Archive for June 2009

Tweet Tweet Tweet

Published on June 25, 2009

I’ve bitten the proverbial bullet and joined twitter. You can follow me (if you’re so inclined) at my oh-so-clever username: jonahbishop. I’ll be using the service for small things that aren’t quite worth a blog post (it will not take the place of this site). We’ll see how it goes over time.

Frustratingly enough, when I signed up for twitter, the site was having major problems. Thankfully, things seem to be back to normal now. I’ve noticed a strange thing with the service, however. After climbing into the twitter pool, I noticed a number of leeches attaching themselves to my account. In other words, a number of random people started following me for no apparent reason (I recognize none of them). Does anyone else here who uses twitter see the same thing? Is there a way to stop it? Are these people simply spammers out to get “trackback” style web-cred?

Photos From Georgia

Published on June 25, 2009

Earlier this month, my parents and I went down to Georgia to visit with my grandmother. I took my camera along and this album is the result.

On a semi-related note, I’ve made some minor changes to the look and feel of the page navigation elements in Monkey Album. You may need to do a hard refresh in your browser to pick up the newer style sheet. As always, let me know of any problems you may run across.

Festival for the Eno

Published on June 24, 2009

The 30th annual Festival for the Eno is coming up next weekend, July 3-5. If you’re in the Triangle area in North Carolina, be sure to check it out. Tickets are $15 at the gate, and most (if not all) of the money goes to conserving the Eno River. The event is “trash free” (over 90% of trash is either recycled or composted) and a great way to spend a day. Over 80 musical and dance groups will be performing on 4 stages during the 3 days. Add to this great food, art vendors, and the beautiful West Point on the Eno setting, and you have a recipe for a great time.

I’ll most likely be out there on Friday; if you see me, be sure to say hello!

Backup Strategies

Published on June 23, 2009

Recently, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about backup strategies for my data. I’m bad about not backing things up on a regular basis, and I’m hoping to change that. There are a number of routes one can take, and I’ve been looking at several.

The easiest solution is to backup data onto removable media (CD, DVD, or an external hard drive). This method is cheapest, but it also has some serious drawbacks. CDs and DVDs have relatively small data footprints, which means you have to use many discs to backup sizable data stores. Writable discs also don’t last forever. The most serious flaw with this strategy, however, is that the backups are not off site. If someone breaks in and steals my computer, they are almost certain to also take the external hard drive sitting next to it. The same can be said for a fire; if the machine burns, so does the hard drive.

A number of online services are available for doing data backup. Carbonite and Mozy are two of the bigger ones I’ve heard about. These services give you off site backups, but they too have drawbacks. Often, these services have software that runs all the time on your machine, incrementally backing up as you go (which may be something you don’t want). In some cases, you also have limited control over exactly what gets backed up. The services cost money, and you’re giving your data to a third party. And, with lousy broadband in the US, initial upload times for large data can be painfully slow.

What does everyone here do to backup their data? Can anyone recommend a service or strategy that works well for them?

WordPress 2.8 = FAIL

Published on June 17, 2009

If you use WordPress, I advise against upgrading to version 2.8. I attempted to do so to this site this evening (via Subversion), and everything appeared to go smoothly. Unfortunately, upon logging in to my admin panel, I noted that everything was broken. The external site still performed as expected, but I couldn’t get around in the admin area.

Zero steps forward, twenty steps back.

Maybe others will have better luck than I did. I have since reverted back to 2.7.1 for the time being, though my database may now be corrupt. If you notice anything funky around this site, please, please, please let me know.

Those Stupid Age Gates

Published on June 16, 2009

A recent trend among websites for games that have a “M for Mature” (or similar) rating is the use of age gates. These gates require the user to enter their birth date before they can view information on the subject in question. Usually, the user is presented with three pull down menus: one for the month, one for the day, and one for the year. From a legal perspective, I can understand why companies want to use this feature. But who are these gates really keeping out? Every kid should know that by providing an old enough date, they can gain access to the site. After all, this isn’t rocket science.

Every time I visit a website with one of these gates, I enter the most ridiculous date possible by selecting the oldest year offered (usually 1900). Maybe if enough people enter ridiculous dates every time, this annoying website ‘feature’ will go away.

Movie List of Shame

Published on June 11, 2009

Way back when I signed up for Netflix, I added a bunch of movies I had never seen to my queue. Several of these movies fall into what I call my “list of shame” (I’m borrowing the term from Dan Trachtenberg of the The Totally Rad Show). These are movies that everyone but me had already seen, and are fairly seminal. Yesterday, Dustin and I were discussing what qualifies a movie for the “list of shame” and I’m not sure I have a steadfast rule. For the most part, it’s a movie that, if I told most anyone I hadn’t seen it, they would say incredulously, “You haven’t seen that?!?”

Anyways, I thought it would be fun to share a few movies from my list, along with the rating I ultimately gave it at Netflix (using their 5 star rating scheme):

  • Beverly Hills Cop (5)
  • Big Trouble in Little China (4)
  • Billy Madison (4)
  • The Birds (4)
  • The Blues Brothers (4)
  • Caddyshack (3)
  • The Dirty Dozen (4)
  • Doctor Strangelove (5)
  • The Godfather (5)
  • The Godfather: Part II (4)
  • The Goonies (4)
  • Groundhog Day (4)
  • Happy Gilmore (4)
  • It’s a Wonderful Life (4)
  • Jaws (4)
  • Saturday Night Fever (4)
  • Scarface (4)
  • Smokey and the Bandit (4)
  • Spaceballs (3)
  • Tron (4)

For the most part, I really enjoyed every movie on this list. And I can now say “yes, I’ve seen that” when asked by someone about these movies. There are still a few upcoming movies on my queue that fit this bill (including Citizen Kane, The Godfather: Part III, and Blazing Saddles). Do you have movies on your “list of shame?” If so, what are they?

More Random Photos

Published on June 6, 2009

I have just posted a new photo album entitled Random Collection #2. As you might surmise, the album consists of a number images taken over the past few weeks in various locations.

Nintendo as a Pioneer

Published on June 2, 2009

Hate on the Nintendo Wii all you want, but it has clearly made Sony and Microsoft nervous (especially since the Wii has made money since day one, while the 360 and PS3 are still losing money on each sale). This week, Sony announced a PS3 motion controller, and Microsoft announced the Project Natal motion controller. For those not already in the know, the Nintendo Wii has had this capability for over 2 years now (though, granted, the Microsoft approach is a new twist).

I agree that the Nintendo Wii has, at some levels, been a relatively ‘weak’ platform compared to the others. It lacks HD support, has a fairly thin library of games, and has clunky online support. As a result, the Wii has been given the cold-shoulder by the “hard-core gaming community.” The two recently announced, upcoming Mario titles (Super Mario Galaxy 2 and The New Super Mario Bros.) probably aren’t enough to improve its reputation.

All that aside, it looks like the “big boys” are playing catch-up to Nintendo’s “little engine that could.” Maybe Nintendo knows the future more than we think they do…

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