Making Blogging Easier from Anywhere

As much as I adore my Blackberry Pearl, it doesn’t do a good job with
my WordPress dashboard given its limited screen real estate. The
logical alternative for in-field posting is email, but something needs
to trigger the WordPress page that does the processing. There are a
bunch of ways, and they recommend hacking the blog footer as the
easiest way.

A better way for an old UNIX hacker like me is a shell command in a
cron job. So it’s back a trusty old UNIX feature to kick my blog in
the anatomy every now and then. The testing is the hardest part, so I
set the job, using “GET -d”, to run every fifteen minutes. That’s
probably too often. Really, how often am I more than 10 feet from a
computer with an internet connection?

Five minutes to the next run, so please cross all appropriate
appendages one more time!

From My MacBook

What Passes for Morning

It took four hours to get out the door “this morning” at around 2pm.
Then the day really got started after an omelet at Marathon and now an
Americano at the gayborhood Starbucks. Even on a grey blustery Sunday
there’s people about. This particular Starbucks is overrun with
students whose books blanket many tables. After this it’s home to
work on the resume (that time again) and maybe fix WordPress if this
post-by-mail fails to hit the internet.

From My Blackberry Pearl

[UPDATED 17:07] Didn’t work because I never configured a cron job or the like to do the posting. Working on that right now.

Social Science

I’ve been following a few feeds about the local tech scene [, Independents Hall, Junto, P’unk Avenue Window] to see if my impression of Philly as technologically backwards still holds. It does and it doesn’t. While I’d be hard-pressed to find a juicy Documentum contract within city limits, there’s plenty of activity in new media as well as a growing geek culture.

Philly Geeks alerted me to an event by Philadelphia Area New Media Association (PANMA) just two blocks from my front door. Their Web Tools Shootout worked something like perl mongers lighting talks; people spoke for three minutes on about a dozen web/new media technologies. I’ll post more about the event on in the next few days. The final speaker talked about Twitter and offered tickets for another event to the first two people to add him on Twitter. Of course I pinged him from my Pearl before he even sat down. Anyway, I won what turned out to be my first in-the-flesh encounter with the local Maker community.

No, I don’t mean sandworms from Arrakis. They are people fiddling with do-it-yourself technology inspired by Make magazine. I’d seen segments on RocketBoom [warning: video plays on the jump] and Boing Boing about some really involved projects and large gatherings called Maker Faires, but I didn’t know anything about the local community.

Anyway, I spent Saturday morning in an EZ-LED course run by Josh and Far from The Hactory, a spin-off of Make:Philly. We made throwies, blinky bugs, and a push-button pulsating LED circuit on a breadboard based on a 555 chip. I haven’t messed around like this in over 20 years, and it brought back great memories of cobbled-together creations. Here are a few snapshots of my blinky bug from yesterday:

Blinky Bug 1/3 Blinky Bug 2/3 Blinky Bug 3/3

Ok, it’s a little primitive and my technique with anything other than bits is totally atrophied. But…it was a blast futzing around with it. My innovation was an LED as a firefly-like abdomenal appendage. The antenna flaps came from an exchange of conceptual DNA with another bug. I’d definitely go to more events like this.

And…Science strikes back by feeding people’s thirst for more than knowledge. An article in the New York Times [These Scientific Minds Think (and Drink) Alike, may require subscription] has me scouring the web for similar gatherings locally even if they’re not as evolved as New York’s Secret Science Club. AND…I haven’t been to a Philly Perl Mongers meeting in ages, a group as much about good beer and good programming.


Wire Head

Researchers are one step closer to granting my deepest desire of a direct neural interface [Paralysed man’s mind is ‘read’]. Yes, I will drop a wire into my brain the moment it’s safe and effective so I can think at my computers and meld with the Internet.  It’s also one step closer to my cyborg body replacement which, at 42, can’t come soon enough. The big question will soon be this:  Rocket launchers or jet pack? Decisions, decisions…

No Country For Old Men Reviewed

The latest movie from the Coen brothers will satisfy their fans but may leave first-timers scratching their heads. Take the elements of Fargo and apply it to a modern Western novel; you get something good but not as good as a pure Coens project. Expect quirky characters, local color, a caper gone bad getting progressively worse, squirmy moments, and violence. Don’t expect a traditional ending, Hollywood or otherwise, which is fine by me.

I should like this movie more; it has all the ingredients of a very good movie with no obvious flaws. Perhaps the Coens were too successful at infusing the movie with “The Western” feel. I’ve always hated Westerns with one notable exception, Unforgiven. The cowboy mystique (Brokeback Mountain included) does little for me. Don’t get me wrong! Cowboys can be hot as long as they’re in the right kind of movie.

While Javier Bardem does an admirable job as a psychopath, Tommy Lee Jones is starting to get on my nerves. He turns in a consistent performance here as in In The Valley of Elah earlier this year. These really are different characters as written despite both being law enforcement types, but I just can’t see past TLJ when he’s on screen to appreciate these differences. Josh Brolin seems destined for the same.

No Country For Old Men [IMDB, Wikpedia (spoilers)] gets a 3 out of 5.

I didn’t link to the official site because it blares the trailer on loading. I really hate that.

Now Available As is the latest and quickest way to find my blog. I’ll eventually retire the other URLs, so please make a new bookmark here and delete the old ones. I can’t believe how cheap and easy it’s become to add domain names; perhaps my web host [] makes it too easy and creates an iTunes oh-just-one-more effect.

Not long ago I was chastising J. for his boyfriend’s rapacious domain hogging. He’s a realtor and he’ll grab separate domain names for neighborhoods and even individual homes. That still seems excessive, but it does help people remember and find his site, and that does equal more sales. The search/browse/navigate method just doesn’t work when looking for that one thing on the web that you know exists, and this is the best hack so far to turn the address bar into the find bar.

Extended Profanity Cut

I raced up to New York last night after blogging about Blade Runner: The Final Cut for the 22:00 showing. The venue, a modernized classic theater with excellent projection and sound, really added to what is the almost definitive cut of Bladerunner.

The casual viewer may not pick up on the reshot scenes and hundred tweaks. Even I found myself forgetting to look for them because the print looks so crisp and lush (and wet of course), something I don’t recall from The Director’s Cut at the Ritz. I’m not sure if it was the theater, the HD-ification, or just me. Just in case, get to Manhattan and see it at The Ziegfeld if you can. If not, this is a must-see if not must-have for anybody who likes Blade Runner or the genre.

I want more life, fucker.

My one beef with The Final Cut is one word. In Roy’s famous quote, he now clearly says “father” instead of “fucker”. It just doesn’t match the menace in the actor’s body language. It also defuses the angst of a mortal confronting his creator about not being made to last, something I could see myself doing if God weren’t a delusion.

I hate this change, and I’m hoping for one more version, my “Extended Profanity Cut”, where this one line is restored. The really odd thing here is that the English subtitles in The Director’s Cut actually say “father”. I listened to the audio and watched Roy’s lips; I’m sure he’s saying fucker. Then again, we’re prone to misperception thanks to the way evolution hacked our brains [The McGurk Effect]. In Future Noir, Sammon has this to say about the line:

In the Workprint, when Batty first meets Tyrell and Eldon asks Roy what he wants, Rutger Hauer replies “I want more life, Father.” This is very different from the “fucker” that ends Batty’s line in all other versions [except now The Final Cut]. Yet the substitution of “father” does give the dialogue an extra note of complexity. This variant line, says R. Scott, “was filmed for cover, so the scene could play uncensored on network TV.”

I don’t agree that “father” adds complexity. It softens the tension that makes this a stand-out scene and is incongrous with the music and body language of that moment. By this point the idea of Tyrell as father/creator/god is well-established, so I don’t see it adding anything. What do you think?