a never-ending slew of creative promotions.

Oh, and one more thing — why is it that college basketball coaches are the most indecisive people on the planet when it comes to coaching jobs? It seems like you have one or two of these about-faces every year now.

The New AT&T: Team Hollywood, Internet Police

News is traveling quickly of AT&T’s intent to filter copyrighted content on portions of the Internet it controls. It’s been repeated a million times before, but briefly: The New AT&T wants to transform itself into a content provider, serving up Internet TV. Obviously, people trading copyrighted television shows for free over the Internet(s) is a direct contradiction to that business model. Conveniently for The New AT&T, they also have a stranglehold on much of the Internet backbone in the United States. Thus, they’re going to use that capacity and attempt to start filtering out content that doesn’t pass muster as legit.

In other words, The New AT&T is sacrificing itself as a neutral network provider — really, how could they be expected to provide neutral network services and be a content provider at the same time? Where would the incentive be, besides drawing the ire of regulators, to permit competitors on their network? When I say competitors, think YouTube — Alex Curtis believes they could be the first target of a joint Hollywood/AT&T hit. I’m only scratching the surface, too — there is much more to this than just the business angle. What about consumer privacy? (It’s bad enough that they forward traffic to the NSA.) Does AT&T, and only AT&T, reserve the right to regulate what is and isn’t acceptable on the public Internet? The answers to these questions will have a lasting effect on the Internet as we know it.

One thing is for certain: The New AT&T sure seems to be just as sinister as the old one. I hope the regulators get on the horn to AT&T and find out what the deal is, because so far to me this flies in the face of the provisions that were set when AT&T acquired SBC and later BellSouth. I guess they just haven’t learned their lesson from the first time they were broken up…

Weather station update

So among the casualties of the severe weather today were apparently Nightwind’s serial ports — I came home to find that everything had rebooted, but Nightwind was unable to communicate with the station at all. After trying a few things — including resetting the station — I moved the console to healer for testing and found it picked up pretty much immediately. I moved it back to Nightwind and it was receiving corrupt data — no good. The hilarious thing is that healer — the crappy Dimension that I railed against not more than three posts ago — is now running the station flawlessly, with no phantom windspeed readings or anything. Go figure, right? I hate it for to happen this way, but it’s nice seeing my original plan carried out. :) So, Nightwind will rejoin the other servers, and the much quieter healer will be sitting relaying the conditions to Wunderground and AWEKAS. (It also will continue to serve as a backup domain controller and DNS box.)

Regular commenter NotMyBest2Day passed along a radar composite of the storms exploding over Charleston today. It takes a bit of time to load, but it’s worth it to see all the energy move ashore. This one really reminded me of the disturbance that dropped all that rain and that extreme lightning over downtown last August.

The forecast is more of the same for tomorrow, from that disturbance that’s still sitting offshore. Let’s hope it winds down by the weekend!

Flooded

At around noon a nasty cluster of thunderstorms made landfall right on Downtown and started dropping some extremely torrential rain and even some nickel to quarter size hail, according to various storm reports. Needless to say, Downtown went right underwater. My street — what I saw of it, anyway — is flooded (and currently without power, hence why there is no weather reporting). At the corner of Coming and Morris, a manhole cover blew open as the drain failed, and an unfortunate driver got the back left wheel of his truck stuck in the hole. The water was pretty deep at that corner, as it usually is during a rain event like this.

The second round was even crazier, with reports of a waterspout between Folly and Kiawah prompting a tornado warning which was canceled a short time ago. Nuts. The second round did move through faster, though, so the amount of rain that fell was less. There have still been power interruptions, though.

It always seems that this happens when the astronomical tides are abnormally high, doesn’t it? Ugh. Here’s hoping I don’t have to do too much swimming on my way home from work.

Safari 3.0 Beta…for WINDOWS!

I’m writing this post in Safari 3.0 Beta for Windows XP. Yes, I kid you not — Apple has released Safari, its flagship Mac OS X browser, for Windows. It certainly doesn’t look much like a Windows app, as Apple seems to have created its own portable UI framework that it’s applying to its software for Windows now. It looks just like a Mac app, right down to using Lucida Grande for the titlebar. It even antialiases fonts like a Mac does.

In the ten minutes I’ve spent with it, it seems to be pretty fast and easy to use. The antialiasing will take some getting used to — I’m wondering if this is adjustable. Some of the fonts look pretty horrid, to be honest.

This is still amazing, though, and definitely nothing I saw coming. Good job, Apple — someone had to bring KHTML to Windows!